The Best Headlamps for Skiing

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Whether you’re skiing in low light conditions or exploring the trails at night, having a light with you is essential for safety. However, carrying a flashlight isn’t ideal as it could compromise your control.

A fantastic solution is a headlamp—it sits conveniently on your head, illuminating the area in front of you while you have your hands free. So, how do you go about finding the best headlamp for skiing? 

There are some crucial features and points to consider to ensure you find the ideal one for you. We’ll help you out by reviewing six of the top headlamps suitable for skiing. 

If you’re in a hurry, and can’t wait to hit the trail, our top choice is the Black Diamond Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp. If you’ve got the time, please check out the rest of our review below. 

Here’s a look at our choices for the best headlamps for skiing:

How to Find the Best Headlamp for Skiing

Most of today’s headlamps use LED (light-emitting diodes) lights, which are the best to look for. Still, you shouldn’t settle on the first LED headlamp you see, since the power output, among other specs, varies significantly between brands. 

We’ve gathered a few points worth considering before buying, to ensure you find the product most suitable for your needs.

Lumens (Light Output)

Lumens is a measurement indicating the maximum brightness that the headlamp can emit. Usually, a lamp with a high number of lumens consumes more energy at a higher rate than those with fewer lumens. 

An ideal maximum rate to aim for is around 200 lumens. This should suffice without creating too much light, which could blind when reflected from the snow. 

Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output

Beam Distance

Besides lumen, a crucial point to consider, particularly for skiing, is the beam distance. This determines how far the headlamp can shine in front of you. 

Manufacturers generally disclose this in meters, so you may have to pull out the conversion charts. A rough estimate is to multiply the distance by three to get the measurement in feet.

A long beam distance is always preferable. However, finding a headlamp with an option of settings might be better, since you can adjust it to your surroundings. 

Headlamp Modes

A headlamp with different modes is a significant advantage. What exact configurations the light offers will differ between manufacturers, but you may expect to find some of the following:

  • Low: The standard setting, which you’ll find with most headlamps. This effect creates just enough light to illuminate the snow in front of you on a cloudless night. 
  • Mid: This isn’t a standard, but some headlamps offer an option that’s between “low” and “high.” 
  • High: As you may have guessed, this is the maximum light output. You shouldn’t use this function unless it’s necessary since it drains the batteries. 
  • Red Light: This isn’t a standard mode on headlamps for skiing, as it’s mostly used to prevent pupils from shrinking when face-to-face with people. Still, it’s practical when walking around. Some lights use it as a tail light instead. 
  • Strobe: This is more of a safety feature to signal others. The strobe option usually has two configurations; fast and slow. 

Battery Life and Type

Manufacturers generally disclose the battery life depending on how long the light lasts on its lowest output. Of course, which configuration you’re using determines how long the battery actually lasts. Make sure you check the specs from the manufacturer, so you don’t end up stranded without light or end up paying a fortune in replacements. 

For the type of batteries used, there’s rechargeable or replaceable. You’ll usually see lithium batteries recommended for a skiing headlamp as they’re generally better in cold-weather than alkaline. 

Many rechargeable LED headlamps come with a USB port for direct charging, which is convenient if you have a ready power supply, but they lose power when sitting idle. 

Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!

Weight and Size

Skiing can sometimes be a balancing act, so you don’t want a headlamp that could help to topple you. More batteries might give an extended or more powerful light, but they will also add to the weight on your head and probably make the lamp bulky.

Straps

Avoid going for that single nylon strap that goes around your head—as you ski; it can easily come loose. Instead, go for a more advanced strap system. 

This includes an additional band that runs over across the head, preventing the light from shifting or falling. They’re more awkward to adjust, but do a significantly better job at securing the headlamp.  

Click to see all of our other Headlamp reviews!

The Best Headlamps for Skiing Reviewed

Considering the different functions, beam types, and lumens, finding the most suitable headlamp can be perplexing. Using our criteria above, we found six examples that we’re confident you’ll like. 

