The second full moon of October, the Blue Moon, will fall on Halloween night this year. What better way to celebrate the convergence of a rare lunar phenomenon and the spookiest night of the year than with a moonlit night hike this weekend?
Night hiking isn’t something to fear or avoid. In fact, it can be pretty darn glorious in its own way (think starry skies, moonlit vistas, and endless cricket serenades). And for backpackers trying to put in big miles, it can become a necessity as the days get shorter heading into winter. Whether you start hiking before the sun comes up or stay on the trail for hours after sundown, hiking by headlamp can be a magical and unique experience.
Since you’ll be using your headlamp a lot as a night hiker, you should get one with plenty of features, like adjustable brightness, tilting, and red light settings. Eighty to 150 lumens is plenty of brightness for night hiking for most people. Still, it’s not a bad idea to get a headlamp with 200 to 400 lumens of output on the brightest setting. The super-bright light setting can come in handy with hard-to-follow trails or when you need to find something you dropped on the ground.
But night hiking also has a (figurative and literal) dark side. It’s important to be ready for potential pitfalls so you have a safe, fun journey, rather than a terrifying, insect-ridden horror fest. There are many reasons to love and hate night hiking.
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