A headlamp saved my life in Yosemite once when I had to rappel through the night from a climb that went past sundown. Other climbers in camp the next day said they could see the faint lights from the headlamps as my partner and I were slowly descending through the night.
Now since I’m in rural Mexico, if I get up at night I’ll use it to make sure I don’t step on a scorpion. Last night there were a couple of short power outages that were rendered to almost fun because I had a headlamp.
I know it sounds odd to talk about a headlamp. It’s a thing that would be hard for me to do without. For example, reading in bed is really easy using a headlamp since the focused light doesn’t disturb my sleeping girlfriend. Plus, I don’t have to get up to turn out the lights.
One of these days I’ll break down and buy a Kindle (I’ve borrowed one and really liked it). It works well because the screen isn’t backlit but that means at night you need a light to read by, I’m ready with my headlamp.
Talking about the Kindle struck me as funny since I don’t own one. Then I read a post Jason Kottke wrote about how popular a gift the Kindle will probably be this Christmas. He too likes Kindles, and like me has tried one, but doesn’t yet own one either. So I guess it’s not that unusual to give a recommendation for something you don’t own.
There’re some fancy headlamps out there, but I prefer the simple ones. The one I use has two LEDs and two brightness settings. I use rechargeable batteries (3 AAA). And that’s about it. Not much can go wrong. Plenty of light, super simple, and the batteries last for weeks. The one I use is a Petzl Tikkina 2. They’re expensive, I think, about $28, but they last a long time. Over the two decades that I’ve been using them, I’ve only had three headlamps.
When I first used one is lost to me, but it was a long time ago. I was hooked after the first time. Hands free and plenty of light – change a tire, help during a storm, ready for power outages, on and on.
There is of course, the dork factor, it’s very high, probably 11 on a scale from 1 to 10. But luckily you can’t see yourself, only the bemused looks on the faces of others (while you’re helping them).