The preparation involved in heading out to a campsite can be chaotic at times, as there’s no way to procure any forgotten items once there. Whilst the basic, larger items such as tents and first aid kits are less likely to be forgotten, the smaller but just as essential items might be overlooked in the flurry. For an overnight trip, it is important to remember to take camping torches and flashlights, and any accessories that come with it.
Once the sun goes down, it can be difficult to find your way around the campsite, especially during trips to the bathroom. eBay hosts a range of camping torches and flashlights, including accessories for both. This guide will take a quick look at camping torches and flashlights and the various accessories that can be bought on eBay for a delightful camping trip.
What Are Camping Torches and Flashlights?
Camping torches are distinct from camping lanterns. Although both can be used for illumination of the camping area, as well as being portable for trips to the bathroom, other tents, the water cooler or to the car. Whilst camping lanterns, like torches, are portable lighting devices, they are used to illuminate broader areas, so are larger and consequently heavier.
They are powered using a liquid fuel, like butane, and can be refuelled, battery powered or rechargeable. Camping torches, on the other hand, are usually solely battery or solar powered. Camping torches and camping flashlights are synonymous on the UK eBay site – with the main difference being that ‘torch’ is the British English term for the American English ‘flashlight’ – thus they will be discussed together and synonymously in this guide.
A typical torch or flashlight consists of a light source mounted on a reflector both of which is protected by a lens, and includes a battery, and a switch for turning the light on and off:
The light source is either a small incandescent light bulb (where light is produced by passing an electric current through a filament wire, heating it to the point where it glows) or a light-emitting diode (LED – where electrons release energy in the form of protons when electricity is passed through it, causing an effect called ‘electroluminescence’).
Battery and Other Power Sources
The most common way of powering a flashlight is by a battery. Disposable, primary batteries, such as button cells, carbon-zinc, alkaline and lithium, can be used, whilst rechargeable battery types include lead acid, NiMH, NiCd and lithium ion batteries.
The type of batteries used as a power source for flashlights usually determines the size, weight, run-time and shape of the flashlight itself. Common battery types are easier to replace and rechargeable batteries tend to be more long lasting after the initial purchase due to its renewability.
Two factors to look out for when choosing batteries for camping torches is their ability to be stored for long periods of time with minimal risk of leakage (for disposable batteries) and the amount of charge a battery holds whilst in storage (for rechargeable batteries), as camping is usually an occasional event, with the usage of torches tending to be even more infrequent.
Disposable batteries that have a long storage life are useful for emergencies, with lithium batteries being better when at a lower temperature, as they have a lower internal resistance than zinc batteries. This makes them better at higher altitudes and in flashlights that drain power quickly. Rechargeable batteries are better for everyday use, with some torches allowing charging without removing the batteries from the torch itself, and some having indicators about how much charge the battery has left, or whether it has become fully charged.
Some torches and flashlights are solar powered, and use one or several solar cells to derive energy from the sun to charge the battery for later use. It is usually a lithium ion battery and can be recharged as necessary.
Some flashlights use a super-capacitor to store energy, which can be charged faster and many times without loss of capacity compared to normal rechargeable batteries; however, they are much larger than normal batteries and make for bigger flashlights.
Materials and Shape
Modern torches and flashlights are made from plastics such as polystyrene and polyethylene, or aluminium in plain, plated, anodised or alloy form. Other metals include copper, stainless steel, polycarbonate and titanium often polished decoratively, as well as zinc and magnesium alloys that help provide strength and heat dissipation.
They are typically tubular in shape, with some having extra grips added or being moulded to fit more comfortably in the hand, and some with patterns and designs unique to manufacturers and brands. They can be of varying lengths, from pocket sized ranging from between 5-15 cm long to baton-like at around 30-35 cm long.
Types of Camping Torches and Flashlights
The following is a list of the several types and variations of camping torches and flashlights available on eBay. It should be noted that the features are not mutually exclusive, and that a combination of features can be found in one torch or flashlight:
- LEDs / Incandescent bulbs: torches illuminate light either from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or incandescent light bulbs. LEDs are usually significantly smaller than normal light bulbs and are often placed several to one flashlight in a circular pattern. Whilst light bulbs emit a yellow light, LEDs can come in a variety of colours, including red, blue and a piercing white.
- Head Torch: small, lightweight and powerful, these torches are mounted on the head via a strap, so that the hands are free for cooking and other camping activities. Many Head torches are water-resistant to a specified amount, and can last over 100 hours on one charge.
- Wind Up Dynamo Torch: eco-friendly torches which do not have a battery. Instead, hand pumping or winding up the dynamo will charge the torch. Once a wind up dynamo torch is fully charged, it can last from 30 minutes to two hours in some models, and can be wound up more when necessary.
- Solar Powered Torches: as mentioned before, solar powered torches derive energy from the sun to charge its solar cells, which power the light bulbs. Solar powered torches usually have LED lights that have a lower energy consumption, and thus last longer with one charge than incandescent light bulbs. The solar cells used for charging have an indefinite life expectancy and can be used for a long time, giving several hours of light with each charge.