Best Headlamp for Skiing Overall

Black Diamond Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp

The Black Diamond headlamp offers a bright LED light, projecting a vibrant, oval beam, which is ideal for tracks or trails. 

This is an all-weather IPX4 Storm Proof headlamp, tested to endure rain and hail from all angles. It’s capable of taking a beating while you ski the unforgiving trails. Still, it’s relatively lightweight, weighing roughly 5 ounces. 

An impressive feature is the triple power 200 lumen LED lights, which provide all-round visibility, even in pitch-black conditions. You have multiple configurations to choose from, including dimming, full-strength and red tail light strobe. 

The red strobe comes with an on/off switch, and it’s designed for urban or crowded areas. It allows others to see you clearly from behind. 

This headlamp runs on a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, fully charged through a USB port in around five hours, but make sure you follow instructions on how to preserve the battery when not in use. 

We’d like to highlight the sleek design of this option. It features two straps—one around and one over your head. It also sports a subtle black and green pattern. 

Pros

  • Optimal 200-lumen LED light. 
  • It creates an oval-shaped beam, illuminating a wide area. 
  • All-weather, storm proof light.
  • Various light outputs to choose from. 
  • Red taillight strobe.
  • It includes two straps and a sleek design.

Cons

  • The battery charge depletes rapidly.

Best App-Controlled Headlamp

PETZL NAO+ Headlamp

Technology has a way of making our lives easier, so why not try it in conjunction with your headlamp? The Petzl Nao+ headlamp comes with a compatible app, MyPetzl Light, available for download from the App Store and Google Play. 

Create a new user and connect to the headlamp. Doing this activates its reactive lighting technology. This enables the light to adjust automatically to the surrounding lighting conditions, giving you one less thing to worry about. 

In the app, you can check the remaining battery life while adjusting the performance according to the conditions and luminous time remaining. 

You can also set it to a Constant Lighting mode where it remains fixed until you switch it off. There’s a choice of different cone-shaped beams, ranging from broad to focused, depending on whether you need to see close-up or long-distance. 

The Nao+ offers a longer burn time with enhanced visual quality. Since it adapts to the surrounding conditions, you won’t unnecessarily waste battery time

The light is powerful, at 750 lumens, and is powered by a lithium-ion, 3100 mAh rechargeable battery. It’s also light, at 6.4 ounces. 

It comes with a USB port and a light indicator telling you when it’s charging and when the Bluetooth Smart feature is operational.

Pros

  • App-controlled light, which adjusts the brightness and beam shape when activated.
  • Several beam sizes to choose from.
  • Longer burn time and less wasted energy.
  • It offers a whopping 750 lumens. 
  • Light indicator of charging and activation of Bluetooth.

Cons

  • Only one strap, which may not be sufficient. 
  • Battery life is rather short when using full power.

Click here to see the Best Headlamps reviewed!

Best Dual-Battery Headlamp

Fenix HP25R Headlamp

If you’re searching for a thoughtfully designed headlamp, we recommend checking out the Fenix HP25R. It comes with the option of using either a rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion battery or two CR123A batteries. This is a practical option when on the trail, as you can quickly make a switch should one run out. 

This powerful headlamp uses two types of LEDs: Cree XM-L2 U2 white LED light for the spot, and a Cree XP-G2 R5 neutral white LED for the flood option. It has a maximum output of 1000 lumens and a measured lifespan of 50,000 hours. 

The option comes with a battery life indicator, and an EdisonBright BBX3 battery carry case and micro USB port. 

Choose the various configurations using the dual-switch. You can change between spotlight and flood, which both offer high, mid and low light outputs. There’s also an “eco” function that only uses four lumens. It has a 60-degree tilt mechanism, allowing you to adjust the angle of the beam. 

An impressive feature is the intelligent memory circuit that automatically memorizes your last used program. You also have a red light for alerting people around you of where you are. 

