Best headlamp for nighttime skiing/biking?

I am looking at two models in particular, the Moonlight Bright as Day 2000 ( and the Fenix HP30R V2.0 Rechargeable (

The Moonlight’s specs:

True Lumens 2000
Light Spread 2 x 15°
Lamp Weight
Lamp head 6061-T6 Aluminium Alloy
Battery weight 186g
Battery type
2 cells type 21700 9,600mAh (3.7V)
Headband type
Total lamp weight 347g
Runtime 4 dimm levels:
#1: 20h (5%, 100lm)
#2: 6h (25%, 500lm)
#3: 3h (50%, 1,000lm)
#4: 1h30 (100%, 2,000lm)
Mount GoPro QuickClip compatible
Waterproof rating IP67

The Fenix’s specs:

Utilizes Cree XP50 White LED and XP-G3 S4 Neutral White LED’s with lifespans of 50,000 hours

Turbo: 2000 Lumens, 6 hours, 823 ft
High: 800 Lumens, 12 hours, 511 ft
Med: 200 Lumens, 34 hours, 255 ft
Low: 50 Lumens, 120 hours, 137 ft

High: 1000 Lumens, 10 hours, 255 ft
Med: 200 Lumens, 34 hours, 115 ft
Low: 50 Lumens, 120 hours, 55 ft

Spotlight & Floodlight
Turbo: 3000 Lumens, 5 hours, 885 ft
High: 1800 Lumens, 6 hours, 580 ft
Med: 400 Lumens, 17 hours, 278 ft
Low: 100 Lumens, 60 hours, 147 ft

Rotating Control Switch
Power bank battery case
Battery Level Indicator
IP66 Water-resistance rating
Reflective headband
6.5 ft impact resistance
60° adjustable beam angle

INCLUDED: Two Fenix ARB-L21-5000mAh rechargeable Li-ion batteries
Recommended: Fenix 21700 Rechargeable batteries

Headlamp Size

Length: 3.62 inches
Width: 2.2 inches
Height: 1.73 inches
Weight: 15.4 Ounces (Including battery and headband)
Battery Case size
Length: 4.21 inches
Width: 1.97 inches
Height: 1.61 inches

They are both roughly the same price. Can anyone knowledgeable guide me a bit in my choice? Thank you!

What are your needs it terms of output vs runtime? Do You really want 2000 lumens? 90 % of the headlamps I have seen on reviews can’t handle 2000 lumens output for very long.

No experience with either of these lights but a few quick observations. The 5000 mAh Fenix batteries go for $26 each. That’s a lot compared to the cost of the Panasonic 3,400 mAh 18650 batteries I use in a lot of my lights. These lights have turbo modes. How long can you run either one in turbo mode before it automatically goes to a lower setting in order to keep from frying the LEDs? That’s a complaint I read over and over where some light manufacturers offer a very bright maximum setting but in reality it only works for a very short period of time. My other pet peeve is with the manufacturers who put in a totally useless setting so they can list a ridiculously long run time in big print. The Fenix 50 lumen setting in turbo mode is case in point. That’s half the output of my daytime running light that I paid 5 bucks for. I can’t imagine it would be good to see anything at night.

Since I wear a helmet even while riding a recumbent trike, a headlamp is out of consideration unless it mounts on a helmet.

I would need something reasonably bright to light up the forest or ski trail going downhill at a rapid rate, say at least 2 hours worth.

I’m not skiing but I would imagine you need quite a lot of lumen at a rapid rate. I doubt you can find a 2000 lumens with constant output for 2 hours though. Maybe Lupine can do this, but I hope you have very good pay checks. Between 800-1200 lumens is more realistic. The HP30R v2.0 is quite a big headlamp. Heavy too. If that’s not a problem for you, then go with it. I do not know about Moonlight Mountain Gear. I can’t find good reviews with runtimes. I only trust well tested products. Even from a valuable compagny like Fenix.

You can find a very interesting review of the HP30R V2 here on BLF. Including runtimes:

For lighter options maybe have a look at theses headlamps for constant at ~800-1200 lumens:

Note that the H600c may not reach the 2 hours mark at level 11. Maybe 1,5 hour. Can’t expect more with a 18650.

Are you going to be wearing a helmet…like you’d need to add adhesive clips to use those models with headbands?

