Every cave explorer understands that investing in the best and brightest caving head torch they can lay they hands-on will help improve their experience through the convenience of hands-free illumination. Spelunking or potholing in a dim or dark atmosphere could affect your returns, aside from that, negatively affect your attitude.
So, if you feel there isn't enough natural light coming into the caves or you find the night's darkness underwhelming, a caving head torch for hands-free illumination is the right option for you.
First, let's look at the best caving head torches available and then also discuss the other features to look out for when deciding on a caving head torch.
3 Brightest Caving Headlamps
Here are some of my favourite caving head torches that could improve your experience when out potholing or exploring caves.
- Olight H2R NOVA Head Torch (Click to See Price)
- Black Diamond Spot Headlamp 325 Lumens Output (Click to See Price with All Outdoors)
- Black Diamond Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp (Click to See Price with All Outdoors)
Olight H2R NOVA head torch
Olight H2R headlamp has so many positives and fits so many activities that I am pretty sure it is the right headlamp for you. Let's take a look.
The Olight H2R head torch is a versatile, high-quality head torch that works great in dark areas – caves included. I have used it in the past when potholing and still use it often in dark tunnels with no issues.
It has a luminosity of 2.300 lumens and can illuminate wide areas efficiently. It is a great addition to many toolkits. As far as single 18650 battery head torches go, the Olight H2R is one of the brightest caving head torch options out there.
Clicking into place with the OLIGHT's signature magnetic charging system, the head torch can easily be recharged without fiddling around for the USB slot.
If you enjoy activities other than caving – activities such as fishing, camping and hunting – then this Olight H2R head torch is a great lighting option to have. It can also withstand being in or around water and wet caves, so that's one less thing to have to worry about.
- Super-bright Turbo Mode: Can be activated to the maximum 2,300 lumens within a minute.
- Ultra-white Light: Some head torches let out an orange tint when in use. Not the Olight H2R which has a perfect colour-balance.
- Long Battery Life: At 600 lumens (high mode) light is strong for 2.5 hours. Medium is 150 lumens for 10 hours. You could go caving safely with 150 lumens without worry.
- High Water Resistance: This Olight head torch is rated at IPX8, allowing you can fully submerge the H2R Nova in water for brief periods.
- Very Lightweight: At 63.5g, this head torch weighs less than 90% of headlamps.
- Flashlight: As it is easily detachable, the head torch can be used as an independent flashlight when separated from the strap.
- Strong: It has a pretty durable design as the H2R is constructed using aircraft aluminium.
- One-Button Operation: All functions are easily accessible with short and long button clicks.
- Hot: Unit can get VERY HOT. At 2,300 lumens you can burn yourself on the metal, or with the light beam itself if too close. Caution is advised.
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp 325 Lumens Output
Weight: 3 oz.
Max lumens: 325
Batteries: AAA (3)
What we like: Bright, easy to use, and weather-resistant, all at a reasonable price.
What we don’t: No USB recharge option.
The headlamp projects an intense 325-lumen beam and has a touch-sensitive housing for quick brightness adjustments. You also get a full suite of lighting choices, from the long-range dual, LED to softer proximity LED and red LED for use around camp. And it's worth noting that Black Diamond has dramatically increased ease of use.
The headlamp market is competitive overall, but nothing can match the Spot’s well-rounded design. It’s priced right at £32.05, and the lamp's updated, the low-profile shape makes it easier to wear while running or store in a pack.
Further, the BD can handle being under 1.1 meters of water for 30 minutes, which gives you that extra level of security when you have to hike out in a downpour. All told, for most outdoor adventuring, the versatile Spot 325 is the headlamp to get.
- The Black Diamond Spot Headlamp is fully waterproof (IPX 8) for 30 minutes at 3.3 feet.
- It includes both emergency and red-light modes.
- It has a brightness memory feature to lock in your preferred setting.
- Switching between the different modes isn’t intuitive.
- The light gives off a yellow spot in the centre of the beam, which may turn off some users.
