Headlamps are one seemingly simple piece of gear that may actually surprise you with their complexity. Under that one little power button lies a whole slew of light settings.
Headlamps are extremely useful while hunting. A trusty hunting headlamp can be used to spot prey far away, have better night vision up close, or track down prey after you’ve hit your target. In the least, with a headlamp in tow, you can hunt into the night without worrying how you’ll get back to camp.
However, fiddling with a headlamp that doesn’t suit your needs can seriously frustrate your hunt. We’ve scoured the market and found the best headlamps for hunting and fishing.
Read on to learn more.
|Top Pick||Petzl Tactikka +||
|Runner Up||Black Diamond Storm 400||
|Budget Pick||Princeton Tec Remix||
|Princeton Tec Vizz||
|COAST FL75R 530||
|Black Diamond Spot Headlamp||
|Browning Night Seeker||
Review of The Best Headlamps for Hunting And Fishing In 2021
- POWERFUL & COMPACT: Provides up to 350 lumens of light and up to 90 m of beam distance; Weighs just 85g and features 3 brightness levels so you can get the right amount of light for every situation
- MADE FOR FISHING & HUNTING: Features a red-light mode to preserve night vision and ensure stealth; Available in 3 colors designed to blend in with your environment
- VERSATILE BATTERY: Thanks to the HYBRID CONCEPT design, TACTIKKA + is compatible with 3 AAA batteries (included) and our CORE rechargeable battery (sold separately)
- EASY TO USE & CLEAN: Switch between light modes and colors with one button; Features a detachable headband that you can wash between adventures
- 5-YEAR GUARANTEE: We test our products beyond the required standards to ensure they’re ready for adventure; TACTIKKA + is backed by a 5-year guarantee against any defects in material or manufacture
The all-around best headlamp for hunting is the Petzl Tactikka Plus Headlamp.
This light is low profile, easy to use, and has various settings. Not to mention, it puts out a powerful 350 lumens and has a max burn time of 240 hours. It is powered by three AAA batteries or a rechargeable CORE battery (sold separately).
The Petzl Tactikka Plus has a sleek design. Even the lamp itself is compact and lightweight. Nothing’s worse than a bulky headlamp bobbing up and down, both giving you a headache and causing you to lose track of your target.
The Tactikka Plus has both white and red light settings. The white light has three different settings that adjust the beam from close up to wide. And, strobe mode is available in either white or red light. All of these settings are accessible through one single button on the Tactikka Plus.
This headlamp is adjustable in two different ways. The strap can be adjusted to fit your head. And, the lamp can be adjusted so that it angles down toward the ground. Additionally, the strap comes with a plastic buckle that enables you to clip it on and off. This way you won’t alter the size of your strap when stretching the strap around your head.
Petzel is a trusted brand and their Tactikka Plus Headlamp is raved about amongst their customers. This headlamp has a rating of 9.8 out of 10 stars.
- Emits up to 400 lumens on max setting. PowerTap Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power with extremely bright LED lights.
- Brightness Memory allows you to turn the light on the headlamp on and off at a chosen brightness without reverting back to full power. Regulated for constant light output
- Compact, low-profile design uses four AAA batteries. Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red, green and blue night-vision, and lock mode
- Multifaceted optical lens design. Waterproof and dustproof: Sealed housing withstands immersion over 1m for 30 minutes (IPX67)
- Lumens : [High] 400: [Medium] 160: [Low] 8: Weight With Batteries : 120 g (4.2 oz) Max Distances : [High] 100 m; [Low] 9 m Max Burn Time : High 5 hours, Low 200 hours (ANSI FL1 Standard); Reserve 42 hours IPX Rating : IP 67 Batteries : 4 AAA (included)
The runner up for best hunting headlamp in 2020 is the Black Diamond Storm 400.
The Black Diamond Storm 400 is a workhorse of a headlamp, emitting 400 lumens at max power. At this brightness, the headlamp will hold power for a maximum of 5 hours. Lower power modes can last up to 200 hours. Four AAA batteries power the headlamp.
Black Diamond has engineered PowerTap technology into this lamp for ease of use. At any point, you can tap the right side of the lamp to switch to max brightness immediately. This comes in handy when you’re hunting and need to make a quick switch after you’ve made your shot.
