Which Headlamp Do Ultra-Runners Use? Find Out!

[Updated: 1 June 2022]

I follow the ultra-running scene some and I pay attention to what they’re wearing on their feet, body, and heads.

I frequently see headlamps I recognize. During an ultra-run which goes through the night, which most of them do because it’s cooler then, headlamps are a crucial bit of technology that must be taken seriously. No ultra-runner wants to be caught in the middle of the forest or the Great Outback with a faulty light, so runners tend to spend whatever they need to in order to get a reliable and very bright headlamp.

If you’re looking for the BEST TRAIL RUNNING Headlamps, go here >

Which Headlamps Do Ultra Runners and Trail Runners Use?

Let me just blow the surprise right here. The most frequently worn ultra-running race headlamp is the NAO+ 750 lumens headlamp. We have it here and it is one of the most reliable and cool (programmable activity profiles!) headlamps ever. The fit is fantastic, and the weight is almost negligible. It uses 18650 batteries that pump out the lumens for hours. For an ultra run including overnight you might need just 1 battery, or you might have 2, just in case. Some ultra-runners prefer a lot of light (Kilian Jornet) and others like in the first image below on the left, the guy has one of those minimalist Petzl lights that barely puts out any light at all. How he ran a major race with that, I’ll never know.

See if the NAO+ headlamp is in stock:

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Oh, and here’s a little secret… the NEW VERSION of the NAO headlamp is coming out this year. It’s the

NAO RL (reactive lighting). Click to see our pre-review.

Petzl Headlamps

The following athletes have been known to wear, or are still wearing Petzl brand headlamps during their ultra runs. It isn’t just the pros that wear Petzl, if you take a look at the start of any ultra-run which begins at night – you’ll see hundreds of Petzl headlamps lighting up the starting line. They are known worldwide since the 1980’s for making great climbing and lighting technology. For many decades there was no other headlamp that could compete with them. Now we have some that are competing but most pro racers seem to prefer the reliability of their Petzl headlamps. When you’re miles from the nearest help in the middle of the mountains, you need a headlamp you can RELY ON.

Kilian Jornet

One of the best ever trail runners in the world has worn Petzl headlamps since at least 2010. Kilian still wears Petzl today – and so does his girlfriend, and female ultra-running legend, Emily Forsberg.

Emily Forsberg

Still trying to catch Emily wearing a headlamp. If you have a photo, let us know!

Anton Krupicka

Anton is not doing very much ultra running anymore, being plagued by chronic injuries. Instead, he has switched over to cycling and is having a blast. I’ll have a look to see which headlamp he is wearing for cycling now.

Jason Schlarb

Pictured above with Kilian Jornet as they came across the finish of the Hardrock 100 tied for first place. Jason wearing the Petzl Reactik+ Plus headlamp I believe.

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Sophie Grant

Various Ultra-runners Wearing Petzl Headlamps

It will be interesting in 2019 to see who is wearing what. Really, the Petzl Nao+ Plus with 750 lumens on Reactive Lighting mode, is pretty perfect for running at night in ultramarathons. Sure you’ll need two batteries if running all night on the manual high setting, but the 18650 batteries are light and powerful. If you don’t mind the fluctuations of the Reactive Lighting Technology – dimming and brightening constantly, you can use 1 battery for the entire race.

As far as running goes, the Petzl Nao+ is probably the ULTIMATE trail running headlamp, and most people have found that out recently and are getting rid of their Nathan and Black Diamond, and Fenix headlamps. You should too!

See if the NAO+ headlamp is in stock:

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Our Best Headlamps of 2022 >

Comparison of our Top 4 Headlamps HERE >

Any action sport including skiing, running fast, trail running, hiking, campingfishing, working around the house, reading books. Almost anything.