If I had to pick a piece of gear that I probably use more often than anything else, it would probably be my BioLite Headlamp 330. Lightweight and comfortable to wear, I gave this device high marks when I first reviewed it a couple of years back, and it remains amongst my favorite pieces of gear to this day. I love it’s bright lamp, rechargeable battery, and fantastic headband, which keeps everything in place, even while I’m running. So when I heard BioLite was working on a new model, I wondered just how exactly could they improve on the original? As it turns out, the answer was simple—stick to a tried and true formula, but make it even lighter and more comfortable.
The brand new BioLite HeadLamp 200 looks almost identical to the original model, although if you see them side-by-side, you’ll notice a few subtle differences. The 200 is slightly thinner and smaller than its big brother, which translates to shaving a bit of weight from an already impossibly-small product. The new model clocks in at a mind-blowing 1.75 ounces (50g), while the 330 tips the scale at a still impressive 2..43 ounces (69g). That may not seem like much, but for ounce counters and outdoor athletes, even those small gains are appreciated.
Despite its smaller size, the HeadLamp 200 has a very similar burn time when compared to its older sibling. Whereas the 330 offered 3.5 hours of battery life on its highest setting, the new model gets just 3. Both can run for 40 hours on their lowest settings however, which is where many of us will likely use them most of the time anyway. To make things even more impressive, the 200 achieves these burn times with a smaller 700 mAh battery—as compared to the 900 mAh version found in the 330. The smaller battery means that the light recharges a bit faster too, although neither model takes all that long to juice back up.
Both models also offer IPX4 water resistance, which allows them to function nicely in the rain, but not so much if they are full immersed in the water. They each have four lighting modes, although the 200’s options vary a bit from the 330. Here, you’ll have a dimming spotlight that is available in both red and white light, a red strobe, and a white stone as well. The 330’s line up is a bit more versatile, particularly with its white dimming floodlight, but for the most part they feel functionally about the same. Like its predecessor, the 200 has a brightness memory as well, which holds the settings you used the last time you wore the headlamp. It also has an articulated housing that gives the user the ability to adjust where the beam falls, sending it straight out ahead or angling down towards the ground.
When it comes to using the either version of the BioLite HeadLamp in the field, both versions get makes because they are so small and easy to pack, not to mention wear for extended periods of time. However, if I’m going to be spending extended days in the backcountry, I tend to bring a larger model from a competitor instead. This allows me to avoid having to recharge quite so often, which can be a challenge when using the 200 or 330 routinely. That said, if I know that I won’t need a headlamp all that often, then this is the model I go with simply because it weighs next to nothing. And when it comes to going for a run in the dark, there simply isn’t another headlamp that I’d rather wear.
If you’re an outdoor athlete who sometimes finds him or herself out after sunset, this is the absolute best headlamp you can have in your arsenal. BioLite’s headband is the most breathable that I’ve come across and it holds the light in place remarkably well. Most of the time, once I’ve locked it in place, I forget that I’m even wearing it, which is a testament to just how lightweight and functional this device truly is.
The original HeadLamp 330 was a bargain at $59.95, but the HeadLamp 200 comes in at an even more attractive price. At $44.95, it is a no-brainer to recommend this light, particularly for those who are active in the outdoors.
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