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Headlamp question

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Opinions welcome!

There are AA and AAA lithium batteries that are rechargeable via very light USB cables (one end goes into the smartphone charger you are carrying anyway with four ends going into the batteries). I know of these batteries but I've not looked into them enough. These could be useful in older flashlights, headlamps, cameras, gps units, etc. They could also be inserted into a gizmo to serve as powerbank for devices such as your smartphone. At home they could also be used in your remote controls.

For an example only of the batteries and chargers see:

For an example only of a AA battery powerbank see:

Again, these are examples only. I did no research on these and I'm not recommending them. Neither do I have them anywhere on a possibly buy list. This whole thing may be expensive but possibly cheaper than buying new devices (and without a great weight hit in the backpack. If you are going to bring spare batteries you may want to store them in something more substantial than a plastic bag, especially if it keeps you from having to carry a single use powerbank.)

So, in your case Laurie, if you need AA or AAA batteries for your GPS unit you may want these batteries and, if so, you may want to buy a cheap AA or AAA battery headlamp intead of a more expensive USB rechargeable one.
 
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Latecomer

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP (Sept 2015)

CF SJPDP-SdC+
(Sept/Oct 2018)
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
I used this 4 years ago on the CF. amazon.com/gp/product/B01DNDMSLY/
I liked it a lot. " 5 Light Modes - 3 Levels of white light brightness (High/Low/Strobe) and two modes of red light (stay on/flash) illuminate up to 150ft away with the 150 lumen LEDs... Compatible with any USB port and provide up to 30 hours’ continuous lighting on a single charge." It is a little bulkier and heavier (2.86 oz) than some higher priced options, but for $20, I think it's great. ¡Buen Camino!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
Last time I walked I bought a standard (not rechargeable) headlight, it took AA's, and it actually lasted the distance. The sales person said that it would if I wasn't completely frivolous with it, and I didn't believe him and expected to buy more.
Then I left it in my jacket pocket for about 6 months, and now it wont go at all. So maybe not a good option.
 

dick bird

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
I used a very cheap Decathlon rechargeable headlamp. Worked fine.
 
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David with new Kit!

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 SJPP to Logroño
2021 Logroño - SDC
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks
Oops, lost the link I was going to provide.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Opinions welcome

up to 30 hours’ continuous lighting

it actually lasted the distance
A good LED wont need recharging during your Camino. I have two headlamps that are over seven years old and I have no idea what sort of battery they take because I have never needed to replace the batteries.

If you buy one that takes AA or AAA batteries then you can chuck a couple of spare batteries in your pack for little weight gain and know that you can always find these batteries in almost any store. If you lose a special charging cable then there is little hope of replacing it on Camino.
 
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tigermike

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: April/May 2018. CF Aug/Sep 2018. CF May/June 2019.
CF: Aug/Sep 2019, CF: Aug/Sep 2020
No, no, no....
Am likely heading into a world of trouble here but please,.... no headlamps...PLEASE !!
I'm pushing 70, wear specs and hearing aids, have walked the CF 8 times; spring, summer and fall, love to get up before sunrise and walk under the moon and stars and have NEVER needed a headlamp and, perhaps more importantly in the context of the OP's concerns, become lost, taken a wrong turn, stumbled or fallen as a result.
Like most people, my pupils dilate as they should and absorb adequate and sufficient ambient light, the same light that reveals the Way beneath my feet and the route ahead. On those few occasions when a crucial waypoint appears in the shadows, my cellphone torch is always there to shine a light.
In an Albergue, panning around a dorm with a bright headlamp at 5 in the morning, assembling the contents of a backpack that should have been prepared the night before is, in my view, as unwelcome as it is intrusive, inconsiderate and arguably selfish. Again, a cellphone torch, carefully cupped in your hand to absorb and diffuse the glare, is all you need to find those wayward socks under your bunk.
Outside, take a few moments and allow your eyes to adjust - trust yourself and take solace in the fact that for many centuries pilgrims have trodden the same paths without LED beacons or Google Maps. They have navigated the same diverse, undulating and at times confusing terrain with nothing more than their natural senses, human instinct, commitment, submission and trust in that so-very-oft-proven-maxim that 'The Camino Will Provide'.
It is perhaps unreasonable to expect these days that a pilgrim should 'take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints' in their wake....we all leave behind some form of mess or another for the locals to tidy up and dispose of - but let's not make environmentally damaging Lithium batteries one of them - hey ?
 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
I own two models of headlamp, one with batteries, one rechargable. Both cheap ones from decathlon.
The battery model lasts significantly longer and is significantly cheaper. Batteries can be found easily on the CF. I would not bother with a rechargable.

Btw: those batteries with a charger built into them: they are crap. don't use them.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Nice not to write about walking shoes or ponchos - again.

