Favored by miners in historic times, and spelunkers more recently, the outdoor sports community finally began to embrace this hands-free lighting option about 25 years ago. Since then, the brands and features in the marketplace have boomed.
Whether you’re working on your furnace in the dark creepy basement, trying to fix a meal during a winter power outage, or simply walking the dog in the evening, a headlamp is one of those tools that you won’t know how you lived without. Gone are the days of juggling a heavy flashlight or lantern while you peer under the hood of your truck, head into the wilderness, or explore a crittery crawlspace. Not all headlamps are alike, however, so be choosy in your search.
Battery Power Look for a headlamp that offers a long battery life. LED bulbs allow standard AA or AAA batteries to crank out over 100 hours of light in some models. This is an amazing development compared to the battery-gobbling flashlights of the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Water Resistance Your headlamp should also have some margin of waterproofing. You may need it in the rain, or under other conditions where it may get wet. Waterproofing can save the device from water damage, and keep your dark world illuminated.
Bonus Features A nice side feature for your headlamp is an optional setting that activates a bright incandescent bulb. LED bulbs can be very bright at short range, but the incandescent bulb can produce a strong beam that can reach out some distance. This is perfect for inspecting the shadowy creature rustling the bushes 30 meters into the black forest (it was just your dog, by the way).
These tips, and many more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – How To Survive Anything – the Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook – and How To Survive Off The Grid
Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch
And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.
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