- Some may find the red light a tad weak.
Black Diamond Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp
Weight: 3.7 oz.
Max lumens: 200
What we like: Great beam and fit for runners.
What we don’t: Not our preferred choice for general use.
The Black Diamond Sprinter puts off a robust and consistent beam for seeing the trail ahead, is nicely balanced with the battery on the back of the strap, and has a red taillight on the rear housing to increase visibility.
The Sprinter's intended use also happens to be its biggest downside. The single-beam along the front is ideal for running or hiking on a trail, but the lack of a proximity beam makes it much less useful around camp.
And the additional strap over the top of the head and separated battery pack add a little weight and bulk relative to the lamp's output and price. This headlamp stands out because of its versatility. It uses two rechargeable batteries, and the versatility is seen in the different ways that you have to recharge them.
First, the batteries are included, and on top of that, you get a USB cable meaning you can charge the batteries from various devices. You also get a car charger to help you charge the batteries from your car and a wall charger. This makes it highly convenient and reliable.
Black Diamond Sprinter Cons
- Limited Rotation: Has a limited range of rotation of headlamp unit – few people will need it to point almost straight down.
- Fading Light: There is no constant brightness with this headlamp like other lamps that use lithium-ion batteries. The brightness fades over time.
- Unbalanced: The headlamp doesn't sit well on the head; it isn't balanced. Maybe better to put on the included body strap.
Unlike the hand-held flashlights, headlamps have become well-known among outdoor enthusiasts as they help to determine not only your level of comfort and safety but to also determine your level of success too.
That said, here’s a detailed buyer’s guide that will see you settle for the best brightest headlamp for your missions — an opportunity to get something resourceful and versatile from the different models of headlights on the market.
Why You Need A Caving Headlamp
Spelunking is a beautiful passion for nature lovers out there. People invest their time and energy to experience nature. As exciting as it sounds, there is so much danger involved in it. When you are aiming for hunting, spelunking you don’t’ know your final destination you are walking in the dark to an unknown destination, and it is the most crucial point where you need the source of light to protect yourself.
A good and bright headlamp can save you from trouble and make things easy for you with proper source of light. If you are someone who loves thrill and adventure, headlamp is your essential item to get before you head out for caving.
Gone are the days when the only methods we had of lighting the darkness were candles and lanterns. Welcome to a day and age where light is literally at the tip of our fingers. With just a flip of a switch or a push of a button, we can illuminate the world around us.
Headlamps, while very useful and versatile, are unfortunately an often-overlooked light source. If you think that these handy devices are only good for spelunking and the likes, you may not realize what you're missing out on. Headlamps can be used for a variety of reasons and have many useful and practical applications.
Camping and Hiking
Campground areas can be dangerous places at night. Not only are the surroundings unfamiliar, but there are tent spikes and logs to trip over, wild animals lurking, or a campfire that may not have gone all the way out. Imagine if you need to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night or to retrieve something that you left in the car.
If you use a headlamp, you won't risk life and limb when mother-nature is calling. Not only that, but you can use a headlamp to read a few pages in a book, or look at a map to plan out your path for the next day's hike before you fall asleep.
Home Repairs and Navigating Blackouts
Home repairs and tasks seem to come at you by the droves. There is the leaky faucet, the plugged-up sink drain, or the furnace that's making that strange noise in the basement. What better way to do this than going hands-free with a headlamp? When the power goes out, the lights go out with it.
Using flashlights and candles to navigate a blackout isn't always convenient. Wearing a headlamp during a blackout is a great way to fight the dark and get light when and where you need it the most. If you're cold, wet, or plain uncomfortable and trying to figure out the safest course of action for you and your family, the last thing you want to do is fumble around for something to light the darkness.
While you may have a flashlight or two, you may need both hands to help your family members stay safe. A headlamp will light the way to safety without getting in the way.
