More Comfortable Lumens: BioLite HeadLamp 200 Review

BioLite gave up some lumens with its new headlamp, the HeadLamp 200, in exchange for a lighting source so light and comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing it.

BioLite entered the headlamp market a year ago with a goal of comfort over lumen-blasting performance. Its first entry, the HeadLamp 330, proved a great product for campers and hikers. It works well for moving slowly at night. And with 330 lumens at top power, it could handle modest speed with sports like trail running.

This month, the brand doubles down on the comfort factor with a light that sacrifices a few lumens. The BioLite HeadLamp 200 weighs just 1.7 ounces. But it cranks out enough light for camping, hiking, walking at night, or working on home improvement projects in poorly lit spaces.

I used it for a few weeks for this early review.

BioLite HeadLamp 200 Rechargeable Review

The HeadLamp 200 is definitely an evolution of its previous headlamp. In the 200, we see the rear-mounted battery removed and placed inside the front of the headlamp instead. This makes it much more intuitive to place on your head in the dark. It also makes it a little more comfortable.

The brand touts “no bounce” for both headlamps, and I agree that these don’t bounce at all. The HeadLamp 200 is like a light sweatband on the head with no bounce.

HeadLamp200_1_MidnightGrey

But with a smaller battery comes less power. To me, this is totally fine. A 200-lumen (at full power) headlamp is more than enough for camp chores and walking at night.

I personally use a red light most of the time when walking anyway to maintain my night vision and enjoy the stars. At camp, a white light dialed down to medium power should suffice for most tasks.

And while not as powerful as its predecessor, the 200 could handle some light-duty trail runs or for moving quickly in the backcountry. I wouldn’t choose it for my next ultramarathon, but for moderate runs on less aggressive terrain, it should do just fine.

This gets you a decent runtime of 3 hours on high or up to 30 on low. When the battery drains, just plug it into a USB charger, your car, or a wall outlet for a quick recharge.

Tilting Light Source, Other Features

Like the BioLite 330, the 200 also has a tilting light source. This is great for use around camp, as you can adjust the angle of the light to cast toward your hands or a table if you’re seated, or more straight ahead for walking.

biolite headlamp

Beyond tilt, the light switches between a nice red light and a white light, and adjusts from high to low by pressing and holding a button on top. These modes work great and are pretty intuitive. Just tap the button to scroll between modes.

This brings up one of my biggest pet peeves in headlamps: the strobe feature. While I’m sure someone, somewhere used the strobe to send a distress signal, I have yet to find a use for it other than blinding myself on the trail.

I wish the headlamp didn’t have a strobe setting, as I find it worthless and annoying. But someone must want it, so it has one. I’ll just be scrolling past it and grumbling when I accidentally trigger it.

That’s about it. This is a simple headlamp that has a modest, non-adjustable throw and a single red and white LED.

But it’s about perfect for most hikers and campers. I used it on a few night walks and also a ton around my house while working on some projects that required additional lighting.

And I found myself forgetting that I had a headlamp on my head. The BioLite Headlamp 200 is super comfortable, and at $45, it’s a solid value for a good headlamp.

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Sean McCoy
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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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