Headlamps are a must-have if you are a true adventure seeker. Today, you no longer have to use a candle or lantern to illuminate the world around you. With just the flip of a switch, your surroundings can be lit up, and you can explore them, making new, exciting discoveries.
If you live in a home where blackouts are the order of the day, the best headlamp can prove invaluable. Unfortunately, most people rarely consider headlamps while planning their next big exploration, causing them to miss out on many benefits that come from using one compared to other sources of lighting.
Why a headlamp for urban exploration?
Urban exploration is no fun if one of your hands is occupied with a flashlight. You want both hands to climb, take photos, and explore your maps. You also want a light that will not slip out of your hands and go out in case you encounter some unprecedented rough terrain.
If it possesses the qualities of a great headlamp, the best headlamp will make for a valuable, versatile companion through your urban exploration adventure. Even after you are done with exploration for the day, you can use it to play hide and seek with the kids, fish, trail running, and so many other fun activities.
Five of the best headlamp options in the industry today
The Vitchelo V800 headlamp is one of the most brilliant headlamps in the market today. With a beam distance of up to 360 feet (110 meters), you cannot pick a better choice for urban exploration. It is black in color, with a sporty appearance that should appeal to your adventurous side. This headlamp also has a unique feature that lets you alternate between red and white light without cycling through one to get to the other.
It is also comfortable to wear, with a soft, wide, and adjustable elastic strap to ensure you do not get any skin aberrations. It also has some cushion at the back of the flashlight that sits comfily on your forehead. At only 4 ounces, you will not even realize that you are wearing it. The lamp also has a reliable runtime of 120 hours on low setting while running on 3 AAA batteries.
The Vitchelo V800 is also waterproof with an IPX-6 rating, which means that it will survive rainfall and cold weather. If you should find yourself stranded in the dark, you can rely on the lamp’s red light to bail you out. This best headlamp checks all the right boxes for anyone looking for a memorable urban exploration mission.
The Black Diamond Wiz headlamp is a unique lamp with a minimalist appearance. However, do not let its look distract you from the wealth of features it brings to the table. It truly is one of the best headlamp choices for urban exploration. It comes in red, orange, or sky-blue straps that are easy on the user’s head and provide adequate comfort.
The lamp contains two single-power LED lamps with 30 lumens of proximity lighting with three modes to choose from: full-strength, dimmed, and strobe. Your lamp tilts well in both directions; thus, it works great when put on upside down. Its compaction makes it a lightweight, with only two AAA sized batteries and a combined weight of 2.4 ounces.
It has a water resistance rating of IPX-4, which means that it is safe from accidental splashes and light mists from any angle, but you do not want to submerge it. Its run time is 120 hours, with an inbuilt power-off feature after 2 hours to prevent accidental battery drain. Its light output is 30 lumens with a maximum distance of 20 meters.
The Petzl Actik Core Headlamp is one of the more heavy-duty options, with its statement appearance and colors, whose head straps are available in either black or red colors. It is one of the rechargeable multi-beam headlamps that are the perfect companion for the darkest of urban interests, or even caving, track running, and backpacking. The Petzl Actik Core Headlamp comes with a 1250 mAh core USB-rechargeable battery that must be plugged in for three hours.
The lamp is also compatible with three AAA batteries, a Ni-MH or lithium-ion rechargeable battery without having to use an adapter. It offers a brilliant light of 450 lumens at maximum setting, 6 lumens at the lowest setting, and a beam distance of 90 meters. With the batteries included, the lamp weighs 2.8 ounces.
This unique lamp also provides the explorer with two beam patterns and three white brightness levels with separate buttons for seamless transition among the selections. It has a red light feature that preserves night vision, and a reflective headband that offers low-light visibility. The lamp also has an impressive additional feature: mounting accessories that let you attach or to a bike or helmet for a better experience.
Your headband will be detachable and washable. With a water resistance rating of IPX-4, your lamp should survive a light shower or splash from any angle.
The Black Diamond Spot 325 Lamp is another best headlamp option that makes the list for its brilliance and reliability for any urban exploration mission. It comes in several varying color combinations so you can choose one that suits you best. With 325 lumens of light and a maximum beam distance of 80 meters, you cannot go wrong with this lamp.
Its lowest light setting is 6 lumens with 8 meters of beam distance. It boasts of a new user interface and improved multifaceted optical lens design that helps you save battery. What’s more, its unique Power Tap technology allows you to shift from full to dimmed power quickly.
The lamp uses 3 AAA batteries that come in the pack and offers a compact, light headlamp for your comfort at only 3 ounces. Its settings include full strength for both distance and proximity, dimming, strobe, red night vision, and lock mode.