Hide And Seek
The game most children love to play is even more fun when played at night. Running around in pitch black surroundings can be fun but scary too. Make your kids favourite game a little bit safer by fitting them with headlamps. It will make it easier for them to run and hide out in the yard without worrying about running into lawn equipment or tripping over sprinkler heads.
When they find their hiding place, they can click off their light to avoid detection. It will also make it easier for the person doing the finding.
Reading at Night
If you enjoy reading before you go to bed, you’re not alone. Getting out of bed to turn the light off when you’re done with your literary adventures can be a real pain. If you share your room with your significant other, he or she might not appreciate the entire room is lit up while you read as well.
A headlamp can kill both of these birds with one stone. Instead of getting out of bed to turn the light off, turn off your headlamp and put it on your nightstand. Your partner gets the added benefit of not having to sleep in a well-lit room.
Walking Your Dog
When a dog needs to go, a dog needs to go. It's not always at the most convenient of times. When holding a leash and trying to control an excited pet, holding a flashlight isn't always ideal. A headlamp can provide you with the light that you need to walk your dog safely, allowing you to see what's around you and allowing drivers to see you and your pet.
Working on Cars
Have you ever had to work on a car in the dark or have you had to get underneath a car only to find that the lighting was not nearly sufficient enough to get the job done? A headlamp can rescue you from such a situation. Providing you with hands-free light where and when you need it, these lamps can make your car repair endeavours go much, much easier (saving you time and frustration).
Quite a few people enjoy outdoor cooking. Unfortunately, the sun doesn’t always keep with our schedules. If you find yourself cooking outdoors once the sun has set, you may find it hard to get the lighting you need to cook your food to perfection. A headlamp can take care of this issue, leaving your hands free to tend to the food you are preparing for friends and family.
This may seem like a strange idea at first, but when you think about it, it only makes sense. Most expert fishers go fishing early in the morning before it is light outside. They know that this is the period when fish bite. The only problem is it is still dark outside. If you have a headlamp, you can see your way around and see how to bait a hook.
You can find your way into your boat without falling over the edge, which is easy to do when you are half-asleep anyway. A headlamp will also come in handy for peering down into the water which may be murky and otherwise difficult to see through should an emergency occur and someone, or something, falls into the water.
To go for a trail run, you will need clear vision ahead of you to see where there might be trees, animals, and even other people in your way. You may also need to see behind you if you get the sense someone is chasing you. You will need to see areas of debris that may cause you to trip and fall. You will also want to see cliffs, preferably before you run over the edge. Headlamps make sense to help you light your way.
Caves are filled with all types of dangers. Not only are they dark, damp places but critters live there and usually can't be seen until it is too late. If you wear a headlamp, you can avoid confrontations with bats, scorpions, snakes and other animals indigenous to caves. You can also see where you are going and avoid the slippery rock. In the rare instance of a cave-in or you’re getting lost, you will have an easier time finding your way out with a headlamp than just trying to feel your way around.
Headlamps Vs. Flashlights: Primary Advantages of Headlamps.
As much as flashlights (or lanterns) can be useful, the main challenge is that they aren't hand-free and packing them could be challenging depending on their size and shapes. It's because of these and many other reasons that headlamps are considered to be more useful based on their portability, lightweight, suitability, and how easy you can strap them on your head.
Other primary advantages include the impressive beam distance capable of casting long beams, making headlamps a significant asset for finding poorly marked trails and other things in the dark. The hands-free design is also perfectly blended into a compact and lightweight construction to make it convenient for all hunting activities and easy to fit in any pack.
Then there's durability and water-resistance property, offering enough assurance for operating in rainstorms (IPX-4) and underwater (IPX-7). An excellent option for areas with unpredictable weather.
Advantages and Disadvantages of using a Headlamp during Caving
- Almost all headlamps have rechargeable batteries – good for the environment, and cheaper than buying expendable AAAs or AAs at the store.
- Using a headlamp frees up both hands – for doing things, or for falling – both of which will help you immensely.
- Your head doesn’t get tired of having a headlamp on it. Mine doesn’t anyway.
