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Matthew Hansen

Resumo da Biografia How to Choose a Headlamp

Do not buy cheap headlamps: While it might be tempting to save money by opting for a cheap headlamp, you do not want to do this. Cheap headlamps tend to be big and bulky and made with cheap, flimsy plastic. They also blow through batteries – on most cheap headlamps, the batteries do not more than hours. If you want a quality, durable headlamp, you will need to spend a little more.

Check the weight: Most headlamps are not heavy, but they do come in different weights. You can comfortably wear them on your head when walking, no matter where. However, if you use your lamp during other activities where weight plays a role or if you are an ultra-runner, you will probably want to pick the lightest headtorch you can find to ensure your comfort. Try out different ones if possible to make sure that your headlamp’s weight is just right for you.

Consider battery life: Not everyone worries about battery run-time. You are unlikely to have a problem if you are car camping and carrying extra batteries. However, battery run-time matters when things go wrong, so you need to pick a headlamp that does not go through battery life fast. Headlamps that have rechargeable batteries are a salient choice too, as you can charge them quickly when your light starts getting dim.

Check out durability: Another important factor when choosing a headlamp is durability. You want a well-built light that can withstand rough conditions. When you are in the wilderness, there are many things that could go wrong. Official site. For instance, you could get caught in a rainstorm. In such situations, you want a headlamp that is water resistant. You should also look for one that can survive accidental drops or knocks.

Consider beam quality and options: When you are in a survival situation or any outdoor trip, you want to make sure that you have a headlamp that has superb beam quality, so you obviously need a bright lamp. But you also need to check the beam options that the headlamp offers. You should pick one that offers an excellent spot beam in the center as well as an evenly spread out beam. You should choose a headlamp that offers both spotlight and floodlight beams.

What we don’t: Very heavy; short battery life.

What makes the Fenix unique is the incredible combined output when the two lights are switched on together. Don’t expect the fun to last long, however, as the turbo mode will drain your battery at a rapid rate. Nitpicks? Outside of the short battery life, it would be nice for such a rugged looking (and heavy) item to be more water ready, with only an IPX rating that falls short of the waterproof Black Diamonds above.

Battery Options

Most standard LED headlamps run on AAA batteries housed in either the main body of the light or the back of the strap. The batteries are packaged tightly and accessed by a clamshell-style door. This is the most prevalent and simple design and found on many of our top headlamp picks.

Separate battery packs built into the back of the strap feel bulkier but can redistribute the extra weight well. This style often will have an additional strap running right over the top of the head for support and a secure fit. Lights with higher outputs that are designed for more extreme pursuits like the Black Diamond Icon utilize this design. The downside is extra bulk that will take up a larger footprint on your head and in a pack. Some headlamps, like the Princeton Tec Apex Extreme, have a detached battery pack that allows you to carry it close to your body, preventing the battery from draining in cold temperatures.

Rechargeable headlamps are gaining traction due to the obvious benefits of not having to replace the batteries. Instead, use the USB plug-in to recharge before heading out, in the car on the way to the trailhead, or in the backcountry with a solar panel or battery pack. Furthermore, Petzl has begun to design many of their headlamps with a hybrid feature that allows you to use their rechargeable CORE pack, or take it out and insert AAA batteries instead. This is a phenomenal option for those wanting the benefits of a rechargeable headlamp, but anticipate occasions when they’ll go a long time without a power source. For all rechargeable options, you do pay a little price premium—but for some, it’s plenty worth it. The cost and waste of AAA batteries certainly can add up.

Straps and Carrying Comfort

The headlamps in this guide are not recommended for mountain biking (you need something brighter) or hunting, nor are they appropriate for military purposes, tactical use, or rescue (you need something with colored LED lights, and color temperature might matter, too). And they are not the right choice for caving, diving, or underwater photography (you need something seriously waterproof).

How we picked and tested

Each year headlamp manufacturers are bringing out more powerful lamps, which leaves us with the question: how bright should a headlamp be? Lumens measure the amount of visible light a certain headlamp can produce, although this does not always translate to brightness or quality. All the products on this list are, however, high quality and lumens do give a good comparative idea of the brightness of the lamps. Beam distance is also a good indication of the quality of the optical lens system in a headlamp.

When choosing a headlamp, it should be noted that you will not be operating it at the maximum brightness setting for extended periods of time as it drains the battery very quickly. For general use around the campsite and casual hiking we recommend a headlamp with a range between 2and 150 lumens. If you are planning on doing hikes or trail runs in complete darkness we recommend any lamps with 250 lumens and above.

Weight and Comfort

The weight of a headlamp can make or break a user’s experience. Generally, the more powerful the lamps are heavier due to extra batteries and an aluminum or thick plastic casing. For example, Princeton Tec Apex has a 350-lumen rating and weighs in at 283g. We recommend that you should opt for the lightest option available that is still suitable for your purpose. This is typically the more comfortable option and will allow you to move more freely.

The weight distribution of the headlamp is also a key factor contributing to comfort. This is where the design of straps come into play. Lighter more compact lamps tend to have a single elastic nylon strap that wraps around the sides of your head. Heavier lamps employ a second strap that runs over the top of your head. This provides a more secure fit suitable for more vigorous activities. As the lamps become more powerful batteries stored in the front tend to unbalance the headlamp leading to the light moving up and down as you walk. When opting for more powerful lamps be sure that the battery pack is situated at the back of the head or that it has the necessary support straps.

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