You don’t need rocky paths, rolling hills, or distant mountains to go for a good hike. Urban walking sits right between walking and hiking and exchanges natural beauty for urban allure. 

If work or other responsibilities keep you from hitting the hiking trails, urban walking recreates many of the benefits of traditional hiking, but you still need the right equipment. 

Headlamps and flashlights brighten gloomy stairways, city parks, and paths, but you may prefer one light source over the other.

We have analyzed the pros and cons of using a flashlight vs a headlamp so the next time you are out exploring the city, you are equipped with the perfect light source.

Flashlight Pros & Cons

If you go city-walking in a group, you may all feel more comfortable using a flashlight instead of a headlamp. With a flashlight, you can see what’s in front of you while turning your head to talk to others and think nothing of it. Facing someone while wearing an activated headlamp may blind them. 

Another benefit of carrying flashlights such as the Fenix TK20R V2.0, is that these tactical lights can also be used as a self-defense tool. When you are walking down a dark city street, you want to not only be able to see clearly, but you also want to feel confident enough to ward off any attempted attacks.

One strike against flashlights is their potential for hand fatigue. Your hand may droop during a long urban hike, which could hamper your ability to see hazards and your surroundings. Another con is that a flashlight curtails your ability to keep your hands free.

Flashlight Recommendations for City Walking


The Fenix LD22 V2.0 is our upgraded multi-use flashlight that casts 800 lumens of light across 702 ft (214 m). Switch brightness levels while exploring urban areas that street lights don’t reach. When you need both your hands to capture a stunning image of the city, attach the LD22 V2.0 to you with the detachable body clip.

The Fenix E09R is a rechargeable flashlight you can power up before heading out. This everyday carry’s Burst mode can throw up to 600 lumens and is perfect for the extra power you may need to light up a dark alleyway.

Keep a reliable light source on your keychain with the Fenix E03R keychain flashlight. The small light projects 260 lumens across 138 ft (42 m), perfect for piercing through rainy or foggy urban environments.


Headlamp Pros & Cons

Say you encounter an interesting city find during an urban walk, like a sprawling mural or a historic building. With a headlamp, not only can you see the discovery clearly, but you also have both hands free to take a picture or look up interesting facts on your phone. Holding a flashlight and trying to find the right angle for a quick shot may take too long and eat into your exploration time.

You may also prefer a light source that follows your field of vision without you having to turn your arm. As soon as you turn your head to look both ways to cross a street while wearing a headlamp, you immediately notice what’s in front of you without delay.

As for a headlamp’s shortcomings, the beam of light that conveniently follows your head movements could give you tunnel vision. Your eyes are naturally drawn to what you see in the light, which may make everything in your peripheral vision darker and harder to see without turning your head.

Headlamp Recommendations for City Walking

The Fenix HM60R is a rechargeable headlamp with a neutral white floodlight that renders urban surroundings in accurate color. Use the large, glove-friendly switch to activate different lighting modes without fumbling to find the proper controls. 

The Fenix HL18R-T brightens urban walks with 500 lumens at its max setting. Its patented SPORT headband fit system ensures a comfortable fit and keeps the headlamp secure around your head.

For maximum versatility, check out the Fenix HM61R. When you can’t choose between a flashlight and headlamp, the HM61R provides both, thanks to the detachable right-angle flashlight. Attach the flashlight to the included belt clip for continued hands-free use while using your phone to navigate an unfamiliar area.

While hiking along nature trails and hills does wonders for the mind and body, you may find you enjoy urban walking just as much. The right Fenix headlamp or flashlight makes your walks even more enjoyable.