Additionally, the Storm 400 conserves power with light mode memory technology. Instead of turning on at full brightness everytime, the Storm 400 turns on to the last used setting. Even more, there is a locking feature that will prevent the headlamp from turning on by accident while not in use. These features allow you to get the most out of your battery life.
Speaking of settings, the Black Diamond Storm 400 has a whole slew of them. The white light modes include full strength, proximity and distance. There are also red, green, and blue (RGB) light modes for night-vision. Dimming and strobe features are available in every color mode.
Finding the setting you need is easy. There are two buttons on the top of the lamp to help you switch from white to RGB in a flash. You can easily jump to the most used settings by single tapping, double-tapping, and holding these buttons.
The Black Diamond Storm 400 is popular among hunters. It has earned a rating of 9.8 out of 10 stars.
- A headlamp built to perform in any environment with a single Maxbright LED and 3 red, Green and Blue Ultrabright leds
- 300 lumens power
- 150 hour burn time
- Equipped with asymmetrical single arm bracket, easily accessible Batter door enclosure and water resistant
- 3 AAA Alkaline batteries included
The Princeton Tec Remix LED Headlamp is our budget-friendly choice for the best hunting headlamp. Now the fact of the matter is that most hunting headlamps sit fairly close together on the pricing spectrum. However, the Princeton Tec Remix is the lowest of the traditional style headlamps in this review.
The design of this headlamp is simple and easy to use. The strap is a traditional elastic strap with an adjuster and no buckle. And, the light source adjusts downward for better vision when working with your head down.
Three AAA batteries power the Princeton Tec Remix. The cylindrical battery capsule makes switching out batteries quick and easy.
One thing to note is that not all Princeton Tec Remixes have the same color settings. Instead, different colored Remixes have different LED color combinations. The tan and camo Remixes (like the one in the photo) are best suited for hunting and fishing. These headlamps have both white and red settings.
The tan and camo Remixes have one white max bright LED light and three red ultrabright LEDs. Both colors have high and low settings. The beam can be set to wide or narrow depending on the type of vision you need. On high, the Remix puts out 300 lumens of light.
The Remix has a maximum battery life of 130 hours on low flood. Ironically enough, the Remix runs longer on the spot high than spot low. The headlamp will burn for 43 hours on the spot high, but only 16 hours on the spot low. This is due to the light technology used by Princeton Tec.
This is a great headlamp available at a lower price point. The Princeton Tec Remix has earned a rating of 9.5 stars.
- Three Distinct beam profiles easily accessed via a simple press, hold, or double press of the button
- One Albright LED creates a powerful spot beam for long-throw illumination
- Pair of white Ultra bright lads deliver a flood beam
- Two red Ultra bright lads handle Close-Range lighting while preserving night adjusted vision
- 420 lumens, 110 hour burn time
The Princeton Tec Vizz is the hunting headlamp with the best value. This headlamp retails around $42 and has three light settings that emit up to 420 lumens.
The Vizz is extremely user friendly. Each of the three light profiles can be accessed by pressing, holding, or double-tapping the main button.
The different light profiles include one white max bright LED light, two white ultrabright LEDs, and two red ultrabright LEDs. The max bright LED is used for long-range vision. The two white ultrabright LEDs are used as a floodlight for wider vision. And, the two red ultrabright LEDs are good for night vision or close-distance vision. All three light settings are dimmable.
This headlamp weighs only 3.2 ounces and is powered by three AAA batteries. It has a waterproof rating of IPX7, which is higher than most headlamps.
The maximum burn time differs with each setting. The highest burn time is 135 hours on red (10 lumens). Constant high flood will give you 90 hours. And spot will provide you with 54 hours on low and 4 hours on high while outputting 420 lumens.
The lightsource on this headlamp can tilt, however the tilt is limited to a few notched settings.
Reviewers have given the Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp a 9.5 star rating.
- TWIST FOCUSING OPTIC: The simple Twist Focusing system goes from an Ultra View Flood Beam to Bulls-Eye Spot Beam.
- DUAL POWER RECHARGEABLE: Operates on rechargeable and alkaline batteries so you're never without power. Rechargeable batteries can be charged inside or outside of the headlamp with Flex Charge.
- SPECS: Light Output: 530 lumens (high), 65 lumens (low). Beam Distance: 156 meters (high), 54 meters (low). Runtime: 2.15 hours (high), 11 hours (low).
