Hiking during the fall offers some of the most breathtaking scenery and wildlife encounters. The fall season also means the sun sets earlier, and the cold evening air seeps in faster. So it’s always a good idea to bring a reliable light source with you when you’re off hiking or camping. That way if you’re ever out in the dark, you can find your way back to the trailhead before the cold becomes too bitter. But what type of light do you bring?
Headlamps are the go-to option for solo hikers, climbers or campers. Really, anybody who needs a reliable light source while their hands stay free can find a headlamp useful. Headlamps are offered with various lumens, light patterns and light beam distances. The downsides to headlamps are the lights generally are weaker than a handheld flashlight, and it’s easy to momentarily blind anybody you’re speaking with. Here are two of our favorite headlamps for hiking:
If you’re using a headlamp for your hike, then this small headlamp is an excellent option. Some might even say it’s essential for nighttime adventures. It’s small enough to fit snug in your pocket, but powerful enough to cut through the darkness with six different modes: three light intensities, a strobe light, a rear red light, and a rear strobe red light. The three AAA batteries the headlamp uses can power the device for up to 16 hours on maximum lumens (105), 30 hours for optimum lumens (48) or 55 hours for economy-setting lumens (26).
On the other hand, if you need something more rugged and straightforward than our six-setting headlamp, then look no further than the virtually indestructible option. It’s made with high-performance LEDs, custom optics and has two modes: a180 lumen setting that illuminates 136 meters ahead of you and lasts for five hours, and a battery saver mode that drops the lumen output to 50 and the distance to 114 meters, but bumps up the battery longevity to 17 hours. These ultra durable headlamps also go through a 30-foot drop test, have a shatterproof lens and they are IPX4 water resistant. For anybody who has a lot of difficult rock scrambles in their hiking routine, then this option is an excellent fit.
Flashlights are the classic option to light up your hike, and they come in plenty of sizes and brightness levels to meet whatever requirements you have. The only downsides of flashlights are you have to actually hold them somehow (we’re including your mouth and arms here, too), and they’re bulky and a bit heavy. Otherwise, a good flashlight will last you a lifetime and light up any dark space.
Our go-to flashlight to scare away the dark is called The Beast. This 2,000 lumen, dual-LED flashlight shines brighter than a car headlight when it’s on high, and still provides a respectable 200 lumens on the energy saving setting. We equipped The Beast with a frosted lens that improves its spotlight function. Plus the durable aluminum housing is going to hold up against nearly whatever rough adventures your evening hike can bring.
Just in case you don’t need something strong enough to light up an entire football field like The Beast, we also have a high-performance LED flashlight that brings a powerful 320 lumens (75 in energy saving mode) that brightens an area up to 302 meters away (148 in energy saving mode). The battery life on this flashlight is stupendous, and it’s excellent for longer hikes or extended weekend trips. The flashlight lasts 16 hours on its high setting and 160 hours on the energy saver mode. Plus the aluminum-titanium alloy body can easily withstand our 30-foot drop test, and a shatter-proof lens alongside the ANSI FL1 water resistance means this virtually indestructible flashlight is going to handle whatever gets thrown at it.
Lanterns are an excellent option for larger hiking groups who don’t want to blind each other with errant shines of a headlamp or flashlight. They work particularly well for picnic hikes, fishing adventures or any outdoor event where you’ll be standing still for a while.
When you need a wide area lit up around you, even the darkest areas are conquered by this powerful lantern from the Rayovac Indestructible series. Some might call our Sportsman lantern the undisputed king of durable lanterns, and we agree. We’ve designed the lantern with multiple resilient features, various light output levels, a compact design and impact resistant internal engineering. If you’re looking for a rough-and-tough lantern that keeps shining when the darkness creeps closer, then your search stops here.
On the other hand, if you’re just hiking close to camp, then our SD 305 lumen lamp will satisfy all of lighting needs. We think of this as the perfect camping lantern, but it works well for group hikes, too. It’s water-resistant and has a sturdy handle and resilient casing that holds up to bumps, scrapes and falls. The three lighting modes allow you to customize the amount of light you need and the battery life you want.