Which to use? A Headlamp or a Flashlight?

There are many individuals who may already have a camping flashlight and are wondering whether there is any reason to bother getting a camping headlamp? The truth is significantly more nuanced and although flashlights can do many things, there are some distinct advantages to using a camping headlamp versus a flashlight. So what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the two?

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Headlamp vs. Flashlight



  1. Hands-free

    By far the single biggest advantage of utilizing a headlamp versus a flashlight is the fact that a headlamp is hands-free. Hands-free can allow you to do so many other things that this alone provides them with a uniquely distinct advantage over flashlights in almost every situation. With the ability to look down and tie your shoe and still have light without having to hold the flashlight with your neck or put it down somewhere makes it great for any work you have to do that involves two hands. As anybody who has ever tried to hold a flashlight and use both hands knows, this can be a significant hassle. It’s especially true when wearing a large or bulky coat at night which can cause the flashlight to slip and drop.

  2. Weight

    Although flashlights come in many different sizes from the super tiny to the superbly large. In general most popular flashlights used for camping will weigh more than headlamps. This is because headlamps are meant to be worn on the head and so often give more light for less weight than comparable flashlights do. If you are an individual who enjoys backpacking trip, hiking at night or spelunking then having to hold any amount of weight in your hand for hours on end can start to become uncomfortable. Headlamps are designed with comfort in mind and are oftentimes forgotten by those wearing them due to how unobtrusive they are.

  3. Light Strength

    This is one of the places where flashlights may have an advantage over headlamps depending on the brand and type and that is in light strength. Due to their lightweight nature and smaller size than larger heavier flashlights. They can sometimes produce less lumens than a larger flashlight could. The fact is a flashlight powered by multiple D batteries that weighs two or three pounds with its specialty bulb is going to produce significantly more light than a headlamp powered by slim disk batteries with simple

  4. LED Lights

    There are even some flashlights that produce so much light and heat they can even be used for starting campfires. Even if you happen to have one of these especially powerful flashlights, you still run into the needing to hold it problem which a headlamp can easily counter. For the most part, flashlights and headlamps in comparable weight classes are fairly similar although flashlights may last longer due to the fact that they have a larger area for storing batteries. Headlamps simply don’t have the space to store large amounts of batteries.

  5. Comfort

    This is one that often gets overlooked but it is a simple matter of fact that it is a whole lot easier to wear your headlamp than is to carry a flashlight. Since it is hands-free, there is less thinking involved as well as less strain on the forearm and wrist having to hold the flashlight at a certain level or angle. Holding flashlights in this manner for long periods of time can become incredibly uncomfortable and leave your arm stiff and not as dexterous for several minutes.

    Headlamps are held on with straps and although these straps can be uncomfortable if cinched down too tight, for the most part these straps are wide and padded making them very comfortable to wear. This makes it far easier to walk with backpack, hike, or do cave exploration with a headlamp than with a flashlight. This comfort and versatility is especially important for individuals doing sporting expeditions like rock climbing.



Final tally



In all, flashlights and headlamps are the superior camping choice. Both have many advanteges at the campsite. For this reason, you need to set your own priorities. For example, headlamps are more comfortable, easier to keep clean, but flashlight that produce so much light and heat they can even be used for starting campfires . In the end, the fact is a they was designed for light up your campsite and It wouldn’t hurt to have both.


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