Why do we need a headlamp for hiking?
Even if you don't plan on hiking when dark, hikes may not always go to plan time or weather-wise, so it is good practice to always carry a working headlamp in your backpack. Hikers need their hands free for handling maps, getting things out of backpacks or using walking sticks, so a headlamp is far more practical than a torch.
Apart from choosing a good brand known for specialising, these are 5 important features to consider:
1) Water resistance/ waterproof:
Hiking takes place in all kinds of weather conditions so it is essential to have at least a weather resistant headlamp for wet weather. If you will be hiking through bodies of water, it may be good to prepare for a possible fall or swim in which case a waterproof headlamp is best (they are normally waterproof down to one meter deep).
2) Brightness and beam distance:
A good headlamp should provide good brightness and beam distance. There are many light features available such as wide beam/ narrow beam, combined beams, red light, lumens, etc.
A lightweight headlamp weighing less than 200g is the best option for hiking.
4) Battery life:
The longer the battery life the better of course. Some headlamps use disposable batteries, others have rechargeable batteries and solar chargers are available too. Sometimes it is easier to carry extra disposable batteries than a heavy power bank.
Headlamps need to be tough and should not be affected by the weather or crack when dropped. Waterproof headlamps are normally dustproof too.
So have a look at different buying guides, go to a store to try some on and speak to other hikers before you buy.