If you’ve stood on the beach as the sun goes down wishing that you could stay in the water, then a good waterproof headlamp might be just what you need to achieve your dreams of night time stand up paddle boarding. You might think that headlamps are just for rock climbers and backpackers, but that’s not true! In fact, you can buy waterproof models that are designed specifically for surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding!
New to the world of headlamps for paddling? Then let us help you out with a few suggestions so that you end up getting something that will work well for your needs.
Benefits of a Waterproof Headlamp
If you live near the water but work normal day job hours, then you’re not left with a lot of daylight for your after-work paddling sessions. That’s where one of these comes in handy. You don’t have to miss the waves or quality time out doing some flat water paddling if you can see the water with one of these.
Headlamps are also a great piece of safety equipment to have on you. If something were to happen where you got too far out from shore, or if you were paddling down a river on an overnight backpacking/camping trip, then the light would help people to find you in an emergency situation.
Plus, if you’re out in waters where there are boats, one of these will make it easy for them to see you in the water.
These are also beneficial for lighting up your path when you are walking your board back to your vehicle at night.
One thing to consider though is that having a light source means that your eyes won’t naturally adjust to the natural light conditions and you’ll only be able to see directly in front of you (the area that is lit up). Depending on what you’re doing on your board, this might not matter to you. However, we did want to point that out to you.
About The Water Resistance Rating
As you compare the various models on the market, you will want to pay attention to the water resistance rating. Of the models listed above in our chart of recommended waterproof headlamps, the highest rating is IPX7.
At a minimum, we think you need at least a IPX5 rating. For reference, a rating of IPX4 means that it is waterproof only for light rain storms, not submersion in water. Outdoor Technology breaks down the IPX ratings like this:
- IPX0 – This means it’s not water resistant at all. Think of what happens to paper when it gets wet. It’s a mess and your novella is ruined.
- IPX1 – This will protect a device from some water drops that are falling vertically on said device. I guess it’s possible for this situation to actually occur but so is winning the lottery. If you or someone you know has won the lottery, sharing is caring.
- IPX2 – This will protect your thingy from some water drops when the device is tilted up to and including 15°. If you have your device at 16°, you are screwed, sorry but there are limits in the world.
- IPX3 – Getting better, you can now spray your gear up to 60° from the top of the device. So that’s cool, I guess.
- IPX4 – Now we are getting somewhere. This will keep “yo ish chill” from splashing water from any direction. So if you drop some cubes of ice into you scotch and it splashes, there is no need to worry. Well, except for those drops of scotch that didn’t make it into your tummy.
- IPX5 – (this is where the super soaker is allowed). Will protect your stuff from water jets at any direction. Spray away kiddo, spray away.
- IPX6 – Protects from powerful water jets. So if you modified your super soaker with an air compressor and an aftermarket tip, your stuff is still safe. Everything after this is now water proof.
- IPX7 – Full splashdown accepted captain. If you drop your device in water up to 3 feet (1 meter but this is ‘Merica and we don’t do the metric system. USA USA USA) your device is still going to work.
- IPX8 – You can protect your device in water over 3 feet. This is for your stuff at the bottom of a pool, lake, or even a super deep public hot tub. What’s up with that one couple that never gets out of the hot tub?
They made this breakdown for bluetooth outdoor speakers, but it is still relevant for headlamps that you want to take out in open water on your paddle board or surfboard. So, keep these rating in mind as you do your shopping.
SurfStow SUPGlo Headlamp 50305 Review
- Headlamp requires 3 AAA batteries (not included)
- Low mode (5 Lumens) lighting distance is 6m and burn time is 180 hours
- Middle mode (40 Lumens) lighting distance is 80m and burn time is 70 hours
If you want a model that is specifically designed for paddlers like you, then this is a good model to consider. SurfStow’s IPX6 Waterproof LED GLO Headlamp allows for increased visibility and exploration and optimal vision.
It is compatible with GoPro cameras, which means that you can film your nighttime paddling adventures.
And the fit is comfortable. It really meets pretty much all your paddling at night needs since it is waterproof and illuminates your way. If you’re surfing on your SUP, then you might be better off with a more secure model.
Woman silhouette on paddle board in moonlight image licensed at Shutterstock