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.
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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.

Lighting Trends We Saw at Outdoor Retailer


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.