Hiking gear tips: Guide to buying a torch for trekking

Jul 28, 2022 BY AWE365 Team

If there’s one piece of trekking equipment you’ll really kick yourself for not packing, it’s your torch. One of the best hiking gear tips I was given is to always carry a torch. So read this guide to buying a torch for trekking to ensure you get the right bit of kit that won’t let you down.

Guide to buying a torch for trekking roayly free image by cristofer maximilian on unsplash from Lake Tahoe USA

At home you can guarantee light. But not when you are halfway up a sodden mountain path, with just a compass bearing to navigate off! Even if you’ve planned to base yourself in accommodation and return each night, you should always, always pack a torch.

And you should never rely on the torch from your smartphone as this will quickly drain the phone battery. So no more photos, GPS navigation or emergency calls. Also if you are camping your smartphone is entertainment. Whether you browse social media, do online gambling at oddschecker or watch movies on Netflix a phone that is out of juice will not do.

Hiking gear tips

So if you are going on a trekking holiday, or even a day hike you should pack a dedicated torch in case your route take longer than expected. Remember, in addition to lighting your way should you not make it back before dark a torch also provides an essential safety function to help you be found.

Also don’t forget that a camping torch – one that is used primarily in the campsite – is different. For camping you don’t need top specifications. So if you take just one light source on a multi day trek in Canada, you’ll need to be more demanding.

Hiking gear tips buy a torch Royaly free image by jason strull on unsplash in Yosemite USA

The more challenging and longer trails you will be hiking the more important a torch is. You never know when you’ll get lost, slow down due to injury or a difficult path or be delayed. As dusk passes into night you’ll be grateful you read these hiking gear tips and packed a torch!

Guide to buying a torch for trekking

When buying a torch for trekking don’t be distracted by functions and frills that you might never need. Here are five tips to purchase the right torch for hiking.


To work your torch needs power and you don’t want it to run out five miles from home. On longer trekking holidays you’ll need to provide enough power for multiple days, and if camping  you’ll need light at night too.

It’s no use having an all-singing, all-dancing beam machine which runs on four obscure batteries that you can’t replace because you’re trekking in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Have a long look at each model. Try to find information on settings and how each affects battery life.

Hiking gear tips - torch,trekking by alessandro skocir on unsplash


Do you want to see or be seen? Ideally, a bit of both. An emergency torch may be nothing more than a simple flashing LED. Whereas a top-end model can push out 200+lumens and throw a pinpoint beam for 100m.

In most cases you’ll get both: your torch will be used to give you light to walk (or camp) with. But also provide light by which you can be seen which is very important if you end up walking down a road at night or you get stranded and need help.


A torch set on constant beam can give you perhaps 10 hours of continuous light, whereas on a lesser mode it can supply reduced light but for much longer. It’s just a trade between power and brightness.

To do this many of the latest LED torches shut down some of their LEDs, cutting power output. Clever. Flashing modes are great to help you be seen. And adjustable ‘flood-to-spot’ settings help you focus the torchlight or produce a wider spread of light which is great in a tent.

Wild camping gear tips: 10 items you'll forget to take camping Flickr creative commons image byamalakar


Can you use it with one hand? Or hands free as a headtorch or clipped to your rucksack? Do you have to turn it around to change the function setting? Will it stand on its end, or hook to the inside of your tent to give you torch candlelight?

There are some very clever models on the market, with equally clever price tags. It doesn’t mean they will do what you want. A torch is a tool, just like a penknife or multitool you have to be able to work with it.


As hiking gear tips go this is all about the role and what you need it for. Now, you’d think you need to spend lots to get a strong, rugged torch. But will you be in extremely low temperatures, wading across rivers or regularly trekking at night? Probably not! There are some excellent rubberised torches designed for the house that will work equally well in the field.

If you are happy to spend big money it will buy you aircraft-grade aluminium and help you find your keys at the bottom of the Amazon. But you could be wasting your cash.

Guide to buying a torch for trekkings by halaka gamage om unsplash ay Knuckles Sri Lanka

For this guide to buying a torch for trekking we would recommend you go for a basic level of ruggedness. Look for battery compartments that have rubber ring seals. Play with the head of the torch to see how it moves. And check to see if the glass element is reinforced.

Buy a torch for hiking: Conclusion

In many ways the most functional torch for trekking is a headlamp. Hands free means you can still use trekking poles, or hold your map and compass. So if all of the above is covered by a head torch don’t feel you need buy anything else.

These days you get good power and great battery life from LED headlamps. Personally I’d always pack a very small Decathlon headtorch (costs just £4.99) as a back up to my main torch. But then I know many people who only take a headlamp particularly if they are not camping and never intend to hike after dark.

We hope you found these hiking gear tips useful. Is there any advice you think we should add to this guide to buying a torch for trekking? Then let us know in the comments below. Check out our winter walking clothing tips to ensure you are set up for hitting the trail during colder weather.


Camping, Hiking, Trekking, Walking
Headlamp, Lighting, Torch

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