Why You Need A Tactical LED Headlamp
A good tactical LED headlamp is a critically important piece of equipment for any overnight backpacker.
The main reason is that a good headlamp will free your hands up, unlike a flashlight.
This will allow you to balance as you cross rough terrain, without having to worry as much about slipping and falling in the dark.
A tactical headlamp gives you increased mobility at night, which is a huge safety issue, and also an important convenience factor as well.
A good tactical headlamp should fit snugly and comfortably on your head, with the light following your gaze and illuminating your field of vision.
With a well made, properly fitted tactical headlamp, you should forget you are wearing anything at all.
If you are new to the outdoor world it can be easy to take for granted having instant access to light.
On the trail, making sure that you have a light source that is not only powerful and reliable but genuinely convenient as well can be a huge factor in the quality of your trip.
You can’t flip on a light-switch out in the woods, but a tactical headlamp is the next best thing.
5 Ways A Camping Headlamp Will Make Your Life Easier On The Trail
Having a tactical headlamp will definitely make several activities much easier once you are outside.
Hiking on dark trails
Having a hands-free lighting source makes treacherous night-time routes significantly easier. This is an important safety issue that should not be overlooked, especially for solo hikers. Using a flashlight means you are giving up one hand you may need to steady yourself, and increases the chance you could take a tumble.
Setting up camp after sundown
If you are making camp after sunset, you certainly don’t want to be fumbling around in the dark trying to get your fire started and your tent set up. Especially if you are already hungry and tired from a long day! A headlamp can really save you some frustration here. Also, searching through a full backpack for a crucial item can be a pain in the dark.
Midnight bathroom trips
Pretty much self-explanatory.
Reading in your tent
A tactical headlamp with a “low” setting can be an ideal way to enjoy a good read in your tent after expending your body.
Obviously, we hope all our trips are safe and incident-free, but there may be a time when an emergency occurs out on the trail, and it’s always a good idea to be prepared should something happen. A tactical headlamp can be a critical life-saving device, allowing you to shed light on the situation while freeing up your hands, possible saving you crucial seconds. Many camping headlamps also feature emergency SOS modes, which can be seen for miles away.
How To Choose The Best headlamp
If you are trying to figure out how to choose the best headlamp for yourself, you need to think about what you are really going to be using it for.
If you are going to be doing a significant amount of night-time hiking and camp set-up, it is crucial that you make the investment in a high-quality tactical headlamp that you can rely on.
Having your light source glitch out on you while you are in the woods at night is not only inconvenient, it can be dangerous.
Staff Pick: The TL900 Tactical Headlamp
The TL900 is probably the most sought-after tactical headlamp on the market.
This headlamp is renowned for its extreme durability, incredibly bright light, and long lasting duration.
It doesn’t come cheap, but if you are serious about making an investment in this type of gear, you would be hard-pressed to find a better product.
The TL900 is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum, which allows it to survive a fall from several feet with no damage.
This could potentially be a lifesaving quality. If you are in the back-country at night and destroy your light source, you could be in a very difficult situation.
This headlamp is also praised for its long-lasting LED bulbs.
These can go for 100,000 hours (over 11 years!).
This is truly a feat and means that you may never have to purchase another headlamp again.
The TL900 tactical headlamp also features four modes (High, Low, Strobe, SOS), and an adjustable zoom that can pinpoint spots up to 500 meters away.
All this and the TL900 still weighs in under a pound!
Why A Tactical Headlamp With Red Light Can Be Useful
Some headlights offer a red light mode. Red light is different from white light in that it does not cause our pupils to narrow.
An interesting fact about the human eye is that we can see at night due to a chemical called “rhodopsin” that is found in the rods of our cornea. Bright white light depletes this chemical, and it can take up to thirty minutes to regenerate.
When you use red light at low intensity, however, you can recover within minutes.
This is an option that is often used by outdoorsmen in the dead of night to preserve their night vision on the trail.
We have often found that using a red light is way more comfortable on the eyes. Also, sometimes a bright white light can be just plain obnoxious, so having a kinder, gentler option can be convenient.
Top quality tactical headlamps often feature an SOS mode. It is a function that we all hope to never use, but in true emergency situations, this function could help save lives.
The SOS mode is simply a repeating strobe that flashes the Morse code for SOS (three long flashes, three short flashes, three long flashes).
With high lumen headlamp, the distress signal can be seen for a couple of miles, potentially attracting the attention of emergency services or other hikers.
Again, this is one of those things you never want to need, but when you do need it, you will be extremely glad you have it.
Headlamp For Reading
It’s always nice to bring some reading materials on the trail. After a long, strenuous day outside, curling up with a good book can be the perfect way to wind down and relax.
Check to see if your headlamp has a low-power mode, suited for close-up viewing if you plan on using it for this purpose.
This is important because if your headlamp is too powerful, you will hurt your eyes attempting to read something up close.
Having a rechargeable headlamp is extremely convenient, and it greatly extends the life of your lamp.
Many headlamps can last up to 15 hours in between charges. It’s important to know how much charge yours holds before planning a night-time excursion, you certainly do not want to get caught outside in the dark with no light source.
Many headlamps also allow you to insert batteries as well.
We recommend keeping a stock of batteries with you just in case an unexpected situation arises and you need to keep your headlamp running.
LED headlamps have become the industry standard.
LED lights are superior to other types due to their brightness, long life, ruggedness, and price point.
If you are considering a tactical headlamp, we highly recommend sticking to LED bulbs.
What is a lumen? Lumens are the measurement of lamp brightness. A lumen (or “luminous flux”) tells you the amount of light output of a bulb over a fixed period of time. It is the standard unit of measurement for headlamps and flashlights.
It is one of the primary benchmarks for good tactical headlamps.
Just for reference, a candle in 10 lumens, and your typical indoor house lights are about 200-300 lumens.
Most tactical headlamps offer at least 700 lumens, some as many as 3,000 (or so they claim).
How Many Lumens Do You Need In A Headlamp
The truth is, you do not actually need a crazy amount of lumens to have an effective tactical headlamp.
The TL900, for example, offers 800-1000 lumens, which is about as powerful as any backpacker might need.
At that level, you will get an extremely powerful light bright enough to illuminate any situation.
Much brighter than that, and you are in overkill territory, and may even hurt your eyes!
Many companies claim that they offer the “brightest headlamp”, but this is generally just a marketing ploy intended to sway less-informed customers.
The most you would need is a 1200 lumen headlamp. The minimum we feel for campers or hikers would be a 700-lumen headlamp.
Other Uses For A Tactical Headlamp
After you’ve hung up your hiking boots, a tactical headlamp can still be useful for tasks around the house.
A headlamp can aid you in any number of home repair or DIY projects you can think of.
This piece of equipment is not just an investment for the trail, but a great tool for general use around the house.
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