Choosing a new headlamp for caving could save your life. Being able to clearly see where you're going and spot distant hazards easily for many hours at a time without the battery suddenly giving out is critical to your survival. We'll go over the features and specs and examine the 10 best headlamps for spelunking for 2019.

Product

Details

Rating & Price

 

OLIGHT H2R NOVA

OLIGHT Bundle H2R Cree LED Up to 2300 lumens Rechargeable Headlamp...

Brightest beam (lumens): 2300 burst / 750

Distance lit on brightest beam: 153 m

Max time on brightest beam: 1 min / 1 hr 50 min

Next brightest beam (lumens): 600

Max time on next brightest beam: 2 hr 30 min

Red light selectable: No

Waterproof (IP rating): IPX-8 (submersible to >1 m)

Fenix Flashlights HP25R LED Headlamp with Battery, Iron Gray

Brightest beam (lumens): 1000 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 187 m 

Max time on brightest beam: 1 hr 30 min 

Next brightest beam (lumens): 350 

Max time on next brightest beam: 4 hr 30 min 

Red light selectable: Yes 

Waterproof (IP rating): IPX-6 (safe from water jets) 


COAST HL7 305 Lumen Focusing LED Headlamp with Twist Focus

Brightest beam (lumens): 285 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 119 m (spotlight) 

Max time on brightest beam: 1 hr 30 min 

Next brightest beam (lumens): 4-284 adjustable 

Max time on next brightest beam: 70 hr - 1 hr 30 min 

Red light selectable: No 

Waterproof (IP rating): "Weather resistant" IP unspecified

Princeton Tec Apex Pro LED Headlamp (550 Lumens, Black)

Brightest beam (lumens): 550 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 120 m 

Max time on brightest beam: 2 hr 

Next brightest beam (lumens): Unspecified 

Max time on next brightest beam: Unspecified 

Red light selectable: No 

Waterproof (IP rating): IPX-7 (submersible to 1 m)

Petzl Tikka Headlamp

Brightest beam (lumens): 200 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 60 m 

Max time on brightest beam: 60 hr 

Next brightest beam (lumens): 100 

Max time on next brightest beam: 60 hr 

Red light selectable: Yes 

Waterproof (IP rating): IPX-4 (weather resistant)

PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp, 200 Lumens, Standard Lighting, Black

Brightest beam (lumens): 760 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 170 m 

Max time on brightest beam: 4 hr 

Next brightest beam (lumens): 370 

Max time on next brightest beam: 10 hr 

Red light selectable: No 

Waterproof (IP rating): IP 67 (submersible to 1 m)

Nitecore Cree XM-L2 HC50 565 Lumens Headlamp, Black

Brightest beam (lumens): 760 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 98 m 

Max time on brightest beam: 1 hr 15 min 

Next brightest beam (lumens): 300 

Max time on next brightest beam: 3 h 30 min 

Red light selectable: Yes 

Waterproof (IP rating): IPX-8 (submersible to >1 m)

Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp

Brightest beam (lumens): 300 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 80 m 

Max time on brightest beam: 30 hr 

Next brightest beam (lumens): Unspecified 

Max time on next brightest beam: Unspecified 

Red light selectable: Yes 

Waterproof (IP rating): IPX-8 (submersible to >1 m)

JETBEAM HP35

Jetbeam HP35 CREE XP-G3 LED Headlamp -335 Lumens

Brightest beam (lumens): 335 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 90 m 

Max time on brightest beam: Unspecified 

Next brightest beam (lumens): 200 

Max time on next brightest beam: 5 hr 

Red light selectable: Yes 

Waterproof (IP rating): IPX-6 (safe from water jets)

PETZL - DUO LED 14 Headlamp, Hybrid Waterproof Helmet, 67 Lumens

Brightest beam (lumens): 1100 boost 

Distance lit on brightest beam: 200 m 

Max time on brightest beam: Unspecified 

Next brightest beam (lumens): 700 

Max time on next brightest beam: 3 hr 30 min 

Red light selectable: No 

Waterproof (IP rating): IP 67 (submersible to 1 m)

Choose from the 10 best headlamps you can buy in 2019

Image by Joe LoongCC by SA-2.0, via Flickr

How We Reviewed the Best Headlamps for Caving

We chose our top picks for the best headlamps according to features like light output, the distance lit, burn time, light options, battery type, attachment options, waterproofing, and most importantly, durable construction. We looked at customer reviews and the maker's specs when considering our recommendations. We also add a rating for each one of the best headlamps on our list so you can quickly sort out which models might best suit your needs. 


