What lighting should I use for hiking and camping?
Having a torch with sufficient light means you can enjoy your dinner under the stars and avoid getting lost on the way to the toilet in the middle of the night. A torch or a head torch is a vital piece of safety equipment and at least one should be carried on all your trips big or small.
Types of Lighting
By far the most convenient option if you are on the move. A head torch allows you to move freely with both of your hands available. Everyday tasks like reading maps or cutting up dinner are made easy. Head torch technology is constantly evolving, they are always getting lighter and brighter. Most modern torches are constructed with LED bulbs that have a bright white light and, depending on the strength or brightness of the bulb, usually have an excellent battery life. The options range from the extremely lightweight with small battery usage (for an emergency backup or around camp) to much brighter lights with large lumens and separate battery packs for nighttime activities and caving.
To choose the best head torch for yourself you will need to weigh up your intended purpose against your budget, for example, if you enjoy a short late-night walk down a dimly lit street and occasional camping then you won’t need anything too powerful, perhaps one of the smaller lightweight options with about 100 lumens or less of output. Or if you are working or playing outdoors regularly you may need something with a more powerful light or an adjustable option for multipurpose use. Paddy Pallin stock a great range of head torches from Petzl, Black Diamond and Ledlenser.
Still a viable option, torches are a very common type of light used in the bush. They can be quite compact and lightweight with LEDs or they can be large and bulky with a big rechargeable battery and a powerful beam. Smaller hand torches make a great option as a spare torch for bushwalkers. Larger hand torches are a great option for car or group camping. They remain simple, easy to use and you can direct the light exactly where you need it.
Designed to illuminate large areas, lanterns are good when you are not required to walk far to the campsite. They are generally bulkier than the other options and are designed for static use around camp.
It’s becoming more and more common to see rechargeable options for both hand-held and head torches. The initial cost of the torch will be higher, but the savings over the life of the torch, as you don't need to buy disposable batteries, will be considerable. Most rechargeable torches will use a USB cable to charge, and some still allow the use of disposable batteries as a backup option. A big reason to consider a rechargeable torch is that they are more environmentally friendly than torches reliant on disposable batteries.
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