Best LED Flashlight Torch for Hiking in the Wilderness
At night, the wilderness is extremely dark.
The lack of ambient light can actually surprise some people and this can be quite a spooky feeling when added to all the other unusual sounds and smells that drift about during a typical night in the wild.
Although a camp fire will give a very pleasing glow and relaxing camp atmosphere, it should not be considered as your main or only source of light.
There are a few good reason for carrying a good Flashlight Torch with you on your hiking.
- Help with night time navigation.
- Finding your way around camp.
- Additional low level light source.
- To ward off any unwanted animals.
- Emergency signalling.
What to consider when buying an LED Flashlight Torch
Torches are to be found in millions of homes, cars and workplaces, owned by millions and used by grandma’s and right up to elite swat teams and the military. There is a flashlight torch for every occasion and with modern manufacturing, LED technology and battery life they are now better than they have ever been.
1. What do You Need It For?
Hunting, Camping, Hiking and Survival, Search and Rescue or longer distance requires a high level of visibility and thus a flashlight torch with a lot of brightness.
The brightness is measured in Lumens and for survival you need in the region of at least 750 – 1,000 Lumens. As well as the Lumens it must be extra durable, strong and robust, and ideally, waterproof as well..
When it comes to general and basic camping or recreational activities like a quick 1/2 day hiking or a bit of fishing and even for some general chores found around the home, it’s still best to go for the more powerful beam of above the 300 lumens – this will ensure you have the power when you need it.
2. How Much Brightness do you need?
LED FlashlightTorches are real cool gadgets, they are handy to own and fun to use. But for the true connoisseur, more brightness is the aim – but then again, it can also depend on what you intend to use it for:.
10 – 20 lumens: used for very general close up tasks – maybe checking inside a cupboard or finding your keyhole in the front door, with only 20 lumens distance is poor, although it may be possible to pick out a reflective surface up to 100 metres away.
20 – 150 lumens: greater beam distance of up to 120 metres, ideal for around the house and small jobs or when out walking the dog of a darker evening.
160 -200 lumens: noticeably better beam distance now – up to 150 metres, this power is considered ideal most general purposes. Typically this would include – hiking, camping, general jobs around the home and personal security
200 – 500 lumens: around this level you are looking more specific uses plus some additional feature more specific to tactical survival, hunting and hiking, the beam distance should be up to 200 metres.
600 – 1,000 lumens: we are now venturing into true survival mode… the expected beam distances can be powerful enough to reach 300 metres, so this is definitely an ideal amount for most survival tasks.
1,000 plus lumens: this is serious stuff now – too bright for the home or even built up areas. Over 1000 lumens is considered to be serious outdoor power. This is ideal for serious survival, search and rescue, hunting, fishing and all of the serious outdoor survival tasks.
3. Material and Waterproofing
Just about all of the best LED Flashlights are manufactured using an Aircraft Grade Aluminium – this choice of material makes them strong and lightweight.
There is also stainless steel and hard plastic available from several manufacturers as well However, the advantage of using aluminium means the threading can be extremely fine and precision engineered, which in turn makes any the threaded sections and sealing areas pretty much waterproof.
When manufacturing to the IPX-8 International Standards they are capable of being submerged in water to a depth of 2 metres and still work.
4. Body Size
Body sizes of the modern flashlight torches have reduced considerably without any compromise of the performance, modern manufacturing techniques now means the physical size LED Flashlights are now extremely compact.
You no longer have to carry a great big, bulky piece of metal that needs six or more big batteries in order to achieve good light quality.
5. Type Of Batteries
Very few people use alkaline batteries nowadays as they don’t have anywhere near the runtime or shelf-life of lithium batteries
Disposable Lithium Batteries such as the DL123A Duracell Ultra Lithium will greatly extend the runtime over the standard alkaline battery.
But there is a down side – they cost a little bit more – not a huge amount more, but there is big upside to the little bit extra money.
They are fully rechargeable, which makes them hugely cheaper over time – but don’t buy the cheaper rechargeable ones to start with.! Always go for a battery that offers 2000 mAh as a minimum – this added power will work and last much better.
There is no doubt about it, Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries are essential, especially if you use the high power LED Torches.
Rechargeable Lithium Batteries
6. Additional Features and Modes.
There are a few different modes and features that have slowly been added to give a more versatile piece of survival equipment to choose:
- Low, medium and high brightness levels
- Candlelight level
- Thin, precise pencil-Line beam
- Extra Wide beam.
- Signalling and SOS function.
- Strobe mode and defensive function.
- Flashing Light mode – ideal for survival situations, signalling, Morse code and emergencies
Modern materials, modern technology and modern manufacturing methods mean the prices of LED flashlights have never been cheaper.
The quality, performance and reliability far outweigh your dollars spent.
You can buy the superb ‘micro mini’ Cree Led Flashlight Torch, 300 lumens with adjustable zoom feature for under $5 or the UltraFire LED Flashlight for under $10.
These are superb little flashlights both offering 300 lumens of bright white light, and the perfect little torch to carry on a key-chain or in your pocket.
For the higher quality, more powerful flashlight that offers several different light setting functions you will be looking to spend around $70 – $100, the Fenix PD35 850 Lumen LED Tactical is a pure flashlight and offer 850 lumens, whereas the KLARUS XT11 is the latest upgrade in development which offers extra light choices, emergency SOS and a defensive/signalling strobe light setting.
The power of these 800 – 1000 lumens are amazing and make perfect additional to your survival kit – there is also another good part to add the the affordable price and thats the battery life.
Using the two flashlights as an example, when set on the lowest output, which is used as low level backlight, almost as a nightlight or camp light, you can expect in excess of 500 hours usage.
Battery usage then decreases as the light output increases, so at maximum output you should get around 2 hours usage.