Two universal truths for outdoor excursions of all kinds are that they tend to take a little longer than we originally planned, and most of them should be intentionally experienced at night or well before sunrise at least once.
Hunters are obviously used to both scenarios. Pre and post daylight functionality is a must. That’s why a headlamp is arguably the most important piece of emergency equipment you’ll carry. Whether you suddenly find yourself chasing a trail of blood after sundown or your alarm is set for a time that starts with a 3 or a 4, having the best headlamp you can buy is necessary for your safety, efficiency and general enjoyment of any nighttime activity. experience you are having.
Conceptually, headlights are quite simple. All are variations on the theme of an adjustable elastic strap with a small battery-powered light. But when you delve into the various specifications of today’s wide range of offerings, it can be easy to get lost in all the different features, modes and settings. Fortunately, our team isn’t short of both accidental and intentional activities after dark or before dawn, so we know a thing or two about choosing the right headlamp. In short, we are looking for:
As with most outdoor gear, one of the most important aspects of a headlamp is that it works when we need it to. That’s why we call reliability our number one consideration. This encompasses how long the battery will last (or how convenient recharging will be), how durable the headlamp is, and whether it comes with any waterproofing or all-weather performance guarantees.
If you’re going to be spending long periods of time in the field, you’d be better off prioritizing longevity over lumens. Sure, being able to see the next county is great, but it’s not worth the total darkness that comes when the battery finally dies and you realize you forgot to pack extras. It’s also worth mentioning that dishing out good batteries can make all the difference.
2. Lighting modes
Another important consideration is what modes the headlamp offers. We usually try to stay invisible to critters, so a red light mode comes in handy. We also frequently get in and out of tents and vehicles, and we definitely don’t want to blind our friends, so a dimmer switch helps to quickly suppress the brightness of the main light.
3. Comfort and Fit
We also want our headlights to stay absolutely glued to our heads, whether we’re sweating, shivering, hiking through the woods, or setting up camp. Some headlights have a second perpendicular strap that runs over it, which can add security to the grip. We also frequently wear headlamps over hats or under hoods, so making sure the strap and trim fit with these extra layers is key.