> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Prepping on $40 a Week: Headlamp



Prepping on $40 a Week: Headlamp

If you've never used a headlamp when working in the dark, it's a life changing experience. Both hands free, no light in your mouth and light wherever you look. For working in the dark, it's the way to go.

Between our BOB and EDC, we've got an AA radio and an AA flashlight, so it'd be a bit kooky to go with another battery type for this series. Most headlamps seem to come in AAA x3 variety, and when you find an AA headlamp, it's often got big ol' 4 battery pack--usually with little in the way of extra battery life or brightness to compensate for wearing a brick on the back of your head.

So you have to hunt a bit to get something in AA, in a good size, and in our price range.

Luckily, Fenix makes an excellent headlamp that fits the bill, the HL21. Max of 90 lumens, mid of 43 lumens, low of 3. Two to 53 hours of battery life. The 90 lumen is very bright, and the 43 lumen is more than enough for navigating and general use.

Waterproof to IPX-8 standards...IPX-8 means "constant immersion" in water > 1 meter. So ya, wear this thing out in a storm...no big deal.

Comfortable enough...not the best headlamp I've worn in terms of comfort, but not the worst. Can be removed from the headlamp mount/band if you want to use it elsewhere.

Best of all - it runs on one AA battery. One! A lil' four pack of spare batteries in your kit will give you a week's worth of evening lighting, easy.

Price from Amazon is $34.95 shipped.

Which leaves us enough money to pick up a decent whistle--a handy thing to have. The Wind Storm claims to be the whistle of choice for Special Forces - bet you didn't know there was a Tier 1 whistle of choice, eh? It's tough, loud and works when wet, which is all that I ask for in a whistle. The Fox 40 usually gets the nod, but they're around $7, and the Wind Storm is under $5 and Delta Force uses 'em.

That'll eat up the $40 budget for the week.

Next week, we're moving into putting together a basic, low-cost food storage supply.


  1. Love the blog and headlamps, but I don't like unitaskers. That's why I would like to submit an alternative, especially where cost is a factor.


    These are a fraction of the cost and with the savings you can buy two maglight mini's and have enough left over for some batteries or extra bulbs.

    1. Cool gizmo - would probably work with any similar light. Mini maglites, especially the old incan bulb variety, are outdated technology-wise though.

      The featured headlamp is not single task - you can pop it out and use it like you'd use any other flashlight.

  2. For a whistle I go with: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Survival-Technologies-Scream-Whistle/dp/B0038Z6TYU/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1349321756&sr=8-5&keywords=whistle Can't freeze and works when wet. Very nice flat compact shape that packs very well. Also extremely loud. I have a few of these things and I love them--very easy to pack away in just about any small pocket.

  3. Thanks for the review, LED headlamps are great, but my biggest gripe is when cooking or eating after dark with light on, the bugs are attracted to your face - not cool! But tasks are definitely easier to do. I like the generic Energizer LED model, don't know the number but it has the red lens color for saving night vision (btw, red doesn't seem to work well with cooking, color affects food appearance big time!).

  4. Never used this headlamp but I have a few Fenix brand flashlights and they all are very good quality. If you have a little bit more money to spend I would suggest finding a headlamp with a red led. With a red light your night vision won't be compromised and since insects can't really see red light that might take care of that issue as well. Just a suggestion for those who might have a little bit more money to spend.

  5. I wouldn't consider a head lamp a unitasker (you can still hold it in your hand like a flash light). I use a head light weekly. I work as a network admin and we are always pulling a wire in a sub basement or ceiling. Having your hands free while trying to navigate not only increases productivity time but vastly increases safety.

  6. I used to think headlamps were the camper's equivalent to pocket protectors. Boy was I wrong. They are definitely worth their weight. Having both hands free is well worth it.

    I have one made by Black Diamond that I love.

    Thanks for the post.