Cost no object best rechargeable headlamp for hiking?

troverman

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Looking for a new headlamp for hiking. Doesn't need to be super lightweight, but I want it to be super bright and be able to handle 6 hours in the dark. If cost was no object, what headlamp is that?

Thanks
 

Stefano

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The market offers a lot of choice. See headlamps Fenix, Zebralight, Armytek.
Zebralight does not currently offer built-in charging (you will need to buy a separate charger and batteries) Fenix and Armytek have many models with Micro-USB - USB-C charging or magnetic charging.
See Fenix HM61R, HM65R/HM65R-T, HL60R.
Or Armytek models Elf, Wizard, Wizard Pro.
These are some brands and models that the market offers, other users can suggest more.

Edit:
Fenix has recently released the HM70R which uses a 21700 battery (supplied) it offers more autonomy.
This model is new yet there is not much information.
It has a 21700 (5000mA) battery while the models I mentioned above have 18650 size batteries which have a maximum capacity of 3500mA.
With HM70R you could have 500 lumens for 6 hours.
With the other models you could have 10/11 hours of autonomy but with a level of 150 lumens.
The advantage of modern lights is that with USB charging you can fill the batteries during a break from your hiking (using a power bank)
 
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3L3M3NT

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Here are some options for you:
If you can get Vinh at Skylumen.com to modify an Acebeam H30 like he had listed up until a few days ago, would be a great option, since he can install some different LEDs in place of the factory LEDs. Especially if you don't need the red and green LEDs.

Otherwise some other options are:
First time customers can use the code: fenixusa I believe to get 20% off.


Good luck with your decision.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I think first you need to narrow down how long of time you need to run at what output level to see what you truly need in a headlamp. Super bright means little to people on the forum these days without knowing specifics it could be 300 lumens or 4000 lumens even one sometimes need to know what it is compared to. Also what need to be known is hiking varies widely as per the terrain covered and at what speed. Hiking on a trail on a level may require different lighting than hiking up a rocky mountainside and you could go from crawling to walking to almost running which at lower speeds less light may be optimal higher speeds may need more light and throw/flood balance also can be an issue as lower speeds in more hazardous terrain a floody output may be more useful while fast speeds at wide open terrain a tight spot may be better. With modes on lights you would need to figure out what modes match differing needs you could use a higher mode which uses more power on some outings and a lower mode on others. If you need more than 300-500 lumens for more than a few hours you may have to consider a light with an external pack as even with 21700s a single cell has its limits in power. One other issue is at fast speeds if the light has a battery in it that adds weight/bulk to the headlamp holding assembly and bouncing etc may be more prominent.

I favor 18650s as it is the smallest most power density battery followed by 21700 which you can get batteries with slightly more power density for now but its larger battery size can be a drawback in some cases. I've tried running with a headlamp and tightening down the strap where it doesn't bounce as much can get uncomfortable after awhile I would think 21700 would possibly have a higher issue with moving/bouncing of the beam at speeds higher then comfortable walking paces but as I have none of this variety if you decide it is a better choice maybe you could get opinions/reviews from those who have first hand experience with that battery format in a headlamp.
 

lion504

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Lucifer S2red, M6, or L+. The M6 is 8oz, 2x 18650. Regulated output. 4500k neutral LEDs. 1 hr 45 min runtime at 1700 lumens. 4 hrs at 850 lumens. 10 hours at 400 lumens.

Made in Czech Republic for orienteering, mountain biking, ultra running.
 
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DaveTheDude

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I regularly hike at night. Not to put too fine a point on this, but you can easily double or triple the runtime of an 18650 headlamp by carrying one or two extra cells. Food for thought...😎
 

troverman

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Thanks guys, a lot of good insight. I'm currently running a Princeton Tec Apex rechargeable headlamp which is about 500 lumens if I recall. I typically run on full brightness unless there is strong moonlight. I hike solo at night up 3 to 4,000 foot mountains; mostly wooded rocky trail but some open areas and in some cases bald face tops. I know some people like to run on the bare minimum for for me too much is never enough. I always carry a backup; I have a second Apex and also a Black Diamond 4 AA battery unit which does not recharge and is not as bright, but has a long run time.

Anyway, I decided to go with the Nitecore HC35 plus a spare 21700 battery, Some of the other choices offered were very nice, but the Nitecore offers several different battery options and includes the adapter. The runtime vs lumens also seemed to fit what I wanted best, at least when carrying a spare battery.

The custom built lights are probably superior, but I needed something quickly and it appears I'll have this headlamp tomorrow.