The headlamp is super light, weighing 6.5 ounces without a battery. Fenix has constructed it from aluminum alloy, which provides optimal heat dissipation. Besides this, there’s over-heat protection, preventing the surface from reaching high temperatures.

Pros

  • Dual-battery.
  • Powerful LED lights. 
  • Several options for spotlight and flood.
  • Adjustable beam angle.
  • Memorizes the last used settings.
  • Lightweight and over-heat protection.

Cons

  • Built-in charging function isn’t as reliable as replaceable batteries. 
  • Indicator light is a little flimsy. 

Most Versatile Headlamp

OLIGHT H2R Bundle

This multi-use headlamp from Olight is a sensible choice if you need something versatile. You can use the lamp in three ways: headlamp, pocket light or on the backpack. 

It comes with a detachable head strap and clips for the pocket or backpack—or use it handheld. 

It’s a dazzling light with a maximum output of 2300 lumens. Among the multiple functions, Olight includes an SOS configuration for emergencies in the wild. 

As you change between the modes, it fades or lights up gradually, creating a soft transition that’s kinder to the eyes. The battery is rechargeable and comes with a power indicator light. 

You can use the headlamp in any condition. It’s IPX8 waterproof, ideal for snow. It’s also lightweight, at 6.14 ounces.

Pros

  • Versatile, multi-use lamp. 
  • Powerful light output with various options. 
  • SOS function for emergencies.
  • Gradual transition between light settings.
  • Waterproof exterior.

Cons

  • Battery doesn’t last long in the highest setting—approximately one minute.
  • Battery is custom made to suit the lamp, so you can’t replace it with any other brand.

Most Lightweight Skiing Headlamp

PETZL Swift Rl Multi-Beam Headlamp

The Swift RL Multi-Beam headlamp from Petzl is one of the lightest on our list, weighing in at 3.5 ounces. Still, it packs a punch in terms of power. 

It offers a 900-lumen brightness and comes with reactive lighting technology that analyzes the surrounding light. These will then adjust the brightness according to your need, which also saves battery. 

You can switch between the configurations using a single button. It’s straightforward to use, even while going fast. 

The headband features reflective material, so you remain visible at night. The strap comprises a two-part construction, providing stability and keeping it on your head no matter the activity. 

It comes with a rechargeable battery and a five-level gauge for accurate monitoring of battery levels. 

Pros

  • Ultra-light. 
  • Powerful light.
  • Reactive lighting technology for automatic light adjustments.
  • Accurate battery monitor.

Cons

  • It doesn’t handle extreme cold well.
  • The two-part headband requires frequent readjusting.

Honorable Mention

Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp

This is a moderate lamp producing a maximum output of 400 lumens on its highest setting. It can last up to 200 hours in its lowest mode.

The Storm 400 headlamp comes with PowerTap Technology, which allows quick transitions between full and dimmed power modes. It also offers brightness memory that retains your last setting. 

What’s great about this headlamp is its compact, low-profile design. It runs on four AAA replaceable batteries and weighs a mere 4.2 ounces all combined. 

You have several modes to choose from, including various distance programs, reaching up to 100 meters (328 feet). Other light options are strobe, green, red and blue night-vision. It has a lock feature, preventing it from spontaneously changing your light, and it’s also fully water and dustproof.  

Pros

  • Long-lasting batteries. 
  • PowerTap Technology.
  • Brightness memory.
  • Lightweight.
  • Several light configurations. 

Cons

  • The four AAA batteries can make it bulky to wear.

Ready to Conquer the Slopes

Investing in the best headlamp for skiing is essential if you’re going to ski at night or after dark. It’s vital to see the trail in front while also remaining visible for others. Lamps also make it easier for people to find you in case of emergencies. 

Our top choice is the Black Diamond Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp.

 It’s a powerful LED light, offering 200-lumen and an adjustable beam for close-up or distance. The headlamp has a durable strap, securing it around your head. 

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