If anyone is concerned about the etiquette of shining a light in the albergue in the early mornings or late nights, get the ones with the red/green/blue/white led's such as the Petzl Tactikka.

Where the torch really shines is in its coloured lighting modes. It features red, green and blue lighting options. Red lighting is ideal for keeping a low profile where the wavelength cannot be seen at distance. Green light is used for navigation to pick up contours on a map. While blue light is ideal for dressing game at night as it excels at identifying blood.

I'd be a bit concerned about anyone slinking along with blue light in the middle of the night though, especially if they say they are "dressing".
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
If you buy one that takes AA or AAA batteries then you can chuck a couple of spare batteries in your pack for little weight gain and know that you can always find these batteries in almost any store.
For a flashlight or headlamp any battery can work well. I ran out of batteries made for "high tech devices" though where I couldn't find replacements in the villages for a few days. Instead of a week or weeks worth of use in my camera I sometimes couldn't get a day's use with the cheap ones that were the only ones available in the little shops. [Edit: carbon-zinc batteries.]
If you lose a special charging cable then there is little hope of replacing it on Camino.
Just to say that the charging cable I mentioned earlier for the rechargeable AA and AAA lithium batteries is special in that the octopus looking cables allow four batteries to be charged at once. If it does get lost a single cable can be found just about anywhere that will charge the batteries one at a time. [Edit: not all the batteries allow charging by cable but these would be the only ones I would want to take on a camino.]
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
.
About 10 years ago I went in search of a rechargeable headlamp. I baulked at the price of the prestige brands. Ended up with something that cost a tenner - Silverpoint 140 by Nordic Outdoor. Light, comfortable, tiltable, long life between charges, 3 brightness settings, plus red (for albergue dormitories!). I didn't expect it to last but although it's taken a battering and has a couple of hairline cracks, still going strong and still used a few times a week, whether it's for finding stuff in the recesses of the attic or sorting the recycling into the right bins after dark... I think they cost a bit more now, but still incredible VFM
A year or so ago someone asked me what headtorch to buy for a present and I did a lot of online research. The result from online specs and reviews was the Biolite headlamp 200. It's more expensive but the spec (inc weighing just 50g) is great. Cheers, tom
 

DyanTX

DyanTX
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
Unless you are starting in pitch dark and using the headlamp for several hours per day, one set of batteries should be sufficient for the trip. I would think that replacement batteries would be easy to find along the way if needed. I walked in autumn and never used my headlamp at all as I was happy to wait until at least dawn to begin as the daytime temps were quite reasonable all day.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
Hi Laurie, gear, gear, marvelous gear…I take either one of these the Energizer is available at any hardware store multiple light options including red,3 AAA’s that last a long time. The fancier and slightly lighter Black Diamond also has the above qualities and are usually on sale somewhere.
The white tie is from ear loop of K95, I recycle & has so many Camino uses.
Aymarah
 

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Primitivo.
St James Way, England.
I've been using Nitecore rechargeable headlamps for a few years now, and they've been faultless. They're very well regarded amongst ultralight backpackers, and of the two models that I have, I think that this would be most suitable for walking on the Camino outside of the winter months:

Nitecore NU25 Head Torch - 360 Lumen USB Rechargeable Headlamp – Lightweight Waterproof Head Torch with Red Light https://amzn.eu/d/aipAisy

I use a slightly heavier Nitecore rechargeable headlamp with a greater capacity for winter walking and backpacking.

It also has a simple locking mechanism to make sure that it doesn't get switched on in your pack.

Cheers, Michael.
 

motero99

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019
Camino Portugues (2022)
I recommend a headlamp with a red light option. I agree with Tigermike that a headlamp white light bouncing around the room can disturb your sleep. Same problem happens with a flashlight. A red lamp in the room does not seem to disturb anyone. You can switch to the white light when you are outside for early morning hiking. I have used the Black Diamond Storm and Spot over the years, but have found a cheap COAST for about $20 US at Home Depot works better. Never had to change batteries on the Camino Frances, but the COAST is far easier to open than the Black Diamond models if I would have needed to change batteries. It is also far easier to manipulate with separate buttons for white and red light. I find the Black Diamond push combinations confusing after not using one for a while.
 

LB2022

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planned for departure from SJPP on May 31, 2022
Time of past OR future Camino
CF St Jean - Santiago (2015)
St Jean - Ronsenvalles (2016)
St Jean - Santiago (aug 2018)
Black diamond iota - lightweight- usb recharge - I’ve used last couple of caminos - I’d recommend it - never turned on in dorm
 

J F Gregory

Camino Frances April 2023
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016, Portuguese 2021, Frances 2 2023
I use a headlamp when walking at night regularly. I have used them on the Camino. Mine powers by a 3A battery. They last a long time. I carry 1 extra in case and have never changed it on the on my Caminos. I walk off season cause I don't do heat well so days are shorter so I need them for early starts. I paid $15 for mine the are off brand been using them about 7 years.
 
