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What Sort Of Light Do You Need For A Night Hike?

Posted by Alex Clasper

There are many incredible benefits that come with hiking at night. Not only do you escape the heat and the crowds, you also get to experience the most unmissable views of the night’s sky. Having the right gear for a night hike is essential. Considering that you’ll be hiking in the dark, your choice of light is by far one of the most important pieces of kit to decide on. After all, this is the item that will ensure you can navigate your route safely when vision is limited. So, we know that lighting is essential, but what sort of light do you need for a night hike?


It’s a common misconception that brighter is better when it comes to finding the best light for overnight hikes. Of course, you want your light to help give you maximum vision, however it isn’t necessarily the highest lumen options that provide this. Whilst harsh bright light is important for emergency situations, it can actually impair your natural vision, making it more of a hindrance than a help. So, when deciding on what sort of light you need for a night hike, make sure to consider the following factors:


Look For A Red Light Setting: 

It’s essential that your headlamp or torch has a red light setting in addition to the standard white light setting. Your eyes are less sensitive to the longer wavelengths of red light, helping to protect your natural night vision. 


Ensure There Are Multiple Brightness Settings: 

It’s important that your light has a bright white setting for maximum illumination in case of emergencies, as well as having a red setting. In addition to this, it’s important to have a range of settings so that you can switch the brightness from low to high for different scenarios. Using higher levels of brightness will use up your battery life more quickly, and so make sure you’ve brought plenty of spares along with you.


Consider Comfort: 

Comfort is a key consideration to make when determining what sort of light is needed for a night hike. A head torch is a really good option for hiking as it leaves you hands free and will light up in whatever direction you’re looking at. Make sure to try on a variety of head torches to ensure you find one that sits comfortably without moving about. If you do choose to take a handheld torch instead then make sure it has plenty of grip, whilst being lightweight and easy to carry in your hand.

Man wearing head torch in the dark
Man wearing head torch sat on rocks in the mountains

Check The Beam Distance:

One of the major differences between a good quality light and a lesser quality one is how far the light can project. This is an important feature to check when deciding on what sort of light to get for a night hike as it’s essential that you can see far into the distance for safety reasons, as well as to ensure you can take in all available scenery. 


Look At The Battery Life:

 As we mentioned a little earlier on, the higher the brightness of your headlamp or torch, the faster your battery will get used up. It’s crucial that you can rely on your light throughout the duration of the night which is why battery life is a crucial factor to check when deciding on what sort of light is needed for a night hike. Look for something that lasts at least 8 hours, however also remember to bring spare batteries regardless, as a backup. Some headlamps feature built-in rechargeable batteries which saves the need to bring spares, and require you to bring just a USB cable instead, helping to cut down on pack weight.


Determining what sort of light you need for a night hike is just one, albeit very important aspect of night hiking. These are just a few more key safety tips to be aware of:


  • Try and hike with a full moon as you’ll be able to see a lot more with your natural vision

  • Start on a familiar trail

  • Never hike alone

  • Research your location to check it is safe

  • Be aware of wildlife

  • Slow down and be observant

  • Bring layers including a base layer, top layer and rain jacket 

  • Bring plenty of food and water in a reusable water bottle

  • Tell someone where you’re going 

  • Bring a phone in case of emergencies

For guidance on finding essential gear and equipment for your next night hike, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Red.