I used to think the headlamp was the world’s greatest invention. No more holding a flashlight while trying to do things with your hands. Now there’s something equally exciting, less expensive, and more comfortable — a baseball cap with LED lights in it.
My friend Nancy Jordan, purveyor of all things camping, was the first to impart her wisdom about the L.L. Bean Pathfinder LED Cap. Sure, it helps that she lives “on “in Cape” — that’s Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to you non-locals, which is only a hop, ski, and a jump to L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport. But, also, Nance just has the knack for these things. First it was the headlamp. Then, during one of our “Girls 24” getaways with pal Kristin Thalheimer, Nance set up her folding canvas camping chair, another amazing invention we’d never seen before which is now ubiquitous. Kristin and I were so envious that Nance got us each one for the next getaway.
This year, Nance was at it again, giving Kristin and me baseball caps that light up. I’ve had mine less than a month and already have used it for grilling, reading in bed when Wessel wanted lights off, bicycling at night (under my helmet) and participating in a search for a lost wiener dog. (The dang dachshund was hanging out under a bed all along.) I don’t even usually wear baseball caps. Nance, you get another feather in yours.
Of course Wessel had to have a Pathfinder, too, so we got him an orange one, to honor the Dutch national color. Mine is a subdued tan color.
While a headlamp has more features, the caps don’t slide off your head and bonk your nose, and the elastic band doesn’t wear off. And, let’s face it, they’re a whole lot more fashionable. And warmer, too. Oh, and I did I mention the price? A mere $20. There’s a little replaceable battery inside the band, which you can’t feel on your head at all. I don’t think you should give up on headlamps, but the caps offer the perfect camping (and more!) complement.
Because it was Nancy who introduced us to these, I predict they will sweep the nation. No, the world!