Today I’m going to be looking at some of the best torches for camping and which essential features you’ll want your torch to have.
Obviously, the main function of a torch is to provide light.
One might be forgiven for thinking that all torches are the same, however there are many different styles with many different functionalities and prices ranging from a few pounds to over 100 pounds.
Types Of Power
The majority of torches are powered by batteries.
These could be alkaline batteries and the type will largely depend on the size of the torch – large spotlights will often use D batteries, while smaller torches are more likely to use AA, AAA or even CR123A batteries.
In the majority of cases it would be possible to replace alkaline batteries with lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries perform better in cold weather compared to their alkaline counterparts and also hold their charge for longer.
It’s always advisable to take spare batteries on a trip – the last thing you would want is for your batteries to die and to not have any spares!
Some torches are rechargeable – these are powered by lithium-ion batteries and can be recharged through the mains or in a car with the correct adapter.
Types Of Bulbs
The light intensity or power output of a torch is measured in lumens and is a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source per unit of time – the higher the lumen the more ‘bright’ the torch is.
Torches vary from an output of a few lumens to some which give out over 1000 lumens.
For most camping situations a luminosity of a few hundred lumens would be sufficient.
There are a variety of bulbs that are used in torches – offering a varying range of light intensity, range and colour.
Incandescent bulbs work by passing an electric current across a wire filament, which is protected from oxidation with a glass or fused quartz bulb that is filled with an inert gas such as argon and/or nitrogen – the temperature reached is so high that it causes the filament to glow and produce visible light.
The problem is that these bulbs are often fragile and inefficient in addition to producing heat.
They will also last less than 1,000 hours before the filament is worn out.
Halogen bulbs are similar to incandescent bulbs, but use halogen instead of argon/nitrogen.
These bulbs last a little longer as the halogen gas reacts with the tungsten filament and redeposits tungsten atoms back onto the filament, so that they can be reused.
Halogen bulbs can last up to 2,500 hours, they also run brighter and get hotter than their incandescent counterparts
LEDs are brighter, more efficient and longer lasting than incandescent/halogen bulbs.
They don’t produce much heat and have a general life expectancy of 50,000 hrs!
They can also be coloured, which can be useful in a torch.
An ideal camping torch should be strong, durable, light and weather-proof.
Torches are typically made of metal or plastic.
Plastic ones are generally cheaper, but they may be more prone to damage – unless they are made of a tough, shock resistant material.
Metal ones could be made of steel (heavier), aluminium (lighter, but not as strong) or titanium (light and strong, but more expensive).
Nowadays many torches will have the ability to change luminosity, have different modes (such as strobe or SOS) and also have different colours (such as red to preserve night vision).
So Which Type Should I Go For?
That’s the difficult question – there are so many options out there and it really depends on your needs and budget.
I have a few hand torches and a head torch too.
Head torches are useful if you need to keep your hands free, but they can be a bit annoying if you’re in a group as the light can easily dazzle other people if you look towards them.
Below I will list a few of my favourite camping torches.
- Nitecore MH12GTS 1800 Lumen Long Throw USB Rechargeable Flashlight
- Ultra bright long throw beam produces a max output of 1800 lumens with 247 yards of throw
- Features 5 brightness levels and 3 special modes (strobe, SOS, and Beacon)
- Enjoy Direct access to Turbo and ultralow mode as well as mode memory
- Easy to operate with a tactical tail cap that controls momentary or constant output
- Offers built-in charging using a micro-USB port. A NITECORE 18650 rechargeable battery is also included
This is, by far, my favourite torch.
- Ledlenser 501046 P7 Professional LED Torch
- Three light options – high 450 lumens, mid 250 lumens, low 40 lumens
- Incredible 300m beam range on full power
- Speed Focus – Instantly Focus to flood or spot with one hand.
- Long runtime – 25hrs on low with a 100m beam range
- 4 AAA batteries required
- Energy efficient premium CREE LED light chip
- Patented advanced Focus System optics for flood (near) or spot (near) illumination
- 7 years warranty with Registration
- Made from lightweight aircraft-grade aluminium
I have the Ledlenser P7.2, this P7 is the new upgraded version.
I’ve used the p7.2 on many camps over the years and it’s a fantastic, trusty light source.
- Ledlenser SEO7R-BL Rechargeable LED Head Torch
- Rechargeable, lightweight LED head lamp with bright white light plus glare-free red light to protect night vision
- Advanced focus system optics. Patented reflector and lens combination for intense spot (distance) or flawless flood (near) illumination
- Smart Light Technology (SLT) – Power, low power, signal light options
- Washable, replaceable, anti-allergic headband colour-coded to match lamp head
This is a great head torch that I’ve used on many camps and is really useful when I need my hands free.
The red light is ideal to be able to see enough on a campsite, but not lose my night vision.
So there are many options out there.
If your budget allows, go for one handheld torch and one head torch so that you’ve got most situations covered.
In my opinion, LED lights are the best and the option to be able to alternate between alkaline and lithium batteries is useful.
Although these days with portable power banks, rechargeable batteries (such as those used in the Nitecore torch above) are, again in my opinion, the best option.
Happy torch hunting!
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.