Home > Outdoor > Hunt & Fish

The Best Headlamps For Hunting of 2024

Hunting presents unique challenges for even the best headlamps. Our team tested dozens through multiple hunting seasons to find the ideal headlamp for hunting.
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

If you’ve ever blood-trailed an elk after sunset, you know that having the best headlamp for hunting is critical. That’s the situation GearJunkie Editorial Director Sean McCoy found himself in a couple of years ago after releasing an arrow just minutes before the end of the legal shooting light in Colorado. With an uncertain shot, he needed to spend hours scouring the ground for any sign of blood and tracks.

When his headlamp finally died in the middle of the night, he had to resort to a backup, and finally, his cellphone light, to get out of the woods.

Since then, he’s spent many hours studying the best headlamps for hunting. They need a powerful white light to navigate tricky terrain. Headlamps for hunting also need a robust red light for long travel down nighttime trails and a stealthy approach to hunting areas in the morning.

They must have long battery life, interchangeable or quickly rechargeable batteries, and be light enough not to weigh you down. It’s a tall order for even the best headlamps. And of those tested, these are McCoy’s all-time favorites.

After looking over these recommendations check out our chart for side-by-side price comparisons and read through our buyer’s guide to learn about lumens, beams, and IP ratings.

The Best Headlamps for Hunting of 2024

Best Overall Headlamp for Hunting

Fenix HM75R Rechargeable Headlamp


  • Lumen output 1,600 lumens, 223 meter range
  • Rechargeable Yes, USB-C
  • Burn time 234 hours (low), 10 hours 30 minutes (high)
  • Weight 11.32 ounces including external battery pack
  • Red light Yes, three power modes
  • Waterproof rating Yes, IP68 rated
Product Badge The Best Headlamps For Hunting of 2024


  • Very powerful
  • Warm color floodlight (good for blood trailing)
  • Multiple red light power settings, including 52-foot range high mode
  • External battery pack can power devices


  • Heavy, large
  • Expensive
Best Budget AAA Headlamp

Princeton Tec Remix LED Headlamp


  • Lumen output 450 lumens
  • Rechargeable No, AAA batteries required
  • Burn time 3 hours (high) with 82 hour reserve
  • Weight 2.9 oz.
  • Red light Yes
  • Waterproof rating IPX4
The Best Headlamps For Hunting of 2024


  • Simple interface
  • Good runtime and brightness
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to change disposable batteries


  • Requires disposable or rechargeable AAA batteries
  • Not as feature rich as more expensive headlamps
Best Value Headlamp for Most Hunters

Black Diamond Storm 500-R


  • Lumen output 500 lumens, 12-120 m
  • Rechargeable  Yes, lithium-ion with micro-USB
  • Weight 3.5 oz.
  • Burn time 350 hrs. on low; 7 hrs. on high
  • Red light Yes
  • Waterproof Rating IP67
The Best Headlamps For Hunting of 2024


  • Blue, green, and red light options
  • Effective waterproofing
  • Comfortable


  • Lower total duration burn time
Best Multi-Power Headlamp

Petzl Aria 2 RGB Headlamp


  • Lumen output High AAA: 450 lumens; high CORE: 600 lumens; low: 7 lumens
  • Rechargeable Yes, dual battery compatible
  • Weight 3.7 oz.
  • Burn time 2 hours (high) 50 hours (red)
The Best Headlamps For Hunting of 2024


  • White, red, blue, and green light available
  • Bright white light
  • Rechargeable CORE battery and AAA batteries both work in light


  • Less powerful when using AAA batteries
  • Must open light to charge CORE battery

Headlamps Comparison Chart

HeadlampPriceBurn time Max output (lumens)WeightWaterproof
Fenix HM75R$170243 hours (low), 10:30 hours (high)1,60011.32 oz.IP68
Princeton Tec Remix$423 hours 4502.9 oz.IPX4
Black Diamond Storm 500-R$75350 hours (low), 7 hours (high)500 3.5 oz.
Petzl Aria 2 RGB $6050 hours (Red), 2 hours (high)4503.7 oz.IP67
Sean McCoy using a headlamp with red light after a hunt
The author hikes out of a hunt using a red headlamp; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Why You Should Trust Us

Sean McCoy has been an avid hunter for more than 30 years. He’s also highly interested in lighting and continually researches headlamps and flashlights for outdoor use. In the last 6 months, he’s tested more than a dozen headlamps and currently has about 30 in rotation for various scenarios.

Sean has a no-frills comparative testing methodology. First, he tests their runtime to compare it with the manufacturer’s claims. Then, he compares the brightness with the manufacturer’s claims. Next, and most importantly, he uses them in the field as intended.

This means many hours of hiking, hunting, and doing camp chores to get to the root of each headlamp experience. While quantitative testing is somewhat useful, the true utility of a headlamp comes only after aggressive field testing. Over long tests, the best headlamps float to the surface.

After a lot of time in the dark, we’ve sorted out the best headlamps for hunting; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Headlamp for Hunting

Headlamps for hunting meet many of the same criteria as other headlamps. And indeed, this list of the best headlamps for the outdoors will also serve you well for hunting.

