If you are someone who enjoys spending time outdoors whether it’s for hiking, camping, mountain biking or trail running, chances are you’ve had to use a headlamp. They are great for illuminating your path or to help you navigate around your camping area hands free. With the different brands constantly competing there are more and more models of headlamps coming out constantly. So here’s my opinion on which LED headlamps are the best on the market today and why.
One of the best headlamps available today is the Black Diamond Spot. It provides durability and brightness for a relatively low price and this particular model was recently upgraded to produce a strong 300 lumen beam. It also comes with a touch-sensitive housing that allows you to quickly cycle trough the brightness levels, by simply taping the side of the headlamp. You can go from full brightness to a dim light for whether you need to illuminate close or far objects. You can find more powerful headlamps on the market, but this lamp will do for casual outdoor activities.
One of my personal favourites is the Olight H1 Nova 500 lumen compact LED headlamp and torch. What makes this headlamp great is its multiple applicability – it has a removable pocket clip and magnetic tail for maximum versatility so it can be used as an angle torch. It is also a waterproof Led headlamp so you don’t have to worry about using it in the rain or dropping it in water. The H1 uses a CR123A or a 16340 battery, it comes with five different modes of brightness plus a SOS to use in time of emergency. The H1 hits the sweet spot considering its size, features and price.
Next on the list is the Petzl Actik Core. This lamp is great for activates like camping, biking and caving. The standard model can put out up to 300 lumens but I prefer the Actik Core which features a stronger 350 lumen LED light and a rechargeable battery. It is my favourite rechargeable headlamp it can be recharged by micro USB or in case you are away from a power source, it can also make use of 3 AAA batteries making the Actik Core a true hybrid.
And last on the list is the Petzl Tikka headlamp. It flies a little under the radar when compared with the Olight waterproof Led headlamp or the Black Diamond, but should not be underestimated. It is great for camping trips and for use around the house. It features a single light but was recently upgraded to 200 lumen maximum output from a single white LED. Just like the Actik Core, this model is also rechargeable but requires that you purchase the accessory separately. If you, however, decide to stick with the AAA batteries, the Tikka can provide you with everything you need for an acceptable price.
Although the flashlights on smartphones have reduced the use of traditional flashlights by a large margin, any serious camper and hiker knows that they aren’t a suitable replacement. That being said, a proper flashlight, or torchlight will provide you with a strong beam when precision and dexterity is crucial. Moreover, what once were large and heavy torches, today are portable, lightweight and extremely powerful tools that are a must have for every outdoor enthusiast.
If you don’t own a torchlight yet, but are looking to bring one on your next camping or hiking trip, then there are a few key factors to consider, such as light output, battery type, size and weight and run time. You can find a short, middle and long range torch online with relative ease, and their prices vary anywhere from about $20 to over $200 depending on the features, brightness it can produce, the type of battery it uses, ergonomics and the materials it’s made from.
The lighting output on torches that feature LED bulbs is measured in lumens. However, you can’t rely on lumens solely to get the whole story about the brightness of the torch. Beam distance, type and intensity all influence the effectiveness of the torch in different applications. For instance, 20 lumens is enough to read a book, 100 lumens can temporarily blind a person, and anything more than that can illuminate a football field.
The beam distance is measured in meters, and it shows how far the light will shine before it starts diminishing. Generally, a long range torch will have a focused-beam, and a broad beam torch will have a shorter illumination distance. However, some flashlights have a few “modes” which allow you to switch between long-range, short-range, broad-beam and focused-beam.
Typically, torches are made of either aluminium alloy or plastic. Some have stainless steel in the head for extra impact resistance. Speaking of impact resistance, torches are drop tested by dropping them 6 times on a hard surface, usually concrete, at the rated distance. However, even if a torchlight is made of aluminium, it should specify how thin or thick the aluminium alloy is, as the thinner ones are lighter and the thicker ones are tougher.
You’ll usually have to choose between disposable and rechargeable batteries. Newer torches use lithium-ion batteries, as they’re the more powerful ones and they don’t drain as quick as typical AAA or AA batteries. It’s always a good idea to keep an extra pack of batteries when you go on longer camping or hiking trips, and bring a battery charger if you have access to electricity.
In order to get the most out of your batteries, you have to properly maintain them. This is especially true if you have rechargeable batteries that cost a decent sum of money. One of the main battery maintenance operations is battery capacity testing. Battery capacity testing is performed using a special kind of tool, known as capacity tester. Read More