From October through April, my weekday workouts are after the sun sets, and I run on trails or the track with a headlamp. For safety reasons, I do not run on roads at night unless there is too much snow on the ground to run on trails. This fall, I upgraded my headlamp to the Fenix HL50 LED headlamp, which I rate as 5 stars based on features, quality and value.
For many years I used the PrincetonTec Remix 125 lumens LED lamp, which didn’t have sufficient output to run fast on trails or for track workouts. I then used the PrincetonTec Apex 275 lumens LED lamp, and while it’s output was more than adequate, it’s weight requires two headstraps and it moved around while running.
The full features of the Fenix HL50 LED headlamp are on the manufacturers website. Below are my thoughts.
What I like:
- High Output: Up to 365 lumens (burst mode) with 3 settings (170 lumens on high), utilizing Cree XM-L2 T6 neutral white LED, powered by 3V CR123A Lithium battery (or AA batteries). The 170 lumens is very bright and more than sufficient to run on trails.
- Durable Construction: Aluminum alloy housing with hard-anodized finish. Stainless steel bezel, holder and clip. No plastic parts. Because the headlamp will be exposed to sweat, humidity and precipitation, I like that it’s made from rust-free materials. The PrincetonTec and some other headlamps are manufactured from plastic, and can easily break (as I experienced when snapping off the battery compartment cover on the PrincetonTec Remix).
- Lightweight: 65 grams (2.3 oz) with CR123A battery, 57 grams (1.9 oz) without battery. If not the lightest, then one of the lightest LED headlamps per lumens output. By comparison, the PrincetonTec Remix, with lower output, weighs 95 grams (3.35 oz) with 3 AAA batteries, and 50 grams (1.8 oz) without battery.
- Ease of Use: Turn on/off, rotate lamp angle, and adjust headstrap while wearing lamp and running, and with gloves on. Having had to stop and remove gloves, or helping a running partner adjust his lamp, I really appreciate Fenix’ ease of use.
- Awesome Value: $50 for best-in-class LED headlamp for night-time running.
What could be improved:
- Design: The stainless steel clip, which attaches the headlamp to the strap, presses against the forehead. This didn’t bother me too much, and once on my run I didn’t notice anymore, and when wearing a hat it becomes a non-issue.
It’s challenging after a long workday to head out for a nighttime run in the Connecticut winter. Having the Fenix HL50 LED headlamp means I have a dependable, durable, powerful, and easy to use light to show me the way. Let me know what you found that works best for you for nighttime running. Let’s start a conversation! Thanks.