NiteRider is a brand known for their bike lights however they’ve recently expanded into the outdoor market. Their current offering is the NiteRider Adventure 180 Headlamp which at the time of this review retailed at $69.99.
- The NiteRider Adventure 180 headlamp was used in GORUCK Tough Class 1999 with great success. The review has been updated with that information.
- The NiteRider Adventure 180 headlamp was used in B2B GORUCK Tough Classes 2018 and 2020. Halfway through Class 2020 the headlamp ran out of battery so if you are attempting back to back events it’s recommended to re-charge the headlamp in between.
For this review I used the NiteRider Adventure 180 headlamp exclusively for four months in all of my outdoor activities. I ran with it at night (multiple times in the rain), rucked with it all over, wore it during some ruck workouts, and used it in GORUCK Tough Class 1999.
As most readers know when I review products I generally use them for at least a month before posting anything so that I can truly figure the product out. Honestly, unless the item is truly terrible, I don’t think one can write much more than a “preview” if they haven’t spent a month or more with it.
Everything on the Adventure 180 feels and appears to be made extremely well. From the comfortable elastic used to secure it to your head to construction of the plastic adjustment clips and the buttons it all feels like will last. After using the headlamp and washing the headband multiple times the elasticity is still great and the light still looks like new. It’s almost a little disconcerting because it doesn’t actually look like I used this thing hardly at all. The picture on top is from the day I opened it and the picture below is from two months after hard use.
When it comes to headlamps any points of rotation should be looked at closely to ensure they will not fail. Sure, an LED bulb can last 20 years but if the rest of the headlamp is poorly constructed there is no way the wear and tear will not get to it.
When it comes to headlamps the majority of the wear/tear issues occur at points of movement (or rotation) as the friction can wear away plastic screws and the case’s housing over time.
The Adventure 180 is attached to the headband (and rotates) on a small bolt making this part both easy to tighten and replaceable.
I am excited to write that I have no quality concerns with this headlamp… which is what should honestly be expected from something that retails at $69.99.
One of my big concerns with headlamps where the light can adjust vertically is that they will eventually become unusable due to the light no longer being able to hold their place. It has happened to me in the past and it can be a huge inconvenience as you’ll go for a ruck or jog and the light will be bouncing up and down.
This is not only uncomfortable and annoying but also dangerous as the majority of the time the light won’t be pointing at the desired location. This happens because the attachment points (usually plastic) wear out and any slight force (like your foot hitting the ground) will cause the headlamp to adjust on its own. This is especially terrible during GORUCK events as you’ll end up killing your teammates’ night vision with a good ol’ shine to the face.
As mentioned in the quality section this headlamp is designed so that it rotates vertically using a screw that can be loosened and tightened. This is important because if your headlamp becomes loose (which has not happened yet but has happened with other headlamps) you can easily tighten the screw and it will be back to new. My recommendation is to rotate the headlamp up and down once before leaving the house (during your gear check) to ensure it’s still tight. Not many people I know ruck or run with a mini screwdriver… which is what you’ll need to tighten it.
Another benefit of the screw is that if you remove it then the headlamp can be disconnected from the headband. This means you can remove the headlamp and toss the band into the washing machine to clean all that gorgeous sweat and sthink out of it. It’s always useful to have a headlamp around the house for shining light in places when you need both your hands available. Being able to wash the headband that comes with this headlamp means that you can use this for both exercise and for around the house without any complaints from the spouse.
The USB port (this headlamp is rechargeable) is protected by a plastic plug.
The seal on the plug has a really tight fit which will prevent rain from entering from that opening.
This headlamp is designed to be rainproof but not waterproof so I can’t say for certain how the plug will fare if submerged for extended periods of time in water.
I wavered quite a bit on whether I should perform submersion testing on it or not and finally decided against it. The headlamp is not marketed to be waterproof so it really is not fair to judge it on that. However, when hiking there’s always a chance that you’ll fall in a lake or river and all of your stuff will be submerged.
I mimicked that use-case by turning the headlamp on and dropping it in a full glass of water for a minute or so.
I’m excited to say that no water got into the USB port and, besides from being a little wet, the light worked perfectly. I also can say that this headlamp has been with me for hours in the rain and held together perfectly so it definitely achieves what the company states it will.
There are two main areas of usability for headlamps: turning the light on/off (and changing the light style, if possible) and adjusting the headlight.
When you press the button on top of the headlight it defaults into the red night vision mode. I find this useful because the red light is much less blinding than the white so if you either accidentally turn the headlamp on or have it pointed at someone and push the button they won’t completely lose their night vision. Press the button again and the headlamp flashes the red light in the SOS pattern. Hit it one more time and it’s off… simple as that.
During GORUCK Class 1999 we were required to use a red light so this came in incredibly handy. The red light at night is tough to beat especially along wooded trails.
If you want white light then you hold the button down for about two seconds and the lightest white setting turns on. Hit it again and you’re at brightness two, then three, then four, then back to one. To turn the white light off you need to hold the power button for around two seconds. This is a great feature because if you’re out at night cycling through light levels it’s always a pain when it hits the off cycle. Having it not turn off when cycling prevents you from ever being in the dark when changing brightness.
The Adventure 180 also has three different rates of white strobe. From the off position hold the power button for roughly four seconds and you’ll get the intense quick strobe. Hit power again and you get a strobe every second which is nice but rather slow. Hit it again and you get the white locator beacon which could come in handy. Hold the button down for two seconds and off the white strobes go.
Adjusting the headband is incredibly easy and can be done on the move thanks to these two plastic clips. Slide the headband through them and get the perfect fit. No complaints there.
The headlamp retails at $69.99 which prices it well above the other headlamps I’ve reviewed. The current headlamp I see most often at events (partially due to GORUCK previously selling them) is the TacTikka. This headlamp comes in a bit higher than that but features a rechargeable battery (via micro USB) and a built-in red light which is great at GORUCK events.
If you’re planning on taking a headlamp hiking, camping, or on extended trips with you then you know how critical USB charging is. When you can charge your headlamp with the same portable battery as your GPS device, phone, camera, and any other piece of gear you brought then you know you are in a good place.
The NiteRider Headlamp is available at Amazon and NiteRider for $69.99.
- Great light output with multiple settings
- Incredibly comfortable
- Light stays in position
- Price is a little high
- Technically water resistant not water proof
Used For: Rucking/Running/Hiking/GORUCK
Tested For: Four Months
Conclusion: This is the headlamp that I’ll be grabbing when I head out on hikes and camping trips as well as GORUCK events.
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