Caving is a recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems instead of showing caves. It’s also called “spelunking” in USA and Canada, and “potholing” in UK and Ireland. However, there is a key difference between Caving and potholing. The caves in caving often consist of horizontal passages, while the potholes in potholing tend to be mostly vertical passages, which requires more professional gears.
Lots of us are crazy about the labyrinth of caves and tunnels below our countryside as these mysterious chambers are full of secrets.
During any outdoor adventure, a light would be necessary to light up your area. As you head down a cave, it will be darker and darker, shortly, it will be so dark that you can’t even see your hand in front of you. You would completely rely on your lighting tools to move forward.
One of the worst nightmares for cavers is being stuck in the cave. In case you have no light or the lighting tool stops working when you are deep in the cave, it’s very likely that you’ll never find the way out. Thus, light is one of the most important gears you should take before going caving. A good caving light will help you see clearly where you are going and identify dead-end leads so as to avoid possible distant hazards in time.
Since you may need to crawl, climb, brace, scramble, hold onto your rappelling rack bars and the rope during a rappel, the best caving light is a caving headlamp. There are lots of things you should consider before choosing the best caving headlamp, but below are what shall be given priority.
Although it's absolutely dark in caves, you often want plenty of light. Caves just absorb light. There are times when you are underground that you need a high lumen headlamp of 600 lumens or more to see down a hole or further in the distance.
But there are small rooms and areas underground where anything more than 50 lumens can be dazzling. Besides, high lumen often takes more energy, while battery life is really important for cavers. Thus, generally, a light with variable outputs from 30 to 1000 lumens would be useful.
Firstly, the runtime is very important for a caving light. A 15-minute caving adventure can leave you lost and desperate if the light on you is out of power in the pitch-black cave. You would better give priority to the lights powered by Li-ion batteries such as 21700, 18650, CR123A which work much longer time than the AAA or AA headlamp because of higher density. Generally, the runtime for a caving light would be better no less than 10 hours. As a bonus, you can take a backup rechargeable battery. Then, when one battery is inside of the light, the other one can be charged for spare use.
Secondly, try to choose high and low-temperature resistant batteries, which will also improve the runtime in tough environments.
Lastly, here are some tips to save battery power for longer runtime:
Wild adventure is full of danger and uncertainty. We mentioned before that a 15-minute caving adventure can leave you lost and desperate if the caving light fails to work in the cave. Thus, the light must come in handy at any time, even after an occasional bump or accidental drop or being wet. Thus, a waterproof headlamp (it’s best to be IPX-8) with 2-meter impact resistance would be helpful.
The most common color for lighting is white. It works in many cases, but not always. A red light headlamp would be more helpful in preserving your night vision and protecting your eyes, keeping you away from mosquitoes, working as a signal light and etc. Thus, if the caving headlamp features both white and red lighting, then it’s a bonus.
Besides, in general cases, you may need a lighting tool to light up a larger area ahead of you in caving, so a wide beam LED headlamp would be necessary. But this also depends on your caving style. When you need to illuminate targets over long distances, a spotlight headlamp would be helpful. Thus, a combination of the long-range spotlight and wide floodlight, as well as red lighting, would be a great caving headlamp.
Weight is not as important as roughness and runtime, but it is a factor that has something to do with the comfortability when you wear it. The lighter it is, the more comfortable you will be, especially for long wear. But it doesn’t mean the ultralight headlamp is your best option. Some lightweight headlamps are driven by small-sized low-capacity batteries, which would fail to provide enough runtime. Thus, you would better give more priority to the runtime than weight.
Since the rocks are fairly likely to fall on your head, for safety, it’s necessary to get a headlamp that either fits over the top of a helmet or can be mounted directly to it.
☑️ A 18650 headlamp with max 1,400 lumens, 170m beam throw, and 60 hours runtime
☑️ A combination of the white long-throw spotlight, neutral white wide beam, and red lighting, which can work simultaneously or separately by independent switches
☑️ Type-C Rechargeable
☑️ Extremely rigid with aero-grade aluminum T6061
☑️ IPX8 (2-meters underwater) waterproof and 2-meter impact resistant
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