Don't be left in the dark and lost on the trail. Understanding the difference between quality headlamps and flashlights can make a dramatic difference in your outdoor experience. Whether you are hiking down the trail, or simply family camping, having the right light source should improve your experience. When you hear a twig snap in the darkness the wrong flashlight can turn a fun trip into a scene from a horror movie. It's time to learn about lumen and lighting!
First we need to clearly define the terminology. When you read about candle strength (candelas), lumen, and lux they are different characteristics than you may have assumed. Most people talk about Lumen as if it is an all encompassing word to describe how "bright" the light is. The amount of Lumen is in fact the strength of the radius of light emitted. Think about the size of the circle of light emitted at its brightest point and how bright that circle is. That is the Lumen strength. The Candelas refers to the power of the light. In fact, one standard household candle is approximately 1 candelas. The Lux is a term used to represent the amount of actual light emitted. Lux is measurements of luminous flux spread over a given area. If you spread light out too much it becomes more dim. So, if you want to light up a trail ahead of you like noon day you'll want higher Lumen, Lux, and Candelas. If you are hanging around a campsite you might want lower Lumen and a moderate amount of Lux and Candelas.
One thing that you never want is a weak light that sucks the life out of your batteries. An energy draining flashlight will cause you to either carry more weight in batteries or end up left in the dark. Some of the most efficient and cost effective lights are LED headlamps & flashlights. The difference between standard incandescent lights and high lumen LED lights is night and day. The amount of vivid clarity is undeniable as well. A standard incandescent or fluorescent bulb will often cast a yellow light, which isn't ideal for photography or color clarity. LED lights cast a clear white light that keeps your natural vision and color spectrum in tact.
One of the greatest benefits of an adjustable lumen LED light is how much weight and bulk is reduced. Since LED lights consume far less energy compared to incandescent bulbs - they can be much more compact and lighter to carry. Headlamps, such as the Black Diamond 150 Lumen Vizz LED, weigh less than 4 ounces. The multiple modes of the Vizz Headlamp allow for flexibility based upon conditions for optimal spot light style visibility or soft close range field of view. It also offers two Red LED lights to allow visibility without ruining your natural night vision. Using 3 AAA batteries (alkaline, lithium, rechargeable NiCad or NiMH batteries) you can adjust your lighting for up to 110 hours of hands free use.
If you prefer the functional mobility of a handheld flashlight then avoid the bulk and batteries. Instead choose something like the Princeton Tech 100 Lumen AMP. Functioning off a single Maxbright LED it can last for 150 hours of burn time. Operating with 4 AA alkaline batteries you can use the AMP 4.0 for a wide variety of purposes. The sleek design has a looped handle for easy attachment to carabineers or rope. As far as handheld flashlights go this is a prime option. It provides a comfortable grip that fits easily in the palm of your hand. The AMP 4.0 is popular among family campers who need a handheld flashlight they can count on.