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The 7 Best Headlamps & Camping Lights of 2021

There are two types of people in this world: people that admit they get a slight shiver down their spine when they turn off all their lights while camping, and liars. There’s something deeply primal about standing silently outside with no manmade light in sight, just you, and whatever happens to be lurking in the woods.

The flip side of that experience is knowing that you have bright, reliable camping lights available to use, whether you’re just sharing a predawn cup of coffee, or trying to find your way to the bathroom in the dead of night. A good selection of headlamps and camp lights makes camping a whole lot more fun and can come in handy around the house too. That’s why we’ve gathered this list of the best headlamps and camp lights. These are some of the most versatile lighting solutions we’ve found, and whether you’re exploring caves deep underground, or just car camping near town, they’ll help you ward off that primal uneasiness we all have with the dark.


BioLite Headlamp 200

Best 2021 headlamps & camping lights
 
 

BioLite’s Headlamp 200 is an affordable, durable and versatile do-it-all headlamp. It’s light, water-resistant, and has a rechargeable battery so you don’t need to worry about having enough extra triple A’s in your junk drawer. This is possibly the best headlamp for any outdoors person to have in their pack. Even if you never plan on spending the night outside, it’s a great piece of emergency gear that you’ll never regret carrying.

And even though the Headlamp 200 is light and affordable, it’s got all the features you could need, like an independently adjustable bezel, so that you can aim the light without adjusting the strap, and dimmable white, and red LEDs. Red light helps you maintain your night vision, and won’t blind your friends as much if you accidentally point the headlamp in their eyes. Whether you’re a dedicated overnight camper, or just a trail runner or mountain biker who wants some insurance in case they get caught out after dusk, the Headlamp 200 is a great choice. It takes up very little room in your pack but packs a punch when you need it.

Battery SizeLumensOriginal Price
700 mAh200$44.95

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BioLite SiteLight String

Best 2021 headlamps & camping lights
 
 

The problem with headlamps when you’re camping is that they don’t produce much ambient light. They help the person who’s wearing them, sure, but they don’t do much to light the overall campsite for everyone. That’s where something like the BioLite SiteLight String comes in handy. It’s like if someone designed a string of Christmas lights explicitly for camping. The SiteLight is a durable, versatile four light package that packs down into an easy-to-carry stack.

At camp, you can string out the SiteLight so that it casts an even glow over whatever you’re trying to illuminate, you can hang it from a tree or awning, or even inside your car. It’s powered by a USB port, so it can run off portable battery packs or generators. And the USB connector system means that it’s possible to link a bunch of SiteLight’s together, effectively casting as much light as you want. So grab a few strings of SiteLights, and have your friends do the same and you’ll be all set for a great night relaxing under the warm, reliable glow of this rechargeable camping lantern.

Battery SizeLumensOriginal Price
USB powered150$19.95

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BioLite SiteLight Lantern

Best 2021 headlamps & camping lights
 
 

The BioLite SiteLight Lantern takes everything that makes the String so great and beefs it up even more. Instead of a string of smaller lights, the Lantern is one, 300 lumen light inside a packable lantern shell. This means it casts a lot of light in a broad area, making it a great centerpiece for your campsite. And, like the String, you can attach multiple lanterns together to create a beautiful “lighted globes floating in the trees” effect.

Like the String, this camping lantern is powered off of anything with a USB, so you can plug it in just about anywhere. And it packs down to a nice size, so you could even throw it in your pack for a bikepacking trip or something similar. If you’re looking to cast a lot of light from a very small, light package, the SiteLight is the best camping lantern to get the job done.

Battery SizeLumensOriginal Price
USB powered300$34.95

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Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp

Best 2021 headlamps & camping lights
 
 

Black Diamond’s headlamps have long set the benchmark for many outdoors people, for good reason. They’re affordable, durable, and reliable. In short, they get the job done, and they’ve gotten that job done for a long time. The Spot 350 is a do-it-all headlamp, sporting the light weight you want on long trail runs, but the brightness and battery life you need for night ski tours. It’s fully waterproof, and has all of the settings you’d expect, including a dimmable main light and strobe mode.

The Spot 350 runs off of AAA batteries, so as long as you have some of those, it will keep cranking out light all night long. If you want a rechargeable battery, the BioLight Headlamp 200 is a better option, but for everyone else, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better choice than this Black Diamond headlamp.

Battery SizeLumensOriginal Price
3 AAA Batteries350$39.95

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Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp

Best 2021 headlamps & camping lights
 
 

If you’re looking for a little brighter light than the Spot 350, the Storm 400 will be right up your alley. With 50 more lumens available than the Spot, it puts out enough light that you can ski fast with it as your only light, or dim it down to read maps. At full output, the 4 AAA batteries should last for a full 5 hours, and at lower light levels you’ll make it even longer.

If you want your headlamp to have the ability to produce ALL THE LIGHT, and project deep into the darkest woods, the Storm 400 is the light for you. It’s fully waterproof and dustproof, very comfortable to wear, and easy to use. It might be overkill for folks who only plan on wearing their headlamp in an emergency, but for anyone who wants to move fast after dark in the mountains, this is the brightest headlamp and our top choice.

Battery SizeLumensOriginal Price
4 AAA Batteries400$49.95

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Black Diamond Moji Lantern

Best 2021 headlamps & camping lights
 
 

But what if you don’t want your light strapped to your forehead? Black Diamond’s answer is the Moji lantern. It’s a tiny, easy-to-carry LED camping lantern that translates the performance of their headlamps to a more ambient light. It runs off of 3 AAA batteries and has built-in hooks so you can either set it down like a pedestal light, or hang it from a tent, branch, or table. It puts out a nice warm ambient glow and is so light and packable that you don’t really have any excuse not to bring it on your next trip.

The Moji is also water-resistant so it’s a great choice if you’re visiting a pool or hot springs. With the Moji, you’ll be prepared no matter the adventure.

Battery SizeLumensOriginal Price
3 AAA Batteries100$19.95

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Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Lantern

Best 2021 headlamps & camping lights
 
 

The problem with ambient lights in the woods is that sometimes it’s too easy to forget they’re on, and accidentally kill the batteries. The Snow Peak Hozuki lantern takes care of that by being incredibly efficient. With just three AAA batteries it can run for up to 40 hours on max brightness. And on low, it will last 70 hours. So fear not, you won’t need to bring extra batteries for your multi-day camp trip. The Hozuki has you covered, every night.

Like the Black Diamond Moji, the Hozuki has a very versatile form factor, you can set it down on a table or the ground, or hang it with the built-in hook. If you hate the idea of having to recharge or swap batteries midway through a trip and want something sleek and efficient, the Hozuki Lantern gets it done.

Battery SizeLumensOriginal Price
3 AAA Batteries60$19.95

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