Headlamps and Lanterns: How to keep the lights on while you’re camping

Not to state the obvious, but it gets pretty freaking dark when you’re out in the woods (or your neighborhood). While your phone flashlight works in a pinch, a headlamp or lantern is critical to making sure you don’t roll an ankle on your way to the bathroom.

A headlamp makes life a million times easier since you can still use your hands, which is handy for going to the bathroom in the dark, fumbling for your car keys, or trying to assemble the perfect s’more.

The Black Diamond Cosmo headlamp is the perfect starter headlamp. It’s reasonably priced at REI and comes in fun colors, so what’s not to love?

This headlamp is really comfortable to wear, easy to adjust, and extremely bright (or not…it’s got a dimmer!). It’s light enough that I can wear it running, and it can take a beating if you’re accident-prone like me.

The dimmer and multiple light settings are also really handy, if not super easy to toggle between (my only complaint about this headlamp). The red light is nice if you’re getting up in the middle of the night, or if you’re trying to preserve your night vision since it doesn’t make your pupils shrink up like white light does. I personally have terrible night vision, so I don’t use this setting very often.

If you would prefer to go the lantern route, Black Diamond’s Orbit Lantern is my favorite. It’s small but mighty at only four inches tall, making it easy to throw in your bag wherever it can be wedged in.

Pocket sized and powerful…like an Olympic gymnast.

Billy and I actually thought we had ordered a regular-size lantern….until the box arrived. We thought we’d give it a try, but were totally convinced we’d have to return it for something that actually gave off light.

We took it camping that weekend and immediately loved it. The hooks on the top let you hang it from the ceiling of your tent, and it was bright enough to see everything while getting settled down for the night. It’s bright, but not blinding, and since it’s so tiny it was easy to fit in our bag.

The $30 price tag at REI may make you a little reticent to buy, but you can always keep an eye out for sales and try out these methods to help you save some cash on gear.

Even if you don’t want to purchase any new headgear or lanterns, please at least bring a flashlight. I can’t emphasize enough that once the sun goes down it is pitch.black. And unless you drew the short end of the campsite selection stick and are right next to the bathrooms, you’re going to need some source of light to get you there.

Don’t stub your toe or run into any trees (I have done both) – be smart and bring something to light your way at the campground.


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