Headlamps can be your best friend in the dark

Find out what headlamps are and how you can benefit from their use.

Headlamps are a type of gadget that just about anyone can benefit from owning. Whether you’re going hiking, camping, or just walking the dog at night, headlamps are ideal for any activity taking place at night or in the dark. Additionally, although they are great for hobbyists, there are also myriad professional applications for headlamps such as for mining, maintenance, and firefighters among many others.

In this post, we outline what headlamps are, what the benefits of using one are and who can benefit from their use.

What are headlamps?

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headlamp, also known as a head torch in the UK, is a light source affixed to the head, often to be used for outdoor activities at night or in dark conditions. Although we’ll get into the applications for headlamps, they are often cited as being useful for outdoor recreation activities such as caving, spelunking, hiking, camping, biking, and night running, among others. Additionally, they are often used in professional industries such as mining, search and rescue, and firefighting or any other line of work that requires hands-free lighting.

A headlamp usually utilises an elastic band to strap it the head or helmet; however, there are ways to mount helmets with headlamps without the use of a strap. Most headlamps are able to be strapped to the user's head by a single band while some models, usually of the heavier variety, employ an additional band that goes over the top of the user's head.

Headlamps typically utilise white LED lighting due to the smaller size and lower weight, more efficient power consumption and higher durability compared with incandescent light bulbs.

Why you may need one

There are a number of benefits associated with headlamps, but most of them stem from the fact that they’re flashlights that do not require hands to operate. It almost goes without saying, but the fact that headlamps are hands-free tools means that you can do just about everything you need to with your hands while you’re lighting things up in front of you. This presents all kinds of advantages that a hand-held torch or flashlight just cannot provide.

A hands-free design also means you’ll never have to worry about dropping your flashlight and potentially breaking it or losing it and having to chase after it as it rolls away.

Additionally, some hand-held flashlights are heavy, thus, if you’ve got a long job ahead of you, and you have to hold that flashlight the entire time, this can be quite taxing on your arms. Some people will elect to put flashlights in their mouths, but who wants to do that when you could just use a headlamp?

Another underrated benefit to having a light affixed to the head and having both hands free is that you never really have to worry about where you’re shining the light. The light is just shining wherever you are looking, therefore, you’re never in the dark.

Lastly, if you are intent on having a hand-held flashlight, you can just take the headlamp off your head and use it as a flashlight in your hand. A headlamp is really like having two products in one. It’s a two-for-one deal!

Who uses them?

There are a number of activities and professional industry applications for headlamps, but there are a few that perhaps would be more applicable than others. We’ll outline those below.

Outdoor recreation activities

The application for headlamps that perhaps is the most well-known is for outdoor recreation activities, such as caving, hiking, camping, running and biking. Cavers regularly dive into deep dark cave systems, as the name of the activity suggests, and they need to use their hands to bellycrawl, rapple, and swim through caves, thus a headlamp is essential.

Hikers and camping enthusiasts utilise headlamps at night to light up the map in their hands while out on the trails or to read at night in their tents. There is also the classic application for the camper that needs to use the loo in the middle of the night. Imagine fumbling around in the dark trying to find the outhouse without a headlamp? Headlamps are therefore highly useful to the hiking or camping enthusiast. As with hiking and camping, night-time runners and bikers often use headlamps as well to illuminate the road or trail ahead of them.

And lastly, another outdoor recreation activity, fishing is one that most people associate with a day time activity out on the lake or on a dock, however, the best fisherman know that the fish bite early in the wee hours of the morning, when it’s still dark out. Imagine having to bait your hook with no light source? That could result in quite a few pricked fingers.

So, you can see how useful headlamps can be for any outdoor recreation activity that takes place in the dark. But what about professional applications?

Industry & Maintenance

In addition to recreational activities, headlamps are great for those that are in industrial or maintenance lines of work. Many businesses require machinery and other devices to be up and running, sometimes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If not, every minute of downtime means lost revenue. Thus, maintaining physical assets in running condition and fixing them as quickly as possible when they go out is essential. As you might imagine, these machines have many moving parts, many of which are tiny, thus two hands are essential for maintenance work. This is where headlamps come in. Mechanics are also in a similar boat. It is not easy to see what’s under the hood without a headlamp.

In other industrial jobs, such as oil and gas or mining, in addition to needing to work with hands free, this line of work also comes with other hazards such as explosive atmospheres due to gas and dust. Thus, an ATEX-approved safety light is paramount to ensure a safe working environment. Luckily, there are many ATEX certified headlamps that are designed just for these types of professionals in mind.

Fire & Rescue

Although this is not an exhaustive list, this is perhaps the last of the professional applications we will list in this post, and that’s for fire and rescue first responders. Firefighters sometimes need to dive into burning buildings, and although you’d think the fire would light up a place like a Christmas tree, it’s really the smoke that a firefighter needs to cut through with light to see what’s up ahead. Additionally, the power is often cut, thus, lights will not be turned on in dark burning buildings. This is also another job where explosive atmospheres exist, thus, ATEX-approved safety headlamps are often required. Additionally, search and rescue professionals often need a headlamp to illuminate dark places to rescue animals and other people, whether it be outside at night or in dark confined areas.

Other everyday applications

DIY home repairs and power outages

Beyond those listed above, there are any number of everyday applications that headlamps can provide a boon to the average person. One of the oft-cited situations is to navigate blackouts and to make home repairs. Without being able to see and having hands free in these situations, this can be quite the job.

Walking the dog

Although there are often streetlights, sometimes they go out or your dog runs away and you have to go after him or her in the dark. Having a headlamp is a highly useful in these situations.

Car Work

We already mentioned briefly maintenance professionals and mechanics, but the same goes for car hobbyists out there. Working on engines and other automobile machinery is hard work without illumination and two hands free.

Having said the above, there are any number of situations that a person could use a headlamp for and benefit from its use. Just think about any activity you do, whether it be a hobby or in the professional arena, do you need to perform in the dark and have your hands free at the same time? If you answer ‘yes’, then it’s likely that you could benefit from owning a headlamp.

The versatility and usefulness of headlamps is really unmatched in the flashlight department in many ways. If you are looking for a new headlamp, Peli has your back. With up to 558 lumens, revolutionary downcast lighting, USB charging and battery level indication, Peli’s headlamps are packed with features. Other options, including night vision friendly red illumination, interchangeable body colours and multiple settings, make these headlamps your best friend in the dark.

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