As indicated on The Mountaineers Ten Essentials lists, the headlamp is a popular alternative to the flashlight. Our typical gear list will include both, as they each have their advantages.

Looking at the definition of headlamp, most dictionaries simply refer you to “headlight,” which Dicitonary.com defines as “a light or lamp, usually equipped with a reflector, on the front of an automobile, locomotive, etc.” In the case of the Ten Essentials, the etc. is your head. It is an Americanism compounding “head” and “light” with an origin between 1860 and 1865. Headlamp is dated to between 1880 and 1885.

Similar to our preferred models of flashlights, our headlamps use AAA batteries. Again, this is because good rechargeable options exist and readily available alkaline and lithium versions can be used if needed. Like our flashlights, our headlamps use LEDs. Our favorite headlamps have two modes: standard bright white and low-level red. The red is great for busy campgrounds where you want to navigate the night safely without blowing out fellow campers’ night vision – if only they would also be so considerate.

Do you have a favorite headlamp? We’d like to hear about in the comments.


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