What Headlamp Do I Need for Kilimanjaro?

A headlamp, sometimes called a head torch, is required on Kilimanjaro.

It is used to provide hands-free LED lighting in your tent in the evenings, for using the bathroom at night, and for illuminating the path ahead during the midnight summit ascent.

Here are the things you should know about headlamps:

  • Brightness: The brightness of a light is measured in lumens. Headlamps come in different levels of brightness from low (25 lumens) to extremely high (1000 lumens). Note that most lamps will have a few different settings for low, medium and high light.
  • Run time: The run time, also known as burn time, is how long the headlamp will emit light. The brighter a light’s output, the shorter its battery life, in general. Most lamps will gradually get dimmer as the battery runs low.
  • Beam pattern: The beam pattern refers to whether the lights are pointed to illuminate a focused area (spot beam) or a wide area (flood light). Some headlamps have both sets of lights.
  • Red-light mode: The red-light option preserves your night vision while still providing light. It also stops you from blinding others. Red-light mode is great for use inside your tent.
Petzl Tikka Headlamp

On Kilimanjaro, you do not need a fancy headlamp. Look for a simple, lightweight model. It should be at least 80 lumens and have a run time of 50 hours or more. A spot beam is needed to light up the trail ahead of you. And the red-light mode is a nice feature.

The Petzl Tikka shown above retails for $30. It has three levels of output inlcuding a max light output of 300 lumens at a distance of 65 meters and a low output of 6 lumens at a distance of 10 meters. The run time when set at low is 120 hours. It has a red light option and uses three AAA batteries.

Bring an extra set of batteries.

Absolutely do not rely on your cell phone for light as they are under powered and have to be hand held.

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