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Running Accessories • April 5, 2024

Fenix HM75R Headlamp Review: Basically, You’ll See Everything

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What You Need To Know

Key Features

Dual-battery design (18,350mAh and 21,700mAh cells), Up to 1,600 lumens, Four total LEDs

Best For

Slower, more techical traverses



Introduction to the Fenix HM75R Headlamp

JOHN: I’ve always loved the movie Nightcrawler. While it has a lot of intense and stressful moments (much like running), it does something else for me, too. It reminds me that the night is gorgeous — at least unless you find yourself starring in the movie Nightcrawler. It’s usually quiet and peaceful compared to all the activities going on during the day. When in the mountains, I always love looking at the lights of the nearest city or town. Night can be beautiful. But to be confident and able to see the beauty out there, you need the proper gear. The Fenix HM75R headlamp is that gear.

Right out of the box, this headlamp looks pretty badass. I played Metal Gear Solid almost religiously growing up, and I get that vibe from it. It looks like something that Snake would steal from a bad guy that he took out.

I’ve been using the Fenix HM75R all week on a variety of runs, hikes, dog walks, and pretty much any other excuse I could find to test it, so let’s see how it performed.

What we like about the Fenix HM75R Headlamp

JOHN: The Fenix HM75R Headlamp has 12 lighting modes, which include four spotlight levels, four floodlight levels, and four red light modes. My preferred mode is one of the floodlight options because it lights up everything and even on the lower settings, it’s still extremely bright and easily lasts the entire night portion of an ultra.

Even if you need to up the brightness at times, you will have enough battery to last even on slow-moving, difficult ultras, especially when you start hallucinating and seeing Pokémon and Steven Seagal. This light will make them vanish so you can focus. There’s plenty of time to charge it during the day at your camp, have your crew do it, or even have a portable charger with you to charge it in your pack.

I use the spotlight mode if I need to zero in on something, but I’ll admit that having a red light is just amazing. You don’t blind people when passing or while at aid stations or camp, and I feel like that’s a huge area I’ve been lacking when using a more basic headlamp on harder ultras. The red light also saves battery and can last for 365 hours. That’s an incredible amount of battery savings to utilize even when you are not running.

Outside of red-light mode, this beast of a headlamp throws off a mind-blowing 234 hours of light. I’m not going to sit here and analyze how that number breaks down for each mode specifically, but I encourage you to look at the chart on the Fenix website and geek out. It really is interesting. I Immediately found myself doing trail math on how far I can stretch it on specific ultras.

The additional 21,700mAh battery pack clips to the back of the headlamp and offers more battery life. It can be removed and placed in your pack, or you can just leave it at camp for later. Either way, it gives you more options to power through the night run, but my mom says it looks like I have wires coming out of the back of my head.

One thing that I really appreciate is that this headlamp is sleep-deprived zombie-runner-proof. I need this simplicity for races, especially when I’m using it while dead tired. It has a dial to adjust settings and a button to control the intensity. That’s it. Perfect.

You probably won’t need it but there’s also an option to use batteries if you get in big trouble, which is always good to have.

So, for as much as the headlamp has going on, I found it to be extremely comfortable. I wore it with and without a buff and had no issues with fit or comfort level.

Oh, and this headlamp is durable. I used it in dusty and rainy conditions and had absolutely no issues, thanks to the IPX8 rating, which is the most waterproof a thing can get. I also loved this light for dog walking and hiking. I live in the country, and we have no streetlights, so I can definitely say I put it to the test.

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What we don’t like about the Fenix HM75R Headlamp

JOHN: No USB-A to USB-C cable, argh, what is this? If you’ve read my other reviews, you know I’m not a tech-savvy runner. I live happily on a farm in the middle of nowhere with limited internet. I basically have no other pieces of gear that rely on the included USB-C to USB-C cable, let alone support it. Luckily, I have a portable power station that I use for long ultras and self-supported events that my crew carries on regular races and for volunteering duties, which is how I charged the Fenix HM75R Headlamp using the cable it came with.

I’m extremely used to USB-A to USB-C cables, so if you are like me, this is something to be mindful of — it only comes with the newer connection standard. It’s not a huge deal, but this is just something to be aware of, especially if you plan on using it for an adventure right out of the box.

It’s also heavier than most headlamps I’ve used. This is totally understandable given the sheer power of this thing but for anyone used to using a more lightweight lamp, the weight is noticeable. I wouldn’t go run tempo miles with it. As I mentioned above, the headlamp is comfortable, but the weight is noticeable at 11.3 oz. (321 g) including battery case, batteries, and headband. It’s a little better at 6 oz. (170 g) without the power bank and cord.

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Final thoughts on the Fenix HM75R Headlamp

JOHN: I feel strongly that this light shines brightest on the weekend-long, slow-moving technical ultras (they’re my favorite and that’s why I was assigned this review). This headlamp is great for anyone doing hard, slow races that will take multiple days to finish, like the Barkley, Wild Oak 100 and 200, Jigger Johnson 100, and so on. It’s great gear. I wouldn’t use this on any race that I wanted to go fast on — you definitely can get by with lighter tech. This headlamp is made for the long haul, not for sprints.

That said, I also feel this is by far the best piece of gear I’ve ever reviewed here during my past year at Believe In The Run. It’s tough. The elements don’t stop it. It’s versatile. The massive battery pack and backup battery, not to mention the fact that you can also use regular batteries, give it an extremely long life and 1600 lumens of power. This allows for a lot of different variations with all the different modes to power some extreme adventures.

There’s absolutely no comparison to other headlamps out there; the Fenix HM75R Headlamp is in a league of its own. If you want to go back and check out a previous Fenix review here at Believe In The Run, check out this one of the Fenix HM65R-T from Taylor.

At the time, Taylor asked, “Is this thing safe to use?” Well, this new one is far more powerful. I had the exact thoughts when I saw it the first time and I’m sure most people will, so just brace yourself ahead of time if considering this headlamp.

But as much as I run and race on trails, I have never seen anything this powerful, long-lasting, and adaptable that refuses to run out of light with multiple power sources. If you’re a Nightcrawler, this is your toy.

You can pick up the Fenix HM75R headlamp for $169 from Fenix using the buttons below.

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John Calabrese
Habitual Ultrarunner
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An obsessed runner, John has run in most ultra races in the Mid-Atlantic area. Since he’s an ultra runner, it’s no surprise he’s also a lover of food. He’s also a dedicated father, caregiver, and veteran.

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