Posted by: davepidgeon | October 24, 2008

The light from your forehead


Using a Black Diamond headlamp inside Mammoth Cave National Park.

Using a Black Diamond headlamp inside Mammoth Cave National Park.

About a month ago, Budget Travel published a piece I put together about hiking gear that can be used for casual traveling. There’s a surprising amount of stuff designed for safe travel through the wilderness which also is advantageous on a plane, in a hostel or foreign B&B.


Perhaps my favorite tool is a headlamp. Out in the backcountry, a headlamp makes pitching tents, reading a map or going No. 1 in the pitch black darkness much easier because it’s a hands-free device. Now, imagine you’re on a Costa Rican or Irish road and your rental car breaks down. Fixing flat tires and examining engines during the night are made much easier with a headlamp instead of trying to do it all while one hand holds a bulky flashlight. It’s the same principles that have guided miners for generations. Other uses include traveling to areas plagued by brownouts or if you’re walking back to your hotel from a deserted beach at night.

Headlamps can range from the inexpensive ($15) to the credit killer ($100). For casual traveling, consider a headlamp that’s only $25 to $35, weighs less than two pounds and has at least three LEDs, those long-lasting lightbulbs which throw a better light than their out-of-date predecessors. Black Diamond and Petzl are industry leaders.


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