Any experienced hunter knows the importance of carrying a reliable headlamp as they traverse rough terrains in the darkness. This is particularly important if you are hunting on new ground, where you'll have to be on the lookout for boulders, tufts of grass and other obstacles.
Regardless of what you're hunting, one thing is for sure–you will have to enter or exit the woods when it is pitch black. So whether you are trying to catch some deer or hunt down some coyotes, the best hunting headlamps should make navigating terrains in the dark bearable and your overall; hunting experience memorable.
We took a deep dive into the top hunting headlamps of 2023 and curated a list of the top 10 to help you pick only the best, as the season is too precious to spend your hunting expeditions with subpar headlamps:
#1 Best Overall Hunting Headlamp: NightBuddy™ 230º LED Headlamp
A top-rated headlamp globally, the NightBuddy™ 230º LED offers a 230º wide angle illumination. It also comes with a light beam that enables you to see things as far as 100 metres away. Besides hunting, the headlamp provides night vision for camping, exercise or any work.
It features zero-bounce technology and adjustable straps and doesn't release harmful UV radiation that could damage your eyes. With just a wave, you can turn the gadget on and unlock a new level of brightness and safety.
Here are some of the features that make the NightBuddy™ 230º LED stand out from the crowd:
Unique Zero-Bounce Design
Do you find headlamps that bump and bounce, knock onto things and stick out a nuisance? Well, the NightBuddy™ 230º is here to end all of this. It features a unique zero bounce design and side light ideal for distance viewing. This is the headlamp that lights up your life, literally.
While this headlamp provides excellent illumination, it also offers convenience when operating it. The gadget is fitted with wave sensor technology that lets you turn it on and off by simply waving your hand in front of it. This way, you do not have to stop whatever you are doing to fumble for the power button. Also, you need not worry about making the headlamp dirty with your oily or greasy hands.
With NightBuddy, size does not matter. Whether you have a big or small head or are wearing a helmet, the headlamp is a perfect fit, all thanks to its adjustable headband. It allows you to loosen or tighten it to secure it in position whether you are strolling or running.
Red Light Mode
The newest addition to the NightBuddy family is the NightBuddy Red Light Edition. The headlamp utilizes red light technology to protect wildlife, preserve night vision and scare away insects.
The NightBuddy™ 230º LED Headlamp pumps out 350 lumens from a rechargeable battery. This way, you are guaranteed uninterrupted vision without a power supply or charger.
On the brightest power setting, this battery can power the gadget for eight hours and three hours on the lowest power setting. Once the battery power has been depleted, you can recharge the lamp with a USB type C.
Robust Side Beam and Five Lighting Modes
The lamp employs XPE LED technology for powerful light coverage. It can help you see objects as far as 100m away. Besides, you can switch between five lighting modes–a flashlight and four brightness modes.
If you are going to be wearing a headlamp around your head, it helps that it is light so that it doesn't weigh you down. The NightBuddy 230º is all this and so much more. The compact and sleek design makes carrying it around easier.
What's more? By buying the NightBuddy 230º in the US, you get a risk-free guarantee and fast and free shipping.
The headlamp has the following pros:
- Great beam distance
- Good light quality
- Superb battery power
- Adjustable strap
- Five lighting options
- Fast recharge
- Compact lightweight design
- Satisfaction guarantee
- Fast and free shipping for orders in the US
How to Use the NightBuddy™ 230º LED Headlamp
Anyone can use this lamp thanks to its adjustable headband that can fit perfectly on heads of all sizes. The device is accompanied by a manual with instructions on how to use it. Everything you need is covered in the manual, from attaching, wearing and switching between the different light modes.
#2 Best Versatile Light: NightBuddy™ BeanieLamp
Leave it to NightBuddy to hit two birds with one stone. The NightBuddy™ BeanieLamp keeps your ears and head warm whilst illuminating your path. It is made using soft acrylic, and its light travels up to 300 feet.
