Why a Head Lamp?
Whether you are still walking after sun down, or enjoy hiking at night, the steady focused and hands free beam of Head Lamp is far superior to any thing achievable with a traditional torch.
The head lamp makes tasks like cooking, setting up camp, climbing difficult terrain and absolute simplicity, no more trying to foc
us the torch on the activity while clamped in your teeth.
The Headlamp revolution
I brought my first head lamp for enjoying night kayaking, a waterproof Petzl, with great burn time, beam tilt and totally hands free operation it didn’t take long until the head lamp knocked the torch out of my hiking kit as well.
But, like every bit of gear when you use it well, i soon discovered a 3 frustrating drawbacks that put me on the path to replace the Petzl;
- The Head lamp ran on three AAA batteries.
- With a push button on/off, this head lamp often managed to turn in in the pack and be flat when I needed it
- Changing the batteries on the track with a back up light source in your teeth, mosquito biting and “progressively wise” vision was a flipping nightmare!
Then I found my current, “perfect” head lamp, the Black Diamond Storm 250*(this is my second storm, after an unfortunate adventure with my first, but the 2017 model had some great improvements on the first so it worked out well!)
What I like about the Black Diamond Storm 250; (2017)
- On/off lock: I don’t know how many times I have got out other headlamps, only to discover they are flat after being “bumped” on in the pack. The BD 250 allows you to lock the On switch with a long press.
- 4 AAA batteries: Past head lamps only took 3, so you always had to buy 4…. and then waste the spare.
- Super easy battery install: Needing new batteries always seems to happen in the dark or bad light so you don’t need it to be complicated!
- IPX7 waterproof rated: made it very versatile, good for any weather, river crossings or out kayaking( my other hobby)
- LED / colours: Having all LED’s the power consumption is low and the life long – particularly with alkaline batteries. I particularly enjoy the red and green LED’s which are great for walking on at night and not destroying night vision, although you do need to switch to white if the terrain is rough.
- Beam Memory: Another cool function in it this head lamp is remembers the last beam you were using, and a simple tap on the side of the case will restore any beam to high
- 250 lumen main beam (*1)
- Case colour: Unlike my past head lamp with a black case, this one is a nice orange colour and with the addition of a little reflective tape, I don’t have the old problem of needing a torch to find the head lamp!
What I don’t like?
- The variety of functions are a bit bamboozling at times, but I just ignore them and use the basics high beam and red night vision LED’s mostly.
- Initially I wanted a head lamp compatible with USB compatible charging to run with my solar charger, but my research confirmed what my experience already indicated, the disposable alkaline’s have a far superior use time over rechargeable… (I carry spare batteries with this head lamp but its along time between replacements)
The Black Diamond Storm sells for around $100.oo NZ, ( including GST) it pays to search around as some outdoors shops have some good reductions.
Back up lighting
As good as a head lamp is, its always a good idea to have a small back up light along, for moments like battery changes. The great thing these days, is they are often already incorporated into other devices we carry of other reasons;
- Smart phone “flash lights” (some phones need and app to do this)
- Power banks , many power banks have a LED torch included
- Digital cameras, some have the ability to turn on an LED for video shooting – but you have to know your way around the settings, so not easy.
- Small Torch, you can get small torches that run on the coin batteries or a single AAA, to carry as a back up to your main one. I did briefly experiment with a couple of types of wind up torch, but found them unreliable as they do still have a battery in them and need to be regularly wound to keep it working.
(*1 )The Black Diamond Storm 250 has now been superseded with the Storm 350)