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Walking dogs in the dark? Get a headlamp.

November 8, 2015 8 comments

CoastHL7After the big FALL BACK, I’ve been trying to find ways to keep walking the dogs (in the dark). It’s not easy walking three leashed dogs on a street without any sidewalks, especially when one has to deal with speeding cars. Add walking in the dark to the mix and… well, now you see why we walk at the dog park most nights.

Unfortunately, the great FALL BACK has also made the dog park too dark for walking dogs, unless of course, you have a head lamp.

I’ve tried head lamps before, but none of them seemed to offer much in the way of illumination. I am not keen on tripping over tree roots or twisting my ankle in a hole, so I often ended up supplementing my headlamp with my iPhone, or relying on my friend Sara’s light, to make up for from my measly one. (She got hers at Kohl’s just like I did, but for some reason, hers was ten times brighter than mine.)

This year I wanted a headlamp that would give me enough light on my own, whether Sara was with or not. So, I went looking online. (What did we ever do without Google?)

Fortunately, a great little website called Outdoor Gear Lab had already done some detailed research and testing on headlamps and had come up with the best and worst. They tested 28 headlamps in both the field and the lab. Each one was rated on such specifics as beam strength, length and endurance, and price and value. The side-by-side images comparing the beams of comparable headlamps was especially helpful in making my decision.

In the end, I decided to get the Coast HL7. It was the best value for the size and weight of the device, and the beam was especially good (196 lumens). An added bonus was that  I was able to find it at a store close by (Walmart).

I thought about going to REI to get the Black Diamond ReVolt (2nd best on Outdoor Gear Lab’s s list), but that would have required a separate side trip and I was impatient to get started walking. I also found the price a little more than I wanted to pay. The HL7 was only $34 at Walmart. I may still go get the Black Diamond ReVolt, but for now I’m going to give the HL7 a try.

HL7 compare

The HL7 has an adjusting lever on the battery pack that allows you to go from complete darkness to bright beam or something in-between.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when I got to Walmart, the only one they had in stock was the Coast HL7 with 285 lumens. It is even brighter than the one in the review, but the downside is it lasts only 1 1/2 hours at full strength. I have yet to change the batteries, butI am not using it at full-strength most of the time, so we’ll see how long it really lasts. Who knows? Maybe that ReVolt may be in my future after all.

So do you have a favorite headlamp for walking in the dark? If not, what do you use to guide your way?

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