Here are some of the key elements of this beanie light:
Warm and Hands-Free
As earlier stated, the NightBuddy hat light is made of soft acrylic on the exterior and double thick wool on the inside, making it warm, comfy, breathable and stretchy. This is one of the reasons it is ideal for your nighttime hunting expeditions.
The headlamp is also hands-free, meaning you can work with both hands without holding a flashlight.
Another nice feature of this headlamp is the built-in USB, through which you can charge whenever the battery power is depleted. All you need to do is connect a USB cable to a computer or wall charger and wait for two hours at most. After charging, the lamp can run for four hours when used continuously or 68 when used intermittently.
You can easily remove the beanie light’s LED parts ad batteries and put them back in. this makes cleaning so much easier.
The headlamp has a 120-lumen rating, so it offers sufficient illumination. It allows you to stay warm while illuminating objects 300 feet away.
Three Brightness Levels and an SOS Function
The NightBuddy™ BeanieLamp has three brightness options:
- Low light
- Strong light
- Blue and red lights flashing alternatively
The lowlight option helps reduce glare, while the strong light option improves your view across water, fields and down alleys, among other things. The headlamp also features a light flashing mode that you can use to send out distress signals. To switch between the different brightness levels, all you need to do is press a button on the light.
The NightBuddy beanie light can be worn by anyone thanks to the elastic acrylic used to make it. Besides, it is available in multiple colors depending on your tastes and preferences.
Here are the cons of NightBuddy’s beanie lamp:
- It can fit anyone regardless of head size
- Good light quality
- This is a USB rechargeable headlamp
- Short charging time (two hours)
- It has a light output of 120 lumens and illuminates up to 300 feet
- Three brightness settings for different situations
- Removable battery and LED light
- Easy to wash
- Excellent hours of battery life
How to Use the NightBuddy™ BeanieLamp
Once you’ve assembled the LED lights and battery, the next step is putting on your hat light and pressing the “on” button. For further instructions, you can always turn to the manual.
#3 Best Rugged Design: Storm 500R
The Storm 500R has many attractive features, such as an extended battery life, a short recharge time and maximum beam distance. On reserve, the device can run for about 20 hours. It comes with a dual LED beam option and green, blue and red night vision lights, not to mention the two-button controls that make adjusting the settings easy.
We also are in awe of the headlamp's Brightness Memory, that lets you switch the light on and off without going back to the default setting. Is the Storm 500R highly-priced? Of course, yes. But it is worth every penny.
Here are some of the features that stood out for us:
- Light output of 500 lumens
- A wide range of lighting options (green, white, blue, red and strobe)
- A seven-hour maximum run time on high mode
- A two-hour recharge tin
- Intuitive dual switch controls
Some of the pros of the Storm 500R include the following:
- Long beam duration
- Fast recharge
- A rugged design ideal for more technical terrain
- Great battery power
- Intuitive controls
#4 The Best Cutting-Edge Technology: MH11
Versatility, excellent beam distance, USB-rechargeability and presence of superior RGB lenses–this is the MH11 at a glance. This is the perfect companion for the tech-savvy hunter.
Another nice feature of this headlamp is Bluetooth connectivity, making it possible to control the light remotely and Optisense, a feature that can brighten and dim the LED automatically depending on your surroundings. Of course, all these come at a high cost, but if you can afford the splurge, why not?
The headlamp has the following key elements:
- RGB and white lenses
- 1000 lumens of maximum output(adjustable)
- A 6.3-oz weight
These are the benefits of using this lighting option:
- Powerful features
- Bluetooth capability
- Optisense technology
#5 Best Battery Life: Tactikka + RGB
The Tactikka + RGB may be just what your hunting adventures have been missing. The lamp features single-button controls that make navigating the lamp's settings easy. Speaking of light settings, this headlamp gives you the choice of using green, blue and red night vision modes.
As for the battery type, there are two major options for this headlamp: single-use batteries (1250 mAh Li-ion battery pack) or 3 AAA batteries. You can charge up the battery before going out to hunt and keep the 3AAA extra batteries for emergencies.