- TOUGH & RELIABLE: IPX4 rated design for water resistance and durable aluminum body for 1-meter drop protection. Backed by the COAST Lifetime Warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
- INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: Li-Ion battery pack, 3 x standard AAA alkaline batteries, hardhat clips, USB charging cord, AC and DC adapters.
Are you looking for a bright rechargeable headlamp? Look no further. The Coast FL75R 530 is the brightest headlamp in our review.
The Coast FL75R 530 pumps out an outstanding 530 lumens of light. This means its high beam reaches a distance of 156 meters. A light this bright can be extremely useful when hunting. Of course, bright lights can scare the game, so a red night-vision setting is also included.
This headlamp has a total of four light modes that are easily accessible through two buttons. One button is dedicated to white modes and the other to red. Three white light modes are available that emit 530, 330, and 96 lumens. In addition, one red light mode is available for night vision.
Coast has implemented twist focus into the design of the FL75R headlamp. You can smoothly transition from the flood beam to the bulls-eye spot beam, and everything in between, simply by twisting the lens. We love the ease of transitioning from long to short-range vision that this headlamp offers. Plus, it doesn’t make noise, unlike some buttons, that will scare off your target.
Additionally, the light sits on a hinge. This means you can tilt it up or down to aim right where you are looking.
The FL75R offers two power source options. You can power the headlamp with three AAA alkaline batteries, or you can use a rechargeable battery pack. When using rechargeable batteries, you can charge the headlamp using a USB cord with the battery pack either in or out of the headlamp.
No matter the power source, this headlamp has a maximum run time of 11 hours on low. Alternatively, constantly using high beam decreases the maximum run time to 2.15 hours.
Coast backs their headlamps with a lifetime manufactures warranty. The FL75R headlamp in particular has received a 9.3-star rating.
- The ultrathin 3D molded housing sits flat on your forehead. That means no bounce, no slip. By integrating our electronics into the fabric, we pack all your lighting into an ultra-thin facing that is designed to fit as seamlessly as a contact lens.
- Moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry for any activity and the rechargeable battery means you can leave the alkalines behind.
- Max Output 330 Lumens, Adjustable Front Panel, Red Night Vision Included
- 40 hours of battery on LO, 3.5 Hours on HIGH, Recharge Via Micro USB.
- HeadLamp 330 is made from high-quality moisture-wicking band that keeps your forehead comfortable and dry during activity. Best of all - no abrasion points. The easy-adjust clips also take the guess work out of right-sizing your band.
The BioLite 330 Headlamp features a new and innovative design. By far, it is the sleekest, most low profile headlamp in this roundup, which makes it the most comfortable to wear. There will be no bobbing of the light on your forehead while hunting with this headlamp.
The lightsource on this headlamp is designed right into the moisture-wicking, neoprene material of the headband. Even still, this headlamp is tiltable by pulling at a notch behind the power button. In total, this light weighs only 2.43 ounces, which is another reason it is so comfortable.
The BioLite 330 is a USB rechargeable headlamp and does not take alkaline batteries. The rechargeable battery pack is secured at the back of the headlamp. This means instead of having that weight on your forehead. It sits at the back of your head. This placement helps keep the headlamp in place as well.
This headlamp features both bright white and red night-vision light settings. In total there are five light modes. These include white flood, white spot, white flood/spot combo, white strobe, and red flood.
The maximum light output for this headlamp is 330 lumens that cover a maximum distance of 75 m. The white floodlight reaches 16 m. You can get a solid 40 hours of use out of the BioLite on the low setting and 3.5 hours on high.
The BioLite 330 has light mode memory technology. This helps to preserve battery life by turning on to the most recently used light setting rather than go straight to high power. In addition, this headlamp can be locked to prevent it from accidentally powering on.
BioLite users rave about the comfort of this headlamp. It has a rating of 9.7 stars.
- One Quad Power LED and one Double Power white LED emit 300 lumens
- Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night-vision and lock mode
- PowerTap Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power
- Brightness Memory allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness without reverting back to full power
- Waterproof; Protected against water immersion down to >1m (3.3 ft) for 30 minutes (IPX 8)
Black Diamond brings us another incredible headlamp. The Black Diamond Spot is among the most reliable headlamps for hunting in this review. We’ve selected it as the best headlamp for backcountry hunting.
