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Headlamp or flashlight?

headlamp-200x148Q. What’s better for the outdoors: a headlamp or a flashlight?
— Looking-for-a-light Larry, Orlando, Fla.

A. Larry, this is a good question. The biggest benefit to using a headlamp that’s strapped to your noggin is that it provides hands-free lighting. That means when you’re on an outing, you can cook, hike, read in your tent, go to the bathroom, etc. without holding a flashlight. Also, headlamps tend to be more compact and lighter weight than conventional flashlights. Headlamps usually have variable light levels and many also come with a flashing emergency light option. Sure, flashlights are great, but I’d say for the average Boy Scout a headlamp is the best choice.


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17 Comments on Headlamp or flashlight?

  1. SurplusDude // June 12, 2014 at 6:14 am // Reply

    I really like the Princeton Tech Byte. Its a really good flashlight. After i got mine, it hasn’t left my side since. When mine breaks i’m getting another one!

  2. i use a headlamp and bring a hat light for backup

  3. Ihazporkchop // May 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm // Reply

    I would say flashlight because they are usually brighter and you can hold it in your mouth

  4. Eagle4Life // May 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm // Reply

    One of my biggest issues is that the headlamp allows you to adjust it to point it at different lengths along the ground, but as I walk it inevitably just falls down and shines straight into my eyes.

  5. I jus got a random flashlight. :3

  6. How about both in one unit? I carry a Micro Mag light (1 AAA battery size) with an elastic head strap (Included) that converts the flashlight to a head lamp. The light has 2 settings, bright and low light. Cost $10.00 (for both parts). Actually though, my favorite is the button light by Nite Eyz. This light attaches to a zipper pull, offers enough light for the tent and a stroll to the bathroom in the woods. These cost about $4.50 each and are the size of your thumb nail. I carry 2 on all outings.

  7. i carry boyh a a mini-mag and a cyclops that positionable so you can point it down

  8. headlamps are goodbut keep a backup

  9. Headlamp wins over flashlight for scouting. It keeps you hands free so you can work in the dark, and it is a must for caving. Usually a headlamp costs less too, and now they come in LED bulbs, so the batteries last longer.

  10. Since I started using a headlamp, I will not go in woods without.Mariofan has good advice though carry a handheld as a backup.I recommend both using the same type of batteries, and not rechargeable. These tend to lose their recharge life and are expensive to replace.

  11. Definately true.Though,aim for a, at least, 1 watt light or 60 lumenends. Anything less than that tends to be annoyingly dull, and you’ll always be thinking you have low batteries.

  12. headlamp less chance of breaking because u dont hold it so it does not fall and break

  13. Boy Scout Man // October 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm // Reply

    I agree with Mahiawa very strongly!!!

    Nice tip!!!!!!

  14. I like my headlamp best, but I would say both. You never know when you will experience equipment failure. Always have a plan B!

  15. Look for a headlamp with a red or green light so you don’t blind your buddies at night. Aim for an LED light, the batteries will last a lot longer.

    • moscoutmom // May 21, 2014 at 9:11 am // Reply

      My two year old got a headlamp with a red light option for Christmas. He put it on his nose and said he was Rudolph. :D

  16. I like headlamps best, but they all ways get into the people that you are talking to’s eyes.

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