Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Friday, September 23, 2005



Several times a year I get an email asking my advice about headlamps. I write a response and email it off. It occurred to me that I ought to write a bit on this page, then I can just point people to this entry. So, here is some advice about headlamps.

1. In the U.S. there seem to be three good options for getting a decent night O' headlamp. You can buy a lamp made for biking at a bike shop or through a catalog; you can buy a headlamp designed for night O' from an overseas company (Compasspoint, for example); or you can build your own lamp using parts you pick up at an electonics shop.

JJ built his own lamp. I don't know what it cost, but I'm sure it wasn't much.

I'm not as "handy" as JJ. I'd buy a lamp from Compasspoint or buy a bike lamp from a local bike shop.

2. I'd go for a lamp that has 10 and 20 watt halogen lamps. Less than 10 watts will run for a long time, but probably doesn't give you enough light to really run through the forest. With less light you'll be forced to move slower. On the other hand, lower wattage means you can go for a longer time on a given charge. That might be useful for rogaining. I've seen a newer type of light (HID?). I've never used them. The put out a lot of light (with a strange blue color) but seem to cost a good bit more. They look like a good option to me.

3. Don't worry too much about how much the headlamp costs. The upfront price might seem like a lot, but the lamp should last for a long time. I bought my lamp in 1988 and it is still serving me well.

4. Don't economize on the battery. It is tempting to save a few bucks and buy a smaller battery. But, it is a lot better to spend a little bit more and have more hours of run time.

posted by Michael | 7:34 PM


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