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Nights can be dark when you’re away from it all… really dark. It might be a pleasant contrast with our light-polluted population centres, but virtual blackness makes major challenges out of things like cooking and finding the tent pegs. Not to mention finding your way off a mountain at the end of a long day. But with a reliable and effective source of lighting benightment is less of a drama whether it’s planned or not.

There’s barely an aspect of outdoor sport that hasn’t massively improved over the last few decades and lighting equipment is no exception. Lightweight materials and efficient design combined with LED technology and improved battery life mean that a tiny package can throw a beam like a spotlight or light up your surroundings like a floodlight at the press of a button.


For sheer practicality, a headtorch beats all comers – generally lightweight, compact and robust, a headtorch keeps your hands free while conveniently illuminating whatever you happen to be doing. They’re available in a myriad options from basic (ie, two LEDS and an on/off switch) to highly specialised for fast travel and technical challenges at night. There are even reactive models that adjust the beam automatically to suit what you’re looking at. In short, you shouldn’t be outdoors without one.


Though a headtorch will cover the majority of situations, if you have the room in your pack and weight budget a lantern can be a really handy addition to a dark evening in camp. Hung up or standing on a surface, they provide a diffuse ambient light that doesn’t move and stops everyone dazzling each other every time they look round.


On, or rather in, the other hand, a traditional torch can be useful as well as extremely powerful. The clean shape is easy to pack or store and more space for batteries means more light in the darkness. Particularly when superbright and CREE LEDs are involved.


Of course, whatever lighting you carry is only as reliable as the battery life. Even working batteries at the end of their life will bring down the distance you can see unless your headtorch is regulated. Spare batteries and/or the means of juicing up rechargeables is a must. For all these things and more, visit the sections above. Get the right light for your needs and make sure sundown doesn’t equal nightmare.