With reactive lighting technology like that of the powerful but expensive NAO headlamp, the Tikka R+ is a steal for half the price. The lamp dims and focuses in when close objects like a map reflect brightly, reducing the blinding effect near objects can have when suddenly thrust into your beam.

When your line of sight is clearer, as on a trail run, the lamp ups to its full 170 lumens and projects a narrower beam farther. For us, that clearly illuminated trees and rocks 30 yards away on late fall night trail runs. The function saves battery power and lets you keep your hands on your work instead of toggling between modes, which is essential in technical situations like climbing.

You can also switch the rechargeable Tikka R+ to one of three constant lighting powers. It gets high marks for the easy-to-read meter that shows remaining charge, and even more so for the secure, stable, and well-padded strap that outshines competitors' offerings. [$80; Petzl.com]