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Philtration

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2021
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
Whatever headlamp you get, please make sure it has red light capability. I have been woken by earlier risers with white lights. My petzl headlamp with red light setting, has not to my knowledge, woken anyone sleeping later than myself.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
I use my iPhone. Tuck it in the waistband of my pants and it lights the whole trail.
Ron
 

Rmarkob

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 21 Sep/22 Oct 2021
I used a black diamond spot with 3 AAA batteries on my CF last fall. Used it many mornings since sunrise isn’t until after 0800 that time of year and I enjoyed walking in the early hours. Leaving Triacastela, I missed the split due to road construction and inadvertently went via Samos (no regrets). At one point a Spaniard overtook me and I noticed how dim my light was in comparison to his, and we ended up walking together and talking all the way to Sarria. I was able to purchase new batteries at the Chinese store there.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions, all of which I have noted and will follow up on.

I know we’ve had the headlamp debate on many occasions and I appreciate the “no no no don’t bring one” sentiment. But I have to say that last September on the Salvador, it was a godsend on several occasions. And since the Salvador is a highly traveled camino in comparison to what I hope to walk this year, I am sticking with my headlamp. I will not drop batteries anywhere, I will not shine the light into anyone’s eyes (in fact, if I meet another pilgrim on this route, I will be ecstatic!), but I am not going to rely on the camino to provide me with guidance through solitary remote terrain. I really do understand the critical sentiment, but think it just depends on your circumstances. No one rule is good for everyone on every camino.
Whatever headlamp you get, please make sure it has red light capability. I have been woken by earlier risers with white lights.

This is very good advice, and I would definitely get that feature if I were going to be sleeping in albergues with others. There are in fact albergues on the Torres/Geira, but their yearly totals are typically in the double digit range, if that.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
The white tie is from ear loop of K95
This could inspire some inventiveness - a K95 mask with the light affixed. It would be worn as a Covid mask when necessary, pushed up over the eyes to work as a eye mask to aid sleep (especially if others are flashing their lights about), and then pushed up further onto the forehead to work as a headlamp.
 

ken2116

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Someday. But have hiked the Sierra and the Pyrenees.
1. How will you be using your light?
- Do you need to see at a distance, such as for trail finding or searching for an address (narrow beam better) vs. mainly for up-close work (medium width beam, but be careful of other's eyes)?
- What's the longest time you might need to use it between battery changes/charges? Can batteries be changed easily, in the dark?
- Will you be using it around others, especially indoors when they're sleeping? (Narrow beam better, red option desirable.).
- Do you want multiple brightness levels - good for close work, preserving night vision, and extending battery life?
- Do you want the security of standard, universally available cells (AAA or AA) or can you accept the limitations of a rechargeable that might go out too soon?
- Do you need a positive means to "lock out" the light, to avoid accidental discharging when not in use? Units requiring a several second button press to turn on still can get accidentally activated when pressed against other objects in a pack.
- Do you prefer a headlamp (hands-free, but easily aimed at others' faces). Also, being positioned close to one's eyes, headlamps do a poor job of revealing smaller tripping hazards (shadows are directly behind the object where they're difficult to see) though this position is ideal for spotting reflectors - these properties are just the opposite for flashlights which typically are held away from one's face.

2. After decades of backpacking and trying all kinds of lights, I've settled on single cell AAA or AA cell LED flashlights having 3 brightness levels, the lower two levels are adequate for most of the time and the brightest level (~80-100 lumens) is good for trail finding - this type can be positively locked off with a partial twist of its end cap. In addition, consider carrying one or several simple pinch lights, including a red one for preserving dark vision and avoid blasting others' eyes. For when I might need to be hand-free, I carry a head band (from Maglite) that has a sleeve for the flashlight.








disposable cells found anywhere.
 

RuijgRock

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
sept/oct 2017
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
https://nl.knivesandtools.eu/nl/pt/-nitecore-nu25-ledhoofdlamp-zwart.htm. rechargeable. Only 32 grams. Best headlamp ever
 