The key elements of the Tactikka + RGB include:
- 350 lumens of maximum output
- White, blue, red, strobe and green light options
- Beam distance of 90 meters
- Over 36 hours of battery life
- Single switch controls
The pros of using this headlamp for hunting include the following:
- Extended battery life
- Good light quality
- Elastic straps
- A wide range of color options
- A long beam distance
#6 Best Budget Hunting Headlamp: Cosmo 300
If you are operating on a budget, the Cosmo 300 is the way to go. With this option, you get the capabilities of other headlamps at half the price. It has a 300 lumens rating, but the light feels brighter, and the red option is excellent for when you are trying to catch deer in the woods.
The Cosmo 300, however, isn't a rechargeable headlamp, so you'll have to replace the batteries when they get depleted. The good news? The battery life is great. Are you looking to save a few pennies? The Cosmo 300 will blow your mind.
The Cosmo 300 key features include:
- 300-lumen rating
- 75 meters maximum beam distance
- Singe switch controls
- A wide range of lighting options to choose from
- 4.25 hours of battery life when in high mode
We love the Cosmo 300 for the following reasons:
- Budget friendliness
- Better performance than
- headlamps in the same price range
- Excellent run time for a lamp its price
#7 Best Lumens: Maximus
While the Maximus may be a bit of an overkill for a hunting headlamp, it is a fantastic durable option designed to last. With 1000 lumens and producing a bright beam, the Maximus may be just the perfect companion for your hunting trips.
However, because the headlamp isn't entirely tailored for hunting, it casts a wider beam than the other lamps in this list. The headlamp's brightness is adjustable (1 to 1000 lumens), allowing you to run it for longer.
Some of the main features of this headlamp include the following:
- White LED
- Seven hours of battery life
- One-hour recharge time
- 128-metre beam distance
- Maximum power of 1000 lumens
- Emergency flashlight
The Maximus has the following pros:
- Rugged design
- Super bright
- Wide range of brightness options
#8 Best Ultra-light Option: The NU25
Weighing 1.9 oz., the NU25 headlamp is a stellar option if you wish to move light. The lamp has three LED options: red, white and high CRI that combine for nine essential settings. For hunting in the darkness, the high auxiliary red light mode (13 lumens) is recommended.
While the NU25’s battery is tiny, you can use it for extended periods if you stick to low and medium modes or use it occasionally.
The NU25 has the following key elements:
- USB-rechargeable batteries
- 9 oz. weight
- Maximum power of 360 lumens
- It emits white and red light
We love the NU25 for its:
- Lightweight design
- Powerful features
#9 Best Versatility: Rapid 1AA Headlamp
The Rapid 1AA has the design of a tactical light, making it an even better hunting headlamp. Its versatility makes it the best suit for those looking for a do-it-all light. A nice feature of the Rapid 1AA is the mounting system that allows you to disengage the light for a more thorough inspection of something.
Add the sleek design and integrated pocket clip, and you have yourself a fantastic EDC flashlight. Like the Cosmo 300, the Rapid 1AA too can be obtained at a reasonable price.
Its key features include:
- COB flood and LED spotlight modes
- 55-metre beam distance
- Around two hours of run time
- Mounting system
The advantages associated with the Rapid 1AAA include the following:
- Detachability from the mounting system
- 180-degree rotation
- A fantastic EDC light
#10 Best Runner-Up: Enduro Pro/USB
Although the Cosmo 300 offers the most favorable prices, the Enduro Pro/USB is another budget-friendly option. With 200 lumens, the headlamp emits enough brightness to light up your space at nighttime.
The following vital elements sum up the Enduro Pro:
- 200 lumens
- 95-metre beam distance
- A six0hour run time on high mode
- Memory mode
- 3 AAA batteries
The headlamp is loved for the following qualities:
- Decent brightness
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Headlamp for Hunting
As you load your rifle, it is important that both your hands are free. So, how do you select headlamps for your hunting needs? The best hunting headlamp is one that is comfortable, durable, has the appropriate brightness and generally makes your hunting experience more fun.
