A good headlamp can be a backpacker’s greatest ally in the wilderness. Stashed in the bottom of a daypack, it will come to the rescue when the sun sinks below the horizon sooner than expected. Many backpackers enjoy hiking late into the night with the help of a high lumen headlamp.
At first glance, it might be tough to tell the difference between a $20 headlamp and a $50 headlamp. Some headlamps can cost as high as $200 – but pack way more of a punch than most backpackers require.
In our research, the Black Diamond Cosmo headlamp has the best cross-section of price and functionality for backpacking, but when Petzl released a newly redesigned Tikka headlamp in 2017, they decided to give the Cosmo a run for it’s money.
Black Diamond Cosmo
|Max Battery life||180 hours|
At $29.95, the Cosmo blasts an impressive 200 lumens with 45 hours of battery life at the highest setting.
Our favorite feature was the ability to dim or brighten the beam to our desired setting – instead of being stuck with the standard high, medium, and low.
Only weighing 86 grams, the Cosmo great for hiking and backpacking, and easy to stash in your daypack and forget about until the sun starts to set.
The 180 hour battery life continued to impress us as we took it on longer late night hikes.
|Max Battery life||240 hours|
|Best Feature||Rechargeable Battery|
After getting a redesign, the Petzl Tikka quickly caught up the Black Diamond line of headlamps, now offering 200 lumens at the same price point and weight.
While not as waterproof as the Cosmo, the battery life is 60 hours at the highest setting and soars to 240 at the lowest. A
major downside is that the maximum range of the Tikka is 10 meters less than the Cosmo.
Our favorite feature is the ability to use a rechargeable battery, reducing overall waste.
By far these are not the only two headlamps that backpackers can choose from. There are many others that are less expensive, have higher lumen counts, or are more featureful.
Here are some other popular headlamps for backpacking and camping:
Only $12.97 – this is a great option for the budget backpacker. At a glance:
- 165 Lumens
- 60-meter beam
- Rated to IPX5 (protected against splashing or spraying water)
- Weighs 3.2 ounces (with batteries)
- Up to 45 hours of run-time
- 300 lumens
- 70-meter beam
- Rated to IPX8 waterproof
- Weighs 3.4 ounces
- Up to 300 hours of run-time