How to Shop for Headlamps
Whether you're a runner, a backpacker, an angler, a camper, or you plan on doing any other outdoor activity after the sun goes down or before it comes up, a headlamp is vital to have on your list of supplies. It lights your way so that you can keep your hands free and use them for whatever other task you need to complete. There's no shortage of headlamps to choose from; just head to a sporting equipment supplier or any online retailer, and you'll find plenty of models. But you don't want to choose just any headlamp. You want to be sure that the headlamp you select is functional, reliable, and comfortable. So how do you determine which headlamp will best suit your needs? Keep on reading for some handy tips that will help to guide you through the process.
The Beam Type
The first thing you're going to want to consider when you're shopping for a headlamp is the beam type, as that will impact your view; in other words, what you can see. Headlamps have two main types of beams:
Flood. Also referred to as a "wide" beam, a flood beam, as the name suggests, floods the area in front of you with light. It's beneficial for general tasks, such as preparing a meal at a campground or prepping a campfire, up-close repair jobs, like fixing a flat tire or reading. Typically, a flood beam does not cast light over a long distance range.
Spot. Also known as a narrow or a focused beam, spot headlamps generate a tight beam of light, making them ideal for viewing objects over a long distance range. If you're planning on trekking a trail in the dark, a headlamp with a spot beam would be the ideal choice, as it will allow you to see what's out ahead of you.
The light output that a headlamp produces is known as the lumens, which is a unit of measurement that determines the total amount of light that the lamp emits in all directions. Generally, a lamp that has a high lumens count will use a higher rate of energy than a lamp that has a lower lumen. As such, the higher the lumens a lamp generates, the brighter the light will be; however, that's not always the case. That's because how well the manufacturer of the light focuses and directs the light can impact how the lumens are used.
The Distance of the Beam
The primary purpose of a headlamp is to direct light to a specific area. Headlamps are tested to assess the length; In meters, they can cast a light that can be used. The lumens of a headlamp indicate how bright the light a headlamp produces will grow, the distance of the beam indicates how far that light will go.
Often referred to as the "runtime," the burn time of a headlamp indicates how many hours it will generate light when it's fully charged up over a distance of two meters. It should be noted that the runtime is usually measured while the lamp is operated at its lowest setting, so the amount of time it will generate light may be skewed, as it may burn through its power source faster.
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