Call me a kook, but whenever I see or hear about the old noggin-mount flashlight, I automatically think “crusty Old West miner.” You know, the kind of bent, grizzled old loner with a tobacco-stained beard and floppy hat that hides out in old mine shafts and tries to keep wandering tourists or kids away from the yet-to-be-found-nuggets (the gold kind, not chicken) that he has yet to lay claim to? The kind of guy who rides down rickety subterranean tracks in ore carts, with only the beam of his trusty head lamp to light the way?
Okay, apparently I spent way too many childhood summers mesmerized by the USA Cartoon Express and reruns of 1960s Disney live-action movies (albeit without any regret). It’s just slightly tainted my imagination, and maybe narrowed my mind as to actual uses for a head lamp. But I found out just last night that someone I know, and am in fact related to, actually owns and actively uses one.
Being a landlord, my father-in-law has no shortage of yardwork, both at his own house and his rental properties. Most non-winter weekends see him glued to a lawnmower and weed whacker, and if he’s not able to tame all the vegetation in his care on Saturday and/or Sunday, that usually means that he has to get his mow on on weeknights, after work. On a few occasions, darkness has begun to fall before the job was done, so he just fished around in his truck until he found his head-mount flashlight, then got right back down to business, without missing a beat. It’s also reported to have come in handy during more than one plumbing repair, when he’s had to crawl under sinks, but needed his hands free to wield tools.
A head lamp is starting to sound like a pretty cool idea, isn’t it? If you’re going to give it a go, I recommend the Pelican HeadsUp Lite, which is made just as much for hikers and campers as it is for handy types and pro contractors. You can choose from a Xenon or LED lamp, depending on whether you prefer intensely bright light or longer-lasting batteries, respectively. And whichever you choose, you’ll be automatically prepared to wear it directly against your cranium or around a hardhat with the two included cloth and rubber straps (both types are adjustable).
And here’s my favorite part: a special lens technology actually alters the color spectrum of the flashlight’s beam, so you see whatever’s in the light’s path with far greater sharpness, detail and clarity.
Over the past year or so, I’ve become a huge fan of Lutron® – they got me at first glance with their gorgeous, high-style colors and finishes, and then really secured my admiration as I got to play around with samples of the dimmers and switches, and learn what an insane amount of energy they can actually save.
Up to now, my experience with dimmers, Lutron® and otherwise, has been that they’re either on the high-end side (the ones that are hardwired in place of light switches, and can be programmed or wirelessly controlled), or tend to be less expensive (but novel and useful), like the type you attach to a table lamp or strand of Christmas lights, and operate manually. Both classes of dimmer are great in their own right, but they’re miles apart from one another in performance and function. Leave it to Lutron to take the proverbial lime and coconut, mix them up, and create a hybrid technology (a dimmer coctail, if you will) that combines the best features of wireless, programmable dimming with the simplicity of lamp control.
The call it the Maestro® Wireless Lamp Dimmer (what else?). You just plug any lamp into it at the outlet level, and then dim (or brighten) away via the rocker switch. You can happily go on using it this way more or less forever, but if you want to get really fancy, you can wirelessly network it with new or existing Lutron® occupancy sensors or lighting control, and tie it into a home-wide lighting scheme. Remote-controlled lamps, anyone?