A good flashlight is an essential tool for every outdoor kit. Finding your way in the dark is extremely difficult without a sustainable source of illumination. While handheld lamps are great for your lighting needs after dark, no matter the quality of your handheld lamp, it will never be as good and as convenient as a hands free headlamp for hiking. Whether you are in the woods, in a cave, jogging on the trails, climbing steep mountains, and so on, with a headlamp, both of your hands will be free for other important tasks, and wherever you point your head you will have the necessary lighting.
When choosing a headlamp for hiking, you need to pay attention to several features. Some of them are the same as when you are choosing any type of flashlights and some are exclusive for headlamps.
First you need to consider the beam type and there are three of them. The wide beam which is also called a flood beam will light up a larger area but doesn’t have a lot of range. This makes it suitable for close up work and some general duties. The narrow or focused beam, on the other hand, provides you with a smaller spot of light, but it can reach long distances. The best choice is an adjustable headlamp that can switch between the two types when needed.
Obviously, brightness is also important. Look for a lamp with several modes of brightness, such as low, medium, high, boost, and strobe. This offers more control of battery use according to your needs and of course, your headlamp needs to have a decent run time. The strobe mode is effective for drawing attention in case of an emergency and may even save your life in certain situations.
The total quality of the light output is measured in lumens. Headlamps with low lumens will use up less energy than the ones with a high lument rating. But, have in mind that high lumens don’t necessarily mean you will get quality light emitted from your headlamp. There are other factors that affect the quality of the beam, such as direction and focus.
When choosing a headlamp for hiking you need to pay special attention to the weight and the strap. You want a headlamp that will comfortably sit on your head which means that you should always go for a compact light-weight design and a strap with ergonomic features that is not too tight and not too loose.
A headlamp for hiking also needs to be water resistant or at least waterproof since it is very likely to be exposed to rain in the outdoors. And finally a user friendly interface is a big plus. As I said before, the whole purpose of headlamp is having your hands free for other activities, which is why switching the lamp on and off and switching through the different modes is important.