This is our review of the best headlamps for duck hunting.
Life is more difficult when you can’t see.
That’s why a good headlamp can make things a lot easier, especially hunting waterfowl.
Headlamps can help you when getting set up before you hunt early in the morning before daybreak.
We have reviewed many of the headlamps on the market today to help you figure out which one will work best for you. We focused on finding lights that are bright, lightweight, comfortable, and waterproof.
Our top choice is the Black Diamond Icon700. It offers tons of great features and is lightweight, high-performance, and very durable.
5 Best Headlamps for Duck Hunting
|Top Pick||Black Diamond Icon700||9.5|
|Runner Up||Fenix HM65R-T||9.4|
|Runner Up||Nitecore NU32||9.0|
|Runner Up||Streamlight ProTac HL||8.5|
|Best Budget Headlamp for Duck Hunting||Streamlight 61051||9.2|
1. Black Diamond Icon700
- Emits 700 lumens on max setting
- Brightness Memory allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness without reverting back to full power
- PowerTap Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power
If you want the best headlamp possible, we think your best bet is to go with the Black Diamond Icon700. This light offers many great features you will love.
First, it has red, green, and blue light night mode settings so you can select which helps you see best.
It is very bright at 700 lumens and offers settings for long distance as well as close up.
The battery life is great and it is comfortable on your head.
It is very well made, and with a water resistance rating of IPX67, you won’t have to worry about it cutting out on you if it gets wet.
- 700 Lumens
- Red, Blue, and Green LEDs
- Waterproof to 1 meter
- AA Batteries
2. Fenix HM65R-T
- POWERFUL DUAL-BEAM HEADLAMP - The Fenix HM65R-T provides a 1300 lumens spotlight for up to 185 yards long range visibility and a 400 lumens floodlight for close range illumination.
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE - The magnesium alloy frame is 32% lighter than aluminum but just as durable. Impact resistance up to 2 meters, IP68 waterproof.
- COMFORTABLE HEADBAND - HM65R-T comes with a lighter and more visible headband with a secure SPORT Fit tightening system. Drastically reduces the weight and improves the comfort of the headband - ideal for trail runners.
Fenix makes great lights, and the HM65R-T is no exception.
This light is extremely bright at 1500 lumens and offers various intensity settings.
It comes with USB-C rechargeable batteries which last much longer than a typical AA.
Another nice feature is the easy to use switch which helps when wearing thick gloves.
It is very well made and has an IP68 so water is not a concern.
- 1500 Lumens
- White LEDs
- Spotlight and Floodlight Beam
- IP68 Water Rating
- Up to 100 Hour Battery Life
- Rechargeable Battery
3. Nitecore NU32
- HIGH PERFORMANCE- Equipped with a CREE XP-G3 S3 LED, the NITECORE NU32 emits a bright 550 lumens for distances up to 136 yards on Turbo mode.
- VERSATILE WITH MULTIPLE OUTPUTS - Its primary white LED offers four brightness settings from 1 to 550 lumens. Additional high CRI auxiliary LEDs are designed for close up tasks and reading with even flood illumination, or switch to the red auxiliary LED and protect your night vision.
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMFORTABLE - Weighing a mere 3.5 ounces, the NU32 allows you to run at night, camp outdoors, and perform automotive repairs and household tasks without noticing it is there.
The Nitecore NU32 is another great choice for a headlamp. It is similar to the Fenix in that it uses a rechargeable battery done with a USB cable.
This is a nice feature as it doesn’t require you to remove the battery to recharge it.
It is very bright at a max intensity of 550 lumens and has 4 different light levels. It has an IP67 rating so it should be plenty waterproof for duck hunting.
The only downsides are that the button is a little worse than some of the other models and it does not not have multiple color choices like some of the others reviewed.
- 550 Lumens
- White LED
- IP67 Water Rating
- Rechargeable Battery
4. Streamlight ProTac HL
- C4 LED technology for extreme brightness; LED solid state power regulation provides maximum light output throughout battery life
- TEN-TAP programmable switch allows users to select one of three different programs
- Output on high is 1000 lumens with a runtime of 1.5 hours, a distance of 232 meters, and intensity of 13,500 candelas; output on the medium is 400 lumens with a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes, distance of 147 meters, and an intensity of 5,400 candelas; output on low is 65 lumens with a runtime of 20 hours, a distance of 60 meters, and an intensity of 900 candelas
The Streamlight ProTac HL is another contender you should consider.
Streamlight is a very popular light manufacturer, especially in the tactical community. This light is marketed as a tactical light but would be a solid choice for hunting as well.
Like some of the others, it is very bright at 1000 lumens and comes with green light and red light color caps.
It has a nice 90 degree tilting feature which reduces neck strain, and is well constructed.
At IPX4, it doesn’t have as good of a water resistance rating but it is still sufficient for duck hunting. It also doesn’t have quite as good of a run time as some of the others.