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xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
No, no, no....
Am likely heading into a world of trouble here but please,.... no headlamps...PLEASE !!
I'm pushing 70, wear specs and hearing aids, have walked the CF 8 times; spring, summer and fall, love to get up before sunrise and walk under the moon and stars and have NEVER needed a headlamp and, perhaps more importantly in the context of the OP's concerns, become lost, taken a wrong turn, stumbled or fallen as a result.
Like most people, my pupils dilate as they should and absorb adequate and sufficient ambient light, the same light that reveals the Way beneath my feet and the route ahead. On those few occasions when a crucial waypoint appears in the shadows, my cellphone torch is always there to shine a light.
In an Albergue, panning around a dorm with a bright headlamp at 5 in the morning, assembling the contents of a backpack that should have been prepared the night before is, in my view, as unwelcome as it is intrusive, inconsiderate and arguably selfish. Again, a cellphone torch, carefully cupped in your hand to absorb and diffuse the glare, is all you need to find those wayward socks under your bunk.
Outside, take a few moments and allow your eyes to adjust - trust yourself and take solace in the fact that for many centuries pilgrims have trodden the same paths without LED beacons or Google Maps. They have navigated the same diverse, undulating and at times confusing terrain with nothing more than their natural senses, human instinct, commitment, submission and trust in that so-very-oft-proven-maxim that 'The Camino Will Provide'.
It is perhaps unreasonable to expect these days that a pilgrim should 'take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints' in their wake....we all leave behind some form of mess or another for the locals to tidy up and dispose of - but let's not make environmentally damaging Lithium batteries one of them - hey ?
Don't agree! There are many places where you need a lamp to find the Camino markings in the early morning. It is also nice to see the eyes of deer and foxes as you walk between the fields waiting for the sun. No headlamp but you carry a cell phone!!!! You need a headlamp more than a phone on the Camino.
No, no, no....
Am likely heading into a world of trouble here but please,.... no headlamps...PLEASE !!
I'm pushing 70, wear specs and hearing aids, have walked the CF 8 times; spring, summer and fall, love to get up before sunrise and walk under the moon and stars and have NEVER needed a headlamp and, perhaps more importantly in the context of the OP's concerns, become lost, taken a wrong turn, stumbled or fallen as a result.
Like most people, my pupils dilate as they should and absorb adequate and sufficient ambient light, the same light that reveals the Way beneath my feet and the route ahead. On those few occasions when a crucial waypoint appears in the shadows, my cellphone torch is always there to shine a light.
In an Albergue, panning around a dorm with a bright headlamp at 5 in the morning, assembling the contents of a backpack that should have been prepared the night before is, in my view, as unwelcome as it is intrusive, inconsiderate and arguably selfish. Again, a cellphone torch, carefully cupped in your hand to absorb and diffuse the glare, is all you need to find those wayward socks under your bunk.
Outside, take a few moments and allow your eyes to adjust - trust yourself and take solace in the fact that for many centuries pilgrims have trodden the same paths without LED beacons or Google Maps. They have navigated the same diverse, undulating and at times confusing terrain with nothing more than their natural senses, human instinct, commitment, submission and trust in that so-very-oft-proven-maxim that 'The Camino Will Provide'.
It is perhaps unreasonable to expect these days that a pilgrim should 'take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints' in their wake....we all leave behind some form of mess or another for the locals to tidy up and dispose of - but let's not make environmentally damaging Lithium batteries one of them - hey ?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Btw: those batteries with a charger built into them: they are crap. don't use them.
Are you talking about the AA and AAA lithium batteries I mentioned in post #2 above? So far I haven't seen anything that would indicate they are that bad. If they are indeed the crappy ones please tell me what is so bad with them.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese 2017+2022, Frances 2021, Ingles 2022
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
Hi, I use a headlamp with USB it works excellent. If you buy one take one that also has a red light in it. This is very nice to use in a dorm, you can see everything but you don’t disturb other people with your light.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I navigate the house at night with the red lockscreen on my phone. On the camino (pre-phone) I used my white beam only headlamp but it was held in my hand with my fingers in front of the beam so I could let only the light I needed shine though. The real light problem was opening the door to the corridor leading to the toilets. The corridor's photocell would insist on immediately turning on the white lights instead of waiting for the door to close or turning on gradually or turning on a red light.
 

Cicada

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
No, no, no....
Am likely heading into a world of trouble here but please,.... no headlamps...PLEASE !!
I'm pushing 70, wear specs and hearing aids, have walked the CF 8 times; spring, summer and fall, love to get up before sunrise and walk under the moon and stars and have NEVER needed a headlamp and, perhaps more importantly in the context of the OP's concerns, become lost, taken a wrong turn, stumbled or fallen as a result.
Like most people, my pupils dilate as they should and absorb adequate and sufficient ambient light, the same light that reveals the Way beneath my feet and the route ahead. On those few occasions when a crucial waypoint appears in the shadows, my cellphone torch is always there to shine a light.
In an Albergue, panning around a dorm with a bright headlamp at 5 in the morning, assembling the contents of a backpack that should have been prepared the night before is, in my view, as unwelcome as it is intrusive, inconsiderate and arguably selfish. Again, a cellphone torch, carefully cupped in your hand to absorb and diffuse the glare, is all you need to find those wayward socks under your bunk.
Outside, take a few moments and allow your eyes to adjust - trust yourself and take solace in the fact that for many centuries pilgrims have trodden the same paths without LED beacons or Google Maps. They have navigated the same diverse, undulating and at times confusing terrain with nothing more than their natural senses, human instinct, commitment, submission and trust in that so-very-oft-proven-maxim that 'The Camino Will Provide'.
It is perhaps unreasonable to expect these days that a pilgrim should 'take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints' in their wake....we all leave behind some form of mess or another for the locals to tidy up and dispose of - butere let's not make environmentally damaging Lithium batteries one of them - hey ?
Here here!!!
 

