How (and why) to choose a headlamp

Do you like running after dark? Are you a night trekking enthusiast? Then a headlamp for the outdoors is a must-have to keep in your backpack.

In low visibility conditions, this type of equipment not only enhances your experience, but also increases your level of safety.

Have we convinced you? Well, then the time has come to choose your very own headlamp !

Decide whether you prefer to venture into the woods or run on paved asphalt in the evening.

Why buy a headlamp for outdoor use?

There are many different solutions on the market specifically designed for those who run or like to hike after dark. If you’re an experienced hiker, you know that a torch should never be missing from your backpack, as it’s one of the most important pieces of equipment in every hiker’s standard bag.

The classic torch, however, is not very convenient when running or walking because it restricts your movements and keeps your hands busy. It’s therefore much better to have a torch that lights your way without causing you too much trouble.

Hence the idea of headlamps which are similar to those used by miners. These devices are very light, have an autonomy of several hours, and are easily positioned on the forehead thanks to elastic bands. They can also be attached firmly to any climbing helmet.

In recent years, there’s been a huge development in the market of headlamps for trekking and outdoor use. Technological innovations have been made and involve several aspects: greater autonomy, power, lightness and versatility. When going on long and challenging hikes (e.g. on snow or ice in high mountains), early morning wake-up calls are mandatory, and a headlamp is an indispensable tool for getting around.

The headlamp (perhaps in its smaller and lighter versions) should still be in every prudent hiker’s backpack, even when there’s no plan to leave or return in the dark: unexpected situations can always arise and being able to see where you’re going makes all the difference to your safety and the hours spent trying to find your way back.

Once it may have been tedious to carry around because of its weight and bulk, but now there are no excuses. Since LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology replaced the old incandescent bulbs, outdoor headlamps have drastically reduced in size. Today they are no bigger than a walnut and not much heavier!

New headlamps with super batteries

The technological development of these headlamps also involves battery life. LEDs can save up to 90 % more energy than incandescent lamps of the same wattage.

In the past, especially in cold mountainous conditions, headlamp battery life was only a few hours. Today, however, with three mini-stylus batteries, a fairly powerful headlamp will last several hours.

Another important advantage is the possibility of choosing between normal alkaline batteries and rechargeable lithium ion batteries.

The former last many hours (in economy mode, they can last for over 200 hours), but the energy they supply gradually decreases. This means that, as time goes by, the headlamp will become increasingly dim and emit a weaker and weaker light beam.

Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries have a shorter lifespan (several tens of hours in economy mode), but they provide the headlamp with a more constant energy output at every stage of its life.

No dimming effect, then. Either the lighting is impeccable or it is completely dark.

It’s essential to have a charge indicator on the rechargeable headlamps, so that you can constantly monitor their usage and be notified when they are running low.