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The Gearboat Chronicles

Essential rafting gear: headlamp

I was asked what to bring on a Snake River rafting trip in Hells Canyon recently. We were going through the top ten and got to headlamp. “Don’t have one,” was the response. So I says, No big whoop, bring a flashlight then.

But here is where I declare my love for headlamps. I’m a big fan. Exuberant, even. My affection for headlamps is strong. You might say I have a crush on headlamps. If Bruce Springsteen were to sing how much I like headlamps it would sound exactly like this rendition of  ‘This Little Light of Mine.’

Thank you, Bruce. That was lovely.

I bring two headlamps on every river trip. Here they are.

One of them  I’ve had forever. The other I found hanging on a branch on a Grande Ronde trip. Possibly my best river booty score ever. So the only reason I have two is I got lucky finding one. But having a backup is handy. I loan it out to folks who forgot theirs or run out of batteries. If I run out of batteries, it’s nice to have one headlamp to change the batteries in the other.

Sure, you can use a flashlight. Of course you can. You could also use a torch made from strips of cloth soaked in whale oil. But wouldn’t you rather have your hands free?

Let’s hope you never have to change a flat tire in the dark. Sad to say, I have. And the headlamp was clutch.

You can also cook bacon using a headlamp. Paul demonstrates –

The BLTs of tomorrow.

They’re almost too handy, the little rascals. Strapped there on your forehead, you might just drift off to sleep one night along the banks of the Lower Salmon River without removing your headlamp and wake up the next day with an indentation in your forehead.

Todd demonstrates –

Tad difficult to see, but there’s an indent there, I tell ya.

Play cards, find your toothbrush, light your way down the trail to the groover . . . they’re just handy.

So there you go. I strongly recommend bringing a headlamp on overnight river rafting expeditions. Then throw it in your glove compartment when you’re not camping.

For more info on what to bring for overnight rafting trips, check out the Winding Waters packing list, and check out the link to proguidedirect.com, with $50 bucks off through Winding Waters if your cart gets up over the $200 mark.

You can buy a dandy headlamp for $20 bucks and if for some reason you just don’t care for this lamp being on your forehead, hang that thing on a bush and somebody will come along and be excited about their good fortune.

Patrick and Caitlin modeling lamps on their head.