Backpack. Hiking poles. Extra clothing. First aid. Food. What is an extremely important item that is missing on this list of backpacking gear? More important than hiking poles, and more useful than your favorite t-shirt is a backpacking headlamp. Never be without it on the trails. While there are several headlamps you can select from, the best headlamps for long-distance hiking should have a few essential features.
What Makes a Headlamp Good for Long-Distance Hikes?
- High lumens
- Long runtimes
- Snug headband fit
- Lightweight and easy operation
- Ruggedness and durability
Based on this list above, we have shortlisted some of the best Fenix headlamps for long-distance hiking: the Fenix HM65R-T, HM61R, HM50R V2.0, and the HL18R-T. Let’s look at what makes each of these an ideal companion for your long-distance hikes.
HM65R-T — A High-Endurance Headlamp
You know that familiar rush of “second wind”? Just as you feel like an uphill will never end and your legs will give way, your body surprises you with a jolt of energy. You find yourself walking faster. Suddenly, you look at the clock and realize you can go a longer distance than you initially planned.
With an incredible runtime of 300 hours on Eco mode, the Fenix HM65R-T is ready to jump on any change in plans. When you commit to walking a longer distance, this powerful headlamp is prepared to keep up.
Independently controlled spotlight and floodlight produce a maximum 1500 lumens of neutral and white light. This puts you in an excellent position of awareness of your surroundings so you can walk as fast as you like.
While navigating a challenging or unclear terrain, use the spotlight to see the trail clearly. If you take a moment to breathe or rest, use the floodlight mode to light up your immediate environment and get a wider field of view.
Other headbands may slip off after all that walking and sweating, but not the HM65R-T. This bestseller features a new patented SPORT headband fit system that ensures the headlamp sits snugly and enables you to move confidently.
Speaking of movement, we all agree that going lightweight with your gear makes our hiking experiences more enjoyable. If like us, you are always looking to shed extra weight from your backpack, the HM65R-T is made with a magnesium alloy, which makes it lighter when compared to an aluminum headlamp of equal size.
To borrow a phrase that could have easily come from the “backpacker’s bible”, “it’s always better to be prepared for the unexpected”. The HM65R-T’s battery level indicator will ensure you are never left in the dark.
This strong headlamp is also IP68-rated. Dustproof, waterproof, and impact resistant, this high-endurance headlamp is perfect for your long-distance hikes.
HM61R — The Multi-Functional Tool
Long-distance hiking is never just about walking, is it? From climbing trees to investigating rocks, it’s about exploring and discovering more than what meets the eye.
The Fenix HM61R headlamp’s versatile carry options will equip you with a flashlight and headlamp in one. For times when you want the light to illuminate a precise area, simply remove the light from the headband to use as a detachable right-angled flashlight.
Not only can you carry this right-angled flashlight in your hand, or attach it to your belt or pack, but it also has a magnetic base, which allows you to attach the flashlight to most metal surfaces — for more hands-free lighting.
Whether you decide to explore a new route, stop to fish along a creek, or simply stay out longer by the campfire, the HM61R’s 300-hour runtime on Eco mode will light your path. In addition, its battery level indicator will keep you updated on your battery’s status.
When you are outdoors, your environment can change quickly. You may be hiking through pleasant weather, thanking the cool breeze accompanying you uphill. Just as you reach a pass, however, the skies darken and you find yourself hurriedly swapping out your gear for more weather-resistant items.
The HM61R headlamp is the one piece of equipment you don’t need to worry about. It is IP68 rated waterproof and its eight lighting modes, including red light, enable you to light up your environment irrespective of the conditions.
Combine its adaptable design with its solid build and you have yourself a hiking buddy that will keep up with you every step of the way.
HM50R V2.0 — A Rugged High-Performer
When your trail route covers tens of miles over a number of days, you will want a headlamp that doesn’t weigh you down. This super small and lightweight headlamp will surprise you with its ability to hang with the big boys of the backcountry.
Weighing only 2.75 oz (78 g), this almost-featherweight headlamp is capable of throwing a maximum of 700 lumens. So whether you are walking or setting up camp, the HM50R V2.0 will light up your surroundings with bright light.
This high-performer comes with a red light mode that is perfect for up-close tasks like reading your map at night. Should you find yourself in trouble or want to communicate with others in your group, use the headlamp’s red flash to make it a signaling device.
When you are out hiking, you want your equipment and tools to be as hassle-free as possible. This rechargeable headlamp comes with a glove-friendly switch that is easy to operate.
An all-metal body makes the HM50R V2.0 a compact, but rugged headlamp that can withstand the demands of the trails. Waterproof, dustproof, and impact resistant up to 2 meters, this powerful headlamp is sure to become the one headlamp you will trust on your long-distance hikes.
HL18R-T — The Minimalist Build, Maximum Performance Headlamp
This rechargeable headlamp features the new patented SPORT headband fit system. Simply click and twist a knob on the band to adjust your fit with one hand. When you have tens of miles to cover in a day, every minute matters. The headlamp’s simple design makes it perfect for single-handed operation on the go.
Throwing a maximum of 500 lumens, the HL18R-T provides three brightness levels of spotlight, a floodlight, and an SOS mode. A comfortable runtime of 43 hours gives you ample time to cover your targeted mileage. A 60° adjustable angle gives you the flexibility to position the beam exactly where you want.
In addition to its own battery pack, this hiking headlamp also works with readily available AAA batteries if needed.
This simply designed, high-performing headlamp is perfect for long-distance hikers who chart their own paths.Being equipped with a reliable headlamp on long-distance hikes will ensure that every step you take is one of confidence and awareness. While we recommend these headlamps listed above for hiking, you can also see our entire collection of headlamps for various activities.