Brmickelsen

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May 2023
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
Hi there! We too, are planning to purchase USB lights and forgo batteries. We Google “best (or top)______of 2022” and then compare prices from that list to Amazon. We buy most our gear from Amazon and rely heavily on their & Google reviews. I sometimes purchase a couple, test them out, and send back the ones I don’t care for. We have not yet purchased our headlamps, however.
 

LesR

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
I suggest you go to a reputable hiking shop for options...

There are headlamps designed to project a strong but narrow beam (hiking headlamps, and there are headlamps designed to project a broad but comparatively weak beam (what I would call a campfire headlight).

I have used only a headlamp powered by AA batteries and one set of batteries did me for the full camino. In any case, they are readily replaceable just about anywhere along the camino and do not fail suddenly, allowing for timely replacement. High powered (lithium?) batteries weigh no more than lower powered batteries. USB rechargeables sound attractive but may be a case of "a solution in search of a problem"...

If you are comparing specs of headlamps - this is useful article to read https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/expert-advice/why-headlamp-claims-are-deceptive

If I were buying another headlamp (and I may have to as I cannot find my current one...), my approach would be to go to a reputable shop, seek their advice, look at reputable brands, compare specs (but believe few of the specifics) and not go for the lowest price (as in much of the world, you generally do not get what you do not pay for...).

It is also worth considering headlamps with multiple beams - a low power red light beam is very useful for discreet nocturnal toilet trips in albergues.
 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Are you talking about the AA and AAA lithium batteries I mentioned in post #2 above? So far I haven't seen anything that would indicate they are that bad. If they are indeed the crappy ones please tell me what is so bad with them.
You have a battery with a specified size. The ones you recommended do have some form of charger inside of them so you can just plug in your cable and charge them. That comes at the cost of space usable for "battery capacity" (for lack of my english skills at the momemt). It also adds more points that can fail. So compared to a regular rechargable battery, they will, by simple rule of physics, have less capacity and will be more prone to failure. Hence, except for a very rare use case where capacity and reliability is of less issue, it makes more sense to carry a charger.
 

Anthony18

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
Here's what I use. Nitecore NU25. It's awesome, rechargeable and lightweight.
 

StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
Cheap Chinese lithium rechargeable batteries have a terrible safety reputation. I use them in diving and caving equipment, I charge all mine in a fireproof box. I've not had any issues but there have been some real horror stories. One French diver recently lost his entire house from a tiny 18650 battery fire. You can buy small portable bags for charging them in but I sure as hell would not be charging lithiums in a sleeping area. They weren't really common when I walked the Frances but I'd hope albergues would have a ban on charging them in dorms now.

Anyhow... Decathlon do really good but really cheap AA & AAA headlamps. The one I've got starts on red at the first button push which is great for early starts in shared bedrooms. It's not super-high performance but it does the job, you don't need the massive bright lights that I saw people with. To be honest, I only really used mine more as a beacon when walking alongside roads. I always preferred walking without it, there was usually enough dawn light to see by even in late October.
 
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StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
Are you talking about the AA and AAA lithium batteries I mentioned in post #2 above? So far I haven't seen anything that would indicate they are that bad. If they are indeed the crappy ones please tell me what is so bad with them.
BatteryFireCCRP8150203-1024x768.jpg

This was the result of a rechargeable lithium fire. These Chinese batteries are a massive fire risk.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese

StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
Now I understand why they are banned from checked luggage. ;)
Yep. They burn incredibly fast and incredibly hot. If one went up in a bunkroom while everyone is asleep you've got a good chance of deaths. If albergues aren't banning them from sleeping areas then they should be before there is a bad incident.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Yep. They burn incredibly fast and incredibly hot. If one went up in a bunkroom while everyone is asleep you've got a good chance of deaths. If albergues aren't banning them from sleeping areas then they should be before there is a bad incident.

Tried google for "exploding head torch" and indeed there are (isolated) incidents of these going off.

Risky but so is crossing the road. One wag suggested at a push they could be used to lighting your campfire.
 
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Paul from Tas

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Del Norte
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
I have a Black Diamond Storm 450 lumen. Runs on 3AAA. Which I'm very happy with. They also make rechargeable via usb lightweight ones such as Spot 400-R. I've always had a good run with Black Diamond.
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions, all of which I have noted and will follow up on.