However, finding the right headlamp for your hunting expeditions isn't a walk in the park, as the market is flooded with hundreds of them. But this should not worry you as there are some essential factors to consider before making your purchase.
This is a measure of the light's brightness and is expressed in Lumens. The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the headlamp and the reverse is true. Hunting at night requires sufficient light, so for a hunting headlamp, a higher lumen count is always ideal.
With that being said, it is also essential to consider how bright you need your light to be. At this point, run time should come to mind. The brighter your light, the shorter it will take for the battery to be depleted. So, consider a headlamp with several light settings so you can switch between high, low and medium modes to conserve power.
Beam distance refers to the distance travelled by the light. It varies depending on your headlamp's brightness settings and beam type settings such as spot, adjustable or flood light mode. Beam distance is a vital consideration when shopping for a headlamp for hunting, as hunters need to be able to see faraway objects as they traverse rugged terrains at nighttime.
The three major beam types are discussed below:
- Flood Beam: This disperses the beam, increasing the light width. As a result, the light is less powerful, but on the upside, it lights up more area.
- Spot Beam: This beam focuses light on a smaller area, resulting in a stronger, brighter light.
- Adjustable Beam: This allows you to switch from one beam option to another.
As for the brightness settings, there are three options: high, low and medium, that you can easily switch between. Also, consider a headlamp with a flashing mode that makes the light turn on and off rapidly. You can use this mode to send out distress signals if you are in a tricky situation.
When buying a headlamp for hunting, you should also consider whether the battery duration matches your field hours. This is what is referred to as run time. It is calculated by rounding off the time taken for the light output to dip to 10% of the rated output to the nearest quarter.
Different headlamps have different runtimes. While some can run for over 20 hours, others can barely make it to four. So, as you select your headlamp for hunting, go for one with an excellent run time that will allow you to carry o with your outdoor activities without worrying about it going off suddenly and leaving you in a pitch-black jungle.
This factor is measured in meters. To test a light for impact resistance, it is dropped onto a concrete surface from a certain height with all its essentials intact. For a light to be considered impact-resistant at different heights, it should remain completely functional after being dropped. In addition, it shouldn’t sustain any breaks or cracks at each of the heights.
While we understand that headlamps with rugged exteriors come at a cost, they could make all the difference between a short-term investment and a lifelong one. So, remember this as you shop for a hunting headlamp.
Are you willing to spend handsomely on a high-quality light that guarantees several years of servitude? Or do you want to compromise on reliability and durability for a cheaper option?
You will be using your headlamp outdoors, so it is bound to encounter harsh external factors like snow, water and sleet. Therefore, it is important that your hunting headlamp is resistant to such elements. This is where the Ingress Protection (IP) rating system comes into play.
The IP rating system is responsible for measuring water resistance levels. For instance, a headlamp with IPX4 waterproof rating will keep working even if splashed with water. On the other hand, an IPX7 or 8 rating will keep the headlamp fully functional even if submerged fully in water.
For your hunting escapades, a headlamp with an IP waterproof rating of at least four will get the job done.
Type of Lamp
This is the type of bulb that the headlamp has. While there are various types of lamps to choose from, LED technological advancements have made them more superior to their halogen and incandescent counterparts.
A good headlamp for hunting, therefore, should have LED bulbs because of the following reasons:
- They are energy efficient
- They have an excellent run time capacity
- They have a high-impact resistance
- They have a high brightness level, and you can switch between the different modes
- Unlike other light types, they can function well in cold environments
The battery capability is another vital aspect to consider as you search for hunting headlamps. Some headlamps use disposable AA or AAA batteries, while others use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can be charged using USB cables.
