Trail Running Headlamp Ultimate Buying Guide 2022
Posted by on 21st Feb 2022

Trail Running Headlamp Ultimate Buying Guide 2022

Trail Running Headlamp - Ultimate Buying Guide 2022

When you are trail running at dusk, setting up your tent at night, or just looking for something you lost in the dark, you can’t beat the best lightweight running headlamp to help you in such situations. Trail running Headlamps today exclusively use LEDs as their light source. LED running headlamps are rugged, energy-efficient, and long-lasting.

So, if you are wondering what is the best headlamp for running? How many lumens is good for a headlamp? Where can you buy a Running Headlamp? And most importantly what are the main variables that differentiate the trail running headlamps?

How to Choose the Best Trail Running Headlamp?

We have collected all the basic but important features you should consider before buying the best headlamp for trail running and hiking headlamp.

How to buy a running headlamp infographics

Headlamp Beam Types

Flood Beam (or Wide Beam): These lightweight trail running headlamps are used for general camp tasks, while reading, or any close-up repair work. Trail running headlamps with Flood beams ordinarily do not throw light a long distance.

Spot Beam (or Focused or Narrow Beam): This tight beam is the best option of headlamps for trail running. Spot beam trail running headlamps allows long-distance viewing which is the best choice to navigate a trail in the dark.

Flood/Spot Beam: These are Adjustable trail running headlamps that are the most versatile.

Running Headlamp Light Output (Lumens)

Lumens are a unit of measure that calculates the total amount of light emitted by the trail running headlamps. Typically, a trail running headlamps with a high lumens count will consume more energy and drain the energy faster than a light with a lower lumens number. In most trail running headlamps the lumen is determined by the amount of LEDs used in the led headlamp.

So you must be thinking, the higher the lumens means the brighter the running headlamp? Well, in most cases, yes—but not always. It depends on the manufacturer how they have planned to utilize the lumens for various purposes.

How Many Lumens is Good for a Headlamp?

It's a little complicated to answer “How many lumens is good for a headlamp” because it depends on the use and purpose. Lumen count on the trail running headlamps can range between 25 to 1400+ lumens. In general, 300 lumens are sufficient for everyday needs.

Don't forget, as your lumen count increases, your headlamp run-time or battery life decreases. You may consider checking the “lumen count” and the “beam distance” together to consider how many lumen is good for your needs. The lumen count may vary for various activities such as trail running, hiking, biking, or basic use such as reading or close-up repairing.

Trail Running Headlamp Beam Distance

A primary purpose of the trail running headlamp is to emit light to a potential target area. Good quality running headlamps are exclusively tested to measure how far (in meters) the headlamp can project sufficient light.

Just how the headlamp lumens determine how brightly a running headlamp glows, the beam distance on the trail running headlamps implies how far the light can go (to the field or trails that you want to illuminate).

Headlamp Run Time / Battery Life

Headlamp run time or headlamp battery life determines how long your rechargeable headlamp will last from the time the headlamp is fully charged. There are no international standards for measuring rechargeable headlamp battery life, so while comparing the headlamp run time, you may find confusing numbers.

You may find a massive difference in the headlamp run time ranging from 2 hours upto 40 hours mainly due to the “new” and the “old” standards.

According to the new standards, headlamp run time is defined as the total duration of time from a fully charged until the light output reaches 10% of the initial value (brightness). However the headlamp may still provide 38+ hours of diminished lighting, it won't be counted in the headlamp run time.

Trail Running Headlamp Weight

Most trail running headlamps weigh approximately 7 ounces with the batteries included. Some of the best lightweight running headlamps can be much lighter. In general there aren't any major differences in running headlamp size and weight unless you are choosing very high-powered models. In some cases, heavy duty straps and external battery packs add extra weight. Such headlamp models are intended for specific needs rather than routine outdoor activities.

Headlamp Brightness Levels/Modes

Most trail running headlamps offer light modes such as high, medium, and low mode. Most hiking headlamps offer at least 2 basic modes (high and low) whereas others running headlamps may offer three or more modes.

Running headlamps also come with Strobe mode (or Flash mode) that acts as an emergency blinker.

Headlamp Brightness Levels

Low Brightness Mode is used for most tasks such as walking or running on an easy trail at night. Low mode is the standard brightness mode.

Mid Brightness Mode is provided on some models simply to give people more choices for various circumstances that need a bit more lighting.

High Brightness Mode (or Max Mode) is the best option for situations where you simply need a lot of light with a certain distance. It is best for biking, climbing etc.

Boost Brightness Mode (or Zoom) is found on specific headlamp models. This feature allows an extra-intense light beam to be projected for a short period, because it drains the battery faster.

Additional Trail Running Headlamp Features

What is the Red Light for on a Headlamp?

The Red Light mode of the running headlamp offers extra safety and vision. Red light stops your pupils from shrinking, unlike white light, therefore it’s good for nighttime use . Additionally, the bright headlamp light can be blinding and painful if you are exposed directly to the light. On the other hand, red lights are less disruptive and distracting.

Headlamp manufacturers provide the red light mode on headlamps for a very specific purpose that us preserving your night vision. So after using a headlamp on a red light mode, you will still be able to see even after you turn your headlamp off.

There are many other benefits of red light on a headlamp. For example, it can be used for saving headlamp battery and the red light attracts lesser bugs than the white lights. 

The red light can also be used on foggy/misty areas as a caution light because red right can travel in a straight line, hence can be seen for far distance as compared to the white lights.

What is the Red Light for on a Headlamp?

Water Resistance

Water resistant headlamps offer better protection from rain and splashes that are common on trail running. Some trail running headlamps can also tolerate shallow, short-term water immersion and splashes.

Where Can You Buy a Trail Running Headlamp in Australia?

Here at Tribe&Trail, we offer the best trail running headlamps in Australia. Our range of top rated headlamps for hiking and trail running from industry leading brands such as BioLite and Black Diamond offers extreme reliability and quality performance.