It’s late October, and many of you are already logging early am or post-work miles in the dark. If you’re planning to keep your runs going strong even though you have fewer daylight hours to work with, you’ll need some illumination, and a headlamp can be a great option. Read on to learn key features, and check the end of the post for some top picks.
How much light do you need?
Of course, a headlamp must have enough light for your activity and environment. And if your runs have you spending many hours in the dark, you want a light that will stay bright throughout.
Intensity – Lumens
While you may be more familiar with watts (a measurement of energy usage that appears on your bulbs at home), headlamp light is measured in lumens. Lumens measure the brightness of a light at its source, not the amount of energy it uses. A headlamp that maxes out at 40 or 50 lumens can offer plenty of light for a night run on city streets, while tackling trails in the deep woods could require a lamp that can produce 100+ lumens for adequate visibility.
Duration – Battery Life and Burn Time
The light output for most headlamps will gradually decrease as battery life decreases. But some headlamps are designed to provide steady light that only dims slightly over the duration of the battery life. These headlamps with ‘regulated light output’ offer the advantage of consistent lighting, but beware: the light will cut out abruptly when your batteries run out of juice. If you make sure to slot in a fresh set of batteries before heading out, you should be fine with either light type for at least 8-10 hours. Read more…