- 100 Lumens
- White LED with Color Caps
- IPX4 Water Rating
- Up to 20 Hour Battery Life
- Rechargeable Battery
Best Budget Headlamp for Duck Hunting: Streamlight 61051
- Three Ultra Bright White 5mm LEDs and a C4 Power LED Headlamp
- Equipped With a Low Battery Warning Indicator
- One handed snap-on and tighten interface keeps hands away from muzzle when attaching/detaching
As you are aware, hunting can be an expensive hobby. The Steamlight 61051 is an excellent choice for hunters on a budget.
This headlamp features both white and green LEDs with various levels of brightness setting.
The quality of this light is good, what you would expect from Streamlight.
It also has a pretty good water resistance rating of IPX4 which will be fine as long as you don’t submerge it.
It isn’t the brightest light we reviewed but still provide more than enough light for hunting use.
We like this model so much, it is the one we use.
It is perfect if you want to have a backup headlamp that you can throw in your glove box.
- 80 Lumens
- White and Green LEDs
- IPX4 Water Rating
- Up to 63 hours runtime
- AAA Batteries
- Low Battery Warning
Who Should Buy a Headlamp for Duck Hunting
If you are hunting duck early in the morning then you will find a good headlamp to be a useful investment.
A dependable headlamp is a major upgrade to using a handheld flashlight.
Being able to see what you are doing when it is cold, dark, even rainy, makes duck hunting much more enjoyable.
Next time you are digging around in your blind bag in the dark you’ll be happy you have one.
Technology has come a long way in making compact, high-performing lights. Gone are the days of fumbling around with a flashlight while needing an extra hand. Having it mounted to your head keeps both hands free for whatever task is at hand.
Guide to Buying a Headlamp for Duck Hunting
When selecting a headlamp, there are a few key features you want to pay attention to.
Size and Weight
In most cases, you are going to prefer a small light when it is strapped to your head. A lightweight headlamp will prevent you from straining your neck and it won’t be as lightly to move around when it is on your head.
The whole point of a headlamp is to make it so you can see what you are doing in the dark. You are going to want something that is sufficiently bright.
But picking only based on lumen count would be a mistake. We detail why further down but to summarized, extremely bright lights usually mean your batteries are going to drain faster.
How focused the beam of light is will affect how bright the light appears. The higher end models usually will have multiple options that allow you to adjust the beam spread to fit the situation.
LEDs are the only way to go nowadays. All the headlamps above use either a white or RGB (red green blue) LED. LEDs are the best choice for bulb type because they are lightweight and much more efficient than the alternatives used in the past.
Some of the best headlamps we recommend come with different color options.
Here are some guidelines for when each color is most useful:
- White light is best for all around general use.
- Red light is good for use at night because it doesn’t cause our pupils to constrict as much as white light. It works best to preserve your eyes ability to see in the dark.
- Green light is best for when you really want to see the details of what you are doing because our eyes are the most sensitive to green
- Blue light is not as useful when hunting but can have advantages in some cases. One example is trying to read a map (map lines are usually red). Blue light will maintain your ability to read things with red lines or text. If you tried to read the map with a red light, it will be hard to see the red lines.
Duck hunting almost always involves being around a body of water. And if often takes place in less than ideal weather so you want a headlamp that will still work if it gets wet.
The longer the battery lasts, the better. You don’t want a light that is constantly going dead or burning through batteries faster than you can buy them.
All the headlamps we recommend use either AAA batteries or rechargeable batteries. There are pros and cons to each.
The rechargeable batteries save you money in the long run.
But it can be nice to not have to carry a backup light and just have a few extra batteries in your blind bag.
Are More Lumens Better for a Hunting Headlamp?
Comparing lights by lumen count can be a bit more complicated than it seems.
On the surface, more lumens means the headlamp is going to output more light.
But how bright the light appears will also depend on how focused the beam is as well as the color of the light.
What headlamp manufacturers don’t always make clear is the impact of running the light on its highest setting has on battery life.
A lot of headlamps will advertise a very high lumen count to make it seem better than its competitors.
What they don’t tell you is how quickly running the headlamp on high can drain the battery.
The point is, don’t be mislead by extraordinary claims of high lumen counts. They are often used by light companies as a marketing gimmick to try to outshine their competitors.
Why Should You Trust Us?
The reviews on HuntingSage are written by people who actually hunt and use the products while doing so.
Over the years we have tried countless flashlights and headlamps for hunting.
From all that experience, we have a good idea of what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to selecting a hunting headlamp.
We are not affiliated with any of the companies recommended in this article and did not receive any endorsements.
The reviews are based off our own experience and opinions.
If you purchase a headlamp based on our reviews and use one of my links, we receive a small commission (usually a couple %). You do not get charged any extra. This money goes towards keeping the site running, buying more gear, and rewards us a little for the time it takes to put these articles together.
A good headlamp is something every waterfowl hunter will find useful.
Whether searching through your gear or making your way to your blind, a bright light can help.
Every hunter has different needs. There are a lot of great options to choose from in this article.
For most hunters, the Black Diamond Icon700 is a fantastic choice.
If you are interested in reading more hunting gear reviews checkout our page on Duck Hunting Gear.
What are IP ratings?
The headlamps reviewed offer various levels of water resistance ratings. Each review includes the rating for the light. If you want to learn more about IP ratings, see this Wikipedia page.