I’m not a huge fan of BioLite’s wood-burning camp stove, the device that put them on the map. Sooty, fussy, and a stove that requires you to constantly remove whatever cooking vessel you are using to add more sticks to the flame—nah, not for me. So when they announced their 330 Headlamp, I was both puzzled (I thought they just made cooking gear?) and not all that interested. But then I tried one. They nailed it. A three-run home run to win the World Series from an unlikely player—pick a metaphor about success from a surprising source, and that’s how I felt.
There’s no reason to overthink a headlamp, so this is really what you need to know: this headlamp is comfortable. The most comfortable I’ve ever worn. Built with something called “3D SlimFit Construction,” the very thin, very light lamp wraps nicely around your head with a moisture-wicking headband. It stays there. Running, mountain biking, nordic skiing, jumping up and down to try to make it slide onto my face—I’ve tried all of that and it just stays put. The battery pack is at the back of the headband, so the balance is excellent.
As for the most important function, the light is plenty bright at 330 lumens. The beam’s size is adjustable from flood to spot, there are dimming functions, a red flood light, and a strobe pattern. With a finger you can articulate the light up or down at a small plastic tab at the top of the lamp. A satisfying click locks the lamp into place at each angle, and it will stay just fine like that too while running, unlike heavier lamps that will droop if angled down while bouncing along a road.
The whole thing weighs just under 2.5 ounces and can be worn all night and to sleep (I’ve done this a ton) without hurting your noggin. It’s that slim fitting and cushy.
Battery power lasts 40 hours on low or 4 hours on high, so it’s good for a typical backcountry excursion without needing a recharge halfway through.
The only thing that bugs me at all about this lamp—and this is really me searching for a problem here—but because the light assembly is so weightless and thin, and I’m because I’m accustomed to having a heavier light on my forehead, I put this lamp on backward often. The battery pack is much bigger than the lamp and it’s a reflex to orient that part forward. I’ve had this lamp for months, and I still do it.
But who cares about that? The headlamp costs only $50, far less than most lamps even close to this light in weight. There isn’t a more comfortable headlamp out there either. This is a very clever lamp designed with elegance and simplicity in mind and it’s an easy recommend.
$50 • BUY
Light your way with these lamps too
The Ledlenser MH6 was my go-to before the BioLite. With a beam you can focus and 200 bright lumens, it’s a solid, rechargeable light. $50
With the Petzl Actik Core you can use either AAA batteries, or a rechargeable pack. It weighs a bit more than the BioLite, and burns out a little faster, but a solid lamp for the price. $70
Black Diamond’s Spot is a cool little headlamp, that’s also water resistant. Pretty light too. A great deal at $40.