Hiking stands out as one of the best activities for those who want to escape the city jungle and breathe some fresh air while exploring the many hidden beauties of our land. But in order to make your trip in the wilderness safer and more amusing, except for a pair of waterproof hiking shoes and proper gear, you’re going to need a convenient flashlight. But if you were about to hit the market and search for the perfect flashlight torch, know that you’ll come across a huge range of different choices, packed with different features and conveniences. And this is why we put together a couple of tips you may find useful when choosing the best option for yourself.
Types of Hiking Torches
Before you decide to get a LED flashlight torch, it’s essential to get to know the different types and their features so you don’t invest in something that doesn’t even fit your needs and preferences. Generally, we can split LED flashlights into 3 wide categories:
Hand-held torches are the classic type that is most commonly used among hikers. These torches are very easy and convenient to use, especially if you want to direct your focus towards a specific direction or object. Hand-held torches come in different shapes and sizes and with a bunch of different features- from the small models that can fit in the palm of your hand that are handy for emergencies to the larger, more advanced models.
As the technology is going forward, the classic hand-held torch evolved into a head torch that can be way more convenient for hiking trips. As their name suggests, these torches are attached to your head with an adjustable strap and leave both of your hands-free while providing pinpointed illumination just where you need it.
Once the sun goes down and you’re about to settle down at the perfect spot to get some rest, you’re going to need a convenient lantern to light up the entire area. And since lanterns are designed to illuminate your camping spot for the entire night, they feature the longest lifespan of all the types, regardless of the energy source they use.
Regardless of the type you choose, know that flashlights can be either powered by batteries or rechargeable.
Starting from battery-powered flashlights, most of the models you’ll come across will use the typical alkaline batteries. This usually depends on the torch’s size- smaller hand-held and head torches usually use AA or AAA batteries, while larger models will need D-type ones. Some flashlights may use lithium batteries, which are considered a better choice than alkaline ones. This is due to them being shown to have a longer lifespan and more resistant to some external influences such as cold weather conditions.
Rechargeable models have made a huge buzz among hikers and campers lately, and this is due to them being way more convenient than battery-powered ones. This is due to rechargeable torches being a one-time investment, as you won’t need to worry about getting new batteries and replacing them often. Instead, these flashlights can be recharged by using an adapter.
However, keep in mind that rechargeable flashlights are considered to have a shorter battery lifespan than battery-powered ones. On top of that, you’re going to need a convenient power source to recharge them, such as a computer, laptop, solar panel or your car’s outlets, which is not always possible while exploring nature.
The light output is one of the most important features to take into consideration when choosing a proper flashlight. This feature will determine the intensity of the light coming out of your flashlight once it’s freshly recharged. The light output in flashlights is measured in lumens- the more lumens it puts out, the more light it’s capable to produce. An average LED flashlight torch will produce around 50 lumens of light output, while there are also some models that are capable of producing up to 1000 lumens. And models that feature higher light output are always recommended for hiking and camping, especially when the wilderness becomes a creepy space at night.
It would be in vain to choose a LED flashlight that features 1000 lumens if it’s capable to light up only a couple of meters in front of your feet. At this point, know that the beam distance is also very important since it’ll determine the distance your flashlight is capable to illuminate. Torches come in a wide range of beam distances – from those that can illuminate only 50m, to the more high-end models that are capable of lighting up at least 200m in front of you. While the first ones can be enough to illuminate your tent while searching for something or have a casual walk in the surrounding area, the second ones are considered better for night hiking sessions or exploring “dangerous” areas.
The time performance of a flashlight refers to the flashlight’s ability to produce light before its battery gets completely empty. At this point, have in mind that different flashlights feature different time performance patterns- some of them will gradually decrease the light output, while others will suddenly decrease or stop producing light at once.
An average single-time performance of flashlights is about 12 to 15 hours of operating with the lowest power, and any model that isn’t capable of this performance is not recommended. However, high-tech flashlight models usually feature different modes and settings you can adjust up to your illumination needs and preferences.
When hiking and exploring in humid conditions, you’ll need a water-resistant flashlight that won’t be affected once it comes in touch with the slightest rain. Flashlights’ water resistance is usually rated by the IPX system. This system ranges from IPX1 level, which means that your flashlight is able to withstand a couple of occasional drops of water, to IPX8 level, which means that your flashlight is completely waterproof.
Considering that most of the hiking areas are humid, and it’s not uncommon a rain to approach, many hiking enthusiasts recommend getting a completely waterproof flashlight so you don’t struggle if a sudden “water danger” approaches. Now that you know about all the important features to consider, don’t hesitate to hit your favourite torch shop and get the perfect model for your upcoming hiking adventures.