The outdoor gurus assure us that there are about ten things that we need to have with us any time we go on any outdoor adventure, whether we are camping, doing a day-hike, canoeing, or whatever.
One of the ten essentials is a flashlight. Makes sense if you’re going camping and don’t want to trip over things when you get up in the night to pee. But what about when you’re doing a day hike? What could you possibly need a flashlight for then?
What if you have to work on your car? What if you go inside a bathhouse and the power is out? What if your hiking buddy gets knocked on the head and you want to see if his eyes are responsive to light?
There are innumerable uses for a bright handheld light, and with new LED technology they are small, bright, rated to last a long time, and best of all – they are cheap! So there’s really no reason not to have a good penlight for everyday carry (EDC) use.
But we know that we want some redundancy built into our outdoor plans – plus a tiny penlight might not be optimal for outdoor camping use. So here are some other options.
Clip-on hat lights are small, battery-powered LED lights with a clip for attaching them to the brim of a baseball cap. They are inexpensive, run on watch batteries, and are plenty bright.
If you do not wear baseball-style caps with visors, you can get headlamps that have straps to hold them on your head. There are a million varieties and they are mostly the same super-bright LEDs powered by AA or AAA batteries, with adjustable elastic straps. These are super handy!
There are the handheld flashlights that you are used to. These are useful for putting a lot of light in a certain place.
Finally, you can get a portable battery-powered lantern. Typically these are heavier because they run on several larger batteries but they are great for throwing light in all directions. This is useful in emergencies or in just lighting your tent.