If you’re a hunter, getting a headlamp is another thing to add on your shopping list, no matter if you’re planning to go hunting at night or not.
From the tiny headlamps that stop running in the middle of the night to the beefy 4xAAA types, the variety is more than generous so doing your homework about the headlamps seems like the very next thing to do.
Sure, one may argue that you can always go ahead and grab a flashlight, but wouldn’t you rather have both hands free while trying to make a shot? Using a good hunting headlamp is going to make everything a lot easier and help not to get back home empty handed. Again.
What are the light types? Does the color of the light matter?
Gone are the days when headlamps used to come with incandescent bulbs. Most of the headlamps today come with effective and bright LEDs.
As most of us know, LED lights come in various configurations and colors and a good hunting headlamp is going to present several colors and settings.
A hunter should also pay attention to some important light features:
- Focused beams- they’re really helpful for distances and providing the entire power of the headlamp on a single point. The focused beam is a dependable option when you’re trying to focus on a single area or see further up your trail.
- Diffuse light- is less focused than the beam light and you can use it when you’re in a bling or trying to see with the entire range of vision in the peripheral areas.
- Red light- is a great option for night time. You may flip it on, check something in the blind and flip it off without even losing your eye’s night vision adjustment.
- Purple or other colors in the violet spectrum- they’re good for tracking the blood trails. They make the blood stand out from the surroundings just like white does in a black light. A good hunting headlamp is going to feature some sort of tracking light. However, you may also carry a tracking light as a single item.
- Blue light- is used when reading maps and it’s better than white light as it keeps your eye’s night vision while you’re reading the details on the map.
Does the light output matter?
When it comes to headlamps and flashlights, the light output is measured in lumens. More lumens mean more light, most of the time.
But it’s not only the lumens that you should pay attention to. If your headlamp has good light output, but a poor design, may present, in fact, a lower overall distance. A focused bead, clear glass, amazing design and moderate light out can in fact give “brighter” light.
A good headlamp with 300-400 lumen range is going to do it in most hunting situations. It’s better that you get a headlamp that comes with adjustable light output so that you may easily set the amount of light you need in a specific situation.
Is there a battery type to look for?
No matter what some may say, the type of battery really matters for the hunting headlamps.
If you’re going to get back home every single night, a rechargeable headlamp is going to be the better choice.
When you’re out there after your game, last thing you want is for your batteries to die. If you’re going with rechargeable batteries, this scenario is likely to happen, but the chances are slim when you’re using AA or AAA replaceable batteries. Sure enough, you may always carry a battery charging pack in your backpack.
Stay away from the watch style batteries as they’re pricy and have low run times as well. Better yet, give it a second thought.
Does it have to be waterproof?
It’s common sense to believe that a hunting headlamp should always be waterproof. Many low price headlamps are going to be water resistant-according to the manufacturer, anyway.
You can never be too sure on that and only the headlamps that also come with a good warrantee or guarantee for their waterproofness pass the reliability test.
Having said that, keep in mind that there’s only one way to find out if your headlamp is waterproof or not. Only some of the brands out there are actually making durable and waterproof headlamps so do due diligence about it.
It’s a good thing to check the ingress protection rating of the hunting headlamp. The ratings are dependable as they need specific testing for confirmation. An IP54 is the least you should go for on a headlamp and anything higher than that is worth to pay for.
What about the size and weight?
Some macho hunters out there really go for the 1990’s military night vision goggles, but it doesn’t have to be like this. A great hunting headlamp may be very well small. The rule of thumb is that it has to fir into the palm of your hand –anything bigger than that is going to be too big while hunting.
This doesn’t mean that a larger headlamp isn’t going to be more effective at times. mountaineers and cavers choose the larger headlamps with more durable batteries, for sure. Chances are that you’re not going to hunt any whitetails at the bottom of a cave shaft, though.
As a hunter, you may want to also get a zoom able headlamp as it features an adjustable beam focusing and not a button selectable beam focusing. The last type of headlamp is smaller and may give the same performance so it’s up to you to decide which one to buy.
Hunters are going to like using camouflaged or dark colors headbands on their headlamps. Truth be told, it may not matter that much when you’re out there.
It’s more important for the headband to be siliconized so that it stays in place while you’re moving. You can find models that feature multiple clips/attachments for hats or other types of anchors.
Don’t worry about the headlamp not fitting your head. Most of them are adjustable and you shouldn’t have any problems on that area.
One thing to highlight is that the headband is going to be the first one to wear out in the case of most headlamps. The elastic around the attachments points is going to wear out fast, especially if it’s a cheap model and you’re not going to be able to replace. Pay the extra buck right from the start, ok?
The very last thing to note
Any avid hunter knows that a hunting headlamp is going to be a necessity, sooner or later. It’s up to you if you’re going to pay a bit more for a good one or just settle for the first one to run into. Nevertheless, buying a good one is going to worth on the long run.