Tech improvements in LED lights and batteries open a new era in lighting gear.

The Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp features 165 lumens and a burn time of 150 hours.

A few years ago, the American National Standards Institute, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and representatives from more than a dozen makers of portable lights agreed to a set of performance standards now codified into the ANSI/NEMA FL1 basic performance standard. Now you can look at the package of a light, lantern or headlamp and see how it rates on brightness (lumens), range of beam, run time, water resistance, and a whole set of other features that will help you determine which is the light to buy for your purpose.

The new LED bulbs that manufacturers use in these lights run cooler, use less energy and throw light that heightens color better than conventional incandescent bulbs. Cree is a leading manufacturer of LEDs, and innovative applications for the field are coming rapidly. Manufacturers say that these LEDs are lifetime bulbs; they’ll never need replacing. At least you can rest assured that they’ll be more dependable than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, and that dependability is kind of clutch when it comes to a light source. See slideshow below.