Best Headlamp for Elk Hunting for 2019
Elk hunting can require hiking to and from backcountry spots that can take you through dangerous terrain. This becomes even more of a problem if you’re an elk hunter that likes to travel in low-light conditions to your chosen spot. You might just want to be sure that you can get your elk safely transported back to camp and loaded in the dark.
The obvious solution to this is to use a suitable light that’s bright enough as let you see where you’re travelling, your downed elk catch for transporting and loading, or even let you see your backcountry camp fully at night. A headlamp is the way to go as like most forms of hunting, you want your hands to be free for other things. We went ahead and picked out our chosen 5 best hunting headlamps for elk hunting, including reviews of how each light stacks up against the rest.
Reviews of the Best Headlamps for Elk Hunting
If you look around online, you’ll find that this is one of the most commonly recommended headlights from elk hunters. The Black Diamond Storm weighs in at 110g, has a brightness of upto 350 lumens, a burning time of 120 and a 85M range on the light itself. The waterproof headlamp sports one quad power LED and one double power white LED, as well as having the option of switching between 3 different colored single powered LEDs – Green, Blue and Red. The Black Diamond Storm comes in 4 different colors – black, aluminium, dark olive and octane.
The main reasons why this elk headlamp makes the number 1 sport is the power of the beam and the control you have over it. If you check out any of the video reviews on of the Black Diamond Storm out there, you’ll see that the beam is very strong and make than capable of lighting up your path or camp in pitch darkness. Another attractable thing about this light is the control and options you get with it. You have 4 different colors that you can use, which comes in handy for different hunting uses, weather conditions etc. It also integrates Power Tap Technology that allows you to toggle full and dimmed power lighting, as well as storing your beam settings so you don’t have to fiddle about with your headlamp going through the settings. It’s obviously a popular model because of the quality of lightning it provides, but at the same time, the robustness and durability of this model needs a special mention as it’s designed to last a long time, even when it’s put through the mill in rough conditions.
Like anything, there are a few hang-ups that we can’t leave out. The first is that even although the headlamp has lots of nice, controllable settings, some users find it overwhelming to set up and find the right brightness because of all the options available. Another thing that we would note is a small buzzing sound that the Black Diamond gives off, this can be both annoying and potentially damage your hunting chances in some cases.
- Very bright light
- Lots of different brightness options
- 4 colors to use – white, blue, red and green
- Waterproof and dustproof
- Extremely durable, will last you a long time
- The amount of light settings can be overwhelming and hard to set up
- It can give off a small buzzing sound
Verdict: Best Overall
PETZL have remained one of the biggest headlight manufacturers now around the globe for a number of years and for good reason. Everyone knows that when they buy a PETZL light they’re buying into quality, and our second pick on the list the TIKKA Headlamp 200 epitomizes what their lighting range is all about. A close runner-up, it has two beams, one main white beam and a second side red light that’s designed for some nocturnal stealth. This hybrid style lamp’s main white beam has a brightness of up to 200 lumens and takes 3 batteries to operate. The light has a phosphorescent reflector which helps you find it in the dark and is also available in 4 different colors – black, blue, red and green.
The reason this comes in second place on our top elk hunting headlamp list is the fact that it’s a very well-designed, simple to use light that ties in with the rest of PETZL’s quality products at a great price. Although this may not be the brightest pick out there for some backcountry elk hunting, it more than offers value for money with everything else going for it. The battery life that it provides is also hard to match by other brands is a typical of most PETZL products, as well as letting you use rechargeable batteries in it. The headlamp is comfortable to wear for long periods which is very important to a lot of hunters that can be away for days.
As mentioned above, the brightness of the beam is not going to be as strong as other high-end models, but nonetheless, the 200 lumens it sports is still reasonable enough for navigating your way about in the pitch dark. One slight let-down is the quality of the strap that goes around your head, in some cases it’s not the most durable and may be worth replacing with another strap. Another thing that puts it down slightly is the fact that it’s not fully waterproof, it is advertised as weather resistant but it’s not going to withstand a lot of water getting near it.
- Typical robust and durable PETZL model
- Fantastic battery life
- Light and comfortable to wear
- Can take rechargeable batteries
- Simple 1 button use
- Can switch between a white and read beam
- Not as bright as other top-end models
- Strap quality could be better
- Not fully waterproof
Verdict: A Close Runner-Up
Princeton Tec are one of the best kept secrets when it comes to elk hunting lights. Princeton Tec’s focus is on producing high quality, powerful lighting that’s designed to last, and their Apex model does not disappoint. There are 2 lumen options available – 350 lumens and 550 lumens which are both very bright for a headlamp. It features 1 Maxbright LED and 4 Ultrabright LEDs with a max burn time of around 150 hours. It takes 4 AA batteries to power it up which brings the overall weight to 279g and should roughly translate to 72 to 200 hours worth of running time. There are also 6 different model colors to choose from when purchasing.
The Apex from Princeton Tec produces the strongest beam from any of the models on our reviews list. It’s not only used by serious hunters, but is also used by professional cavers that require a strong, reliable lighting. Because this is a headlamp model trusted and used by a lot of professionals that require lightning that they can trust with their life, this is a standout durable and robust pick that can handle any of the harsh conditions that you elk hunt throws at it. It’s also fairly simple to use and doesn’t have lots of complicated settings to go through to get to your ideal beam.