- At any time, you can pull the headlamp off your head and carry it like a flashlight anyway. This resolves three of the four Headlamp Cons below.
- If there are any bugs at night and you're not moving much, you will get more bugs in your eyes than with a flashlight held lower. You can always take it off your head for some time.
- You cannot turn your head without lighting up the area – so you have to be careful not to blind others standing close-by.
6 Things to Consider When Choosing A Head Torch – Finding the Best Head Torch
Irrespective of your experience, here are a few things to keep in mind when you go shopping for the Best and Brightest Caving Headlamp.
Convenience – Sizing and Weight.
Every spelunker wants to make sure that the headlamp is comfortable and useful throughout their trips. Since you'll strap it around your head for hours, ensure that the straps are of the correct sizing and fit. The headlamp, together with its features, should be easy to operate because most of them come with several buttons that are strategically positioned for convenience.
About sizing, it's recommended that you go for one that fits right, preferably something with more than what you need. As for weight, you'll need to make sure the headlamp is light enough for your head to hold it without straining — the last thing any spelunker wants to deal with a stiff neck.
Better Light Aspects.
A good hunting headlamp model is one that offers better optics for both spot and proximity modes. You must ensure that the headlamp has different lighting options, starting with a white and red light to brightness adjustment options.
In principle, the beam distance and pattern should be long and smoother for better illumination. You need to know if you want spot beam for locating trails or a spread-out beam for brighter spots. You could also go for headlamps with both options for maximum adaptability in every situation.
Other things to take into consideration include the quality of light as well as the exclusive signals. Most hunting (outdoor) headlamps feature Warm, Neutral, and Cool White LEDs, with a wide range of tint choices which you can choose based on your preferences.
Another key feature is the special signals. They mainly come in three options consisting of; “Firefly” allowing you to save battery life and use it for a more extended period, “Strobe” used primarily in cycling and assured you safe movement in dark environments – late hours, plus “SOS” useful in extremely dark situations
A headlamp's design quality comprises of several things ranging from the interior build quality to the exterior design. In essence, a good plan is meant to inspire durability, ease operation and increase the overall quality.
Therefore, the material used should be strong and durable, waterproof or water-resistant to make it suitable for different environments, lightweight for easy mobility and convenience, and compact for handiness.
Safety and Comfort
Although the safety and comfort of a headlamp depend on its design, you need to take the operation life into considerations basing your interests on the material, ergonomics, and size and weight.
A quality LED head torch should be made from durable material to protect it from cracks and scratches from vibrations, pushes, and falls. Besides, the material should be water-resistant to improve hunting in rain and snow.
A headlamp's general safety and comfort much depend on the headband. The headbands size and weight should be comfortable and fit correctly to prevent it from slipping. One strap is designed to encircle your head and as the other is set across.
Battery Quality and Life
Another significant consideration for spelunkers is the battery quality and run-time on their caving head torch. You need to choose a headlamp with the best battery quality depending on your hunting plans and situations. This means you have to settle for a headlamp with an extended battery run-time, ideally for hours.
Typically, Best Spelunking Headlamps are designed to run on lithium batteries, which are an excellent choice for cold conditions since they outperform alkaline batteries in cold weather. As a result, rechargeable nickel batteries are also good as they work well in cold weather.
Here's where you need to bring your special interests into play. You can consider top straps, external battery packs, tilt (ability to adjust the light in an excellent position), regulated output – ability to change the intensity of light, different lighting modes – red, green, white and blue lights, Auto-Adjusting beam, extra straps, water-resistance as well as price (value).
Final thoughts on Best Caving Head Torch
All the caving head torches mentioned above are ideal for all types of uses – outdoor or indoor – because they are waterproof and comes with multiple modes of up to three adjustment modes that let you adjust the light intensity based on your needs.
One of the most common pieces of kit to have with you when out in a cave is a helmet or hard hat with an LED light attached in order to keep the hands free.
You can't go wrong if you choose a caving head torch from the ones listed above.