Camping in the beautiful outdoors is a popular pastime around the world. Along with tents and sleeping bags, torches are a vital part of any complete camping kit, available in a variety of shapes, bulbs, power sources and strengths.
This guide will help buyers not only understand the various ways they can choose a camping torch, but also the things that must be considered before looking to purchase on eBay, the site with the widest market online.
Camping Torch Types
There are several different types of camping torch available, suited to different types of camper, as well as camping trip. The main types of camping torch are:
Flashlights are the most basic kind of camping torch, available in a range of power sources, sizes and strengths. Flashlights are handheld torches, and are now usually powered by LED lights, though many flashlights are still made for incandescent bulbs.
Hanging lights are double-sided torches that can be hung from the ceiling of a tent by a hook provided. Hanging lights are usually made with LED lights, though some bulb-lit hanging torches are also available.
Lanterns are quite similar to hanging light torches; however, these are shaped much more like traditional lanterns and can be hung from the ceiling or placed on the floor, with their rounded clear glass centre providing a wide circle of light, which may be ideal for lighting the middle of a tent or campsite.
This kind of torch can be strapped to the head of the user, allowing them to use their hands freely without having to hold the torch. Headlamps can be ideal for doing complex tasks in low light, such as mounting tents.
Torch Power Source
The power source is an important thing to consider, and the best choice is reliant on what would suit the buyer and their camping trip best. The main power sources available are:
Battery-powered torches are generally powered by A/AA batteries that are slotted into the handle of the torch.
Batteries are easy to replace when necessary.
Battery-powered torches give off a steady light right up until the batteries begin to die.
Batteries can be costly to replace, especially if the torch is used frequently, or on almost permanently – which may be the case with hanging or lantern lights used to illuminate tents.
The battery pack in the handle can make the torch quite unbalanced and heavy to use.
These torches are powered by a windup handle, which is used to power an internal dynamo in the torch.
These torches can be recharged by hand without needing to replace any batteries or find a power outlet.
Most windup torches can be wound up and powered in advance, so the torch can be instantly switched on and used.
Before first use, the torch must be wound up – and periodically re-wound after that.
Dynamo-powered torches often do not give off as strong a light as other power sources, and may need to wound up a great deal to improve the strength of the light.
Rechargeable torches contain a rechargeable battery pack that can be charged by plugging the battery pack into a power outlet.
Rechargeable torches have a battery power source to give them a very strong light, unlike the other rechargeable method of a dynamo.
Having a battery pack that can be recharged saves the buyer the cost of purchasing replacement batteries.
The rechargeable battery pack requires a nearby power outlet, which may be a problem if the user is camping far away from civilisation, or if they do not have a car to use as a power source.
Rechargeable torches tend to have a higher initial cost than other torches due to the extra equipment necessary.
The perfect torch for a buyer depends entirely on where they would be camping, as well as personal preference. If the user will be staying at a campsite or camping with a car then the rechargeable charger may be an ideal choice due the close location of an outlet, but if the user will be camping in the wilderness then a battery or dynamo powered torch might be better option.
Torch Light Bulbs
As there are different ways of powering torches, there are also different ways of providing illumination. The bulbs used in camping torches differ greatly in terms of power consumption, strength and cost. The two types of light used for camping torches are:
Standing for Light Emitting Diode, these are the small bulbs most familiar to us as flashing Christmas decorations. LED torches are the most common kind of the light the buyer is likely to encounter when looking at new camping torches, especially within the EU, where incandescent bulbs are being phased out of use.
LEDs are much less costly than incandescent bulbs when buying a replacement bulb, as LEDs can also last up to 60 times longer than the more traditional bulbs.
LEDs convert energy into light much more efficiently than incandescent bulbs, meaning less energy is wasted on heat.
Less power is required to light the LEDs, meaning that torch batteries last longer.
LEDs do not tend produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs, meaning that generally torches feature a circle of LEDs rather than just one.
LED bulbs are, at the moment, slightly more costly than incandescent bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs are the bulbs that most of us will still have at least of a few of in our houses, powered by elements such as halogen and krypton. Though these are being phased out in many areas, many torches both old and new still use incandescent bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs produce a very bright, clear light.
One bulb is bright enough to produce enough light for a torch, unlike LED bulbs.
As anyone who has touched a lit bulb knows that incandescent bulbs quickly grow very hot. A great deal of the energy used by these bulbs is spent on heat, not light.
Incandescent bulbs consume a great deal of energy, necessitating frequent replacements if battery-powered.
The production process for these bulbs also involves toxic chemicals, such as mercury, which is environmentally friendly.
When looking at camping torches, the buyer may notice numbers listed beside each torch brand and name such as 1600lm or 1200lm. ‘Lm’ stands for lumens, or the light output of the bulb. EU legislation requires that any torch must have the lumens of the torch listed alongside or even instead of the voltage of the power source.
Things to Consider
Alongside the basic factors such as power source, bulbs and lumen strength, there are other factors for the buyer to consider whilst looking to purchase a camping torch, such as:
- Weight – the weights of camping torches can vary considerably from the quite lightweight Mag-Lite torches through to the very heavy spot light torches. If weight is an important factor – for example, if the user needs to be able to carry it long distances – then consideration should be given to the weight of the torch.
- Need – the torch required will change depending on the need of the user. If they just need a small light to read or see with, an overhead light for a tent, or a hands-free light is recommended. The torch chosen should be selected by the needs of the buyer first in mind.
- Suitability – if buying a torch for use on a camping trip, the conditions will be important. If going on a sporting or self-sustaining trip, for example, it is important that torches be not only resistant to any damage, but be watertight and have a decent brightness.
Buying Camping Torches on eBay
Now that the buyer has a sense of the range of camping torches available to them, they must begin to search for the ideal item online. When searching for camping torches on eBay, the buyer should keep in mind:
- Price – the price is often the most important factor to consider whilst shopping, and there are many camping torches available at a variety of prices. The buyer can use the search preferences to adjust search results to match their budget, and there are items available for both an Auction and Buy It Now purchase.
- Power Source – there are different power sources available for camping torches, but the buyer should keep in mind that prices will change depending on the power source chosen and use the search bar to select their preferred torch.
- Light – the buyer can use the search preferences as well as the search bar to select the type of camping torch bulb they would prefer, if they have a preference.
- Local Seller – purchasing camping torches from local sellers is an ideal way to keep shipping prices down. If the buyer requires any further guidance, they should make sure to consult eBay’s Search Tips page for more advice on how to achieve the perfect search result. If they have any questions about any of the items they see listed, they should not hesitate to ask the seller.
Torches, from flashlights to spotlights, are a vital part of any camping trip, whether using one to read under the covers, or put the final tent peg in, late at night. With this guide buyers will be able to not only identify the perfect camping torch for them in terms of type, bulb and power, but also keep in mind the various factors that will affect their choice.