Rugged, Waterproof And Bright – The Bear Grylls Survival Torch
For under £20 there’s a huge range of torches in all different shapes, sizes, weights and features. Some are poorly made, others aren’t very bright – then there are the ones that don’t last too long or require super-heavy batteries. What if there was a torch that combined good build quality with a long performance time and a solid beam? Now there’s an answer – The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Torch. And that’s not all it has to offer.
Like every other product in the Gerber Bear Grylls line-up, the Survival Torch has an easy-to-see orange and grey colour scheme. Either end is actually a burnt-orange colour – rather than the bright orange across the rest of the range – beautifully made from anodised aluminium. The main bulk of the torch is made from a thick, over-moulded, grooved rubber which provides a very grippy and durable exterior – even when wet.
The torch is just shy of 6 inches long, and weighs 113 grams so it’s fairly compact and yet somehow feels quite substantial. Curiously, Gerber haven’t made the BG logo bright orange on the Survival Torch and instead it’s grooved into the rubber in the same colour. This should please the people who want products in the Bear Grylls range, but don’t want the large, brightly coloured BG logo slap bang in the middle. The Survival torch is actually a very classy product, with a functional handle offset by gorgeous cross-hatched aluminium ends. There’s nothing that feels cheap; and that’s a good thing.
The torch turns on with an excellent-quality-feeling clockwise twist of the bulb cap, at which point 24 lumens are shone brightly from the single LED bulb in the end. The torch illuminated anything up to 50ft in front of me which I was pleasantly surprised by. Powered by the included single AA battery, I still managed just over 24 hours of usage before the light finally died. The brightness over that period didn’t remain as it was under fresh power, but I found the life from just a tiny AA battery to be quite impressive. Unfortunately, the bulb itself is firmly housed inside the cap, with no way to remove it. If that breaks at any point, the torch is kaput. Inside the cap is a rubber seal that keeps it completely waterproof. While I wouldn’t recommend going scuba diving with it, the unit is well sealed enough to be used under-water or in a torrential downpour which means you won’t need to worry about the important bits being destroyed.
On the other end is the butt-cap, which is fairly reminiscent of a pommel on the end of a knife. There’s a hole for a lanyard, which is pretty customary with the Bear Grylls range. On either edge of the butt-cap is the same fire-label seen on the Ultimate Pro Survival Knife. Unscrewing the cap past another waterproof rubber seal reveals a cavernous storage compartment stuffed with fire-starting goodies. Inside this 6cm deep, 1.5cm diameter compartment are two waterproof bags containing five waterproof matches, a striker-board and a ball of cotton-wool for easy lighting. There’s also enough space inside the butt-cap itself for another piece of cotton wool. Alternatively, the compartment has enough room for a spare AA battery, which means you’ll effectively have a solid 48 hours of usage before being without light.
The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Torch isn’t designed to shine as far as a big Maglite and that’s evident from the size of both the product and the batteries powering it. But for the form-factor and the fact it’s powered by such a tiny power source means I came away being pretty impressed by it and at around £16 retail price, who can complain? The additional useful features such as waterproofness and space for storage are two important features that cater towards the ‘survival’ badge along with its durable design.
It’s now joined in the range by the more expensive Bear Grylls Intense Torch, which comes with various signalling modes, a tri-sided design to prevent rolling and a price tag over three times that of the Survival Torch I’ve just reviewed.
If you’re after a long lasting, durable, waterproof torch that has space for a few extra goodies for use around the house, camping or back-packing then this is definitely for you.