Choosing a Headlamp for Night Running

The Holidays are almost here and its the end of Cross Country Season, end of 2015 making it a great time to just get out and just go for a run.  Its a chance to reflect on the past year, and recharge the fire before things ramp up in 2016! Just take it all in and enjoy the run, the company and everything around you!  As something fun and different we will be doing some trail runs in the dark on Tuesday December 8th and Thursday December 17th.

In order to have a safe and enjoyable run with the group a headlamp is MANDATORY! Some already have and use a headlamp regularly but for those that want to purchase one here is a guide to help you find the right one.  The closest places to find headlamps are MEC - Burlington and SAIL - Burlington both with a big selection to chose from.

What Features are Best?

The headlamp should include these features when using it for running.

  1. LUMENS of 90 or higher.  Lumens is a measurement of the amount of visible light emitted from a source.  The higher the number the more light emitted making it brighter.  This will make sure you don't miss any pot holes or obstacles in your path.
  2. DISTANCE of 75m or higher.  When running you need a headlamp that shines far enough in front of you, allowing you to see anything in your path with enough time to react safely.

These other features although not absolutely necessary they will be more useful to someone who will use the headlamp more frequently and also increase the price.

  • CONSTANT LIGHTING where the brightness of the light will not fade as the battery loses power, it will remain the same until the battery is dead. If you are running for a while this is a good feature to have
  • A RED LED light that can be used in all conditions to help increase your visibility with a more discrete light. This is offered on almost all headlamps currently out there.
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE / USB CHARGE is important if you will be frequently running in the dark and doing your long runs runs in the dark where you need the brightest setting. The USB chargable headlamps will save you money on batteries and great if you plan on using it for 3 or more runs of 45min a week. If you are just using it a couple times a year up to once a month batteries will work just fine.
  • AUTOMATIC BRIGHTNESS ADJUSTMENT is on the high end head lamps and adjusts the brightness through the light sensor keeping it hands free.


The price of a headlamp ranges from $25 to over $600 and the more features it has the more expensive it is.  If you are using it for the Lions Valley Athletics trail runs in the upcoming weeks and don't plan on using it again until we do another trail run in the dark then stick with something under $50. If you will definitely be using it much more than our two runs then you should invest in a headlamp with more features.  Based on my online and in store research, these are the ones I recommend from lowest to highest price.

1. Princeton Tec Remix

Currently On Sale for $37.50 at MEC

Everything you need without the bells and whistles.

2. Petzl Tikka XP

$59.99 at SAIL

The best option if you plan on using once in a while and it has CONSTANT LIGHTING. I got this one recently and am pleased with it so far.

3. Black Diamond Icon

$86.00 from MEC 

Rechargeable with USB and extremely long battery life! Great for someone who will use it frequently but wants to keep the costs below $100.

4, Petzl Nao

$199.99 at SAIL

Rechargeable! Weight is redistributed around entire strap making it feel lighter, is hands free with automatic brightness adjustment and tops the others with 575 Lumens and a distance of 130m.

There are many other choices available f0r headlamps making it confusing with so many choices.  I tried to keep it as simple as possible so it would be a quick decision. Is there a headlamp you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

To get the full information on our upcoming Trail Runs in the Dark see the post  [Holiday Workouts and Cheer with Lions Valley Athletics...].

Good Luck and I hope you enjoy Running in the Dark with your new headlamp and please share your experience in the comments below!

DU Smithy

Kevin J Smith