A lantern is one of the main tools of anyone who doesn’t sit still. If you go camping, hike or simply spend a lot of time outdoors in the dark, a torch is a must.
There are a lot of different models on sale – compact, large, shockproof and even underwater. Which torch will be the right one for you? That’s what we’ll help you find out.
Torches come in many styles and the list of torches is long: handheld, bicycle, tactical, underwater, compact, searchlight, special, angled, camping, headlamp, clip-on and others. Consider the most popular.
Hand-held torches are small and not too heavy, almost universal devices that are designed to be carried in the hand. They are often equipped with a convenient handle and a loop, thanks to which you can hang the torch on your wrist or elsewhere.
Bicycle models are understandably designed for mounting on bicycles. They are usually quite powerful devices with a sturdy housing protected against dirt and moisture. By the way, choosing a bike light or headlamp is a much more interesting task, which deserves a separate article on a specialized resource.
Tactical torches are needed when hunting and also during e.g. nighttime strikeball matches. They often can be attached to the barrel of the gun and must dazzle the enemy, for which they use very powerful lamps.
Underwater models are needed for scuba divers and spearfishers. They too use powerful LEDs whose light is able to penetrate even relatively dirty water.
The compact torches are small and can often be attached to clothes with a clip or to a keychain with a carabiner. For everyday use – e.g. in dark storage rooms.
Searching models are designed for foresters, hunters, rescuers and those who love the outdoors. They feature the increased brightness and range of light you need to locate people and animals quickly. They also often have very long-lasting batteries and rechargeable batteries.
Camping lanterns are needed to create artificial lighting in temporary campsites set up for overnight stays in the open air. They can be either omnidirectional or single-ended. They are also often equipped with a handle by which they can be hung from a tree or rope.
Head-up models are most often used by professionals who work in the dark. Mounted on their heads they have their hands completely free to work in, and the light weight provides hours of comfort.
Light output is one of the key characteristics of any torch. It indicates the amount of light a torch emits (in lumens). The greater the luminous flux, the better the illuminated object will be seen. The angle of scattering should also be taken into account – the smaller it is, the better the light will be concentrated on your target.
Beam length is another key parameter that determines the maximum distance at which the torch will be able to illuminate the target. Usually this characteristic strongly depends on the model type.
The ability to focus the beam with a special lens is useful if you often need to view small objects at a long distance – this feature provides a reduced angle of light scattering and concentration of the luminous flux.
The presence of signals is useful in nature – for example, for hikers and rescuers. When working in SOS or strobe mode, the torch is much easier to see.
Two types of reflectors are used in the torches – smooth and textured. The smooth reflector allows the lamp to form a small but bright and clear spot of light. A textured reflector with a bumpy surface provides soft light scattering and illumination of a larger area with reduced brightness.
If you intend to use your torch in harsh weather conditions, we recommend paying attention to the IP rating of the housing. This shows the degree of protection against water and dirt.
The torch body may have a special impact selvedge, which may be useful in various situations (e.g. for self-defence or breaking objects) as well as for aesthetic reasons. It also comes in handy when camping.
Many models are equipped with a clip so that you can easily and quickly attach the torch to almost any surface. Also will be useful in hiking and elsewhere.
Cheap models use standard batteries or detachable rechargeable batteries, while more expensive models have their own rechargeable batteries. In addition, models that are intended to be used for long periods of time can often run on their own batteries as well as on batteries – this is done to ensure that the user has a backup power source just in case.