I’m a recent convert to headlamps. For well over 30 years, I got my front-facing illumination from a flashlight that was gripped firmly in my hands or my teeth/lips. As lights got smaller with multipurpose clips, my Streamlight Microstream would provide useful illumination for most purposes while clipped to the brim of a baseball cap.

But when working in close quarters (i.e. under a car/truck), a baseball cap and its clipped-on compadre didn’t work so hot. And when ice fishing, with its sometimes sub-freezing temperatures and accompanying warmer garb and watch caps, I found myself with nothing but my mouth to hold a flashlight when pulling in the traps after dark. I once bonked myself in the face when pulling in a line while I had a light in my mouth, and the resulting chipped tooth reminds me to this day that I’m stupid and there are better products out there that fulfill my lighting needs.

Beefy Olight Perun 2 next to a featherweight Biolite headlamp

I’ve since sourced headlamps from a few different companies, always preferring the lower bulk items at the expense of a couple lumens or less battery life. However, the past couple of years I’ve been hitting huge lakes in northern Maine while ice fishing, and our fishing setups have to go where the fish are – and sometimes that’s a quarter to half mile or more away from camp – and in the dark, that requires some pretty serious illuminating horsepower to be able to find all of the ice fishing tip-ups. So I called my pals at Olight and said, “Send the biggest headlamp you got!” And when the Perun 2 landed on my doorstep a couple days later, it quickly became apparent that Olight wasn’t fooling around.

Olight Perun 2 (top) with a Fenix PD35TAC (middle) and Streamlight Microstream USB (bottom) for comparison.

Enter the Olight Perun 2

I was, quite frankly, startled at the sheer size of the Olight Perun 2. My usual headlamp – a Biolite Headlamp 220 – is a svelte little number that weighs under 2 ounces and is about the size of a small box of matches. Opening the package, the Perun 2 glared at me from the box, challenging me to man up and get its 6 ounce weight and almost 5 inch length across my forehead to destroy the night and all illuminating oncomers while still having a pair of hands free to fistfight a couple bears and maybe Tyson. It’s really a beast of a light for a headlamp.

Justifying this mass is output and performance that is basically ridiculous for a headlamp. The Perun 2’s right angle design blasts 2,500 lumens and 6,889 candela from its machined and knurled aluminum body and white LED. The removable 4,000mAh 21700 battery provides juice to run 800 lumens of output for just about three hours. Doing some quick research, I couldn’t find another headlamp that provides this kind of advertised output. 

Balancing Act

The Olight Perun 2 comes with a silicone “bracket” that holds the light itself to a headband – meaning that the Perun 2 is actually more light a small right angle flashlight adapted to be a headlight, rather than a clean-sheet design that is meant to be a headlamp only. This has its pluses and minuses. 

Benefits are that the Perun 2 is incredibly versatile; it’s a flashlight, it’s a pack shoulder strap light, it’s a headlamp. It goes where it’s needed and blasts away at its job diligently. As a headlamp, all of the weight is directly on your forehead with none of the nonsense of a rear-mounted battery pack: accompanying wires, the headlamp head-orbit-spin action that happens when you turn your head too fast, and the inability to put the back of your head flat on a surface or a pillow to read a book at night. Everything is right up front, where I would argue it should be. Olight thoughtfully designed its head strap to accommodate the Perun 2’s extra beefiness, with an additional strap that runs over the head as well as the standard circumference band. Keep it snug on your head and it works.

Some ugly guy wearing an Olight Perun 2 on his head.

The Achilles Heel of this design is its sheer size: keeping enough battery and enough casing to hold the battery to fuel 2,500 lumens for a useful amount of time means mass – and while the Perun 2 is as small as it can be to fulfill its purpose and still hold a high capacity 21700 battery, six ounces is a lot of weight in one spot, and a hard head nod or a jolt while riding an ATV can get that interior mass moving and sliding up and down your noggin. Hitting a pressure ridge on a frozen lake while riding a snowmobile had my not-tightened-enough Perun 2 suddenly residing on the bridge of my nose. FYI, Olight does make slick little headlamps that run on single 16340/RCR123 batteries (The Perun Mini) if you still want serious output (1,000 lumens) at a lighter weight.

