Experience hiking at night you should know (Part 2)

Lighting equipment for hiking trips

If you’ve never been hiking at night before, you may have the common misconception that the brighter the lights are, the better for exploring the dark. Bright headlights and bright flashlights are a great choice for some outings when max lighting is essential, such as for a jogging track or in emergency situations. But, too bright lights can affect your night vision.

Limit your headlights or flashlight as much as possible and rely on the moon’s natural light (if you have one). This will allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness and increase your ability to see the road at night so you can better observe the landscape, wildlife and the night sky.

Tips for optimizing night vision:

  • Give your eyes time to adjust : it can take up to 45 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness.
  • Avoid looking at any light source : just a few seconds of looking at the light source is enough to affect your night vision and you will have to start the adjustment process. If you encounter a group of pedestrians using headlights and flashlights, have them turn off the lights when passing you on the trail, or look away as best you can.
  • Use your peripheral vision : the rod-shaped cell located at the periphery of the retina is what helps you see clearly in dim light. This means you can really see better at night by using peripheral vision. Instead of looking straight at an object, try keeping your eyes on the whole picture, above, below and outside.

Tips for using headlights or a flashlight:

Naturally, there are times when you need to use a headlight or flashlight, for example, check the map or find something in your backpack. But you’ve also spent quite a bit of time adjusting to night vision. So turn on the light only when you feel it is necessary.

Here are some tips for buying and using a headlight or flashlight:

  • Choose a red light mode: when buying a headlight or flashlight to go hiking at night, you need to find lights with red light mode in addition to the standard white light setting. Your eyes are less sensitive to red light wavelengths so your night vision will be less affected. After purchasing the lights, make sure you are familiar with how to use the red light mode before going for night hiking.
  • Search for products with multiple lighting levels : it’s good to be able to switch from low to high or vice versa when you need to see something, like a trail marker or details on a map. Adjusting the lighting level also lets you control battery life more easily.
  • Choose the right, suitable light : find a headlight that fits comfortably on your head without bouncing or a flashlight that is easy to carry in your hand.
  • Never shine a light on someone else’s face: this is not only rude, but also seriously impairs other people’s night vision. And they may take up to 45 minutes to adjust.
  • Turn off lights: if you use a headlight or flashlight and you hear another group of pedestrians approaching, be polite and turn off the lights so that you do not interfere with their night vision.