Saturday, January 18, 2020

Gear Review: BioLite Headlamp 330


The Dirt:

What is it? Rechargeable Headlamp

Comes with: Headlamp; micro USB cable

Batteries: 900 mAh Lithium ion

Weight: 2.4 ounces

Max Output: 330 Lumens

Battery Life: High: 3.5 hours: Low: 40 hours

Walk into any REI and have a look at the headlamp wall... Everything looks the same. Dozens of models from Black Diamond, Petzl and Princeton-Tec offering a wide range of lumens, functions and features. They all look the same, and essentially do the same thing. So which one do you choose? In a sea of sameness the Biolite Headlamp 330 rises to the top as an innovative leap forward in headlamp design.

It's all about the strap. All of this headlamp's hardware is built into it, and the battery moved to the back. This makes for a very secure, comfortable fit. The light actually sits flush on your forehead because it's built into the strap. None of the plastic housing touches your skin. The housing is so lightweight and small it's practically unnoticeable while wearing. In fact it feels like a headband, and it doesn't bounce when you walk or run. 

Which brings me to my only complaint.

Because the housing is so small, the single control button up top can be difficult to push when wearing gloves. With anything thicker than fleece gloves, manipulating the button or tilting the light's angle downward is nearly impossible.

Tiny house.

My only gripe aside, I love this headlamp. Other than the size and comfort, the simplicity is a breath of fresh air. Three brightness levels, a red light and strobe, ensure you're not wasting your time cycling through a million useless functions to find the right one. The 330 lumen spotlight is plenty bright for any camping or backpacking situation, and as long as you're not wasting the battery by needlessly running it on high, you can expect it to last any multi-day to week-long trip on one charge easy. 

At $59.95 the Biolite Headlamp 330 is on the expensive side, but remember, it's rechargeable. You'll never have to buy batteries which means you'll save money in the end. Especially considering that a single pack of four Energizer AAA lithium is nearly $10.00.

Bottom line is I would recommend the BioLite Headlamp 330 for hiking, camping, backpacking, running, or just everyday use. It's the most comfortable headlamp on the market, and the functions are simple and easy. If you're looking for a headlamp for mostly winter use, or have big hands, look elsewhere. The tiny button will drive you bonkers.