A rechargeable battery option seems like an excellent idea as it saves you lots of visits to the store. However, for a headlamp for hunting, consider charging the battery fully beforehand and stocking up on a pack of extra batteries (disposable) just in case the battery power is exhausted.
The material that forms the headlamp's body significantly determines its weight and durability. For your hunting trips, a headlamp made of aluminium, silicone or magnesium is ideal. While comfort should be a top consideration, so should durability.
Any seasoned hunter worth his salt will agree that scrutinizing the weight of your gear before hike-in hunting trips is extremely important. Your pack weight should be kept at a minimum, or else it could slow you down. So consider a lightweight headlamp for such situations.
Comfort and Fit
The headlamp you choose for hunting should also remain in its position on your head no matter what. Some come with an extra strap that comes over the top to add an extra layer of security. You can also consider wearing your headlamp over a beanie or hut, so ensure the profile and elastic strap are accommodated the extra layers.
The Benefits of Using a Headlamp during Hunting
Experienced hunter or not, a headlamp should never miss in your accessory bag. Here are some of the benefits of carrying a headlamp on your hunting sprees:
Locating Hunting Posts and Reading Maps
At nighttime, you are likely to stumble upon obstacles as your vision is compromised. However, with a headlamp, you can easily identify hunting posts without scaring wild game. A good headlamp will also help you read hunting maps to ensure safe navigation without causing any disturbances.
Tracking Animal Paths
Without a good lighting solution, tracking animal tracks in the darkness can be an uphill task. With a headlamp, however, you can discreetly follow your targets while still having access to essential tools.
Increasing Your Visibility
As you hunt, it is important that other hunters on the grounds or potential passers-by know of your presence. One way to do so is by shining your light. This way, cases of being shot at by other hunters can be avoided.
Ensuring Safe Handling of Weapons
By handling a loaded weapon, you endanger your life and the lives of those around you. Always carrying a headlamp ensures safe weapon handling.
You will also need headlamps for field dressing the hunted animal and dragging it out of the wood.
Why Headlamp Light Color Matters
There has always been a debate on the best hunting light colors between green and red. You may be wondering why this is even a discussion considering shining any light color on an animal will startle it, right? In terms of human eyes, this is correct. If a person shines a bright light on you, of course, you will be alarmed regardless of whether it is a colored or white light.
But what most people forget is that animals do not perceive color the same way humans do. Resultantly, they do not perceive colored light the same as white light. The logic behind this is that color perception is dictated by the number of cones in the eye's retina.
The human retina has three cones that enable them to perceive many color hues. On the other hand, most animals have only two cones in the retina. Because of this, they do not possess the ability to tell apart red and green light wavelengths. Therefore, using green and red lights won’t spook them.
Red Light for Hunting
The best headlamp lights for hunting at nighttime are red lights. Animals cannot perceive red lights, so they won't be startled by them.
Here are some benefits of using red light headlamps for hunting:
The success of any hunting trip depends on whether you spot your target. Unlike white light, red light ensures discreetness. Because most animals have reduced sensitivity to red light, you can avoid startling them. Also, red light ensures you aren't a nuisance to fellow campers.
Preserves Night Vision
When outside in the dark, your night vision is one of your biggest assets and using a white light can quickly ruin it. On the other hand, a red light preserves night vision so that even after you've turned off your headlamp, you can still see where you are headed.
In addition to being unnoticeable to animals, red headlamp lights are also less intrusive to the human eye. Say you are camping in a forest and want to go on a stroll without waking up your tent mate. In such cases, opt for a red light instead of a white light.
Most headlamps with white light have numerous settings that deplete batteries quickly. Red light headlamps are different in that they consume less battery power. This way, you won't need to change your batteries regularly.
Keeping Bugs Away
Bugs are more attracted to white light than red light. Therefore, switching on the red light mode on your headlamp can scare them away.
Aside from the red light mode, most headlamps come with a flashing mode that makes the light blink on and off rapidly. This mode is helpful if you are in an emergency and want to send out signals for help.
