Interested in buying a headlamp for your next hunting trip in 2020? Here are a few things to look for that will help you choose the best one.
Nothing is more frustrating than arriving early to the lease or hunting area to find that your headlamp won’t work, isn’t bright enough, or has been misplaced. Headlamps are essential items for navigating in the dark, so a dependable one can be a life saver.
Some of the best headlamps are those that are light weight, have good battery life, and cast a wide beam of bright light. Other important factors to consider include options like strobe lights, red light lenses, and power buttons for extra bright light when needed.
With these factors in mind, we’ll review some of the top hunting headlamps available that will serve you well on your next hunt.
These are the Top 3 Headlamps for Hunting 2020:
Being able to see what you’re doing in the dark as you walk to the deer blind, set out duck decoys, or get ready for the mornings hunt is extremely important. Fumbling around in the dark without a light can be dangerous and even ruin a hunt. A dependable headlamp is worth its weight in gold. Picking the right hunting headlamp will help insure that your next hunt goes as smoothly as possible.
These are the three headlamps for hunting you should consider:
Why I Picked the Petzl TACTIKKA + Headlamp
When you sit down and compare the Petzl TACTIKKA + headlamp to the REACTIK + and Foxelli the differences are noticeable.
- The Petzl TACTIKKA + headlamp is 250 lumens of bright white light. This is more than enough for any hunting situation. The REACTIK + has 50 more lumens but costs considerably more.
- The TACTIKKA + is compact and won’t get in the way or snag on brush. It weighs less than 4 ounces.
- Its 260 hours of battery life is one of the best in its class. While a cheap headlamp may give you 6 hours of use, the TACTIKKA + will last several weeks.
- The TACTIKKA + is available in camo, tan, and black which will blend into just about any hunting situation.
- The Petzl TACTIKKA + headlamp comes with white light for general use and a red shade for sneaking up on game. The red lens can be activated with the push of a button.
- The TACTIKKA + has a comfortable headband that tightens up easily and even has a quick opening buckle. I’ve worn it both with a ballcap and without, and it’s always a snug comfortable fit.
- It’s compatible with the CORE rechargeable battery or (3) AAA batteries.
- The TACTIKKA + is IP X4 water resistant so you can wear it in the rain and dusty conditions without having to worry about it failing.
Here is a great clip of what you can expect to achieve with a good headlamp for hunting.
Features to look for in quality headlamps for hunting:
- A headlamp with a bright enough light to illuminate what’s in front of you and 5 feet out to your sides. A wide lens with at least 200 lumens is a good starting point.
- Waterproof and dust proof. A good headlamp should be able to withstand moderate rain, wind, ice, and dust without failing. Look for an IP X4 water resistant rating or better.
- Comfortable to wear for long periods. Headlamps like the Petzl are so comfortable you don’t even know you’re wearing it. The strap system and weight of the headlamp play an important role in determining if it will be comfortable to wear.
- Long battery life and compatible with rechargeable batteries. A week of moderate use is usually standard for the best headlamps, while the cheap headlamps will struggle with one full day.
- Multiple lens colors for changing hunting stations. A white light is good for general use while a red light will allow you to save your night vision and sneak up on game.
- A strap system that is easily adjustable.
- The lighter the headlamp the more comfortable it will be to wear.
- Camo or neutral colors. Headlamps are made for a wide range of activities which often involve bright colors like rock climbing and hiking. Headlamps designed for hunting can be tough to find.
- Ergonomic buttons. Some headlamps have sliders bars and others require you to press a button.
- Strobe light capabilities for emergency situations.
About Headlamps for Hunting
Headlamps for hunting are an essential item to be as productive as you can be in the dark. It only takes one hunt without one to realize just how important they are. I always keep a backup headlamp around just in case. With the new reactive headlamps now available, do you really need one? What are the differences between reactive and non-reactive headlamps?
Reactive vs Non-Reactive Headlamps
- Reactive Headlamps – Reactive headlamps adjust the brightness automatically based on changing light conditions. Reactive headlamps can help prolong battery life by only providing the exact amount of light you need at any given time. These headlamps are also compatible with Bluetooth smartphone apps.
- Non-Reactive Headlamps – These are your standard headlamps that may have multiple levels of intensity, but the settings are all manual. Non-reactive headlamps have shorter battery longevity than reactive.
Why would you ever need a reactive headlamp for hunting? That’s a good question and for the majority of hunters it probably doesn’t make sense.
But if you’re constantly in low light conditions (setting out duck decoys for example), sunrise might be minutes away and you may not need 100% of your headlamp light. If you hunt a lot, you may be able to avoid having to replace your batteries as often.
Additionally, most reactive headlamps are Bluetooth capable and pair with smartphone Apps. You can see remaining battery life and other useful info right on your phone. This can sometimes be very useful.
How to choose the right energy source for your headlamp
This video details the choice between using conventional batteries or the rechargeable CORE system.
Headlamps for Hunting and Battery Life Expectations
How long should a headlamp last on fully charged batteries? This is a common question that always arises when looking for a new headlamp. From my personal experience, most quality headlamps should last at least 12 hours of continuous use.
Many factors come into play when discussing battery longevity in headlamps, such as usage amount, battery type, and reactive lighting. But if you get a quality headlamp like a Petzl with Core rechargeable batteries, it should last a week or two which is impressive for a headlamp.
It’s important that headlamps have LED light bulbs to reduce energy consumption to the lowest level possible. You would be hard pressed to find a headlamp that doesn’t have LED bulbs, but it’s something to consider at least.
It’s been my experience with headlamps and battery life that you get what you pay for. I’ve always been disappointed with cheap headlamps, both with the brightness of the light and battery life. Cheap headlamps make great backups, but can’t come close to the best headlamps.
Interested in more hunting gear? Check out what’s new for 2019.