I know we’ve had the headlamp debate on many occasions and I appreciate the “no no no don’t bring one” sentiment. But I have to say that last September on the Salvador, it was a godsend on several occasions. And since the Salvador is a highly traveled camino in comparison to what I hope to walk this year, I am sticking with my headlamp. I will not drop batteries anywhere, I will not shine the light into anyone’s eyes (in fact, if I meet another pilgrim on this route, I will be ecstatic!), but I am not going to rely on the camino to provide me with guidance through solitary remote terrain. I really do understand the critical sentiment, but think it just depends on your circumstances. No one rule is good for everyone on every camino.


This is very good advice, and I would definitely get that feature if I were going to be sleeping in albergues with others. There are in fact albergues on the Torres/Geira, but their yearly totals are typically in the double digit range, if that.
Just so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
I have used my Petzl headlamp for many decades. Uses triple A batteries. About 20 years ago I somehow managed to break off the tiny nub where the battery cover lives, so the cover became wonky. Lamp still worked but after all these years the on/off switch is starting to get finicky. Some months back I used REI's comparison chart and found it useful to make a decision about another lamp, which turned out to be another Petzl. The chart may help you decide or think of other considerations.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
I used a very cheap Decathlon rechargeable headlamp. Worked fine.
I got one from Decathlon too and it’s very light. The only thing I can complain of, is that…. It only has a circular head strap, which is what most headlamps do. My previous headlamp has 3 straps (a circular one and one that goes in the middle over the crown of your head), it was better at keeping the headlamp in place, but this one is old now and a bit heavy.
 

Bogong

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First, March 2014
I got one from Decathlon too and it’s very light. The only thing I can complain of, is that…. It only has a circular head strap, which is what most headlamps do. My previous headlamp has 3 straps (a circular one and one that goes in the middle over the crown of your head), it was better at keeping the headlamp in place, but this one is old now and a bit heavy.
Great! I bought the cheapest one I could find. They were available all over the place with prices varying from around $3 to $8. Mine had two levels of light intensity and a flashing red light as well which was handy going down the road from Alto de pollo well before Dawn , snowing, to alert snowploughs coming up the hill. AAA batteries, widely available) Spain isn’t a third world country) but I didn’t need to buy any. Generally most days were raining and I headed off well before Dawn into the dark. I used the torch to check out arrow directions at junctions Talking of el cheapos I have seen TV news videos of surgeons in operating theatres using exactly the same head torches.

De Colores

Bogong
 
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That Petzl Bindi looks amazing. So much smaller and lighter than anything else, rechargeable with a micro USB. I want one even though I never use a headlamp on a camino, or anywhere else.
🤣
Yep, me too. I was contented with trusty Silverlight mentioned in post #18. Now I'm restless, pining for this cute little do-everything light . That, I guess, is the danger of reading gear threads...
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I am very happy with my lightweight USB-chargeable Petzl Bindi. It has three lighting levels of 6 / 100 / 200 lumen for white light and red light can be set on continuous or strobe mode.
View attachment 129857
Long review of Bindi and many comments here.
A number of the comments compare the Bindi to other named lights. Also, I found out in the review and elsewhere that the light can be charged while in use (but not in high).
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Gosh, what a lot of replies and I have to admit that I haven’t read them all. I recently bought this one - not for use on camino but to aid my nightly slug- hunt! It keeps its charge for ages. The only problem I’ve found is that my face gets bombarded by moths and other nighttime flying thingies, but I guess this might not happen in the early morning.
 

ken2116

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Someday. But have hiked the Sierra and the Pyrenees.
A good LED wont need recharging during your Camino. I have two headlamps that are over seven years old and I have no idea what sort of battery they take because I have never needed to replace the batteries.