Olight H2R Nova 2300 Lumen LED Rechargeable Flashlight H1R upgrade...
  • Maximum output of 2,300 lumens making the H2R the brightest single 18650 battery light; SOS mode available for emergency...
  • Multiple use options including an easily detachable head strap mount turning it into a hand held light
  • Rechargeable through OLIGHT's signature magnetic charging system

The Olight H2R could literally save your life with its stunning 2300-lumen burst, lighting up deep pits, distant cavern,s and hazardous obstacles with ease. It's so bright, you could even use it for self-defense against unexpected wildlife.

This amazing blast of light lasts for up to a minute at a time, then the lamp throttles down to 750 lumens, which is still one of the highest outputs reviewed here. It also has lower settings for close quarters.

You can attach this headlamp anywhere, as it comes with both a pocket clip and a head strap.

For more comfort and secure fitting on longer expeditions, the headgear includes a center strap across the top of your head. It's easy to operate with a single button and includes an S.O.S. mode for emergency signaling.

The durable body is made of anodized aluminum and is waterproof, submersible to up to two meters (IPX-8 rating). The Olight also includes a magnetic cable to recharge the 18650 battery and the option of either a Cool White or Neutral White LED as the light source.

With these specifications and flexibility, the Olight definitely makes our list of the best headlamps you can buy for caving.

 pROS

Solid Quality

 CONS

Some reviews say that it stopped working after a few weeks

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$


Sale
Fenix Flashlights HP25R LED Headlamp with Battery, Iron Gray
  • Dual switch controls the spotlight and floodlight separately
  • Soft floodlight beam with max beam angle of 90 degrees
  • Digitally Regulated output maintains constant brightness

The Fenix HP25R headlamp has the brightest beam of those reviewed here (1000 lumens), except the Olight and Petzl burst modes. The Fenix can cast that light 187 meters for up to an hour and a half. Stepping down to 350 lumens increases the battery life to four and a half hours. You can also switch to red light from white, which is easier on the eyes during a long trek. 

Like the Olight H2R Nova described earlier, this Fenix headgear has a strap across the top of your head as well as around it for a more secure fit. The HP25R has an IPX-6 waterproof rating, meaning that it's not necessarily submersible, but is safe from water jets and sweat.

Thanks to its long life and distance range, the Fenix makes our list as one of the best headlamps for extensive use.

 pROS

Soft floodlight beam with max beam angle of 90 degrees

 CONS

They don`t see 1000 lumens here. Maybe 700-800 for short time. Still bright

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$


Sale
COAST HL7 305 Lumen Focusing LED Headlamp with Twist Focus
  • PURE BEAM FOCUSING: Zoom between a super wide flood beam or spot mode with transition halo at varying distances and...
  • BRIGHT: 305 Lumens in a hands-free package perfect for work, hiking, backpacking, emergency prep, disaster situations,...
  • HARD-HAT: Includes clips to attach headlamp to hard hats

With the Coast HL7 headlamp, you can quickly and easily adjust the beam from a narrow spotlight to a wide floodlight or anything in between. Adjusting the brightness up to 285 lumens is just as simple. The narrowest beam can reach up to 119 meters into the cave you're exploring. 

The battery charge will last for 1.5 hours at maximum brightness and up to 70 hours on the lowest setting of 4 lumens. This headlamp is also weather-resistant. Several other models in the Coast HL series are available from Amazon and other vendors, with light output ranging from 145-800 lumens

With its budget price, the Coast makes our list as one of the best headlamps for cavers on a tight budget.

 pROS

No need to fuss with multiple switches through various modes. Just turn the lever on the back to your desired beam strength, and you are set.

