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Knog Quokka Rechargeable Headlamp Review

Knog Quokka Rechargeable Headlamp

Weighing in at just 1.73 oz, the Knog Quokka is a unique looking rechargeable LED headlamp ($25) with red and white lightning modes including a spot and wide beam. Ideal for camping and backpacking, it’s comes with a simple and comfortable silicone headband and has an integrated USB plug that eliminates the need for recharging wires. Knog is an Australian product design business cofounded by a designer and engineer who set out to make “unboring” products, including cycling lights, locks, bells, and headlamps. The Quokka is most definitely not boring, but it does have a few limitations compared with more powerful and expensive headlamps.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 1.73 oz
  • Bulb detail: 2 white LED / 1 red LED
  • Beam type: Spot / Flood / Strobe
  • Light Output: 80 Lumens
  • Red mode: Yes
  • Lock mode: Yes
  • Battery indicator: Yes
  • Dimmer: Yes
  • Average run-time: High: 3 hrs. / red low: 69.5 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes (IP65)

The Knog Quokka is an LED headlamp with a fitted strap. The headlamp circuitry is totally self-contained and pulls out when you want to charge it. It has an exposed male USB end that you plug can plug into a mobile battery pack or a USB charging station. I like the fact that you don’t need wires to connect it to a battery or charger, which simplifies life and packing.

The headlamp is removed from the silicone strap when you want to recharge it
The headlamp is removed from the silicone strap when you want to recharge it

The strap is made with medical silicone which feels comfortable against the skin and is trivial to adjust. Simply pull the slack through a plastic clip in the back to tighten and vice versa. The plastic clip is permanently attached to the strap so you can’t lose it (good design.) The adjustable strap fits heads from 30 cm to 70 cm in circumference. I have a small head and it fits me fine.

There’s a control button on the front of the band that you depress to turn on the light and cycle through the headlamp’s logic. The headlamp has an electronic lock to prevent accidental activation and power drain when the headlamp is packed. I consider this a must-have for any hiking or backpacking headlamp. You hold down the button for 5 seconds to unlock the light, which will come on in its last mode before it was last used. To lock it, hold it down for 5 seconds.

The control logic is dead simple. To cycle through the four light modes, you use a quick double press of the button. The modes are Combo (spot and wide), Spot only, Wide only, and Red only. To adjust the brightness or flash of a mode, you use a single press of the button. The brightness settings are High, Medium, Low, and Medium Flash.

When the Quokka’s been charged you slot it into the silicone strap
When the Quokka’s been charged you slot it into the silicone strap

Power and Recharging

The Quokka has a simple battery indicator, but for under $25, it is kind of rudimentary. When the light is turned on/off the Red LED will flash to indicate that the battery is low. When charging, the Red LED is on. When the battery is fulled charged, it turns off.

The Combo Mode (Spot and Wide) throws 80 lumens of light and will run for 2.5 hours (on high as in not dimmed), while the wide mode throws 60 lumens and will run for 3.5 hours (also on high). The Wide mode throws out 25 lumens of light and will run for 8 hours (undimmed), and 48 hours fully dimmed. The Red mode emits 2.5 lumens and will run between 13.5 hours (undimmed) and 70 hours, dimmed). The time to recharge the battery from scratch is 3.3 hours.

How fragile is the Quokka USB recharging plug, you wonder? I think it’s probably well enough protected if you keep it inside the silicone strap when not in use and you’re careful not to drop it or scrape the connector against rocks/sand/grit before or after you charge it.

Comparable headlamps

Make / ModelLumensLockRed ModeWeight (oz)Price
Black Diamond Revolt175YesYes3.4$60
Fenix HL 12R400YesYes2.6$61
LED Lenser SEO 7R220YesYes3.2$90
Nitecore NU 25360YesYes1.1$37
Nitecore NU 10160YesYes2.3$25
Nite Ize Radiant 250250NoYes3.2$50
Petzl Actik Core300NoYes2.9$69
Petzl Bindi200YesYes1.2$60
Princeton Tec Axis Rechargeable250YesYes2.9$60
UST Brila 580580NoYes3.4$45

Recommendation

At a max of 80 lumen’s, the Quokka is not in the same league as other retina-searing headlamps like the Fenix HM50R (500 lumens), the Nitecore NU32 (550 lumens), or the Claymore Heady (600 lumens). It also wouldn’t be my first choice for trail running or night hiking because you can’t tilt or aim the light when wearing it. But the Knog Quokka perfectly adequate for camping if you all you need is a headlamp for cooking dinner, hanging out by the campfire, or reading in your tent. For example, the Knog Quokka ($25) would be a good upgrade if you currently use a battery-powered Petzl e+Lite (50 lumens) and want to upgrade to a slightly more powerful and rechargeable headlamp without breaking the bank.

Disclosure: Knog provided the author with a sample headlamp for this review.

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