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Backpacker Magazine – May 2011

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Gear School: Headlamps

Improve your night sight with the latest headlamp technology.


BUY | USE | FIX
USE
>> Conserve power. When working around camp, dim the light.
>> Hang your lamp in the tent to make a lantern.
>> Wear it like a necklace when conversing. Result: useful glow, no blinding.
>> Dry off your lamp. Most headlamps are water-resistant and can withstand rain, snow, and brief submersion. But swimming with your torch will ruin it, unless you have a totally waterproof model. If fresh water gets inside the casing, immediately take out the batteries and dry the contacts and the rest of the lamp. For accidental ocean dunkings, quickly rinse the whole thing (including the battery compartment) with fresh water, then dry it. And don’t store a wet lamp; it will corrode.
>> Protect it from dust. Headlamps can withstand a serious beating; even if you scratch the lens, it won’t affect the way the light shines. But if fine particles penetrate the casing, they can interfere with the contacts, damaging performance. In dusty areas, stow it in a bag.
>> Be cold savvy. In frigid temps, stow the entire lamp in an inner pocket when it’s not in use, to keep the batteries warm and functional.
>> To store, remove batteries. Lamps draw a little power even when off.


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READERS COMMENTS

backpckr
Jul 16, 2011

You can clean corrosion from battery contact by using an eraser on a common pencil.

Steve C.
Jul 15, 2011

Is there any light color that bugs won't swarm? This past weekend our headlamps became handhelds when bugs kept swarming our faces.

Paul M.
Jul 15, 2011

Red light is not the best for reading topo maps by night, as the brown contour lines "disappear". Green, blue or even a low output white light is better.

Scott
Jul 15, 2011

If you do any serious bad weather outdoor stuff go for a waterproof/divers headlamp. Pelican and others make full-on diving headlamps and my favorite is the Underwater Kinetics Vizion headlamp that I use for sailing and kayaking in bad weather. Not losing your light in a bad situation is a very good thing.

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