The Tikka XP Headlamp from Petzl is, put simply, the perfect modern headlamp. While not the cheapest at $54.95 (you can get perfectly good headlamps for 20 bucks), it has the features you need when you spend quite a few days out of doors each year. Specifically: multiple brightness settings and a red light.
Functionally, it’s recommend as well: a sturdy ergonomic headband and a switch that won’t turn on in your pack.
The Tikka XP features multiple beams for proximity lighting, trail travel, and long-range vision at 110 lumens up to 65 meters (wide, mixed and focused). For further distances, pump up the lamp to “boost mode” for a quick 140 lumen light as far as 70 meters.
The red light option is crucial for close quarters or when there’s a lot of people in your group with headlamps on. And a strobe setting is invaluable to signal your presence or add extra visibility around bikes or vehicles.
Another cool feature from Petzl is that brightness doesn’t dim as the battery begins to die. When the power does reach its minimum, the lamp will automatically switch to the red setting to preserve remaining power (therefore, also a battery level indicator).
The comfortable headband works well with some helmets and is washable.
Part of that price is the weight you’re not paying for, at only 85 grams.
The battery lasts anywhere from 2 to 12 hours depending on the setting.
It’s not rated submersible but we tested it in rain and snow with no problems. Like many headlamps in this category, it runs on three AAA batteries.