If you are running World’s Toughest Mudder, Toughest Mudder, or the Spartan Ultra Championship you MUST have a headlamp.
You should have a wetsuit. You should have a good pair of trail running/OCR shoes. But you MUST have a headlamp or you will not be able to race overnight at WTM.
Here are the headlamps I use for World’s Toughest Mudder with a few extra options from the WTM Community Group on Facebook.
I heard about the Lupine brand from a past World’s Toughest Mudder champion. I was running on a trail at a Toughest Mudder and moved over so a car could pass me. Except it wasn’t a car, it was Ryan Atkins wearing a Lupine headlamp. These lights are bright.
The Good: These are the brightest headlamps I have seen on a course. They are as resistant to cold, water, and dirt as any other headlamp I have used. If you want the best view of the course while you’re running, this is your best choice.
The Bad: They are expensive. For the price of one Lupine headlamp, you can buy five Black Diamonds.
The battery life is limited. You MUST bring at least one extra battery to make it through the night. I recommend two extra batteries.
They are not bombproof. At about 3:00 am my Lupine stopped working. I was able to swap it out with a spare headlamp I borrowed from a friend at the pit area. It is a good idea to have a cheap backup light, just in case something goes wrong.
This is my backup light. It is relatively cheap and gives enough light to run by on the course. I don’t have hard numbers on this but it seems to be the most common headlamp you’ll see overnight at WTM. It’s not AMAZING, but it is good enough to make it through the night.
The Good: It isn’t that expensive. You should be able to get one for around $50. If you want to pick up a second you can do it without breaking the bank.
It’s not great, but it’s fine. It is a good headlamp that hundreds of people use to run WTM every year. It is good enough to get you around the course.
The Bad: The Black Diamond Storm goes through batteries quickly. As battery life weakens, lamp brightness will weaken. You will want to swap out batteries no less often than every other lap. Ideally, your pit crew will give you a fresh set of batteries each lap to keep your light strong all lap, every lap.
Pro-tip: Have two identical headlamps with a fresh set of batteries in each. Have your pit crew give you the other headlamp with fresh batteries each time you come through the pit.
I used this light one year and didn’t care for it. It didn’t meet my needs, but others may feel differently.
The Icon is a “Tweener”. It falls between the Black Diamond Storm and Lupine Neo in most comparisons. It is brighter (and more expensive) than the Storm but not as bright (or expensive) as the Neo. It has an external battery pack like the Neo and it is heavier than the Storm. The Icon may be your choice to get “the best of both worlds” but I found myself preferring the Neo and using the Storm if I had to.
I haven’t used these personally but here are recommendations from people who have used these headlamps at World’s Toughest Mudder
“I ran last year’s Worlds and Philly Toughest with (the Morpilot) on the lowest setting and a single battery charge. IMHO, the Black Diamonds are way overpriced for the brightness you get.” -Jarrod Lumpkin
“I got the Black Diamond Spot and rechargeable battery pack, lasted about 6+ hours and no mud in it. I’m going to buy another rechargeable battery pack and will use them for WTM with my unreliable Black Diamond Storm as backup to the spot with 2 packs” -Victoria Jackson Graham
“I think this is a great light. It fits WTM well. It is also very light weight compared to other lights that can take the abuse of WTM. Especially if your light is new, you won’t have this battery rusting issue. Just clean out the battery compartment after WTM. Throw the batteries out too.” -Jason Nicholson
Should I Tie My Headlamp To My Bib?
There are many, many people who recommend you tie your headlamp to your race bib with paracord and a small carabiner. They say it is the only way to ensure you don’t lose your headlamp going through the water obstacles. One of the guys I run with does it every year. There are so many people that say you should do it, and so many people do it, so there is clearly something to the idea, but I have never tied my headlamp to my bib and I have never lost a headlamp on course.
When going through a water obstacle I pull the headlamp down around my neck, or I pull it off and wrap it around my wrist. At Devil’s Beard, I take it off my head and hold it away from the netting.
Again, tons of people recommend you tie your headlamp to your bib. There is probably no harm in doing it, but I have never found it worth worrying about.
No matter what headlamp you choose, remember four things:
- You MUST have a headlamp to race overnight
- Bring extra batteries or battery packs
- Try it out on a few test runs before race day
- Have a backup light just in case
What headlamp do you use for World’s Toughest Mudder? Let us know in a comment here on over on our Instagram page. You can follow us on Instagram @theocrreport.