This site is awesome, glad I found it.
 

troverman

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Lucifer S2red, M6, or L+. The M6 is 8oz, 2x 18650. Regulated output. 4500k neutral LEDs. 1 hr 45 min runtime at 1700 lumens. 4 hrs at 850 lumens. 10 hours at 400 lumens.

Made in Czech Republic for orienteering, mountain biking, ultra running.
Lucifer X @ 5,000 lumens is incredible. Pricing is about $550 USD. I will actually consider this in the future; I have business contacts in the CZ.
 

Gemster

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Nothing hard about carrying a few extra batteries in the napsack. That would make a world of choices available.
 

3L3M3NT

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Thanks guys, a lot of good insight. I'm currently running a Princeton Tec Apex rechargeable headlamp which is about 500 lumens if I recall. I typically run on full brightness unless there is strong moonlight. I hike solo at night up 3 to 4,000 foot mountains; mostly wooded rocky trail but some open areas and in some cases bald face tops. I know some people like to run on the bare minimum for for me too much is never enough. I always carry a backup; I have a second Apex and also a Black Diamond 4 AA battery unit which does not recharge and is not as bright, but has a long run time.

Anyway, I decided to go with the Nitecore HC35 plus a spare 21700 battery, Some of the other choices offered were very nice, but the Nitecore offers several different battery options and includes the adapter. The runtime vs lumens also seemed to fit what I wanted best, at least when carrying a spare battery.

The custom built lights are probably superior, but I needed something quickly and it appears I'll have this headlamp tomorrow.

This site is awesome, glad I found it.
Sounds like you made an excellent decision on which headlamp is best going to fit your needs.

You might be able to get even longer run times with a higher mah battery, since the HC35 only comes with a 4000 mah battery.
Here are a few great options:


With one of those spare batteries you should be able to make it 6 hours with over 500 lumens of light during your hikes.
 

Stefano

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The HC35 is a very flood headlamp, I hope it suits your needs.
The purpose of a headlamp is to see what is close to us.
If you are looking for something to illuminate well at very close range this is a good choice.
But as a "multifunction" headlamp it may not be ideal, if it is your only light source you may feel the need to have more throw.
The 134 meters promised to throw are possible only at the power of 2700 lumens (where the theadlamp for obvious reasons of heat can stay short time)
At 800 lumens it has a throw of 73 ANSI meters which results in a real visibility of about 40 meters.
At lower levels, throwing is little.
 

Candlestick

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If the Nitecore doesn’t work out I’ve had excellent luck with Zebralight. I’ve had my H502c since 2015 and its survived a lot, and is super compact. 8 hours of runtime on a very usable high medium output.

I’ve had the 18650 version since 2016 and its barely any bigger or heavier than the battery it contains. ~12 hours on high 2 and its a very usable light level.

Both are high CRI and wide flood lights great for close up work and seeing what I am about to step on. The AA 502 model has a pocket clip which is great for using outside of the headband and clipping around as a small lantern / area light. The low sub lumen mode lasts months and the single digit modes last days / weeks.

I carry 8 spare eneloops and 3 spare 18650’s inside a maxipedition organizer along with pen, notpad, lighter, battery bank for my phone, edc flashlight and charging cables.
 

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fuyume

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In my opinion and experience, cost is not really the point when hiking, weight is.

That being said, I chose the 1xAA Fenix HM23 and E12 for my backcountry kit, and I carry a spare battery for each.

Hiking at night is not something I really care to do, but if for some reason I find that I absolutely need to walk in the dark, the combination of my HM23 and E12 will have to do.

If I really thought that having a high brightness headlamp was worth the encumbrance, I'd get the new HM70R, which will run at 500 lumens with a flat brightness curve for over 5 hours before falling off.

But, having 206 g of headlamp pressing into my forehead is not exactly going to be comfortable. The HM23, by contrast, weighs just 58 g with an L91 battery, if you count the extra battery, then that's 73 g.

Even if you include my E12 and two more batteries, that's still only a total of 57 g more, or 130 g for two lights and four batteries, less than half of which would actually be weighing on my noggin. And I'd have redundancy, as well.

There is such a thing as overdoing it.
 

Mr. LED

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It doesn’t necessarily need to be head mounted, I for example, clip my Zebralight to the jacket, as high as I can, under my chin. Some guys hang it around the neck. This way, weight is less of an issue.
 

CelticCross74

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Thrunite TH30. Simple, cheap, well designed and made with very impressive run times outside the 3500+lumen turbo level. Comes with a TN IMR 18650. The headlamp is comfortable. None of the separate heavy and clumsy battery pack stuff. Armytek is +100 points. Like my TH30 AT has some of the best. Worth the price all around.
 
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