Light your Way while you Backpack!


Let’s start by painting a little mental picture… So you started out backpacking one early morning, and your itinerary has you firmly back in your city well before nightfall… But then, as is the case with most such things, something goes seriously wrong (a roadblock, an injury, or the like) and you find yourself stranded in the middle of nature (no more beautiful, since you can’t really see it anymore), wishing upon whatever star you can see that you were blessed with miraculously green night vision!

Ok, the picture may be highly far-fetched – the wish isn’t!

And so, we come to the topic of FLASHLIGHTS while backpacking!

So far as flashlights go, you have 2 options, really:

  •  Handheld and
  •  Headlamps.

Now let’s take a look at them one by one…

Handheld lights

Handheld lights, as the name suggests, will have to be carried… But thankfully the newer options are surprisingly light without cutting down on the hours you have. So you can hold it easily, keep your path lit for a while, and when done, you need to only slip it into your pocket!

Photo Credit: sonofabob via Compfightcc

Also when investing in one, here are a few qualities to look out for:

  • Light
  •  Long lasting
  •  Durable
  •  Small
  •  Preferably resistant to shock
  •  O-ring sealed which means it is water-proof
  •  One that has a large range – flood to spotlight.
  •  And one that preferably has a place for a spare bulb, just in case.

The other thing that seems to have hikers in knots is the kind of bulb – LED or Incandescent…
 

Incandescent  LED 
 

These are the older option and less expensive to begin with.

Need to be changed frequently.

They are actually bulbs so there will be heat and soot that will damage the filament, not-so-eventually.

 

These are obviously technically more advanced, and even with the initial cost, they are cheaper in the long run.

A lot more durable.

These are actually light emitting diodes, and don’t have any such problems!


 Basically, with newer technology available, it is best to not go for the incandescent, and make a responsible investment in LEDs instead.
 

So far as flashlights go, you may find a number of options that you need to check out… Look for optimum features and usability… And for those of you looking for a recommendation, the Smith & Wesson Galaxy 13 LED Flashlight (10 White LED & 3 Red LED) seems to be a good option, as rated by happy customers at Amazon.com. It has earned a high rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from satisfied customers… So you may find out more about it and order one for your next hike as well!

The other option - Headlamps

The obvious advantage – you needn’t hold them! But even otherwise, here are the perks:

  • They attach to your cap, clothes or bag, and leave your hands free.
  • They come with tiltable angles.
  •  Most headlamps can be adjusted for floodlight as well as spotlight.
  •  The battery packs for most can be detached making the actual light lighter (when you aren’t using it, that is)
  •  Comes with an option to regulate current and get a boost of light.
  • Also have multiple LEDS (more light, and fail-safe!)
  • And finally, probably one of the most important features – They can act as Strobes, thus ensuring that you are visible to fellow hikers and rescue parties, even when visibility is out-right bad!

However, you have headlamps, and then you have the really good headlamp… And these being the features to look out for, you need to look for the one which has the most features.


But again for a recommendation, here’s the Nathan Clip-On Deluxe L.E.D. Safety Strobe, because safety comes first and foremost! It’s got a rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars at Amazon.com. And you just need to click on the name to find out more about it and order yours!

However, just as a last word: “the woods are lovely dark and deep”, but you still don’t have the night-vision, so basically, the best thing to do is to have both types – flashlight and headlamps – on hand and ready… And maybe even a small back-up flashlight, tucked into your pocket!

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