Western Traveler


Once you’ve finally hit the trail, you’ll want to make sure that you can navigate around camp after sundown. This is one area where new technology has really made a difference.

In my early days of camping I carried the traditional US Army, D-cell flashlight. In later years I moved up to a Mini-Mag and a candle lantern.

In recent days however I’ve gone exclusively to LED technology. I now carry a Petzel Tikka headlamp with me. It operates on 3 AAA batteries, has 3 LED lamps and will run hour after hour on the same set of batteries. Unlike standard flashlights, the LED lamps convert all the energy they draw into light. No power is wasted making heat (as in the filament of a standard bulb). Add to that the fact that the white light produced is excellent for around-camp activities as well as night hiking. Lastly, my light weighs less than 3 ounces, a perfect weight for backpacking. Lots of light, no real weight.

There are dozens of variations on my LED headlamp, all of which offer special features. Some even incorporate a halogen bulb with the LED’s to give you a powerful spotlight (at the cost of some battery operating time).

I also carry a backup LED light in the form of a small flashlight. It has a lanyard, 5 LED’s, and expands into a lantern configuration which is great for sitting around camp with, or for reading.

You can go to any mass merchandise retailer and find LED lights starting at around $15. More expensive and powerful lights are available from a variety of sources.

Last modified on: March 15th 2012.
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