Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
This Endorsement starts with a broad suggestion: Get yourself a headlamp. I acknowledge that it is an Extremely Dad thing to own. In fact, it was my dad who first introduced me to headlamp culture. The thing is, dads are smart. They don’t waste their money on inefficient, superfluous gadgets. And a headlamp’s possibilities are endless. It is a running light, a camping light, a work light, a reading light, a biking light, and an emergency light. You can use it while clipping your kid’s and/or pet’s fingernails, or fixing something under the hood. It will illuminate any task—any task—before you. It will illuminate your life.
And now, I’ll whittle it down to a specific suggestion: If you are swayed by my undeniably strong headlamp argument, or else you already own a headlamp but it’s kinda crappy, then get yourself the BioLite HeadLamp 200. Let me tell you why.
It has plenty of light settings.
From the get-go, know that the BioLite headlamp packs enough light. Two hundred lumens of it at its brightest, to be exact. There’s a white light that you can strobe or dim, and a red light suitable for nighttime that you can strobe or dim. You’ll have to get a feel for cycling through the light options on your own—the single button that controls the cycling takes some getting used to—but once you do, your head will be armed with a cyclops eye of illuminating power. And should you want to change the angle of your cyclops eye, it’ll pop out and rotate towards the ground on a hinge.
It is both lightweight and rechargeable.
Headlamps can get clunky, weighed down by huge battery packs and chunky bulbs that look like they could spotlight King Kong on top of the Empire State Building. BioLite refrained from going down that route, obviously. The HeadLamp 200 weighs a mere 50 grams, which is about 1.76 ounces, which is about as lightweight as you can find. Not only is it not powered by disposable batteries, like some lesser headlamps still are, but its rechargeable battery is incorporated into the band right behind the light, and gets its juice with just a USB cord.
It has even more smart design features.
BioLite took into account a few other annoyances. One is sweat. Having a piece of technology resting on your forehead tends to make it bead up with sweat, which gets itchy and stinky. But the fabric band on the HeadLamp 200 is sweat-wicking, like workout gear, and it can be washed up with a sponge. Another is safety from behind. To solve that, BioLite put a reflective strip on the back of the band. What BioLite couldn’t do is convince you that a headlamp, which is so seemingly nerdy in nature, is cool to wear. But you’ll get the idea the second you turn it on during that first run, that first hike, or that first fingernail clipping.