Recommend a headlamp

Well my cheap Chinese Walmart headlamps failed (not truly surprised)

So… I am thinking about ordering a Coast brand lamp, but before I do I thought I’d ask if there were any that you good folks think are superior for kayaking. The Coast brand headlamps say they are “storm resistant” or water resistant, but not water proof. So I am a bit hesitant.

What say ye all…?

I have 3 or 4 and a Vizz model by them.

Use apex for construction, mechanical work, emergencies. Rechargable batteries they are great. One the switch broke after years they just sent me a new one no receipt no questions. I was running a job with near 200,000 concrete block being installed in the basement. Mounted on my hardhat. Was turning it on and off every ten or 15 minutes for 9+ months. Use it in the kayak to navigate marshland at night. Few settings on apex even strobe. Viss lamp has red light option. Made in the USA.


For truly waterproof, a lot of sailors swear by the Mantus Marine one:

I have been happy with this one:

UK 3AAA Vizion Z3 - Headlamp – Underwater Kinetics (

I have had it for 5 or so years. Comfortable, simple, easy to use, very bright, seems to fit my needs. I would buy it again. Uses three AAA batteries that seem to last forever under my use.

Depends on lumens apex is 600. Do you want to see ahead, see your deck map, or just be seen? Don’t see IP rating on any of them?

Made in PA
I used the 3 aaa ones for years (10+?) working, camping and kayaking, and one is in my toolbox right now. I have 2 Enduro Pros, one is in the console of my work truck and the other is in my camper.
Light wise I like the 3 AAA better but the Enduro is lighter and adequate. I have used them in all weather and the only way I have ever damaged one is by leaving batteries in it until they leaked.
If you are going to use a headlamp, you want one that works for the area you are working in. If you want a Q-beam, then you need a Q-Beam, not a head light.

I do not like a strong headlamp for paddling. It affects night vision too much. I prefer a slightly different two light approach.

I use: 1) a cheap clip-on headlamp that has a red light option (for use underway to preserve night vision) with minimal white light (for use in a shore/camp setting/ or if absolutely needed it to read a chart underway). I consider those lights to be disposable if soaked & have bought them at a dollar store so having two or three onboard. There low cost does not break the bank. 2) a hand held dive light such as the Princetontec League is my primary light(s) to conform with Nav light requirements for a human powered vessel. I prefer the higher power/lumens white light to be at arms lenght IF used underway to preserve my night vision. I wear it on a lanyard around my neck and slip it between my body & PFD so it is always easily available.

My two light approach is not as convenient as wearing a strong headlight. I value night vision underway more than ease of use.

Don’t see how a strong headlamp on you head affects vision more than a car headlights?

If I go into a maze of marsh at night I need to see ahead. I need to see how the water is flowing to know where I can go through or exit.

For just light to identify you’re a paddle craft Tektite is unbeatable for me. Depends on your mission or goals.

Smaller Vizz light is always with me and has red light option. Apex 600 lumen is when I know it’s a night paddle. Looking far ahead let’s me judge water conditions and boat wake size.

Plus always a smaller ACR strobe in my PFD and a signal mirror.

I’ll find the apex light later it’s bigger and has 4 AA batteries.

Tektite on my bag is 2 LED the others are 4 LED. It’s enough to light my compass at night ahead of my deck bag.

They keep getting better.
I have tried at least 6 different companies, now I like Petzl. They come in bright colors so I can find them. They last a long time.


It has two settings on 4 side LED lights and two on main light. Bit heavy with four batteries for some. I mounted one on my hardhat for work.

My first career at sea driving ships around the oceans taught me the importance of night vision. Any white light affects it. I miniimize white light use to absolute safety when paddling at night based on years of night watches.


Cataracts will affect night vision also. I know that personally, but it’s all great now, surgery. :laughing:

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I don’t remove batteries now that they have such a long shelf live. Any opinions? I do dab dielectric on contact points.

Wow…there is much more to this topic then I thought. Thanks to you all.
Keep it coming.

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Zebra light. Bright and long lasting.

I’ve had one of those for years. Great light!

Nitecore NU25. Small. Light. Red light controlled by its own button, no fussing with remembering some button-press sequence. USB chargeable ( I have small USB battery banks in my camping and paddling gear).

How many of these recommended headlamps have been used in wet ways for years? (or even immersed)
My creepie Walmart lamps were excellent for the amount of light they put out, and their battery life was quite good too. It was the fact they failed from getting wet that I am wanting to avoid with the lamp I get to replace them.
I have 2 of them and one failed completely after my first nigh paddle trip when the waves were high and wind-spray was in my face for about 3 hours. I dried it out but it never “healed”.

The other one stopped working after sunrise when I took it off and put it in my deck bungie. It was getting a good wash-over for about 30 minutes. 2 days later it started to work again, but I can see the weakness and don’t want it to fail when it’s needed most.

If looking for a waterproof headlamp, why not find one that’s specifically for diving? If it’s made to be used under water, it should handle getting splashed without worry.


I have had the same thought. Dive lights are larger and heavier, but it may be worth the extra bulk and weight to have total reliability.

Coast is coming out with one that interests me, but it will not be available for 3 -4 months. Not a dive light, but good to 10 meters and has a guarantee, but is not larger then the other small headlamps I have seen.

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