Headlamp for Running & Skiing: What to Look For

headlamp for running and skiing at night

A headlamp is a must-have accessory for the most serious endurance athletes who take their training into the night. In addition to safety, it greatly simplifies training when daylight hours get shorter. Lighted trails for running can be easily found in large cities, but in smaller towns and rural areas, a headlamp is a must.

For trail runners and cross-country skiers, it’s just you and nature. Having a good headlamp is crucial to light the way. The article discusses how to choose a headlamp for both running and skiing, what key features and characteristics to consider, and how to narrow down your choice.

Key Features of Headlamps for Runners and Skiers

A running headlamp, which is also called a running head torch, is practical for both running and skiing, in addition to other outdoor uses. However, with skiing, you’ll want a light that can handle cold weather conditions. Here are several key features to consider.

running headlamp


The power and range of the beam is the most important characteristic of a headlamp, measured in lumens. The more lumens, the brighter the headlamp shines. The power of the simplest running headlamp is 15-50 lumens. They are suitable for short-term movement (an hour or two) at dusk, for example, if you start early in the morning.

For longer runs in the dark, use headlamps with a power of 100 lumens or more. At some starts, the organizers write the recommended power of the lantern. Choose a headlamp with several modes of operation, including diffused light. This saves a lot of battery power, and the ambient light mode helps on descents.


The average weight of a headlamp is 50-150 grams. The fewer functions and modes a headlamp has, the lighter it is. Weight is also affected by the type and number of batteries. The large weight of the headlamp must be justified by the power.

Try to find the optimal ratio of power to weight so that there is enough light and it is easy to run with a headlamp. For cross-country skiing, you can take a more powerful headlamp with a long run time but sacrifice weight. There is no shaking on the skis and the light will not dangle under its own weight.

IPXX Index

The degree of protection indicates the IPXX index, where the first X is the level of protection against solid particles. The second X is the level of protection against moisture. The index is indicated on the packaging of the headlamp. If only one value is indicated, then the headlamp was tested for only one indicator. Pay attention to the moisture resistance index. A lantern with an index of IPX4 will withstand rain and sleet.

Working Hours

A headlamp’s operating time is measured in hours. The more powerful the headlamp, the faster it discharges. The power of the headlamp will be 200 lumens only for the first time, and as the battery is discharged, the light will dim.

To conserve power, use different modes: very bright light is not always needed. When driving uphill, minimum power is sufficient, but on the descent, maximum power is needed. Usually, on the box from under the lamp, the operating time and the range of light at a certain power are indicated. In conditions of heat and cold, the operating time of the headlamp is reduced.

Battery type

The headlamp is powered by a rechargeable battery or batteries. The difference between the two is that rechargeable batteries can be recharged, while batteries are disposable batteries. Typically, the design of the headlamp allows you to use both types of power. If the battery is dead, you can replace it with a battery, and vice versa. Choose a battery-powered headlamp if you won’t be able to charge the battery for a long time.

Operating Modes

There are three main modes: economic, standard, and maximum power mode. It is important to correctly switch modes in order to save charge. At maximum power, even the most expensive running headlamp will not work for a long time. Some models have a flashing mode and a red light. These modes are used to send an SOS signal.

Additional Considerations for Headlamps

Other considerations to keep in mind when searching for the best headlamp for running or skiing include:

  1. Choose a headlamp according to your needs. For ski training, a more powerful and heavier headlamp is often preferred and suitable. On cross-country skis, the weight won’t get in the way much, and powerful lighting is essential for safety on the descents. Do not forget that batteries and batteries hold their charge worse in the cold, so a light with an extended operating time will only be a plus. But for running it is better to choose the lightest light, but with sufficient power.
  2. Focus on the type of competition. If you need a light for a couple of hours at dusk during the launch, it makes no sense to buy a highly powerful light. And if you have to run for almost a day, spend the night in the forest, choose one from 100 lumens and take replaceable batteries.
  3. Make sure you can easily operate the buttons and light modes while wearing gloves. Most lights for running and endurance sports are easy to control
  4. Try on a wearable light and make sure that you’re comfortable. The lantern should sit tightly, not move out while driving, but also not press. Jump around and shake your head to make sure the lantern is not moving.
  5. It is important that the angle of inclination is adjusted at the lantern. This will come in handy on climbs and descents.
  6. Choose high-quality and durable lights that will not let you down on the track. Pay attention to the lights of trusted brands. Do not buy cheap lights from an unrecognizable brand.

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