An LED flashlight is not only an essential camping staple, but it’s useful in many other situations for its ability to shine a powerful, focused beam directly where it’s needed most. However, anyone who’s had to change a flat tire at night knows even the handiest LED flashlight can’t hold itself.
When hands-free light is required, an LED headlamp is becoming an increasingly popular solution. Headlamps strap onto your forehead or the brim of a hat to shine light in whatever direction you’re looking, leaving your hands available to do the work. They also have a lightweight, compact design that makes them easy to tuck away in a drawer or backpack.
When choosing a headlamp, look for one that has an easily adjustable strap and multiple brightness settings so you can tone down the light to match the situation. Here’s a look at seven ways an LED headlamp can come in handy, both indoors and out:
1. Camping and other outdoor activities. An LED headlamp outranks a flashlight in usefulness for just about every outdoor recreational activity. When camping, consider bringing one along in case you end up having to set up or take down camp at night. On rough camping trips, a headlamp is also ideal for late-night bathroom runs. When fishing in the early morning, an LED headlamp can help you bait a hook and find your way around your boat without difficulty. Plus, in the event you become lost or stranded, your headlamp can double as a signal for help.
2. Walking the dog. When taking the dog for a walk at night in the woods or an area that’s poorly lit, you’ll want an LED flashlight along to help you avoid tripping or stepping into something you don’t want to step in. But with a flashlight in one hand and the leash in the other, picking up after your pet’s messes suddenly becomes a juggling act. A headlamp, however, keeps the light where you need it and leaves your hands available for scooping.
3. Making car repairs. Every mechanic struggles with getting enough light to shine into the crooks and crevices of an engine. Sometimes even the most powerful shop light won’t reach just the right spot, and recruiting someone to hold a flashlight for you – not to mention getting them to shine it in the right place – can be frustrating for both parties. By wearing an LED headlamp, you can cut out the middle man and direct the light to where you need it simply by turning your head.
4. Making home repairs. Every home has its shadowy nooks and difficult-to-reach crannies, and as a homeowner it’s inevitable that you will need to poke around in them every now and then to clean or make a repair. Repairing a clogged drain or leaky pipe, investigating a noisy basement furnace, checking the attic for pests, accessing the crawl space, deep-cleaning the closets – headlamps can make all of these situations infinitely easier.
5. Reading in bed. For book lovers, reading in bed before falling asleep can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. When turning on the bedside lamp isn’t an option, an LED headlamp provides a strong reading light while letting you avoid the awkwardness of trying to hold a flashlight and turn the pages at the same time.
6. On-the-road emergencies. A headlamp is a useful item to include in any car emergency kit. Should you ever have to change a tire at night, get a jump start or hike to the nearest gas station, having a hands-free light available can be a tremendous help. Plus, a headlamp’s compact design fits easily into the glove compartment or a small safety kit.
7. Biking. When biking in dark or heavily shaded areas, such as a forest, an LED headlamp on your helmet can help you both see and be seen. It illuminates the path ahead so you can navigate the woods and avoid obstacles such as logs, snakes or trees.
While LED headlamps won’t necessarily replace flashlights in every situation, they are a surprisingly useful supplement for your outdoor gear, auto emergency kit and home repair arsenal.