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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Headlamps - Advantages, Disadvantages and Considerations

Most preppers have at least considered using a headlamp, and for good reason.  They are inexpensive, lightweight and handy as H E double hockey sticks!  But they also have some downsides as many who have used them can tell you.  Personally, I would recommend them.  The above picture is from the website where I ordered mine and I wouldn't give it up for anything, but at the same time, wouldn't always reach for it when venturing out into the dark.  Here are my reasons...



Advantages:

  • Keeping both hands free.  I can't name all the times that I've used my headlamp for this reason alone. Washing dishes during a power outage, working with wiring or plumbing under the house, anytime you need illumination and both hands free for use.
  • Bright light.  Today's headlamps most often use cree LED lights which are super bright.  If it has intensity settings even better!
  • Aimable light.  Most models come with a tilt feature that lets you aim the light downward for tasks such as reading.  Some also have a zoom feature which can help concentrate the illumination to one spot.
Disadvantages:

  • Insects.  Ever notice how bugs are attracted to your porch light at night?  Try strapping one to your forehead and see what happens.  Trying to light a fire outdoors in the dark wearing one of these can be an exercise in frustration...ask me how I know.
  • Indiscrete.  If you're trying to be hidden, good luck!
  • It's on your head!  Talking face to face with someone wearing a headlamp is annoying at best.
 Considerations:

  • Power.  Try to get a headlamp that uses a battery size you commonly use and stock.  Obviously rechargeable batteries have their advantages and many headlamps come with a charging port for car lighter or USB adaptors.  The one pictured above uses 18650 lithium batteries which I use for quite a few applications and has a port that I use to charge with a USB cable.
  • Tilt/Zoom.  You may not realise just how handy these two features are until you own and use a headlamp.
  • Price.  Dollar store models don't last.  Also, the old style bulbs in them really eat up batteries.  However, you don't need to spend $100.00 up for a lamp that does the trick and lasts.  Beware of fancy models with multiple heads and tactical designs often found on EBay.
In conclusion, having a headlamp has been a smart investment.  Handy in many situations and a fairly inexpensive prep. (mine cost about $12.00 from EBay, not including batteries and charging cable).

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