My criteria for “good gear” make a simple set of metrics: Does it work? Does it make my time in the outdoors easier? Do I have to futz with it too much to be effective?
It does not matter if the gear is cottage gear, higher-end, or a budget choice. I want my tools to work and to work well.
And add to that toolkit a headlamp. You can geek out over headlamps with lumens, beam focus, weight etc., etc.
A bright, light, easy-to-use light settings, water-resistant, and reliable, it is one of those simple but elegantly designed pieces of gear I’ll use for years to come.
The Nitecore NU25 at a glance
- 360 max output lumens with four different white light settings of a low, medium, bright, and turbo mode; bright enough for general use and then some! As with almost all headlamps, the NU25 also features an emergency strobe light mode, among other settings.
- Intense beam (1650 cd) and effective distance of 81m. (In somewhat more plain English)
- Two different red light settings of low and high
- USB Rechargeable
- IP66 rated waterproofness and dust resistance (In non-tech speak, that means highly water and dust resistant)
- Articulated for the adjustment and placement of the beam
- Lockout mode to prevent accidental turning on
- Separate buttons for a red light and white light modes. My favorite part of this headlamp!
- 160 hours of battery in low light white-light mode, 8 hrs in medium mode (my most used), or 8 hours of red light high mode (also used frequently).
- Modify the headlamp cheaply and easily for ~1 oz total weight with band. Otherwise, the headlamp weighs just under 2oz.
What does all this crap mean in the field?
Beyond the numbers, I find the headlamp functional and easy to use. The simple addition of two buttons that allow you to choose between a red and white light mode means I can easily switch between the light as needed with the light I no longer need shutting off quickly. No cycling through five or six settings just to get a red vs. white light!
Though the square shape may not win any aesthetic awards, I find it fits comfortably on the head and works well.
At this time of the year, I typically set up camp and get dinner cooking with the medium white light mode and then switch to the red light mode for eating dinner or finding something at night.
Finally, as with all the headlamps I now use, it recharges easily via USB. No need to futz with batteries.
I mean, it’s a headlamp at the end of the day. But feature-packed one just under $40 rivals, and often exceeds, more expensive and more well-known models from other companies. At only one ounce (modified), it seems a no-brainer to purchase this one for backpacking needs if you find you’ll use it often and for years to come.
People with different needs may want another headlamp. But for backpacking use, I can’t think of anything better that will fit my needs.
Disclosure – I purchased the NU25 with my funds.