Nighttime hiking and camping can be one of the most amazing experiences. Stargazing is something that not many people appreciate, which is quite a shame because I honestly feel like it can be breathtaking. If you’re someone who likes partaking in outdoor adventures when the sun goes down, then you probably need some source of illumination to show you the way. Most hikers are used to using flashlights, but headlamps are also becoming quite a popular option. And while the main thing that will allure you to pick one over the other is personal preference, there are pros and cons of both flashlights and headlamps.
The most important thing to know when shopping for headlamps and flashlights is to look for quality and durable models. The safest way to do that is to shop for known brands with a history of producing quality headlamps and flashlights, such as NiteCore, LED Lenser, Olight, etc. Personally, I own a LED Lenser L5, and a NiteCore HA23. However, keep in mind that I’m an avid outdoor enthusiast and I can justify having both the LED Lenser L5 and the NiteCore HA23, although they’re costly. Regardless, there are three things that you should keep in mind when deciding whether you should get a headlamp or a flashlight.
Typically, flashlights can illuminate more than headlamps. Of course, this depends on the models you’re looking at, but expect to pay more for a headlamp that illuminates as much as a flashlight. Technology is moving forward quickly, and you can now find affordable flashlights and headlamps that provide bright beams. But when it comes to picking the brightest yet more affordable option, flashlights are the obvious winner.
The headlamp illuminates from a fixed point, whereas with a flashlight, you can adjust the angle with your hand. However, a headlamp provides you illumination without having to use your hands, which means you’ll have an easier time setting up camp in the dark, for example, or shooting with your rifle if you’re hunting. Basically, there’s no clear winner in this category, and it’s mostly up to personal preferences and needs.
Most headlamps can’t withstand the amount of abuse flashlights can. Flashlights, especially those for rugged, outdoor use, are built to last and they’re more versatile than most headlamps. The aluminium construction and gasket seals that most outdoor flashlights have in their construction are almost invincible. Furthermore, flashlights usually have a better water-resistance rating than headlamps.