Black Diamond designed the Spot to last. Its waterproof rating of IPX8 is higher than most on the market. This headlamp is durable enough to withstand harsh hunting conditions. Not to mention, it has a reflective elastic strap to keep you safe while wearing it.
This headlamp offers a maximum brightness of 300 lumens, reaching a distance of 80 m. It has a bright white LED light settings for close up, peripheral, and long-distance viewing. In addition, a red LED light is included for night vision.
Dimming and strobe features are available for every light setting. And, power tap technology allows you to make a quick switch to full brightness by tapping the right side of the lamp. The headlamp is equipped with brightness memory, so it will turn on to the most recent setting. To stretch the battery life even more, the headlamp can be locked when not in use.
Speaking of battery life, the Spot has a maximum burn time of 180 hours. When it’s time to revive the headlamp, you simply switch out the three AAA batteries located behind the light source.
The Black Diamond Spot Headlamp has an overall rating of 9.7 stars.
- Ultralight design can be clipped to a hat brim, pack strap or used as a stand-alone light
- Sliding on/off switch prevents accidental activation
- Rechargeable Li-ion battery is rated for 300 charging cycles
The Browning Night Seeker 2 is not your traditional headlamp. We’ve included the Browning Night Seeker 2 as the best cap light for hunting.
The Night Seeker 2 is an alternative to traditional headlamps. Thus we cannot directly compare it to headlamps. A cap light is a good option for hunters who don’t heavily rely on a headlamp while hunting. Cap lights are a solution for those who find the headlamps uncomfortable and just need a quick light from time to time.
The Browning Night Seeker 2 uses wide-angle technology to offer a powerful wide-angle beam. Both white and green wide-angle modes are featured in this cap light. The white light puts out a maximum of 40 lumens, and its beam reaches up to 13 yards.
Switching between modes is as easy as sliding the power tab. In the center position the light is off. Slide it right or left to access white or green modes.
A rechargeable lithium-ion battery powers this light. Its maximum battery life is 5 hours. And the night seeker is recharged using a USB cable.
The Browning Night Seeker can be adjusted 180 degrees to adapt to your needs. When you don’t want it on your cap, you can clip it to your pocket or use the clip piece as a stand.
Reviewing customers have rated the Browning Night Seeker 2 Cap Light an average of 9.3 stars.
The Different Headlamp Colors and Their Purposes
Light color is a crucial feature to look for in headlamps. Of course, you need white light. However, having an RGB setting on our headlamp is extremely helpful when trying not to disturb your prey. Some animals are more startled by white light than others. If you’re looking for a coon hunting headlamp, RGB is a must.
Here is a breakdown of headlamp light colors:
White light is great for general use in darkness as well as long-distance visibility. It’s no secret that the human eye sees most clearly under white light.
Red is the second most common light color found in headlamps. Red provides good night-vision, and it does not startle wildlife. Hunters typically favor red for night-time hunting. Additionally, red is the universal color for distress. A red strobe can be helpful in dangerous situations.
Green is a second night-vision option. It is typically included as a second option for the user to choose their personal night-vision preference.
Blue is a third color commonly used for night-vision. But even more, blue light illuminates blood and oil in the dark. This is especially helpful to nighttime hunters when tracking down their prey.
Headlamp Brightness in Terms of Lumen Count
Lumen count is the typical unit of measurement to describe a light bulb’s brightness. More factors than just lumens are at play, such as the size and shape of the beam. However, it is generally reliable to use lumen count as your measure of brightness.
To be extra sure that your headlamp is bright enough for your needs, you can compare the lumen count to the beam distance. Beam distance is the distance in which the light spreads.
To put this into perspective, let’s compare the Petzl Tactikka Plus and the Princeton Tec Vizz. The Vizz has a lumen count of 420 and a maximum distance of 79 meters. Whereas, the Tactikka Plus only has a lumen count of 350, yet it reaches up to 90 meters. Both are very bright lights, but the lumen count combines with other factors that alter its brightness.
How Does LED Lighting Benefit Headlamps?
All the headlamps on this review, along with most modern headlamps on the market, use LED lighting. This is because LED is more durable, longer-lasting, and more lightweight than incandescent lighting.
