The trek to Everest Base Camp this past December was nothing short of amazing. However, it was definitely challenging given the time of year and natural elements, and there was no way I’d have made it to EBC without reliable lighting.
Midday storms were predicted and that meant hiking early in the morning, pre-sunrise. Rock slides, bulging tree roots, cliffs, uncertain paths, wild animals–you name, we faced it…in the dark! One wrong step, and we could have fallen off the side of a cliff. One wrong turn from not being able to see the trail, and we could have been completely lost. Being just two of us, myself and my friend Stephanie, and a guide, who knows what would have happened if we did fall or get lost! But luckily, we had three reliable, super-bright yet compact lights that we wouldn’t have made it to Base Camp without: Two HM50R Rechargeable Headlamps (one for each) and the CL09 Lantern to share.
Not Just for Hiking–You Never Know When You’ll Need It!
Now, when I say these lights helped me survive the EBC trek, I don’t just mean it only helped me get through the rugged terrain during those early morning hikes. In fact, much of our time was spent not hiking but rather acclimating in towns along the way, where there was very little electricity–no more than one dull light bulb per room and a stove heated by yak poop! The CL09 and HM50R got us through those long hours of darkness–whether it was to provide light for entertainment, guide us to the outhouse in the middle of the night or to help us get around a village with no street lights.
Stephanie actually got a minor case of altitude sickness for a few days and was up in the middle of the night, running to the garbage, outhouse or just anywhere outside to “let it out.” We just left the lights next to her bed so she could easily grab them and dart outside. The amazing thing was how simple they are to grab and quickly and instinctively turn on–no complicated switches or settings to throw you off–even if you’re about to get sick in the middle of the night.
And for me, honestly, the moments I was most grateful for having my little, lightweight CL09–and I say this only half joking–was every time it prevented me from slipping in the huge plops of yak poop dotted along the village walkways! If I didn’t have that light, I could have slipped on one and been seriously injured or even WORSE, my only pair of shoes would have been caked and smelly for the rest of the trip (no thank you!). I was SO glad to have that light save me from that mess!
Okay, now aside from the gross stuff, I LOVED using the headlamps to read at night or light the room to get ready for bed. Most of our rooms had at least one very subtle light bulb but a few rooms had zero lighting, so for most people, when the sun went down around 4 or 5pm, that meant bedtime. However, there was no way we could fall asleep that early! We were able to light the whole room up by just sitting either the HM50R or the CL09 on the windowsill or each using the HM50Rs.
There was just something so comforting about having bright lighting in an unfamiliar place, and it made the nights so much more relaxing after long days of hiking.
Easy, Reliable Safety for Hiking and Travel
Being two females traveling alone in a foreign country and hiking in unfamiliar territory, safety was extremely important to us. The HM50R lit up the whole trail, and being as clumsy as I am, I attribute the fact that I fell zero times to that light. The CL09 was also wonderful to have while walking around Kathmandu before and after the trek. Being winter, the days were super short so the sun would be going down as we’d be walking back to the hotel from dinner. While our path felt relatively safe and short, we still felt better carrying the CL09 (we did not walk around with the headlamps in Kathmandu as we didn’t want to stand out toooo much as trekking tourists!). Even if I’m not hiking or doing outdoor activities on my next trip, I will most definitely be bringing a small flashlight with me, and the CL09 couldn’t be more perfect. Honestly, I feel foolish knowing I’d ever traveled abroad without at least a keychain flashlight!
Being so compact and lightweight, all three lights were extremely easy to fit in our bags, which we already had a hard time keeping underweight to meet porter and airline requirements. I was slightly worried I wouldn’t have room for extra batteries or backup chargers. I brought backup batteries for the CL09–no big deal since they’re so small–but I didn’t even need them, even though I used the CL09 every single morning and night on our 14-day trip. The HM50R were super easy to charge, too.
I brought a solar charger and would set it in the sun every time we took a lunch break or stopped hiking for the day. Stephanie charged her HM50R by hanging her solar charger from her backpack while hiking. I’d never charged my devices with a solar charger before, and I was pleased to learn it couldn’t have been easier.
Would I Use Fenix for My Next Trek? ABSOLUTELY!
After seeing the capabilities of the CL09 and the HM50R on a somewhat extreme trek–or at least the most extreme I’ve ever done–I can’t recommend these lights enough. Of the few other hikers we passed on the trail, several asked who made lights so bright, and we were proud to say Fenix! I can’t wait to use them hiking, backpacking and camping stateside!