 CONS

This device runs on three AAA batteries and has a top burn time of about 90 minutes at the highest setting.

Quality

Price

Rating

$


Princeton Tec Apex Pro LED Headlamp (550 Lumens, Black)
  • Lighter in weight than the Apex with continued power and versatility
  • Ideal for professional runners and extreme Adventurers
  • Lamp: 1 Maxbright LED (Dimmable) 4 Ultrabright leds (Dimmable)

The combination of Maxbright and Ultrabright LEDs in the Princeton Tec Apex headlamp lets you select between a spotlight effect for distance and a wider floodlight for closer exploration. At its brightest setting of 550 lumens, it can cast a beam for 120 meters into the darkness for up to two hours (longer on lower settings). 

Like the Olight and Fenix models described earlier, the Princeton headlamp includes a center strap across the top of your head. It is also waterproof with an IPX-7 rating, submersible to up to one meter. Additional Apex models from 200-550 lumens are available from Amazon and other vendors.

With its durability and light weight, the Maxbright makes our list of the best headlamps for multi-purpose use. 

 pROS

Battery low level warning system

 CONS

Hinge can be fragile

Quality

Price

Rating

$$


Sale
Petzl Tikka Headlamp
  • Offers a wide beam pattern. Single-button usage for quickly and easily selecting the right lighting mode. Offers three...
  • Red lighting preserves night vision, gives you more stealth, and prevents members of your group from blinding each...
  • Maximum distance: 80m. Maximum burn time: 80 hours. Uses 3 AAA/LR03 batteries (included) or the CORE rechargeable...

The Tikka is Petzl's budget headlamp, compared to the other two Petzl models reviewed here. Its brightest beam of 200 lumens can reach up to 60 meters for 60 hours before draining the battery. A lower setting of 100 lumens is also available, providing similar battery life. To relieve your eyes on a long expedition, you can easily switch to red light from white. The Tikka headlamp is weather-resistant with an IPX-4 rating.

If you're planning your next family camp out, the Tikka may be one of the best headlamps to outfit your entire party.

 pROS

Only weighs 3 oz making it a good option for ultralight backpackers.

 CONS

Head strap is hard to adjust.

Quality

Price

Rating

$


PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp, 200 Lumens, Standard Lighting, Black
  • LIGHT UP YOUR ADVENTURE: With its easy-to-use design, the TIKKA is perfect for camping, trekking, or household use.
  • BRILLIANT BEAMS: Features a wide, uniform beam with white and red lighting for nocturnal stealth.
  • CHOOSE YOUR LIGHT: Features a single on/off button, which easily selects the lighting mode of your choosing.

The Petzl Ultra Rush Belt headlamp is the only model reviewed here powered by an external battery pack worn on your belt or in your pocket. This pack, filled with high-capacity batteries, extends the brightest 760-lumen light duration to a whopping four hours. This is several times longer than the others reviewed here, making it one of the best headlamps for long treks or other situations where you're likely to blaze through battery power quickly. Those 760 lumens can reach up to 170 meters into the unknown, helping to keep your journey safe and secure. Switching down to 370 lumens, you now get 10 hours of battery life, thanks to the belt pack. 

This headlamp includes a center strap across the top of your head. It's waterproof with an IP 67 rating, submersible to up to one meter. If you're wearing gloves or have difficulty with tiny devices, the Petzl's large control knob is quite easy to use.

With its long life at highest settings, the Petzl makes our list as one of the best headlamps for serious cavers. 

 pROS

Very bright light

 CONS

Bad battery life

Quality

Price

Rating

$


Sale
Nitecore Cree XM-L2 HC50 565 Lumens Headlamp, Black
  • All metal high-performance dual-beam headlamp
  • Utilizes a premium CREE XM-L2 (T6) LED
  • Max 565 lumens of output

The NiteCore HC50 has a 760-lumen beam that will light up the cave for 98 meters with its durable mineral crystal housed lamp. That brightness can be sustained for an hour and 15 minutes, or you can switch down to 300 lumens for three and a half hours instead. Once your eyes tire of the white light, you can switch over to red. 