- Lightweight Torches: most torches and flashlights are lightweight, as it is more convenient for long-term use, especially for long walks or hiking. Some flashlights and torches can be considerably heavy and able to be used only in emergencies or for short bursts of time, but they can be brighter or last longer.
- Waterproof/ Weatherproof: water resistant rubber casings and coatings are common to make the body of torches and flashlights waterproof and weatherproof. Unlike diving torches, however, they are not entirely impermeable by water, wind and the cold, so ought not be used for long periods of time under heavy rain, and should be dried after use.
- Impact Resistant: most torches are impact resistant, allowing it to be dropped multiple times without breaking the lens or the casing. There are highly durable models that have high impact resistance, and are good for hiking and mountain climbing, whilst low impact resistant torches need to be handled with more care.
- Adjustable focussing/dimming control: for most LED torches, the LED can be focused to variations such as 1x Flood and 4x Spot, which is particularly useful with head torches to control the distance that can be seen– adjustments can be from seeing a few metres in front of the wearer while appearing right underneath their head for close-up work, like cooking. Dimming controls enable the wearer to change the brightness of the torch, which can in turn save battery life.
- Tactical Switch:tactical switches can be easily switched off using the thumb, with the On/Off switch being placed at the end of the torch. With other torches, the switch is usually in the on the body of the torch, and requires a bit more effort to turn off.
- Ultraviolet LEDs:UV lights are used to detect stains, paper currency and other objects invisible to conventional light. Although it is not particularly useful during camping, some camping flashlights and torches will have a built-in UV light functionality.
- Lantern Torches:lantern torch can be used as a handheld torch, but double as a lantern, often with a hanging handle. In most models, the lantern portion of the torch can be screwed on and off, and is usually positioned at the top of the torch where the light bulb normally would be.
- Brightness: the brightness of torches should generally range from 80-150 Lumens, which is ideal for everyday use and is extremely bright.
Some torches and flashlights are made specifically for outdoor use and therefore are ideal for camping. Always ensuring spare dry batteries are packed and easily reachable will ensure the torch can be used whenever it needs to be. Some also come with a flashing function that may flash S.O.S. or emit a red light, both of which are useful in an emergency.
What Are Camping Torch and Flashlight Accessories?
It is useful to buy accessories for your camping torch and flashlight to enhance and assist any torch-related occasions during camping. Some accessories that may be available are listed below:
- Handles: many torches come with a handle, usually made from a stretchy but firm fabric. It fits around the wrist or around the neck for easy transport, whilst enabling the wearer to do other tasks as the torch hangs loose. Some are detachable, whilst others are in-built handles.
- Charging adaptor: some torches have a charging port that can be used to plug in and charge phones if needed. These torches are often self-charging, using solar power.
- Coloured Lenses and Filters: when placed over the end of the torch, they can increase visibility. Red filters can be used to help preserve night vision after the torch is turned off, and can be useful to observe animals in the night. They can also be used to signal for help if needed.
- Hook: some torches have a built-in hook, usually made from the same material as the body of the torch itself. It can be used to hang up the torch either while it is still on to prevent having to carry it, or while it is off as a storage option.
- Pouch:pouches are useful for carrying your head torch while not in use, it can be attached to a belt loop, or bag handle, has space for spare batteries and other small items, and has a hard outer shell for optimum protection from scratches and impact.
- Holsters: useful for carrying the torch while not in use, it can be securely clipped to a variety of belts, is usually weather resistant, with a heavy-duty stitching to ensure maximum durability. Most holsters are specific to certain torches, so check measurements before buying to ensure the torch fits comfortably.
How to Buy Camping Torch and Flashlight Accessories on eBay
Finding the perfect camping gear on eBay is easy with these simple steps:
- If you have a particular brand or product in mind, simply type it into the search bar at the top of the screen as much details as possible. For example, search by manufacturer name and add the term ‘torch’ or ‘flashlight’ for a specific search.
- Shop by category by using the search bar at the top of the screen. Look for Sporting Goods, then select Camping, then pick Lights, Lanterns & Torches from the sub-categories. Searches for camping torch and flashlight accessories can be made from here, or type in the specific product in the search bar, which will now only search listings under the Lights, Lanterns & Torches sub-category.
- Go to Flashlights & Torches for a more refined search, and choose from the following sub-categories: ‘Torch Type’, ‘Features’, ‘Brand’, ‘Battery Type’, ‘Number of Batteries’, ‘Material’, ‘Number of LEDs’, ‘Condition’, ‘Price’, ‘Format’ and ‘Item Location’. Each selection will narrow down the results, making it easier to find specific items and accessories.
- Once the desired item has been found, choose from the two buying options available: ‘Buy It Now’ or bid at ‘Auction’. Paying with PayPal is the safest and most secure way to ensure a protected payment.
It can be frustrating at the end of a camping day to realise the camp fire is the only source of light available, having forgotten the small but essential items: the camping torch and flashlight.
From pocket-sized torches that fit at the end of a key ring to large torches that barely fit inside a pocket, having a portable light with you on an overnight camping trip can be an essential tool for getting around the camp site and being able to see what you’re doing inside a tent. eBay’s easy to navigate website and extensive collection of camping torches and flashlights can ensure that your camping trip can be enjoyed, from the start of the day until late into the night.