FENIX HL60R Headlamp Review: A High Utility Premium Headlamp For Trekkers

B eing an avid trekker, I am constantly on the lookout for trek gears that are innovative and have good value for money. To my delight, the FENIX HLR60R headlamp turned out to be just that.

It was beginning to get dark at the campsite when I took this headlamp out of its box. Having experienced several headlamps over the years I was looking forward to discovering if this was any different. I had glanced at its main features on the cover box earlier that morning.

I tested this product on an overnight camping trek to Channarayana Durga trek near Bangalore.

In this article, I will guide you through the pros and cons of using the HL60R. Scroll down to read more and decide if this is a headlamp that suits your trekking needs.

First Impressions

Both parts of the headlamp (the actual lamp and the headstraps) were neatly placed in two different compact sections. First views – Lamp : sleek and sturdy. Headstraps : Light, easily stretchable elastic material.

Switching the headlamp on was very easy. The 5 different white light modes took me by surprise. The fifth mode of the HL60R at 950 lumens turned my tent into a giant incandescent bulb!

The second feature that immediately set the FENIX HL60R apart from regular headlamps was that it could turn 180 °. I was waiting to check this feature after reading about it. To my delight, I found that I just needed to rotate the main cylindrical body to face upwards or downwards or at any other angle I wanted.

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The Fenix HL60R comes with both a circular headstrap and an optional over-the-head strap. The headlamp has a strong metal feel.

Headstrap

I like the sturdy grip of the circular straps of the HL60R. The headstrap fit comfortably over my head and I was able to adjust the straps easily as well. The headlamp feels heavy in hand but once strapped to your head you do not feel the weight.

The over-the-head strap was not easy to fix though. In the absence of specific instructions on the booklet, it took a while to find out how to fit the attachments. I don’t see this as a necessary addition to the already good circular strap.

Headlamp Light Output

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The 6 different lighting modes is a huge advantage. When run on Eco mode it runs close to 100 hours

The headlamp has 5 white light output modes and one red light mode. The brightness and throw of the headlamp increase with each mode. The first mode is dim white light with a limited sphere that increases with each mode till it reaches an astounding 950 lumens with a throw of around 100 metres. You can easily switch between the various light options using one button.

I was easily able to see way beyond our campsite which was approximately 70 metres. The brightness of the light and its wide, even circle of brightness makes it very easy to trek or organise campsite activities that usually cannot be done after dark.

This trek was with a group of school students and many were reluctant to go to the toilet tents that were pitched 60 metres away. I mounted the FENIX HL60R on a pole and students had no more fear or hesitation. We also found it much easier to conduct campsite activities.

Multiple Brightness Modes

This headlamp comes with a wide array of brightness modes. As many as 6 modes are present ranging from the dual Red Led lights (which are really useful while doing less intensive work such as washing plates and saves a lot of battery) to the Turbo Mode (an incandescent bulb at 950 lumens).

The other modes are Eco, Low, Mid, and High. The packaging of the headlamp states different runtimes each mode can sustain on a full charge, and I found that they were pretty accurate. At turbo mode, this headlamp can reach a whopping 116 metres which is the largest that I’ve come across. Most of your after-dark campsite work can easily be done in the Eco to Low mode.

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The twin red Led lights which act as a warning sign for battery usage. It can also be utilized for a lot of less engaging works such as washing utensils, since it doesn’t dilate the pupils.

Battery

The HL60R comes with a rechargeable 18,650 lithium-ion battery (2600 mAh). After 4 nights of camping, there was no reduction in the lamp’s intensity. I really wanted to know if the batteries would last through a 4-6 day trek without losing charge. I, therefore, used it after the trek for several days on my night walks and also used it to light 3 rooms simultaneously during a power shutdown. The little guy just refused to give up!

When the battery finally started losing charge there were different light indicators from the time the charge reduced to 70%, 50% and finally 30% when the 2 red LEDs started flashing constantly. This is another excellent feature as you don’t want to be stranded in the dark without adequate warning. A flashlight that warns you well in advance before dying out is definitely a lifesaver!

The HL60R can be charged with any USB power supplier. 4 hours of recharging are required to fully recharge it. This can be difficult especially on a trek where power sources are rare and precious. However, if you plan to use it in the Eco mode, you can easily run it for close to 100 hours.

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The cylindrical section of the headlamp stores a battery in it. This setup can be rotated to 180 degrees.

Water Resistance

I read that the FENIX HL60R headlamp can be used in all weather conditions and can withstand being exposed to heavy rains as it has an all-metal casing with an ANSI IPX-8 waterproof classification. This feature is another plus as I remember all the times I struggled in the pouring rain trying to protect my headlamp while negotiating slippery slopes in the dark.

It did not rain on this trek so I actually kept the headlamp on under a shower for 10 minutes to test its waterproof claim. It stayed true to its promise.

A massive 180 degrees of Tilt

I was absolutely in love with this feature. The cylindrical drum (which also holds the battery) of HL60R can be rotated to the tilt you require. You can change the direction of the light to as many as 18 different angles.  This is a super feature as most headlamps do not have this flexibility. 

Conclusion

The Fenix HL60R Headlamp is definitely a notch above most headlamps in terms of brightness and range. A long-lasting battery and the sturdy waterproof metal body makes it a wonderful companion on long treks. The 180 degrees tilt feature and the warning signs when the battery is losing charge are added bonuses. All these features come together to make it a unique product.

All in all, I can say reviewing the FENIX HL60R was quite an experience. It is worth considering it if the price is not a major deterrent in selecting a headlamp. If you’re looking for a premium headlamp for your long Himalayan trek, definitely pick this one. You can buy this product from their official website here.


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Izzat Yaganagi

Izzat Yaganagi

Izzat is the Head of Outdoor Education Programmes at Indiahikes. She is also an avid trekker and promotes sustainable living. She believes that all children must trek since there's no better teacher than nature. When not busy with work, she loves doodling and gardening.

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