If helmet and if you have a ski helmet with vents (spindrift screens can be knocked out) I’d recommend something like this. I’ve got an older XM-L version and the light is impressive. Has a 1m cable (overall about 1.2m) which is long enough to reach into an upper pack pocket. The mount has a safety breakaway feature so if you take a spill your head won’t get wrenched around and increase the chances of a neck injury…something a lot of people don’t think about. It’s bright enough and reaches out enough that I never felt apprehensive about riding full speed and getting a little air downhill. It’s not a throwy light, per se, but it’s a good beam and I think it’d probably do fine for skiing. I’ve not opened the pack and they won’t tell me what cells they use, but their quality is top notch and they’re actually smart folks, so I suppose the cells are excellent (performance and lifetime on mine seem to be).

They’re in New Hampshire, so they might be able to just throw one over the border at you. :slight_smile:

They have a larger 4-emitter model as well.

Most flashlight-brand headlamps are not going to give you what you want (if they can, then they’re going to be heavy/awkward for these activities).

There are a lot of lights that will do what you want with big cooling fins for continuous high lumens from the orienteering world and are also commonly used in skiing (and enduro, dog mushing). Moonlight seems to be newer. I only heard of them first last year because Kilian Jornet started using them. I like the more tried and true orienteering light designs better. They have more of an upright and flat light head profile for better balance/stability. Here are some examples:

Lucifer L+ or bigger (X, Ultra). The guy behind the company also posts here and other light forums. The cables are a frequent failure point on big, remote battery lights, and Lucifer is one of the few to specifically focus on cable reliability, including in the cold: Powerful and best LED headlamps

Any of the Ledx (Snok, Mamba, Cobra, and some older models): LEDX Lights Sweden | In search for the perfect headlamp

Lumonite Air2 or bigger: Lights - LUMONITE.COM

There are also the larger Silva lights (Spectra), various Lupines, and the larger Milas.

This shop has a selection of orienteering lights. I’d avoid the M Tiger Sports (poor support): Headlight packages with options | SM Sport Orienteering

I have no answer, but a question out of curiosity — how to lithium ion batteries perform at 0 degrees C? or –30 C? I once went skiing at Stevens Pass, WA, and it was –15 F at night, icicles where on everyone’s beards, eyebrows and eyelashes. One run was enough for me…

I’ve since skiied quite a few times in Montana at zero F, but in the day so it really felt like nothing unusual.

For the larger lights like many of the ones mentioned in this thread, the battery packs are remote. There are dedicated battery vests that you can wear under a jacket or use a jacket pocket. Or if the battery is on back of the headstrap, you can keep it covered under a hooded jacket.

For the L-style or T-style, single 18650 headlamps that are more commonly talked about on BLF, my strategy in the cold is if I’m not using the headlamp right away, I keep it warm by wearing it backwards under the hood of the insulated hooded jackets that I always wear for cross country skiing or running. The battery become exposed to the cold when I’m using it, so I use the highest sustainable settings or a bit under if I need the runtime - roughly in the 400-900 lumens range. The brighter the better is what I want anyway. I’m with the OP and find 1000+ lumens sustained desirable for skiing/running/orienteering. The high current draw of the higher levels keeps the battery warm. If you try to run lower brightness, the battery will get cold and the headlamp will get dim quickly. Use it or lose it. The cold is good for emitter heat dissipation, particularly with the wind from skiing, so most of these headlamps can sustain higher lumens in the cold than at room temperature.

You might be interested in the Olight H67:

Only available in Europe:

Technically legit:

In my experience there are 2 critical, often overlooked factors for a skiing/biking light. Probably overlooked because most of the users here aren’t moving at great speed and having to make quick decisions.

  1. Color temp. A cool temp is much less effective at revealing the terrains texture. Seeing texture is critical when moving at speed-it’s the difference between knowing whether that rapidly approaching dark orb is a rock or a divot. I find this effect to be so dramatic that a cool light forces me to slow down significantly even when the terrain is “well lit”. I’d readily choose a neutral/warm light with 1/2 the lumens of a very cool one for this purpose.

  2. Throw. There is a cult of flood amongst most headlamp users, and headlamp companies are more than happy to oblige (especially since it’s more difficult for them make a headlamp with throwy reflector in a convenient form factor). There are very few relatively throwy headlamps on the market, and even fewer that are also neutral/warm. Having decent throw is imperative if you’re planning on moving at 20-60MPH over uneven terrain, and the overwhelming majority of headlamps (including all the high-end, high lumen favorites) simply fail to deliver.

Great answer, thank you!