5 LED Headlamp Etiquette Tips for Outdoorsmen

LED headlamp at dinnerOutdoor enthusiasts love LED headlamps. You can strap one onto your forehead and then forget about it while you go about your nighttime business bathed in powerful light.

What outdoor enthusiasts don’t love, however, is an LED headlamp in the hands of someone who lacks the outdoor experience to use it respectfully. Many people who spend time camping, backpacking or pre-dawn fishing enjoy being enveloped in darkness, relying on their night vision rather than artificial light. To these hardy souls, constant and careless use of an LED headlamp is the visual equivalent of playing loud music.

To avoid becoming a nuisance to your fellow outdoorsmen, here are five etiquette tips for using an LED headlamp:

1. Don’t blind your neighbor.

The first rule of flashlight etiquette is to never shine your light in someone’s eyes. This faux pas is easy enough to avoid, as most people will carry an LED flashlight at waist level. When you’re wearing an LED headlamp, however, your light is constantly shining at eye level. It’s especially important, then, to remain conscious of where your headlamp is aimed. When approaching or talking to someone with your LED headlamp on, switch to a dim setting or take it off and hold it in your hand.

2. Don’t mess with night vision.

Some people prefer to get by on their night vision, while others can’t walk a step without shining a flashlight. When fishing, hiking or gathering in a group to watch a nighttime phenomenon, be mindful of those who wish to preserve their night vision, and use your LED headlamp only when necessary.

3. Respect the wee hours.

Some people like to start their days early when in the great outdoors, rising before dawn to watch the sunrise or get some hiking done before the heat sets in. When camping with a group or stopping at a common campsite while backpacking, it helps to be mindful of your fellow campers in the early morning. Wearing an LED headlamp incessantly while you get ready is not only unnecessary, but it can be highly irritating for those who are still trying to sleep. It’s also a dead giveaway that you lack outdoor experience. While you may need to switch on your LED headlamp to tie your shoes or rummage through your bag, keep it aimed low and turn it off again as soon as you finish what you’re doing.

4. Don’t scare the fish.

Some anglers like to use LED headlamps when fishing in the dark. A headlamp can make baiting hooks much easier and provide enough light to see by without utilizing a bright area lantern. Others, however, prefer to rely on their night vision when fishing in the dark, as they believe bright light will spook the fish. Whether or not you agree, you should be aware that constantly shining your LED headlamp into the water is considered poor form by many sportsmen.

5. Preserve privacy.

When you’re walking at night with an LED headlamp on, it’s tempting to look around you, but don’t forget that your light automatically shines wherever your head turns. Shining your headlamp into other people’s tents, campgrounds, boats or other personal space, even by accident, is an invasion of privacy regardless of whether you see anything you shouldn’t. Keep track of where your beam is pointed, and avoid aiming it at someone else’s campsite.

LED Headlamps come in handy in just about every outdoor situation, but overusing them can quickly become a nuisance for your fellow enthusiasts. By following these headlamp etiquette tips, you can make the outdoor experience more enjoyable for everyone.

[ photo by: yamrock83 ]

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