Let’s face it, headlamps have never been the most comfortable piece of gear to wear. Heavy batteries strapped tightly to my forehead have cut into my circulation and caused headaches, so I tend to hold mine like a flashlight when two free hands are not required.
Thus, imagine my elation to discover a slim fit, no bounce, non-migraine-inducing headlamp that wears like a sweatband.
BioLite achieved a beautiful balance with its 330 Lumen Rechargeable LED Headlamp by moving their battery to the back of the headband and running a power cable around the left side to power the front. Dual strap adjusters make for quick fittings when adding or removing head wear. Reflective accents make it easy to find in low light and the LED housing in the front is so minimal that it makes it easy to forget you're wearing a headlamp.
What I Love About the BioLite 330 Lumen Rechargeable LED Headlamp:
Rechargeable - Burning through one time use batteries does not align with my love of nature so for me a rechargeable battery is a must. The BioLite uses a standard micro USB cord which means I save weight by eliminating spare AAs and I don’t need to carry a specialized charging cable.
Well Thought Out - In addition to the intelligent design, comfortable materials, and welcome balance, this headlamp has all the right features.
The battery housing contains four power level indicator lights so you never have to guess how much juice is left.
There are six different lighting options to suit varying levels of illumination needs, including a lock out mode to avoid accidental in-pack battery drain.
The LED lights mean a long run time in between charges and lighting can be angled downward to focus in on tasks or simply to keep light beams out of a trail mate's eyes.
Additionally the battery slides smoothly along the banding material to help achieve a harmonious juxtaposition to the lights in front. When both pieces are centered correctly it will not slip or bounce making this headlamp well suited for running.
Comfort - Seriously, the comfort cannot be overstated and it is moisture wicking.
Smart - Once a lighting option has been selected, the BioLite remembers the last desired setting. No need to toggle through the options again and again every time the lamp is turned off or on. This feature is perfect for stargazers. The red light option can be selected and powered off, then should incandescence be needed mid meteor shower, one can use this headlamp without fear of disrupting anyone’s night vision.
What I Didn’t Love:
Difficult to Operate with Gloves - the power button is quite small and hard to depress while wearing gloves. The tab above the power button that is meant to articulate the light’s angle is even smaller and troublesome to manipulate without engaging a fingernail.
Battery Life Suffers in Low Temps - On warm weather trips the battery is a champ. I was able to get 5 nights out of a single charge. But when temperatures dropped into the low 30s, I lost 50% of the battery in a single night.
At a mere 2.5 oz, the BioLite 330 Lumen Rechargeable LED Headlamp is super bright when needed and dimmable when not. It has all the features I want and nothing I don’t. It stays put and is so comfortable I don’t want to rip it off my head the second it's not in use. I won’t be packing it for any winter excursions but it will definitely be my go-to torch for everything else.
Mandy Esch is an international pro skater turned avid outdoorswoman who enjoys backpacking, camping, fly fishing, cliff diving and passing on what she learns along the way. In her backpacking blog, Mandy shares video trail reviews and trip planning guides. Follow her adventures at www.backcountrydirtbag.com.