Fenix HM65R Rechargeable Headlamp
If you are looking for the king of headlamps, look no further - the Fenix HM65R is it.
It's got nearly everything you could want: a spotlight, a floodlight, dust-proof and waterproof to 2m, and 1400 lumens of blinding power.
Best of all its powered by our favorite rechargeable battery, the Fenix 18650 3500 mAh which gets charged up via a fast-charging USB C port on the case.
We've had one for over a year, and it has become my go to light for everything, and lives within arms reach of all my most important daily tools.
The Best Emergency Headlamp
The HM65R fills a lot of niches, but let's start with emergency planning and prepping, since that's our thing over here.
So when we are considering products to fill that role they need to have the following characteristics: durable, reliable, and best in class performance.
Tough as Nails
Let's start with durability: the HM65R body is made from a magnesium alloy, not plastic, so it can take abuse and keep working. It's got a drop resistant rating of 6 feet on all sides - and it can withstand more than that in real world applications.
I've had mine all over the place, in the field, around worksites, camping, and hunting, and it still looks and works like it's brand new.
Rain and water wont stop this thing as long as you have all the openings properly sealed. The battery compartment has a gasket, and the charging port and control buttons are covered in a strong synthetic rubber material. Its IP68 rated if you're into that sort of thing.
The headband is thick and resilient, without being too bulky or heavy. The lamp, battery and case itself is heavier than what most people are probably used to, but after the initial surprise of its weight one quickly forgets it's on your head. The top strap mitigates the weight and helps balance the lamp.
The headband is also vented (to keep sweating to a minimum) and has an anti-slip coating along the inside to keep it in place.
Since we are on the subject of the headband, something to note is that the silver Fenix logo and squares which run along it are reflective. You may or may not appreciate this feature, it depends on whether you want to be seen or not.
Built To Last
Let's look at the reliability of the Fenix HM65R. The two most important potential failure points would be the lamps and the battery. The nice thing about the HM65R is that it has 2 separately activated lamps - so if you lose one, at least you've got another backing it up.
The lamps: Cree XM-L2 U2 white, XP-G2 R5 neutral white LED, with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.
Its true power lies with the 18650 battery platform it uses. The 18650 is our favorite battery out there right now. It's a total powerhouse, but more importantly it has a huge reserve of power - so it lasts and lasts.
It will hold its charge for up to a year, and is super easy to charge up - just plug in a USB C cable and watch it fill up in no time.
*2600mAh battery pictured here, but the MH65R actually comes with a larger 3,500mAh battery
The HM65R is also a true dual fuel lamp, you can run it off of two 3V/CR123A batteries in addition to an 18650.
Pro tip: grab a backup battery - our favorite is the Fenix ARB-L18-3500U, which is 3,500mAh and also has a built-in micro-USB charging port!
Our Favorite 18650 Battery
Typical Price: $23
Specs: A massive battery with 3500mAh of power and our favorite feature, a built-in micro-USB charging port. This allows you multiple ways to charge it up: via external charger, in the device, or stand-alone with a readily available micro-USB cable.
Also includes a charging indicator light. It also includes a protection circuit in the anode to help prevent short circuits, over charge/discharge and over heating.
You won't truly be able to appreciate the power of this headlamp until you try one. It's stunning how powerful it is.
It lights up the world around you when you have both lamps going at once. You can see nearly 200 feet away and everything in between will pop right out at you, no matter how dark it is.
If you don't need all that power, no problem, the lights are adjustable, and you can pull the floodlight back down to 50 lumens at 350cd, which is perfect for poking around a campsite at night without blinding the whole place.
OK nerds, here's the numbers for you:
I'm a huge fan of this headlamp. Yes it's bulky, but having ALL THE LUMENS makes up for it. It's like having the power of a thousand suns on your forehead, and that is an awesome power, truly.
My only sadness: I like red lights at night in the field. There is no red light on this beast.
If you are of smaller head, or don't like heavy things on your noggin, then you might not like this headlamp. You don't need to do neck exercises or anything, but it's a not diminutive thing, fair warning.
It also takes a little getting used to the two buttons, and remembering that you have to press and hold to turn off. Short press cycles brightness. I make the mistake all the time, it's not really a thing but, well...I said it anyway.
Try one of these, you'll like it.
Where to get one:
Typical Price: $95
Had this lamp for a year now and it is just the bomb.com. It's like carrying a lighthouse on your head. Spotlight modes and floodlight modes allow you to shoot a hot beam a long way or a nice dispersed light for up close work. Waterproof and dust proof.
1000 lumens with 6,677 candela in Turbo mode. Up to 300 hours runtime in Low floodlight mode. It's a little bulkier than other headlamps but it's not uncomfortable and once you get used to the light this thing puts out it's hard to use anything else!