The best headlamps

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With the right headlamp, you can safely hike at night, find your way around a nighttime campsite, take your dog for a walk at dusk, or work on that prized ’69 Mustang hands-free.
When shopping for a headlamp, you’ll want a durable option that offers a comfortable fit, variable brightness settings, and enough battery life to avoid going dim after a few hours of use. 
Our top pick, the BioLite Headlamp 330, is a balanced and comfortable headlamp featuring a sweat-wicking headband and a light enough weight that we often forget we’re even wearing it.

The first time I went on a major mountaineering trip, I brought all the wrong gear. From head to toe, I made mistake after mistake. I had on a second-hand pair of boots, heavy army surplus trousers, and a bulky skiing parka — I was woefully underprepared. Perhaps the worst choice I made was to bring a single small flashlight instead of a proper headlamp.

As I soon learned, trying to pick your way over rocks, roots, streams, and snow in the middle of the night is difficult with just a handheld flashlight. My 45-pound pack and ill-fitting boots hardly helped the situation. 

The next time I ventured into mountainous backcountry, I brought a headlamp — but foolishly putting my trust in a ten-dollar lamp from a flea market put me out on yet another figurative limb. It did work well enough for a few hours of nighttime trekking but then its hinge failed and the lamp flopped completely forward, shining directly into my eyes instead of onto the trail. I turned to duct tape for a quick fix but knew right then the value of a quality headlamp. 

On my third multi-day hike, you better believe I had a damn good headlamp along for the journey. Through trial-and-error, I went from an ordinary flashlight to a bonafide headlamp — but you don’t have to suffer through the same mistakes I did. Before getting into the best headlamps to buy, let’s talk about how to pick one best suited for your lifestyle. 

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How to shop for a headlamp

First and foremost, a headlamp has to be bright enough for the task at hand. But the type of beam a light creates is every bit as important as its sheer lumen output. While the tendency is often to check the lumen rating of a headlamp and treat that like the most important metric for judging a headlamp, the type of beam is a better deciding factor than the intensity of the light alone. For example:

A cyclist needs a powerful lamp that throws a beam dozens of yards ahead, letting him or her see plenty of the roadway or trail.
A mechanic, on the other hand, benefits from a wider beam pattern that illuminates a broad swath of the area close at hand.
If you’re camping, consider a headlamp with variable light settings, a red light option, and one that offers long battery …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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