Essentials

2019 Gear Preview: New Headlamps and Lights at Outdoor Retailer

For Spring 19, outdoor electronics put more power into smaller spaces to streamline tech-packed adventure.

Headlamps are getting brighter every year. But with everything from solar-powered fairy lights to an LED wrap for your beer, they aren’t the only story in camp lighting at this year’s show.

Black Diamond Spot 325

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The updated Black Diamond Spot 325 [$40] has 325 lumens of power, now in a smaller, more efficient design. The new Spot has a lower profile for better balance and is more ergonomic for added comfort. 

Goal Zero Crush Light

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Lightweight (3.2 ounces) and easy to pack, Goal Zero’s colorful Crush Light Chroma [$25] turns any campsite into a party. The Chroma expands on the brand’s original Crush Light by adding eight color modes and a multicolor fade. Charge it from the sun via the built-in solar panel, or from any USB port.

Nite Ize SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

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The new SlapLit LED Drink Wrap [$11.20] from Nite Ize keeps summer drinks cold while lighting up the drink and adding another element of lighting fun to campouts, pool parties, tailgates, and backyard BBQs. 

UST Brila 580 Dual Power LED Headlamp

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This high-octane light [$60] has a rechargeable battery that pumps out 580 lumens or up to 30 hours of light on a single charge, but is also compatible with standard alkaline batteries, without an adaptor. 

MPOWERD’s Luci Solar String Lights

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MPOWERD’s Luci Solar String Lights [$35] have a two-way USB charger for quick charging from an outlet or with the built-in solar panel, which can also be used to charge mobile devices. A string of 20 total LEDs spread over 18 feet distributes light, and the nylon-braided cord includes three clips to make it easy to hang in any situation. 

Lighting Trends We Saw at Outdoor Retailer

Cable-Cutting

These days, phone chargers are a staple of backpacking gear lists, but with lanterns and other electronic gear also adding to the hiker’s portable power bank, more and more people are combining energy stores to save room and weight. “Rather than bring two things, like a lantern and a dedicated powerpack,” says Adventure 16’s Hardgoods Manager Christy Williamson, “customers like when you can bring just one.” Hence, brands are redesigning lights to pull double duty and also charge your phone, saving room in your pack while ensuring there’s always a USB port close at hand.

Mood Lighting Your Campsite

Summer nights at camp—or around the backyard—have picked up more of a party vibe, thanks to new lighting trends that bring Christmas tree-like strings; vibrant, rotating colors; and location-specific decorative lights. Bruce Damon from California’s Nomad Ventures is particularly interested in how string light systems, which spread light more evenly over a larger area than a single lantern, has progressed since tent-specific lighting like Big Agnes’s mtnGLO first launched. “Functional uses for creative lighting are becoming more common, but products like mtnGLO are the perfect example of what can be done there.”

Lunge for Lumens

If they say computer power doubles every 18 months, headlamp power isn’t far behind. It seems like every season, lumen count breaks another brightness barrier, getting cheaper all the while. “It’s all about the lumens,” says Williamson. “Customers constantly want the same price for a brighter light.” And brands are delivering. This season, the 300-lumen threshold falls below the $40 mark.