If you buy one that takes AA or AAA batteries then you can chuck a couple of spare batteries in your pack for little weight gain and know that you can always find these batteries in almost any store. If you lose a special charging cable then there is little hope of replacing it on Camino.
DoughnutANZ: if you're using alkaline cells, 7 years is ample time for them to leak. They won't all leak, but I've had it happen even with cells from quality manufacturers, ruining some pricey items.
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
No, no, no....
Am likely heading into a world of trouble here but please,.... no headlamps...PLEASE !!
I'm pushing 70, wear specs and hearing aids, have walked the CF 8 times; spring, summer and fall, love to get up before sunrise and walk under the moon and stars and have NEVER needed a headlamp and, perhaps more importantly in the context of the OP's concerns, become lost, taken a wrong turn, stumbled or fallen as a result.
Like most people, my pupils dilate as they should and absorb adequate and sufficient ambient light, the same light that reveals the Way beneath my feet and the route ahead. On those few occasions when a crucial waypoint appears in the shadows, my cellphone torch is always there to shine a light.
In an Albergue, panning around a dorm with a bright headlamp at 5 in the morning, assembling the contents of a backpack that should have been prepared the night before is, in my view, as unwelcome as it is intrusive, inconsiderate and arguably selfish. Again, a cellphone torch, carefully cupped in your hand to absorb and diffuse the glare, is all you need to find those wayward socks under your bunk.
Outside, take a few moments and allow your eyes to adjust - trust yourself and take solace in the fact that for many centuries pilgrims have trodden the same paths without LED beacons or Google Maps. They have navigated the same diverse, undulating and at times confusing terrain with nothing more than their natural senses, human instinct, commitment, submission and trust in that so-very-oft-proven-maxim that 'The Camino Will Provide'.
It is perhaps unreasonable to expect these days that a pilgrim should 'take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints' in their wake....we all leave behind some form of mess or another for the locals to tidy up and dispose of - but let's not make environmentally damaging Lithium batteries one of them - hey ?
I wholeheartedly agree. Always amused by those around me early in the morning that restrict their field of view to the few degrees and yards provided by headlights. Let your eyes adjust and you will be amazed how much and how far you can see. Most annoying are those with headlight that shine them at or directly around me and destroy my night vision.
 

StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
Tried google for "exploding head torch" and indeed there are (isolated) incidents of these going off.

Risky but so is crossing the road. One wag suggested at a push they could be used to lighting your campfire.
I don't know about headlamps but for the batteries on their own there are plenty.

Lithium rechargeables are used heavily in underwater electronics and there have been a hell of a lot of fires. As I said above, I know one diver who lost his home and was very lucky not to have lost his life. I know another who very narrowly escaped a fire in a car when one exploded and wiped out about 30 grand's worth of gear not including the car. There are tons of others. These are not isolated incidents. They were implicated in the California dive boat fire that killed 34 people a couple of years ago. A lot of liveaboard boats have now banned them from sleeping areas and provide fireproof charging boxes. Personally, I think it's irresponsible to charge them in a bunkroom or an escape route like a hallway.

Yes, life is risky. I'd rather not lose mine because someone thought it was a good idea to charge some cheap Chinese batteries in a bunkroom with a dozen sleeping people.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
DoughnutANZ: if you're using alkaline cells, 7 years is ample time for them to leak. They won't all leak, but I've had it happen even with cells from quality manufacturers, ruining some pricey items.
Hi Ken, out of curiosity I opened up that head torch today and had a look. The alkaline AAA batteries in it have a use by date of 2013 and so have got to be at least nine years old and probably more!

They are just starting to show some signs of rust and leaking but they still work fine and so I will leave them in and make a diary entry to replace them next year, unless they run out of juice before that.
 

Purple Backpack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2012 VF 2016 VP w/Rocamadour variant 2022
HI. I have just returned from the camino and took this lightweight Petzl rechargeable headlamp with me. Several mornings in the heat I left very early before the sun was up and it was great to have this headlamp to ensure I didn't stumble down any rocky paths. It is really lightweight and the charge lasted my entire trip.
I took the Bindi on a recent GR 65 trip. No need for dark hiking but it worked well for reading in trains or dim bedsides.
 

ken2116

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Someday. But have hiked the Sierra and the Pyrenees.
Hi Ken, out of curiosity I opened up that head torch today and had a look. The alkaline AAA batteries in it have a use by date of 2013 and so have got to be at least nine years old and probably more!

They are just starting to show some signs of rust and leaking but they still work fine and so I will leave them in and make a diary entry to replace them next year, unless they run out of juice before that.
It can't tell from your last line if you're putting me on (a problem with text), but I'm taking you at your word. The chemicals that leak from alkaline cells are quite corrosive and are likely to damage the battery contacts in the device - when this happens you can try wiping them off with a cotton swab moistened with water and then burnishing the contact with a mild abrasive like a pencil eraser, but the contacts will be less reliable and may require re-burnishing from time to time. Sometimes the chemicals spread along wiring or circuit traces and enter other components like switches, which would be the end of your device. If you've caught a leaking cell before it's done damage, consider yourself fortunate. But if you're an experimentalist at heart, leave them in and observe what happens...
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I will be walking in September, as I did last year. I was very glad to have my headlamp (as sunrise is after 8 am by mid September), but I seem to have lost it between then and now.

I’m looking for a new headlamp and see that they now make some with USB rechargeable options. I would love to get some recommendations. I don’t want to lug along rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, and would prefer the USB option, but old school tripleA batteries are fine too. Opinions welcome! Many thanks.
Laurie, we started using a headlight very similar to these posted in 2019 and just reordered new ones. When we first received them I was dubious that they would work well, but they have held up well for the price. They are lighter than the battery operated ones! When we go out early, say at 4-5am we each carry a second one, as backup. Have never needed to use the second one so far. They generate more lumens than most of the battery operated ones. I have kept it on the maximum lumen capacity 800-1000 lumens for at least 1.5 hours before noticing the brightness beginning to wane. I usually keep it at a medium brightness for most of the walking circa 500 lumens and then switch to higher in wooded paths. I am definitely pleased with mine.