The Olight Perun 2’s Features

Inside the box, the Olight Perun 2 comes with an Olight-proprietary magnetic charging cable (sorry, your Apple Watch charger won’t work), a lanyard, a pocket clip, headband, and multi-lingual instructions.

Everything is controlled through one switch. Nice.

Like most of Olight’s products, the Perun 2 boasts many functions – some useful, some not so much (in my opinion.) All of the functions are manipulated via a single button – a nice touch. Having multiple actuators or buttons on a light is frustrating and needless to me – make everything available through one button or don’t make all the functions, dammit.

Via varying clicks or hold-downs of the power button, the proud owner of an Olight Perun 2 can actuate:

  • 2,500 Lumen Turbo mode (which trunks down to 800 lumens after two minutes to combat heat production)
  • 500 Lumen mode – 4.5 hours runtime
  • 120 Lumen mode – 18 hours runtime
  • 30 Lumen mode – 66 hours runtime
  • 5 Lumen mode – 300 hours (12 ½ days!) run time
  • SOS beacon

The Perun 2 has a neat feature which all regular headlamp users will enjoy: when the operator is operating the Perun 2 in a high-output mode and the light senses an item in close proximity to the lens, (think looking at a map in the dark) the Perun 2 automatically dials back the output to a more comfortable level so the user doesn’t suddenly cook his or her eyes. It’s a nice feature, and it works reasonably well. 

The Olight Perun 2 is, of course, IPX8 waterproof rated to ensure it’s a useful tool to anyone who might venture outdoors or near offending bathtubs.

Recharging the Perun 2 is about as easy as it gets thanks to its magnetic charging cable.

The Perun 2 is rechargeable, like most of its Olight brethren. Simply slap the plugged-in USB magnetic charger puck cable onto the charging area on the Perun 2, and let it do its thing. I did source a spare 21700 battery to have in my kit, just in case I found myself without a full charge and no Olight-specific charging cables to be found.

The Olight Perun 2 in Action

The Perun 2 is a blistering piece of equipment and I was excited to use it on a recent ice fishing trip. At night in Maine, we set nighttime tip-up traps for a species of fish called cusk, which are incredibly tasty for being so ugly; the caveat is that cusk really only seem to prowl for food at night. This type of fishing is specifically what I wanted the Olight Perun 2 for, and it delivered.

Illuminating an area with the Olight Perun 2 while ice fishing. The light spots in the darkness beyond are ice fishing tip-ups reflecting the Perun 2’s light.

Turning the afterburners on in the Olight Perun 2 provided a blast of bright cool white light in a large area. I was admittedly hoping for that power to be focused to illuminate at longer ranges, but instead the beam is designed to flood a large local area with an incredible amount of light. Couple the output with the glare from the white snow covering on the lake, and my fishing buddies and I were greeted with enough light to set up a base camp on the ice, set the ice fishing tip-up lines, fish for smelts through a raceway we cut in the ice, and of course, drink a ridiculous amount of beer. The light was heavy after a while for someone used to featherlight headlamps, but the output for all more than made up for the encumbrance.

Easy to find the shelter with a Perun 2 on your melon.

When the night’s festivities came to an end and it came time to pack up camp, the Olight Perun 2 was a Godsend. The turbo mode gave me enough light to catch all the reflective strips on the ice fishing traps, even at a distance of well over 200 yards. If you’re a nighttime fisherman, the Perun 2 is a dynamite piece of gear to consider.

Plenty of light for nighttime ice fishing work.

I also toyed around with clipping the Perun 2 to a pack strap and my belt, employing the Perun 2’s 90-degree head to maximum advantage. As long as I was careful not to jostle the light off its clip, the light performed as needed.

Wrapping it Up

The Olight Perun 2 is a wonder – but it’s a wonder you’ll really need to endure its large size. I might argue the smaller Olight Perun Mini to be a better all-around lightweight lamp, albeit at the expense of utter output and battery life. But if you like being able to have one light to do most of what an outdoorsman requires at night, the Olight Perun 2 is a tough choice to beat. Use it as a headlamp, pack lamp, camp floodlight, or a hand-held flashlight – the Perun 2 doesn’t care and will fulfill all the tasks with glee while you get your job done.