Although this is a powerhouse of a light, there are some areas that let it down. The first thing is that it’s quite heavy. It weighs more than most of the other models which may be a problem for hunters who will be wearing it all night, or for long periods of time. Another thing is that it’s more expensive than the other models, though you really are paying for a high performance beam that’s designed to take a beat in and last.
- Very powerful light
- Waterproof and withstand harsh conditions
- Good battery life
- Simple to use
- Poor Durability, Overall Build Quality
- One side of headphones breaks before the other
Verdict: Powerhouse of a Light
Streamlight are another manufacturer that produce decent lightning that are popular amongst a lot of hunters. The 61304 ProTac is a smaller sized model that weighs 6.6-ounces with the batteries. It features a single, white light that has up to 540 lumens of power and a range of 172-meters. There’s 3 different power settings to choose from – low which is 18 lumens and has a run time of approximately 36 hours, medium which is 95 lumens and has an approx run time of 8 hours and high, which is 540 lumens and has an estimated run time of 1 hour 45 mins.
This pick makes this list as it’s nice and small with a comfortable fit to it. It really is compact, light and easy to pack away for travelling. It’s got a comfortable band on it that makes wearing it for extended periods really easy. Another reason why we believe this a pick worth considering is it’s simplicity and ease of use. Although it only has 3 settings and 1 light (white), it makes it simple for cycling through the power settings.
The biggest complaint we have with this light is the battery life. Although there are lower power settings that you can use to save the battery, if you choose to use a higher lumen setting then typically you’re battery won’t last that long. This can add up in battery costs for the running of the headlamp, on top of the fact that the Streamlight 61304 ProTac is a more expensive choice, it may be a little too expensive for some dedicated elk hunters that don’t want to lay out any more than they need to on a backcountry trip.
- Simple to use
- Small, light and compact
- Comfortable to wear
- Battery life could be better
- On the expensive side
Verdict: Simple, Light and Compact
Our final pick is the DanForce CREE 1080 which is maybe not a model that is widely discussed when talking about top-end hunting lights, though if you look at the reviews that it has online, you’ll see the reason why we decided to include it. There are 5 light modes available – red, flashing, low-intensity, medium and high, as well as having a fully adjustable beam. Made and tested rigorously in the USA, this light is claimed to have a whopping 1080 lumens worth of power. Your purchase will include the headlamp, 2 rechargeable power cells, a USB cable and user guide.
Overall it has lots of good things going for it such as lots of handy light modes to choose from which even includes another color – red. The light is straightforward to use, the battery life is also very reasonable, and the max power of the light is very powerful. If you’re looking for something that’s reasonably price and offers fantastic lighting for you elk hunts, then this is a pick outside the top brands that you should consider.
With all that being said, with it being lesser known manufacturer, there are a few problems that crop up because of this. For one, the actual model itself isn’t the most durable or reliable, and probably won’t be good enough to stand up against tough conditions. If you’re looking to use it in adverse weather conditions or even put it through the paces with lots of dust and dirt getting near it, this probably isn’t the choice for you. Another issue with this is that the customer service provided isn’t as good as it probably could be.
- Very strong light
- 5 different control settings
- Decent price tag
- Good battery life
- Fairly light
- Lacks the durability of bigger brands
- Feels a little cheap
- Poor customer service
Things to Consider When Buying a Good Elk Hunting Headlamp
How powerful is the light or beam that it produces? Will it have enough power for purpose that you bought it, for example, trekking through the woods or mountains, pulling an elk from the woods for transporting, or even setting up or moving around camp in the pitch black. The lumens listed is a rough indicator of how powerful the model can be, with the higher it is, then typically the stronger the light should be. However, don’t just take the lumens number provided by the manufacturer at face value, check out real video reviews of each light in different conditions to see how powerful it is in action.
Different Control Settings
This may be off-putting for some people as a simple 1 switch, 1 light model may be what they’re after, but in a lot of cases, hunters want to change the beam to match the conditions and style of hunting that they’re undertaking in the moment. Most of the picks on this list have different control settings, powers and colors that you can toggle, though some are more annoying than others to work out. The last thing you need on a hunt is to have to keep clicking a switch over and over to toggle through lots of different settings to find the right one.
Durability and Waterproofness
Let’s face it, your not always going to have the weather on your side, that coupled with the fact that hunting isn’t always the most glamorous sport, you’ll want something that’s up to the challenge. Your chosen headlight should be able to take a little bit of a bash in, as well as having some sort of waterproofness about it. Not all lights are waterproof and some can take a little more rain than others, so be sure to check out in full what your chosen model offers in this department.
Elk hunting is one of those types of hunts that can involve long walking days or even weeks in the backcountry and some long, hard grafting for that elk meat. Having the proper equipment is vital, but even more so at night as you can’t afford any mistakes out there. This list has hopefully helped you choose the best headlamp for your elk hunting that suits exactly how you intend to go about your hunt. If you’re not sure about the quality of any of the lights picked above, have a browse about online and check out some of the video footage of them in action to get a better picture.