The best battery-free headlamp we’ve tested

Posted by Melanie van Zyl on 5 December 2017

Whether you’re a hiker, camper or trail runner a decent headlamp must combine power and durability in a lightweight, and preferably affordable, package.

Also read: The best new light for outside


This is the best battery-free headlamp we’ve tested

The new Petzl Actik Core is all of these, and charges via USB cable too. Petzl estimates that during the lifetime of a headlamp about 900 batteries get used – I don’t know how true this is, but even if you save 50 batteries it’s a win for your pocket and the environment.

This little light weighs just 80g, but packs a hefty punch emitting 350 lumens of light (most headlamps in this price range peak at just 200) with a maximum beam distance of 95m. It’s easy to operate and features include white, red and dim lights plus an SOS whistle built into the comfy head strap.

The whistle is kind of gimmicky, but could be useful on trail running or night-hiking excursions where safety is a concern. Primarily rechargeable, the headlamp can also work off three ordinary AAA batteries in emergencies. Incredible brightness and beam control makes this new piece of headgear above average in almost every category, plus the Actik Core has an IPX4 water-resistant rating, so it’s splash-proof.




Petzl Actik Noctilight
You can also turn the Actik Core headlamp into a gleaming lantern by placing it into the Petzl Noctilight case. No bigger than a tennis ball, this compact zip-up case effectively diffuses light and hangs easily from a tree or tent loop. The case can also be used for other Petzl headlamp models.



This awesome headlamp first appeared in the September Getaway issue.

Get this issue →

Our September issue features 11 amazing beach cottages, two ways to see the Klein Karoo, a windswept 4X4 drive in Namibia, our guide to swimming in Greece and much more!