However, hunters must consider a few additional attributes that other users might not.

First, a headlamp for hunting needs to have a red light. While the red light setting is great for all headlamps, for hunters, it’s downright mandatory. That’s because some animals, primarily big game, do not see red light well, if at all. Thus, it’s a stealthy way to get to your hunting grounds in the pre-dawn darkness of early morning.

Red light of headlamp in mountains at dusk
The red light of a headlamp lights up the foreground at dusk high in the Rocky Mountains; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Next, hunters need long run times due to the nature of late-night blood trailing and camp chores. Most hunting takes place in late fall and early winter, too. That means long nights and many hours spent hiking, cooking, and managing camp while in the darkness. A long-lived headlamp is key.

So, the headlamp needs to recharge quickly, too. You want a light that can easily be charged to 100% while you’re sleeping through the night.

All the headlamps on this list will meet these criteria. Below, find a few important attributes explained.


Lumens are a quantitative measure of light. One lumen is approximately the light of one candle shining on one square foot from one foot away. Companies quantify the light produced by headlamps and flashlights using lumens.

For hunting, look for a headlamp with at least 400 lumens, although 500 or more is better. The Fenix HM75R packs a whopping 1,600 lumens, which is good for surveying a large area. Our budget pick, the Princeton Tec Remix only puts out 450 lumens, which is still plenty of light for chores in camp or navigating in the dark.

Beam Pattern

It’s important to note that while lumens measure light produced, a high number does not necessarily mean a long range. Focused beams can accomplish a significant range with low lumen numbers, and wide beams may not reach very far even with a lot of lumens (but will flood a wider area with light).

So, it’s also essential to read the “range” or “max distance” to better understand what to expect from the beam pattern. Generally, a tighter beam will have a longer throw, and a wider beam will be shorter, given the same number of lumens.

Hunter in a tent with a headlamp
A member of our hunting party in a tent, lit with headlamps; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Battery Life and Recharging

Most of my favorite flashlights use rechargeable batteries. These high-quality batteries give lights a good run time while recharging quickly. It’s worth noting that this is a personal preference. There’s nothing wrong with disposable battery headlamps. They do create waste, and we’d prefer to recharge a single battery many times.

But disposable battery headlamps do have the advantage of simply swapping batteries for a full charge, with no waiting needed. The versatile Petzl Aria 2 allows for the best of both worlds, running on its included rechargeable battery or triple As.

Our favorite headlamps use USB-C charging. USB-C offers very fast charging times and is becoming a universal charging cord. While magnetic charging can offer fast charges and helps companies build very waterproof lighting, we dislike having a special cord for a headlamp. USB-C (and the slower Micro-USB) are common, standard cords. We recommend sticking with these charging styles for simplicity in packing.

A tent glows in the darkness illuminated by a headlamp
A hunting camp glows in the darkness illuminated by a headlamp; (photo/Sean McCoy)

IP Ratings

IP ratings explain an electronic item’s resistance to water and dust incursion. IP literally stands for “ingress protection.” Sometimes you’ll encounter an IPX rating. In these cases, there is no Intrusion protection rating, as denoted by the “X.”

To understand the rating, the numerals following “IP” each stand for a type of protection. The first numeral stands for solids, and the second is for liquids. Thus, an IP68-rated headlamp like the Fenix HM75R has a “6” for solid (dust) protection and an “8” for liquid protection. See the list below for more details.

Intrusion Protection (First Digit)

  • 0: No protection
  • 1: Protected against solid objects over 50mm (hands)
  • 2: Protected against solid objects over 12mm (fingers)
  • 3: Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm (tools, wires)
  • 4: Protected against solid objects over 1mm
  • 5: Dust protected
  • 6: Dust tight

Moisture Protection (Second Digit)

  • 0: No protection
  • 1: Protected against vertically falling drops of water
  • 2: Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical
  • 3: Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical
  • 4: Protected against water splashed from all directions, limited ingress permitted
  • 5: Protected against low-pressure jets of water from all directions
  • 6: Protected against strong jets of water
  • 7: Protected against temporary immersion in water
  • 8: Protected against continuous immersion in water
  • 9: Protected against high-pressure and temperature water jets
While not the most powerful on the list, the Black Diamond Storm-R has a long runtime and a red light option, making it a great option for most hunters;(photo/Sean McCoy)


What is the best headlamp for hunting?

The four headlamps on this list are the top headlamps for hunting today. However, any headlamp with a bright primary light, warm secondary lighting, and a robust red light will do the job.

How many lumens does a good headlamp need?

We recommend a minimum of 400 lumens for a headlamp for hunting. More is better, but even more important is a long burn time.

Do I need a waterproof headlamp for hunting?

You don’t need a headlamp to be entirely waterproof, but it needs to be highly water-resistant. Water resistance is denoted by the IP scale. The last number, for example, the “8” in IP68, explains the level of water resistance. Anything of IPx4 or above is at least splash-resistant and should suffice. The higher that last number, the better. Anything over an 8 is protected against continuous water immersion.

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!