The NiteCore body is anodized aluminum and is waterproof, submersible to over one meter (rated IPX-8). The HC50 also includes a center head strap for comfort and a more secure fit. It also features an S.O.S. signal for emergencies, a beacon to help you locate the headlamp in the dark, and a police warning signal.

With its sturdy build, the NiteCore makes our list as one of the best headlamps for variable terrain.

 pROS

Simple and effective construction.

 CONS

The feel of switch system is good for the partial press, but the full press requires more force.

Quality

Price

Rating

$$


Sale
Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp, Nickel
  • One Triple Power LED and 1 Double Power LED can combine to emit up to 300 lumens
  • One Double Power Red LED for night vision has proximity and strobe settings
  • Low-profile design uses three Black Diamond AAA Rechargeable Batteries or standard alkaline or lithium batteries

This Black Diamond headlamp offers a quite long battery life of 30 hours at its maximum 300-lumen output. The light extends 80 meters in front of you, illuminating your surroundings in either red or white. The headlamp is also waterproof rated IPX-8, submersible to over one meter in depth. 

 pROS

Battery choice (MiMH or Alkaline)

 CONS

No wall plug for USB

Quality

Price

Rating

$$

JETBeam HP35


JETBeam HP35 LED Headlamp Blue HP35

The JetBeam is the least expensive caving headlamp reviewed here. It provides a 335-lumen burst of light that can reach 90 meters, and a sustained beam of 200 lumens for up to five hours. Red light is also available to make longer treks easier on the eyes. Like the Fenix HP25R described earlier, the JetBeam has an IPX-6 waterproof rating (safe from sweat and direct water jets, but not submergible).

If you're on a very tight budget or need to outfit your entire crew, the Jetbeam is one of the best headlamps when it comes to value.

 pROS

The headband is stiffer and feels like it’s made of tighter-knit materials and fit is better.

 CONS

They didn’t like the buttons on the bottom as that’s different than most other headlamps out there and the buttons were a bit confusing to use.

Quality

Price

Rating

$


PETZL - DUO LED 14 Headlamp, Hybrid Waterproof Helmet, 67 Lumens
  • TOUGH AS NAILS: The DUO LED 14 Headlamp is specifically designed for caving and water sports. Features a rugged...
  • LIGHT UP THE NIGHT: Includes two powerful light sources to use based on your activity. Halogen light for long-range and...
  • DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THE DARK: With its max battery life at 183 hours, the DUO LED 14 is prepared for your late night...

The Duo 14 headlamp is a new product from Petzl, too new for an extensive collection of user ratings. It can generate an 1100-lumen burst of light to penetrate 200 meters into the darkness, then sustain a 700-lumen beam for up to three and a half hours before exhausting the battery. A patented anti-glare feature dims the headlamp when beams cross, so people using Duo 14 equipment can safely work together face to face. 

The headgear includes a center strap across the top of the head and the lamp is adaptable to any type of helmet with its adhesive plates. The control button is large and easily manageable with gloves. The Duo 14 is also waterproof with an IP 67 rating, submersible to up to one meter.

For serious cavers on long treks, and if you want to make an investment in its quality, the Petzl Duo is one of the best headlamps on the market.

 pROS

Decent battery life

 CONS

Heavy for fast running.

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$$

Product FAQs

1. Why buy a new headlamp for caving?

Light output has increased, battery technology has improved, and lamps are more waterproof than in the past. These are all critical for caving.

2. Where can you buy one?

All the headlamps in this article can be purchased on Amazon and most from the original manufacturer.

3. How much does it cost?

The price depends on many factors, including the brand. Most of the headlamps in this article are priced under $90.

Recommendation

The Olight H2R Nova headlamp is the clear winner for caving because of its 2300-lumen light burst, flexible attachment options, durable construction, and lack of a bulky external battery pack for that brilliant light output. 

The Fenix HP25R, Petzl Ultra Rush Belt, NiteCore Cree XM-L2 HC50 and Petzl Duo S are also among the best headlamps for caving. It all depends on which specific features matter the most to you. Some of these do have longer battery life or burn time than the Olight.


Featured Image: CC0 via Pixabay

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