Its waterproof rating stands at IPX-8, which means that it can be fully operational for 1 minute underwater for up to 30 minutes. If submerged, water will still be able to seep into the lamp’s battery compartment and must, therefore, be dried out to keep it operational.
The Black Diamond Sprinter is another masterpiece from Black Diamond that offers versatility due to its rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. In addition to its being rechargeable, it also offers a full brightness of 200 lumens, which is impressive and useful in urban exploration. Its charge lasts for 13+ hours, which makes it perfect for a whole night time of adventure.
The Black Diamond Sprinter comes with an adjustable strap that keeps the lamp secured to your head and only weighs 3.7 pounds; this way, it will not feel too heavy as you climb and hike. The lamp has an IPX-4 waterproof rating, so your lamp will function perfectly in moderate rainfall or a liquid splash from any angle.
However, you do not want to dive or dip too deep while wearing the headlamp. Also, it does not come with a lockout mode, so ensure it does not get turned on while packed in your bags.
Features of the Best Headlamp Options
The lamp’s weight should suit you
Most headlamps have a consistent weight, with some being quite basic and are better used in case of emergency. However, others are made heavier due to the packing of additional batteries and extra LEDs. A headlamp that makes you feel like you are wearing a rock will not be useful in urban exploration.
If anything, your head will hurt, and raising it to illuminate some interesting aspects of your terrain will be difficult. The exhaustion will eventually get to you if you intend to climb and explore for hours. Most high-quality lights are less than 12 ounces heavy to ensure your comfort.
Battery life has got to be one of the essential qualities of the best headlamp. Imagine the horror when your headlamp starts to flicker halfway into the pit of an abandoned factory. Your exploration trip will be cut off in the middle, probably ruining your weekend in the process.
You may be able to get out of the pit and the factory, but you will not see any sharp debris and stones that could injure you. Ensure you get yourself a headlamp with a strong, high-quality battery to provide you with sufficient time for your exploration. Batteries that are not only rechargeable but also of high quality will provide you with a great experience.
Battery level indicator
Avoid being caught unawares by low power by choosing a headlamp with a battery indicator. The last thing you want is to be trapped in a crawl space or tank without any light left. With a battery indicator, you are better placed to plan your trip so that you know how much time you have left before you have to leave.
If your headlamp uses AA or AAA batteries, then look out for the hours indicated for its runtime. Note that the runtime indicated is that when the lowest brightness rating is used, and you should have another packet of batteries in your bag. With a USB-rechargeable lamp, then a battery level indicator is your best shot.
You may not be going diving with your headlamp, but you may be caught in a slight mist, or even rainfall may seep into the area you are exploring. Your headlamp could also fall into a pool of water as you are adjusting it, and its usage should not have to end there. Water resistance is one of the most valuable aspects of a high-quality headlamp.
Resistance to moisture is expressed as IPX ratings, with IPX-0 indicating that there is zero water resistance, and any contact with water will ruin the lamp’s electronics. IPX-4 means that your lamp can withstand splashing liquids, while IPX-7 means your lamp can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in a depth of three feet.
The more the rating, the higher the price of your lamp, but the more protection you will get from water.
Brightness, beam distance, and LED life
In most cases, you will want a headlamp with a brilliant beam to help you note and get all the fine details in your exploration area. The term ‘lumen’ is used to describe the quantity of light put out by a source.
Other times, a headlamp with a lower lumen and a wider beam is a better option. The more lumens your headlamp has, the brighter the light. Ensure the lamp you choose has no less than 100 lumens to provide adequate lighting for your adventure.
The beam distance will also depend on the area you intend to explore. To ensure your safety and better function, the longer the beam distance, the better. A longer beam distance should help you explore a pipeline or crawl space while seeing what lies behind a corner. Lastly, your headlamp’s light is supplied by LED bulbs.
The best headlamp choices often have a lifespan of at least 50,000 hours, and therefore are not a major area of concern. CREE LEDs are indicated as having a lifespan of over 100,000 hours, so, a lamp whose LED lifetime is lower than 50,000 hours is most likely a lower quality type.
Our Final Thoughts
Selecting the best headlamp can prove to be overwhelming. There are so many great options in the market, and so many variables and features to consider. However, for urban exploration, there are specific settings that should guide you to ensure you get value for your money and the perfect headlamp.
Cheap headlamps are often a recipe for disaster, coming with knockoff batteries and LEDs that will not provide the runtime they claim to. Choose to invest in a higher cost, yet reliable, safe, and guaranteed headlamp to make your urban exploration experience memorable for the right reasons.
The five best headlamp options above should provide you with insight into what you should look for. The right headlamp, coupled with energy, should make for an unforgettable exploration mission.