Nitecore NU25 headlamp review 2020

I needed enough light to cycle in the dark as well as for hiking / camping.

After reading good reviews, I went with the Nitecore NU25 headlamp.

I like it.  Comfortable, adjustable headband.  

Four settings for white light.  Three for red.

In addition, a three second press of the white light sets off the well known ••• – – – ••• Morse code sequence.  

Simple design.

  • rechargeable with micro-USB
  • maximum output of 360 lumens
  • max. Beam Distance 81 m
  • auxiliary red light
  • indicator reports remaining battery power
  • lockout to prevent accidental activation
  • 0.99oz

Headlamps have turned on accidentally during transport in the past.  That won’t happen when you lock out this one.

It will work while charging from a portable battery, if needed for many hours.


Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.

Here are other recommended headlamps in 2020.

The NU 25’s main limitations are its short battery life (in our testing, the NU’s burn time was much shorter than listed) and the fact that it’s hard to keep the light from shining in your camping partner’s eyes due to its wide beam pattern.

Trail Runners v Hiking Boots

Cam Honan posted the best summing up I’ve read:

1. Why choose trail running shoes over boots for three-season conditions?

2. When are boots preferable to trail runners? 

3. “Wearing Your Fears” – Examining the commonly-held belief that boots provide a greater degree of protection for your ankles than low-cut footwear while backpacking.

4. “A Piece in the Puzzle – Why your choice in footwear should be considered an integral piece of an overall lightweight backpacking strategy.

5. A list of 15 of the top trail running shoes in today’s market.

Click through for Cam’s summary.

THE HIKING LIFE – Trail Runners Vs Hiking Boots:  A 30 Year Perspective

I’ve tried most everything over the years, ending up with something in-between runners and bootsapproach shoes — most often Merrell Moab2 Ventilators.  Normally without a Gortex layer.

I go with Merrell as they are available online in very wide sizes.  I have bunions.

I go with trail shoes as I like the durability.

Cam finds he can get about 800 mi (1,287 km) out of a good approach shoe; as opposed to trail runners which normally need to be retired after 500 mi (805 km).

I’m loath to suffer stubbed toes so prefer footwear with good protection up front.

Like Cam, I wear low-cut footwear as my ankles are healthy and I’m agile enough not to bash into rocks.

For something VERY rugged — K2 Base Camp, for example — I would take high tops or boots.

The downside of approach shoes is weight.  And the smell.

After a hike where my shoes get wet I need bake them in the sun.  For days.

related – Cam’s more comprehensive post – Hiking Footwear Guide


Golden Hinde Traverse, Strathcona Vancouver Island

BestHike editor Rick McCharles

UPDATE.  I didn’t get very far on the Traverse finding it too difficult and dangerous to hike solo.  I’ll go with a group next time. 

For example, one hiking group did complete the Golden Hinde(less) Traverse between July 18-24, 2020.

I did complete the first two sections:

      1. Elk River Trail
      2. Elk Pass Trail

ORIGINAL POST from Sept 2, 2020 below:

Heading for Strathcona Provincial Park September 3rd.

Hoping to climb Golden Hinde, the highest mountain on Vancouver Island 2,195 m (7,201 ft).  September should have drier trails. Fewer bugs. … Hopefully.

Many try and fail to get to this summit.  It’s a scramble up snow or rock at the top.

The mountain took its name from Sir Francis Drake‘s ship, the Golden Hind, named by an early fur-trading captain who was reminded of Drake’s ship as sunset hit the mountain

Jes Scott made it August 2019.  Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Jes had tried and failed in 2017.

My plan is to hike the 47km Golden Hinde Traverse on the Elk River trail through to Myra Falls. I’ll only attempt the summit as a detour if conditions, health, time and weather permit. No pressure.  🙂

Cost for a guided climb is about CAD $1500 for 5 days.

The best hiking guidebook is Exploring Strathcona Park. Dead tree version available only.

See our list of the best hikes in North America.

Mt. Assiniboine: Shark to Magog

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Days 1-2 | 3 | 4-5

Hiking Shark trailhead to Magog campground

Mountain sheep, not mountain goats. Let’s get that straight.

It was almost 5pm by the time we walked away from Mt. Shark trailhead on the Bryant Creek Trail.

We would have come in from Sunshine — but both the bus and Gondola were closed in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Jack was wearing brand new shoes. Surprisingly, they worked well for him over 5 days.

I was happy to join up with Brian Mason and sons for one of his favourite hikes.

I’d thought the trail to McBride campground (BR 14) was 9.8km flat. It’s closer to 13km with some ups and downs.

The Masons had most everything they needed, but it wasn’t really “packed”. 😀

9:07pm arrival at McBride

Turns out McBride is a lousy camp: no water, few level sites, distant cooking area.

Masons didn’t finish dinner until well after dark.


No fly for me.  I only use it if I must.

Masons were happy with their new 4 person MEC tent, the first time they’d used it.

I wished we’d camped instead at Big Springs 9.6km. But Brian was actually happy we went all the way to McBride as it shortened the climbing day up to Assiniboine.

At the Ranger cabin we turned uphill towards Marvel Lake. (The alternative trail is the easier, but less scenic, Assiniboine Pass.)

The river is the water supply for McBride. While at that camp, I saw two closer potential sources that were NOT running.

I do love alpine meadows.

My free Peakfinder app was useful in identifying mountains. You need to download the data in advance before going offline.

Gorgeous Marvel Lake.


It’s a steep climb up to Assiniboine on switchbacks, but the views keep you going.

We stopped for lunch at the top.

What a vista !

From there we scrambled up to a higher viewpoint, leaving our big packs below.

Eventually we strolled into Magog campground with fantastic views of the Matterhorn of the Rockies.

We’d walked about 28 km (17.6 miles) from Shark. Plus our side trip.

Click PLAY or watch a short video on our hike on YouTube.

Days 1-2 | 3 | 4-5

GSI Pack Grater for Camping

Each year a group of friends heads out for a week of hiking and camping.

Each year they compare gear.  And consider adding something NEW to their kit.

In 2020 I was very impressed with Karen’s GSI Pack Grater.  Less than $10.

Very lightweight and compact, it did a terrific job grating cheese for our traditional Trail Quesadillas.

We typically make the Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk version including fresh apple and Rosemary.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’m purchasing a GSI Pack Grater for myself.