Why I Always Travel With A Headlamp

Headlamp in Cave
Cave Spelunking in Guatemala
Travel Gear

In my opinion a headlamp is an absolutely essential piece of travel gear for backpackers and travelers. Here are some of the reasons why.

Headlamps are 100x better than hand-held flashlights. The obvious reason? you can attach it to your head!

This gives you hands-free access for reading a book in the dark, climbing into a cave, or searching through your backpack in the middle of the night. Plus if you really miss holding a flashlight — you can always put it in your hand if you really want to.

I’ve owned a few headlamps over the years, but I really love my new Black Diamond Spot, and it’s the best headlamp I’ve ever used.

The Spot is extremely lightweight, has amazing battery life, the ability to dim intensity, broad and narrow beams, a lock function (prevents turning on by mistake in your bag), and boasts both red & white light.

It’s also weather sealed so you can use it in the rain.

Sure there are others out there that might be brighter, but as far as I’m concerned this model is the best value. It’s above-average in all these categories, and still available at a reasonable price.

Trekking in Turkey
Trekking in Turkey

Multiple Uses

My favorite feature is the red LEDs. They’re great for when you need to get up early for sunrise photos. The subdued red glow won’t wake up your hostel roommates.

This feature is also perfect for preserving your natural night vision. I always find new uses for this headlamp. Want to light up a tent? Strap it around your backpack and aim it at the roof.

How about painting the inside of a volcanic crater with light while taking a long-exposure photograph? No problem.

A nice headlamp is definitely an essential piece of travel gear for me. ★

Travel Planning Resources
Product: Black Diamond Headlamp
Cost: $39

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

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Rent A Car

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Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

READ NEXT: Ultimate Travel Gear Guide

Do you prefer a flashlight or headlamp?


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my journey.
Matthew Karsten
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6 thoughts on “Why I Always Travel With A Headlamp”

  1. It depends. When backpacking/hiking I think headlamps work great. When diving a flashlight is better, because it is easier to use for signaling and you’re less likely to “blind” your dive buddy when you look at them.

  2. I found a headlamp absolutely indispensable on my last trip where I stayed with an African family, and the latrine (the kind you squat over) was quite a distance from their apartment. There was no outside light, and more importantly there was no light in the cubicle. Without the headlamp my night journeys would have been a real horror!

  3. I’ve always loved my little flashlight. Just hold it with my teeth if I need my hands free. I’ve tried a few headlamps but couldn’t get used to the feel of it.

    I really like what you said about the red filter… I’ve done well using my own night vision while sneaking around into the national park in Ushuaia, Argentina.
    Snuck into the park before dawn ok unassisted but a light may have been nice. I’ll check out this one next time I trek. Thanks!

  4. I’ve been pondering on getting a headlamp but my fashionista alter ego can’t seem to shut up about how unstylish it looks like. I have yet to add one to my travel essential kit. This maybe be the post that will finally convince me.

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