Enjoy Happy Trails, the free monthly newsletter from Hiking For Her.
Receive a free resource: Hiking Layering System Explained
By Diane Spicer
This Powercap review takes a close look at how wearing your light source on your head works for hiking and camping.
A headlamp built into a ball cap or a beanie style cap!
A few disclosures before we get started:
As always, this Hiking For Her review was written for one purpose: to put great hiking gear and trail solutions into your hands.
This Powercap review looks at the merits of two styles of wearing a source of light on top of your head:
If you've ever worn a headlamp that bounced around as you moved, slipped down around your eyebrows, or just felt uncomfortable on your head, you'll want to read this Powercap review.
It might have good news for you as a hiker, backpacker, camper, or someone who has to rummage around in a dark space (under the sink? in the back of the car?) looking for that lost item you have to find quickly.
There are two styles of hands free light sources in this Powercap review, thus two sets of specs.
It's nice to know you have options, right?
And both of these caps are guaranteed and backed by Panther Vision POWERCAP Limited Lifetime Warranty
Note: All specifications are from Panther Vision, and have not been independently verified.
When you want to illuminate your surroundings without a lantern, flashlight or headlamp, and you don't need warmth or protection from mosquitoes, this lightweight ventilated hat will bestow panther vision upon you.
Thanks to 3 LED settings (high through low), this Powercap is suitable for both close up tasks (like cleaning up camp before you turn in for the night) as well as long distance lighting (investigating the spooky rustling noise in the bushes without leaving your tent).
Need warmth AND illumination?
Want to protect your ears from hungry mosquitoes while doing camp dishes at dusk?
This soft, comfy beanie style cap is the way to go.
Hiking For Her has been on the hiking trail for nearly 5 decades, and fondly recalls the heavy, unreliable flashlights that came along on many backpacking trips.
Headlamps were an eagerly embraced advancement in technology for backpackers and campers, and Hiking For Her has used her share over the years: at least 5 different brands in various styles.
But a Powercap?
It seemed like an interesting way to avoid wearing a bobbling, wobbly, ill fitting headlamp while reaping the rewards of LED illumination (brightness, longevity, lightweight).
So here's what happened when these Powercaps were taken for a spin by someone who has seen illumination options evolve over time.
Okay, let's get this right out into the open.
Hiking For Her is not a fan of this style of cap, for two reasons:
But for you, dear hiker, I wore the hat into the darkest night so I could report my findings.
Good things to report:
There's more to love about this cap:
If you're looking for the smallest footprint possible in your backpack, the brim of this hat doesn't collapse.
The mesh will allow sunlight to reach the crown of your head, so if you're worried about burning from UV rays, this hat offers less protection than a more structured ball cap.
Don't stare deeply into your trail buddy's eyes (human or canine) while wearing this illuminated cap.
Having admitted my bias against the first style of cap, let me be just as honest here: I heart beanies.
In fact, I have at least 3 of them for each of the 4 seasons of hiking. (Don't judge.)
So when this navy blue beanie showed up, it was love at first sight.
Then I turned on the LEDs.
Warm ears, and beams of light shooting off my forehead. I may never take it off again ;)
The batteries pop out easily when you remove the plastic door of the case.
I didn't notice the weight of the battery case at the back of the beanie.
And for anyone who hikes with long hair, get this:
The beanie is roomy enough to accommodate a low ponytail, or a braid or two clipped to the top of your head in windy or wet weather.
Trail tip: For winter hiking and camping, wear a fleece headband under the beanie for extra ear coverage and a closer fit.
The fabric is super lightweight, soft, and seems like it won't pill or pull.
I can see myself wearing this beanie during the day as well, just flipping up the hat seam so the LEDs are tucked away until needed.
P.S. They have a lovely red and black plaid fleece beanie for winter hiking. I think my hiking beanie collection just expanded!
The founder of this company started out in his
garage laboratory, messing around with lighting solutions for outdoor folks like us, many years ago.
Over time, this Illinois company has grown to offer products for everyone who needs illumination around the house, camp, or trail.
Hikers and backpackers love multi-functional gear.
A Powercap illuminates your space and leaves your hands free for hiking tasks and camp chores while providing the benefits of a head covering.
There are other illuminating options from Panther Vision beyond this Powercap review:
Powercap Hands Free Light Review