Once I’d tried my first headlamp years ago, I never went back to flashlights. I love the hands-free convenience of a headlamp, and the versatility…I’ve used headlamps while camping and backpacking of course, but also stuff one in my carry-on during air travel trips and road trips. It’s nice to have a ready-made reading light in hotel rooms and a light source for roadside emergencies.

Recently, we tested out the Coleman Conquer headlamp, which proved to be practical and functional while offering a reasonable price point of only $34. It’s slightly bulkier than some headlamps on the market today, but you get 200L with LED bulbs, and the lighting system is adaptive. What this means: the light auto-adjusts to the situation. We tested this out at a campsite in May: when we wore the headlamp and looked into the distance, the light focused outwardly, and shined farther away. When we looked down (at a book or a camp stove, for instance), the light beam widened to light a larger area and dimmed to eliminate glare. Pretty darn cool!


The Conquer is definitely rugged enough to withstand anything (to prove this, we went our middle school son on his school camping trip with it). It’s slightly larger casing protects it against falls (for impacts of up to two meters). The Conquer is also energy-efficient, with the BatteryLock™ system that stops battery drain. (I didn’t know this, but on a normal headlamp, there is typically some residual drain as long as the battery is connected in the circuit, even when the light is off.)

The headband is standard, in my experience, with adjustability for various sized heads. You get your choice of five light modes. Pick it up on Amazon or Coleman, as well as other outdoor retailers.

The Coleman Micropacker LED lantern is another versatile choice. It’s shaped similar to a standard flashlight, though slightly slimmer, and works as both a hand-held flashlight or a stand-up lantern. You get 92 hours of light with three AA batteries,  and the unit is slim and compact enough to fit in any camping tote, gear bag, or backpack. Of course, we’ve seen other flashlight/lantern hybrids, but not for this price point: the Micropacker is currently on sale and can be found for under $12 at Coleman and Amazon. Perhaps best of all, it’s only six ounces WITH the batteries in.

coleman lantern

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