Green Light for Hunting
While red light is the go-to option for most hunters, green light is slowly garnering popularity, especially when hunting feral dogs.
Using green light headlamps for hunting has the following benefits:
- The lights strike a balance between brightness and intensity
- They produce sharp contrast making perceiving shapes easier
- They allow hunters to see faraway objects
- These lights are more effective at illuminating the bodies of animals with dark hides
- Wild dogs, in particular, find it harder to detect green light than red light
- Green light preserves night vision
- Attracts fewer mosquitoes resulting in a pleasant hunting experience
- Green lights are easier for fellow hunters to detect
- You can also use them for hunting foxes, coyotes and racoons
- They do not make wild game to scamper away
Tips for a Successful Hunting Trip
Looking forward to your next hunting expedition with your buddies? Here are tips to ensure a successful and fun-filled time:
Before embarking on your adventure, check with your region's wild game department to find out the animals you can hunt legally and the technology allowed. Some places have banned hunting at night or only allow the use of certain headlamps during specific times of the year. It would b sad for your hunting trip to be cut short just because you got into trouble with the authorities.
Ensure you find a hunting ground where you can be discreet, seeing that most animals are more alert at night. If you plan on trying out a new area, it is important to talk to the neighboring people to find out more about the terrain of the land.
They will also be in a better position to advise you on the animal routes to follow and the best spots for game. Ensure you do all this during the day so that when you return at night, it will be a smooth sail.
It is also advisable to scout different locations so that if you don't find game in one location, you can move to another area. Additionally, an elevated site is ideal as it gives you a wide range of view.
When it comes to nighttime hunting lights, here are tips to live by:
- Less is more
- White lights are a bad idea. Instead, opt for green or red light
- Go for hands-free lighting options
- A Bright headlamp is key
- Lighter is better
Do not expect to reach your location and spot a feral dog five minutes later. One skill you need to master as a hunter is patience. Chances are you'll have to wait for a while, so you've got to suck it up!
In most cases, animals will run away from human beings, but sometimes, they may feel threatened and respond by attacking. This is why it is essential to survey the grounds so that you can know where to retreat if this happens.
Tips to Stay Safe when Hunting at Nighttime
The darkness brings with it several horrors, but with the right guide, nighttime hunting can be an exciting ordeal,
Here are some tips to ensure you stay safe all night:
- Always treat your firearm like it is loaded
- Avoid aiming your weapon at things you don’t intend to shoot
- Your finger should stay away from the trigger
- Avoid climbing fences or jumping across ditches with a loaded gun
- Dress in appropriate gear
- A GPS device is a good idea
- Always have a first-aid kit with you
- Always inform someone of your whereabouts
- Carry around the proper lighting
During night hunting, lighting is an essential factor to consider. It helps illuminate your path, spot wild game, and even ensure the safe handling of weapons. If you weren't sure what headlamp to go for, we hope our list of the top 10 hunting headlamps sheds some light. All the best on your next hunting expedition!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Lumens Should a Hunting Headlamp Have?
A hunting headlamp should have 100 or above lumens. It needs to have a high brightness level to illuminate branches, rocks and bushes that may block your way. A bright headlamp also lets you locate your target and other items far away.
Why Do Some Hunters Prefer Green Light Headlamps?
Some hunters use green light headlamps because they enhance their vision, allowing them to see objects in the distance. Besides, these lights allow for vivid contrast at nighttime, making them the best option for hunting animals with dark hides.
Which Headlamp Is the Most Ideal to Use When Hunting?
The best headlamp for hunting is one that performs well and ensures your comfort and safety while in the woods. It should emit bright light to illuminate your path and targets and should also be light enough that it doesn't weigh you down. In addition, it should have a high battery capability.
At NightBuddy, our headlamps guarantee durability, convenience and safety whether you use them for hunting coyotes or tracking deer. In addition, we offer free and fast shipping to our customers in the US. Check out our catalogue today and reach out for any enquiries.