LED lighting has sufficiently upgraded headlamp performance. Headlamps with LED lighting are more durable because plastic components can be used instead of glass. This also makes them more lightweight, which aids in comfort. In addition, LED lights do not require much heat to burn, so you don’t feel the warm energy on your forehead.
The Benefits of Adjustable Focus Headlamps
Headlamps with adjustable focus are extremely versatile. Many headlamps have the option to switch from flood to spot only by the click of a button. However, some have adjustable focus which means you can manually focus the beam to your liking.
The primary benefit of adjustable focus is customization. Manually twisting the light into focus allows you to tailor your beam to fit your exact needs.
If adjustable focus is important to you, check out the Coast FL75R in this review. This headlamp allows you to twist the beam into focus, just like the lens on a camera.
What Type of Batteries to Use in a Headlamp
Many headlamps run on standard AAA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack.
A standard battery requirement gives you the choice between lithium or alkaline batteries. Either of the two is a suitable choice for a headlamp. However, lithium batteries have a slight head up over alkaline batteries because they perform better in camping conditions.
Lithium batteries are lighter weight, longer-lasting, and better in cold temperatures.
Best Headband for Hunting Headlamps
Headlamp headbands are pretty standard. You’ll see that all the headlamps on this review have the traditional single elastic strap that is adjustable. This is because all of the headlamps on this review have been selected for their lightweight qualities that improve their performance when hunting.
Heavy-duty headlamps, much heavier than these, will often have a second strap that crosses over the head’s crown. This is to improve the stability of the headlamp.
Our overall pick, the Petzl Tactikka Plus, goes above and beyond and includes a clip on the elastic band. This allows you to unclip the headlamp to take it off, rather than stretching it over your head.
Headlamp Waterproof Ratings Explained
IP ratings measure the water resistance of the waterproof level of a headlamp. The rating takes the form of two letters and two numbers. I stands for the testing against solids and P stands for the testing against liquids.
It is common in headlamps to see X in place of the first number, such as “IPX4”. This means the product has not been tested for solids, thus the X stands in its place.
When purchasing a headlamp, you should look for a minimum of IPX4. This rating means the headlamp can withstand water sprays. Higher IP ratings indicate the product can withstand water jets or even submersion. Petzl has a great chart to refer to.
What is the brightest headlamp you can buy?
There are headlamps on the market featuring 1,000 lumens and above. Streamlight hunting headlamps are known for their intense brightness. Another extremely bright headlamp is the Fenix HM65R Headlamp that pops out a whopping 1,400 lumens.
With that being said, brightest isn’t always best. Especially when hunting. Often times a bright light will scare off wildlife. And, the brighter the light the lower the battery life. Bright light is helpful after hitting your target and looking for it or cleaning it up back at camp. Even still, you might be surprised at the amount of lumens you DON’T need.
A headlamp that emits around 300 lumens is suitable for catching sight of wildlife amidst trees. And even then, many hunters still choose to use a red night-vision mode to avoid any chance of scaring off their target.
I like bright headlights for hunting but I want a red light mode, what can I do?
Lucky for you, there are tons of headlamps on the market that feature both bright white and night-vision red modes. Many even have the red, green, blue (RBG) setting that allows you to choose your favorite night-vision light.
Our top pick, the Petzl Tactikka Plus Headlamp is a great hunting headlamp with both white and red settings. So too do all the other headlamps in this review, except the Browning Nightseeker Cap Light.
If the RGB setting is appealing to you, check out the Black Diamond Storm 400.
Can I get a headlamp that will work with rechargeable or disposable batteries?
Absolutely. Many headlamps come with the option to use either rechargeable or disposable batteries.
So, What is the Best Headlamp for Hunting?
The best headlamp for hunting in 2021 is the Petzl Tactikka Plus Headlamp. This headlamp checks off all the boxes. It has bright white and red lights, long-distance and wide beams, and a supreme battery life.
We admit, the Tactikka Plus has some close competitors. The Black Diamond Storm 400 is another headlamp that performs well on a hunt. Durability, easy to use settings, and RGB lights make this headlamp stand out.
We’ve reviewed eight of the best hunting headlamps on the market. However, there’s one thing you need to remember when shopping for your headlamp. You must select a headlamp with the features you need, but it is also easy for you to dedicate to memory. You need a headlamp that is easy for you to use while your mind is focused on your hunt.