These are similar to the ones we had. Ours had a motion sensor as well. The sensor is convenient if you want to quickly shut the light off. However the motion sensor takes some getting used to.
 

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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Cheap Chinese lithium rechargeable batteries have a terrible safety reputation. I use them in diving and caving equipment, I charge all mine in a fireproof box. I've not had any issues but there have been some real horror stories. One French diver recently lost his entire house from a tiny 18650 battery fire. You can buy small portable bags for charging them in but I sure as hell would not be charging lithiums in a sleeping area. They weren't really common when I walked the Frances but I'd hope albergues would have a ban on charging them in dorms now.

Anyhow... Decathlon do really good but really cheap AA & AAA headlamps. The one I've got starts on red at the first button push which is great for early starts in shared bedrooms. It's not super-high performance but it does the job, you don't need the massive bright lights that I saw people with. To be honest, I only really used mine more as a beacon when walking alongside roads. I always preferred walking without it, there was usually enough dawn light to see by even in late October.

Any of the lithium headlamps we have had instruct you not to to leave them plugged in overnght! When we first charge them, we do so in an area where we can keep an eye on them at home. There are typically lights on the sides of the lights that suggest how far along you are in the charging process. So far we have had no problems with them. if you use them daily,recharging goes faster as one does not typically use up the battery charge. but do not leave them unattended when. charging them.
 
Last edited:

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
No, no, no....
Am likely heading into a world of trouble here but please,.... no headlamps...PLEASE !!
I'm pushing 70, wear specs and hearing aids, have walked the CF 8 times; spring, summer and fall, love to get up before sunrise and walk under the moon and stars and have NEVER needed a headlamp and, perhaps more importantly in the context of the OP's concerns, become lost, taken a wrong turn, stumbled or fallen as a result.
Like most people, my pupils dilate as they should and absorb adequate and sufficient ambient light, the same light that reveals the Way beneath my feet and the route ahead. On those few occasions when a crucial waypoint appears in the shadows, my cellphone torch is always there to shine a light.
In an Albergue, panning around a dorm with a bright headlamp at 5 in the morning, assembling the contents of a backpack that should have been prepared the night before is, in my view, as unwelcome as it is intrusive, inconsiderate and arguably selfish. Again, a cellphone torch, carefully cupped in your hand to absorb and diffuse the glare, is all you need to find those wayward socks under your bunk.
Outside, take a few moments and allow your eyes to adjust - trust yourself and take solace in the fact that for many centuries pilgrims have trodden the same paths without LED beacons or Google Maps. They have navigated the same diverse, undulating and at times confusing terrain with nothing more than their natural senses, human instinct, commitment, submission and trust in that so-very-oft-proven-maxim that 'The Camino Will Provide'.
It is perhaps unreasonable to expect these days that a pilgrim should 'take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints' in their wake....we all leave behind some form of mess or another for the locals to tidy up and dispose of - but let's not make environmentally damaging Lithium batteries one of them - hey ?
Just crossed head lamp off my list. Never had one before and managed perfectly well. Seeing others with one made me think I was missing out on something.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
LePuy07, CF 08, Arles17, Via Regia '18,
Head lamp? So far, never during shoulder seasons. X-Light micro, always; worn on string like a pendant, always available during evenings., Good for hands free searching in pack, dimmible, it has singnal modes like strobe for safety if needed around cars, weighs 7.8 g, and easily replaceable Li coin batteries ( although I never have on a month long hike). Size the string so it will go around the hat crown and rest on the edge of your hat brim, and it will serve as a “head“ lamp. Sounds like I might have a commercial interest in it, but I don’t. I didn’t count the weight of two backup coin batteries.
 
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Do you have an example of your light?
I think that is put out by Photon Light. I have a red led light made by someone else but like the following Photo Light one that was really cheap but I got it back in the day when white leds were expensive. I've not seen anything similar to what I got since the white leds became cheap and the thing to get. I want another cheap one but I may need to replace mine someday and I'll probaby get this.

On the bottom of the page there is a compsrson chart showing geatures of all their similar products.
 

dick bird

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
It is called X-Light Micro. LRI. (Blachly, Oregon, significant for Oregonians) Black fishing line is stylish. It's one of my favorite gifts to brand new pilgrims.

View attachment 133098 View attachment 133100
Yes, this is identical to the ones we have, but I bought them at Craters of the Moon National Monument as part if the "night sky" conservation movement.
 
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