If you’re sleeping out under the stars, you’ll need a good headtorch.
Whether you enjoy sunrise hikes or just like being able to read a bit before bed, a solid headlamp is an invaluable tool.
In this post, we round up the top head torches in Australia and compare them on a range of key features including max beam distance and the number of modes.
After that, we walk you through the key things to look out for when choosing a head torch.
Our top pick:
BLACK DIAMOND STORM HEADLAMP
Pros: 400 lumens, three colours and strobe settings, spot and flood light, brightness adjustments, waterproof and dustproof
Cons: Only uses disposable batteries, heavier than some other options (110g)
The Storm is Black Diamond’s do-anything headtorch. We’ve been testing it for the past 6 months and are happy to recommend it as our top pick.
While it may not be the best option for ultralight hikers, for everyone else it provides an excellent balance between functionality, durability, and battery life.
Completely waterproof and submersible up to 1m, this headlamp pumps out 400 lumens in three colours and a variety of light settings.
The headtorch’s brightness adjustments let you choose the setting that’s right for your needs so you don’t unnecessarily drain the battery.
One of our favourite features is Brightness Memory which means once you have chosen a setting (colour or brightness level), you can turn the light on and off and it remains at that setting.
The Storm is powered by 4 x AAA batteries which deliver an impressive 5 hours of runtime on high or 150 hours on low.
Despite housing 4 batteries, the unit is low profile and compact, and not noticeably larger or heavier than other headlamps we’ve used.
The Storm is a great, solid headtorch, perfect for campers and backpackers. It is durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of backpacking yet versatile enough to be used in a variety of activities.
I’ve used this headlamp for a while now and it does not disappoint. It is easy to adjust the brightness setting, making it useful for both hiking and reading. I have not been brave enough to submerge it in water, but it’s held up just fine in heavy rain.GABY PILSON – PROFESSIONAL MOUNTAIN GUIDE
In addition to the spotlight and flood light settings, it can also be set to red, green, or blue.
The strap on Black Diamond Storm can be adjusted from very small to very large and anything in between. It would fit a child’s head although they may prefer a more lightweight unit.
Overall, this is an excellent mid-range headtorch that is suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities.
Check these Australian retailers for the best price:
PETZL TIKKA HEADLAMP
Pros: Light (86g), Disposable or rechargeable battery, Three light modes and red light, Simple to use, 240h max burn time
Cons: Only 200 lumens, Max beam distance of 40m
The Tikka is Petzl’s classic, budget-friendly headtorch. Built with simplicity and compactness in mind, the Tikka is incredibly light (86g) and easy to use. It has an impressive 240h of burn time for its 200-lumen output.
One of our favourite parts of this headlamp is that it’s compatible with disposable and rechargeable batteries, so you can always power it up.
We’d recommend this headtorch for people who need a small torch for camping, but don’t intend to use it for night hiking or climbing.
PETZL NAO+ HEADLAMP
Pros: Very bright – 750 lumens, Water-resistant, Flood, mixed or focus beams, Easy to operate with gloves on, Lock function to prevent accidental power-up
Cons: Can only use a rechargeable battery, Max burn time of 15h, Very Expensive
Boasting an outstanding 750 lumens of light output, Petzl’s NAO+ is a headlamp that’s ready for anything. It’s ultra-powerful, durable, and water-resistant, so you can take it on any trip. It’s easy to flip through the flood, mixed, or focus beams, even with gloves on, too.
One of our favourite parts about the NAO+ is the lock function, which prevents the headlamp from accidentally turning on in your pack and wasting energy. It’s a bit expensive, though, and has a relatively short run time (15h), so we recommend the NAO+ for climbers and hikers on short but intense nighttime adventures.
PETZL REACTIK+ HEADLAMP
Pros: Lightweight (115g), Water resistant, Up to 60h burn time, Multiple settings, Compatible with alkaline, lithium, and rechargeable battery
The Reactick+ is Petzl’s modern take on a classic headlamp design. Lightweight and water-resistant with up to 60h of burn time, this is a headlamp designed for longer backpacking trips. With multiple settings, you can feel confident using it in any situation.
Plus, it’s compatible with alkaline, lithium, and rechargeable batteries, so you’ll never be without power. You can even connect it to a smartphone app so you can program the brightness settings to save energy.
Head Torch Buying Guide
Deciding on a headtorch can be a difficult choice, but it helps if you know what to look for. We recommend keeping an eye out for these characteristics:
Not all headtorches are created equal when it comes to light output. Some are significantly brighter than others, and brightness can be important if you’re using your torch to climb or hike at night.
Headtorch light output is traditionally measured in lumens.
While a brighter headtorch can be useful, remember that a high lumens count often means more energy consumption, so you might have to change or recharge the headtorch’s battery more often.
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The most important thing that a headtorch does is project light in front of you so you can see.
Beam distance is the measurement of how far a torch can project a useable light.
While a headtorch might have a high light output, it might not project that light very far.
If you’re hiking at night, you’ll want a headtorch with a long beam distance.
If your headtorch can project 10,000 lumens over 500m but its batteries won’t last more than 10 minutes, it’s probably not a very useful device.
Longer headtorch run times mean you have to change batteries less frequently, but this longer runtime often comes with a decrease in light output.
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Modern headtorches come with a variety of different settings, from strobe/flashlight to red light.
Some people only need or care about having a single white light while others need a variety of modes for hunting or hiking purposes.
Many headtorches also allow you to adjust the brightness settings so you can have a high beam when you need it but conserve energy when you don’t