Spoiler: I may piss off the head torch-lovers in this post…
When I started this blog back in 2012, my main aim was to voice my opinion on the all the bad advice I got before I went travelling, and generally to try and put out there a girl’s POV on all things backpacking. For most of these things I had originally followed others’ advice and shorty realised the error of my ways. For example, they told me not to take heels and then I felt under-dressed in big cities. They told me to leave the straighteners at home and then I didn’t feel like myself with frizzy hair.
But on this particular topic I didn’t even follow the advice to begin with… A head torch? Why would I possibly need a head torch?
Well, expert backpackers tend to advise taking a head torch with you on your travels for when you’re camping and even for navigating your way around a dorm room without waking your hostel room-mates.
But I didn’t even attempt this one. I mean, sure I understand the reasoning behind taking a torch with you. Even when you’re not camping, I get you don’t want to be the dorm wanker turning on the light and waking everyone up. But why on earth would you want one to go on your head?!
Let’s go over the reasons expert backpackers advise taking one.
1) Head torch for camping use.
Ok, obvs a torch is essential for finding your way to the toilets in the middle of the night when you’re camping, but surely a hand torch will suffice? What are you doing that requires two hands?
2) Head torch for hostel use.
You definitely don’t want to be the arse turning on the light in the dorm. We’ve established this. But I ask again, why do you need to be hands-free? You would only need a torch in the middle of the night if you’re coming home late, people are asleep and you need to locate your PJ’s, right? Surely a normal hand torch will do for this?
In my experience, the hostel-dwellers who are putting on a head torch in the middle of the night to root around their backpack with both hands are usually the dorm wankers rustling plastic bags and waking everyone up anyway. Seriously, what are those people doing in their bags?
I decided to try it out this week to see if there was something I was missing, and quite frankly, I looked like a dick. They’re a lot bigger than I imagined, aren’t great on the hair, and make me feel like a coal-miner.
Also, as the light is attached to your head, I feel like you could accidentally shine the light on people sleeping as you look around the room. I looked over at my boyfriend and almost blinded him. It’s easily done.
Honestly, I don’t understand the need for them. It’s not like they’re super light or small and space-saving is it?
I took a wind-up torch with me on my travels so that I didn’t have to worry about buying batteries out there. So it’s generally a bit bigger than normal torches. But still I think it takes up less room and is lighter than the head torch. And it’s pink, so that’s of course better…
This wind-up torch saw me through camping in the wilderness in the US, sleeping under the stars in the Outback of Australia and finding my bed in many a dark dorm room. No complaints here.
The only situation I can imagine a head torch being preferable over my trusty hand-held baby, is some kind of night-time adventure in the dark that requires full use of both hands (oi, get your mind out the gutter). Seriously, I can’t even think of an example of this. Why would you need this?
I’m actually asking this question, guys. My fellow travellers, please tell me, why do you need a head torch? Is there something I’m missing here?
In my opinion a regular torch is all you need. And I still think wind-up torches are a great idea so you’re not worrying about the battery situation. Better yet, I’ve just found these awesome versions in the shape of animals on Amazon! Come on, how cool are these??
The Animal Character Dynamo Wind Up LED is only £3.89 so you can’t complain really.
But if you’re reading this thinking, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about Kara, I think that head torch looks damn fine’, then you can find the one I bought here for £4.95. Each to their own and all.
What do you think of the head torch? I’m really keen to find out… Do they have magical uses I don’t know about? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!