The BioLite Headlamp 200 is a micro-USB rechargeable LED headlamp that’s good for hiking, trail running, and camping. Weighing 1.75 oz, it has white and red modes, flood and spot modes, a dimmer, battery meter, and digital lock to prevent accidental discharge when carried in a backpack or waist pack. With a maximum brightness of 200 lumens, its 700 mAh Lithium-ion battery can power the headlamp for 3.0 hours on high at 200 lumens and up to 40 hours on low at 5 lumens of light. What sets the BioLite Headlamp 200 apart from other headlamps is the tight integration of the light into the head strap, giving it a thinner profile that helps minimize bouncing as your run or walk.
Specs at a Glance
- Weight: 1.75 oz (including headband)
- Battery: 700 mAh, Li-on, remote
- Max lumens: 200
- Beam distance: Flood 8 meters, spot 50 meters
- Weather-resistant: IPX4
- Modes: White and red
- Dimming: Yes
- Digital lock: Yes
- Power Indicator: Yes
- Micro-USB charging cable included
- Max run time: 3.0 hours on high; 40 hours on low
- Operating temperature: 14*F/ -10*C – 131*F / 55*C
- Recharging temperature range: 32*F/ 0*C – 113*F / 45*C
The Headlamp 200 has a front LED that rests on your forehead with a small built-in 700 mAh battery, so there aren’t any exposed wires between the light and a power pack. This differs from the larger Biolite Headamp 330 which has a remote battery pack separate from the LED unit and a higher capacity 900 mAh battery.
The Headlamp 200 has a front LED panel that tilts forward in four different positions so you can aim the light where you want it. The panel clicks through the positions one at a time and won’t move between positions even if you’re flying down the trail at a fast clip or run.
The LED switch is located at the center of the light panel, right in front of the angle control. It’s easy to depress with the meat of your thumb or a finger and provides click feedback as you loop through the different positions in the light’s control logic. This is an upgrade compared the Biolite Headlamp 330 where the switch was more difficult to depress.
The battery pack is built into the light panel and integrated headband so you don’t even know that it’s there. It has battery meter so you know how much power you have left and a micro-USB plug for recharging with a water-resistant cap and can be recharged while it’s in use.
The head strap adjustment is super easy to use. You simply grab the buckles on the sides of the battery and slide them forward to tighten the strap or backward to make it larger. It works great and a lot more intuitively than the headbands on other handlamps. In fact, it’s the most innovative thing about this headlamp, but probably not enough reason to buy it.
The Headlamp 200 has a lock mode that prevents accidental illumination and battery drain when the headlamp is carried in a backpack or your pocket. I consider this a must-have for day hiking and backpacking use. You simply hold the power button down for 8 seconds to lock the light or unlock it. The light switch will remember the setting you had when you set the lock and resume in that mode.
The control sequence is simple to remember, but also simple to reproduce because it is sequential. You just need to pause for a 1/2 second between each mode to proceed to the next.
- red flood (with dimmer)
- white spot (with dimmer)
- red strobe
- white strobe
The dimmer is engaged by pressing down and holding the power button when you’re in a mode. When the light reached its lowest dimming setting, it will flash once. That’s all there is to it.
Comparable Rechargeable LED Headlamps
|Make / Model||Lumens||Lock||Red Mode||Weight||Price|
|Biolite 330||330||Yes||Yes||2.4 oz||$50|
|Knog Bilby||400||Yes||Yes||3.2 oz||$60|
|Fenix HM50R||500||No||No||2.8 oz||$60|
|Petzl Bindi||200||Yes||Yes||1.2 oz||$60|
|Nitecore NU 32||550||Yes||Yes||3.5 oz||$40|
|Nitecore NU 25||360||Yes||Yes||1.85 oz||$37|
|Nitecore NU 20||360||Yes||No||1.82 oz||$30|
|LEDLenser SEO7R||200||Yes||Yes||3.3 oz||$40|
|Claymore Heady||600||Yes||No||3.7 oz||$80|
|UCO Air||150||Yes||Yes||1.6 oz||$30|
The Biolite Headlamp 200 is a comfortable and well-engineered rechargeable headlamp ideal for active sports where you need hands free lighting to show you the way. It’s tailor-made for trail running where you need a light that won’t bounce around on your forehead and has flood and spot modes so you can see where you’re going before you get there. It’s also available in multiple colors, dead simple to use, and makes a great gift, especially for people new to rechargeable headlamps.
Despite its ergonomic design, there’s nothing technically superior about the Biolite Headlamp 200 that makes it any better than a lot of the other rechargeable headlamps I own or have tried in the past. At $45, I think it’s also on the expensive side, but that’s generally true of any headlamp sold in a brick and mortar outdoor chain store like REI or EMS.
If you’re a hiker or backpacker, you can get by with a much less expensive headlamp, since you really only need it for cooking in the dark, going to the bathroom, reading in your tent, or sitting around a campfire, where a red mode helps you avoid blinding your companions. However, if you did need a headlamp for an emergency or for the rare case where you’ve been benighted and have to hike after dark, my preference would be to carry a brighter headlamp with a much longer-lasting battery like the less expensive Nitecore NU32 (see our review). While the Biolite Headlamp 200 may well be satisfactory for training and forays close to home, my preference would be to use a rechargeable headlamp with a battery that lasts longer and throws a brighter beam.
Disclosure: Biolite provided the author with a headlamp for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
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