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  • Writer's pictureLiam Pyott

A Climber's Review of the Fenix HM65R-T V2 Headlamp

Light is essential for any climber when the day gets away on them and night falls. A reliable headlamp becomes an important lifeline, ensuring safe navigation and good route finding decisions. I've tested numerous headlamps over the years, some decent but none that I’ve actually been happy with.

Recently, the team partnered with Fenix for a Yosemite climbing trip. They provided us with the Fenix HM65R-T V2 headlamps to use on various wall climbs over the past three weeks. My needs for a headlamp are simple: a long-lasting low beam for extended periods and a powerful high beam for route finding and nighttime security. The Fenix HM65R-T V2 delivers precisely that, but with some additional features and nice to haves.

The Fenix HM65R-T V2 shines with its versatility, thanks to its two distinct light sources. Need to conserve battery during long stretches with minimal light? The energy-efficient warm LED provides an impressive 300 hours of burn time in eco mode. This bulb also offers adjustable brightness settings, lasting 6 hours at 800 lumens, 12 at 400 lumens, or 24 hours at 130 lumens depending on your needs. But when a powerful blast of light is crucial to get through a tricky section, the bright white LED steps up to the plate. It boasts three settings: 130 lumens for a full 24 hours, 400 lumens lasting 12 hours, and a staggering 1600 lumens that cuts through the darkness for 3 hours.

This combination of long-lasting low light and powerful high beams was a game-changer on our trip. As night fell upon the valley, while moving on El Cap the headlamp proved its worth. It illuminated my path while climbing, ensured comfortable meal prep at camp each night, and never let me down throughout all of our trips.

Another big plus: the headlamp utilises a standard 18650 battery. I'm a huge fan of this system because these batteries are readily available, affordable, and have enough capacity for multi-day adventures. Being a common battery type for various devices, they're also rechargeable and easy to find. The Fenix HM65R-T V2 comes with a rechargeable 18650 Li-ion battery, and the built-in USB-C charging port makes it easy to top up with a power bank while on the wall. While weighing in at 140 grams, it's not the lightest headlamp, but the comfort and feature set make it a worthwhile trade-off for me.

The included headband is comfortable and breathable. However, for helmet use, the cable running along the strap doesn't quite integrate seamlessly with a helmet and can be a bit more fiddly to get on, other straps can be brought which fixes this problem. Overall, the Fenix HM65R-T V2 strikes a great balance between comfort and functionality.

The Verdict:

The Fenix HM65R-T V2 is a phenomenal headlamp, packed with all the essential features for climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. Throughout various trips on el cap and other walls, lasting up to four days, I personally never had to recharge the headlamp mid-route. If a top-up was needed, swapping the 18650 battery (a format I truly appreciate) would be a breeze. Having used several headlamps throughout my climbing career, I can confidently say this is the best one I've used. It performs well, has a good light and good battery life doing exactly what it needs to do.

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