Illuminating the Outdoors: Adventures with the BioLite HeadLamp

BioLite’s smokeless fire pits sparked excitement among wilderness enthusiasts. Now the team is venturing into enlightened wearables with the BioLite HeadLamp. In this video series, fans show us how they’re using them.

It started as a passion project. Sustainability designers Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond love getting outdoors, but were frustrated that most camping stoves still use fossil fuels. So they made the CampStove, a portable biomass stove that uses a thermoelectric generator to create a smokeless fire — and generate enough surplus energy to charge personal devices. (They realized the invention could also help communities in energy-poor East Africa, and started distributing similar models there at affordable prices.) In 2017 they iterated on that concept, and brought the smokeless, wood-burning BioLite FirePit to Kickstarter, where they found support from over 10,000 backers.

An appreciation for getting outside continues to fuel BioLite’s growth; their latest innovation brings their bright ideas to the humble headlamp. It’s an outdoors necessity that hasn’t been meaningfully updated in decades — so the team created a lightweight, powerful new take on the device. The BioLite HeadLamp, live on Kickstarter now, is getting rave reviews. In the quotes (edited for brevity) and videos below, from BioLite’s “The Dusk and Dawn Series,” users show us how the headlamps add to their early-morning and late-night adventures.

Kathryn: The Runner

Kathryn Wicheta is a distance runner, optimist, and fish taco enthusiast. A five-year resident of the Bay Area, she currently lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, CA, and works at a tech company in San Francisco. To balance a demanding work schedule with her love of running, you’ll often find her early-morning run-commuting into the city by headlamp across the Golden Gate Bridge or easing the stress of the day with sunset miles in the Marin Headlands.

Her routine:

“Having grown up the daughter of a weekend warrior in the North Cascades, I have always found refuge and strength outdoors. Life in San Francisco never seems to slow down, so escaping to the mountains or finding new places to explore along California’s beautiful coastline provides the fuel I need to maintain balance and find joy.”

Her review:

“This is by far the most comfortable headlight I’ve ever worn. Most importantly, it doesn’t move when I run, which is important for longer distances. It’s almost like a headband that becomes your light once the sun goes down.”

Jet: The Through-Hiker

Jet Garner was medically retired after two tours as a Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman for the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan. He returned to the States, graduated from UC Berkeley, and set off on his first long-distance trail experience, hiking 1,200 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. It changed his life — and made him an avid hiker.

His routine:

“I have always felt most alive outside. About a year before my first long-distance hike, I participated in a program with the Sierra Club that attempted to measure the impact nature-based experiences have on U.S. veterans’ depression, anxiety, and the other sometimes overwhelming effects of PTSD. I loved the program and it really reminded me, after four straight years of a nose-to-the-grindstone attitude throughout college, that this was missing from my portfolio of interests. When I started my first trek, I felt at home. I loved it. I get my energy from the fire to succeed at something — to push myself, dig deep, and inspire others to do the same. Through-hiking allows me to dig deep with other people and overcome obstacles.”

His review:

It’s so comfortable that I will forget I’m wearing it. It’s handy for doing projects of any kind — like tying a fishing knot or trying to cut something very precisely — in low-light conditions.”

Wendy & Vince: The Ranchers

Wendy and Vince are busy people. They keep up a functioning ranch in Mancos, Colorado — as a hobby. Wendy is a yoga teacher, massage therapist, and nurse; Vince is a runner, climber, cyclist, and marketer at Osprey Packs (a brand that appears frequently in BioLite videos). Wendy is also the cofounder of 3 Sisters Equine Refuge, a charitable organization dedicated to providing rehabilitation, retraining, and placement for equines.

Their routine:

Vince: “A long, exhausting day in the mountains is where I find energy and recharge my personal batteries. My connection to the outdoors comes from an organic desire to play. Over time, that play evolved into a realization that the outdoors can also be where I can push myself, mentally and physically, and discover something new every time out.”

Wendy: “I love time with our animals — horses, donkeys, goats, and dogs — on the trails in the backcountry.”

Their review:

Vince: “This headlamp is excellent. The perfect headlamp, to me, is one that you can forget is there. And this is the closest thing to that that I have found.”

Wendy: “I use it daily for evening chores, like feeding our animals. I’ve taken it camping multiple times. I absolutely love it.”

The BioLite HeadLamp is live on Kickstarter through October 19, 2018.