Survival Gear Review: Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_overall_viewMany folks these days are not interested in single-function devices whether a watch that just tells time, a phone that just makes calls, or a flashlight that just, well, flashes light. So enter Celestron, a company known for telescopes and innovation. Celestron is now exploring the market of creative tools that improve your chances of survival. Or at least make the situation more convenient and comfortable.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Karambit Knife

The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a newer offering that combines a 300 lumen rechargeable flashlight with a pair of 5000 milliamp-hour (totaling 10,000 mAh) USB outputs of external backup power for phones, tablets, and cameras, combined with an electric hand warmer that pumps out enough micro-BTUs to take the edge off cold fingers when it matters most.

A Pound of Light

This set of valuable features does come at a cost. Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 weighs in at 17 ounces (486 grams). That’s a handful, about the same as a fully loaded Glock 42. But given that there is a pair of USB outputs (a one amp and a two amp) this light is more than meets the eye.

Related: Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_Charging_iPhone_USB_PortsThe input jack to charge up this beast requires a standard mini-USB port, not the ubiquitous micro-USB that powers almost all non-Apple cell phones and other portable electronic devices on earth. I’m not sure what’s behind the continued use of the mini-USB since I don’t see any real advantages over the micro-USB that is the global industry standard for cell phones, and properly known as the Common External Power Supply or Common EPS.

Remember This

The operation of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, or its smaller brother, the Thermotorch 5, is pretty simple but must be memorized. The single large button on the upper side toggles through the low-medium-high flashlight settings. If depressed and held for three seconds, the hand warming capabilities are initiated. Another three seconds of constant button-down and the feature is turned off. It does take minutes before you will notice much of a temperature change in the flashlight’s shaft, and five minutes later you will be enjoying this feature.

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_charging_iPhoneCelestron calculates that you can charge your iPhone four times, your iPad once, and GoPro or music player about seven times. The dual 10000mAh (combined) battery power can also be routed to 48 hours of 60 lumen light (low), 30 hours of 100 lumen light (medium), and eight hours of 300 lumen light (high). However, to the human eye, there is not a dramatic difference between 100 and 300 lumens, and between 100 and 60 lumens. So for most use, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 will be used at it’s highest or lowest flashlight setting. As a big fan of Surefire’s decision of a five lumen minimum, I think that amount is a useful low end cutoff when you really do need low light or a wildly long runtime.

An added feature under the tailcap of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a four-LED battery level indicator that shows how much juice is left, or how far along the recharging is progressing. The LED indicator is activated with a push of the flashlight button and they stay lit for about 10 seconds.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can also give you up to 10 hours of hand warmer heat between 103-114 degrees F. Or, if doing a little cold weather nighttime E&E, you can get about six hours of 60 lumen light while the handwarmer is chugging away. The handwarmer feature is a welcome addition to cold night use with bare hands. But I found that if it’s cold enough to need a hand warmer, it’s cold enough to use gloves. However, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can warm up other things besides hands including batteries, electronics, and gloves and mittens. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does not blast out heat but it does take the sting out of your cold hands. Right now it’s about 2 degrees above zero F outside, and I suspect that using the handwarmer might actually improve internal battery life, or at least maintain it at a higher output. Just a guess, but why not test it?

Pushing the Limits

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_voltmeterSetting the flashlight outside, I let it cool off to about 8 degrees F as measured by my infrared noncontact temperature sensor. I plugged in my USB tester that measures voltage. When cold, the USB voltmeter recorded about 4.90 volts. After 20 minutes of the handwarmer function turned on with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 sitting in the almost-zero outdoors, it warmed itself up to about 60 degrees F. The USB voltage output was measured at a maximum of 5.02 volts. I learned three things. First, the handwarmer function will not work at the same time as the USB charging ports. Second, the ambient temperature plays a big role in how warm the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get. And third, the heavy aluminum Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get dangerously cold to the touch and requires either gloves or use of the hand warmer for any sustained bare hand holding. Smaller lights like the Surefire are also cold when left outside, but have a much lower overall density and thus smaller heat capacity allowing their smaller profile to warm up in the hand much faster. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is like holding a billet of aluminium which in a defensive situation could be a good thing. In fact it is reminiscent of the 2-D Maglite flashlight/club/boat anchor.

Read Also: Milwaukee Work Lights

I don’t see backpacking with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10. But not because of it’s weight or size. But because I like to travel in the wilds with a supply of batteries. Unless I also carried a solar panel charger with mini-USB cable and some sunny weather, I would get one use from the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, although that is really three uses in one.

Where the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does shine is car travel, off roading, and base camping. Having a rock-solid light/charger/hand warmer is a good thing if you don’t have to carry it far even though it does ship with a nice belt holster with velcro closure.  Considering the Celestron’s long-life light and external battery pack, this flashlight will always be on my shortlist of electronics when heading out on a domestic adventure or for camping near my truck.

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6 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10”

  1. Thanks for the write up
    All R&D ends up eventually giving us some nifty inventions the only problem is battery technology but that has come a long way from when I was a kid and will go further still I see the only real restraint is profit margins for the battery companies but in time I aslo see power and amp draw reduced like in LEDs will force change. I personally think all batteries should be rechargeable I use Panasonic Enloop AA & AAA with battery adapters to make AA into C or D size downside is they must be recharged more often as they do not have the capacity as their counterparts.

    We started with the model T now look — total garbage that won't start if the gas cap is loose one day when it looses up link a rock and your antenna breaks and it will crash and kill you or you could be taken out by your airbag but we have to sacrifice LMAO I just hope it's the other guy.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the read.

      Batteries are in their renaissance right now. Just like the lightbulb and corresponding Edison socket, standards and traditions and especially public buying habits trends drive or stifle innovation. I prefer AA and CR123 batteries as my favorites. The only things I own that takes a C or D battery are civil defense Geiger counters and a wall clock. I have been hoping that the cellphone revolution would have spurred a faster change in consumer battery power. But as we've seen with cell phones and digital cameras, there are too many egos in the kitchen and a single functional standard really does take an act of God…or a terrorist attack.

      Enloop does really rock. For traditional battery sizes that is. And looking forward to taking some Enloop Pros for a spin. But the 18650s really need to be tried to be believed. Eighteen-six-fiftys are a whole different world compared to a pair of AAs. Maybe a whole different universe.

      While the Model T was a case study in simplicity and quality mass manufacturing, it was also a death trap with it's vertical plate glass windshield, spoked wheels, and absolutely zero onboard safety features that are still killing people today.
      http://jalopnik.com/one-dead-three-injured-in-for

      Have a fender bender and you were blind with a face full of glass. And starting it when cold? Think again. Best to light a fire under the engine to warm it up. Old cars are fun but a quality current model is pretty impressive. The new cheap ones, however, are just breakdowns waiting to happen.

      But even a Model T cannot fix other's SUV-stupid.
      http://www.dailylocal.com/article/DL/20150520/NEW

      Reply
  2. First off, I really like multi-use devices, but! The only use I would have for this 'multi-tool' is as a flashlight since I don't carry any electronics into the woods except for a small EDC flashlight (3.6oz), a head lamp ( 2.2oz, back-up and hands-free), and for longer trips a small wind-up radio (with built-in flashlight), all of which use AA batteries, plus 4 spare AA (in a pill bottle). I don't think the hand-warming function would be very useful both for the relative lack of heat and the apparent single-hand-at-a-time usage, or in other words one cold hand and one semi-warm hand, no thanks! Two features that would IMHO improve this multi-tool would be a wind-up charging feature and a fire-starting one. Still, at $80, I don't think so! GLAHP!

    Reply
  3. It looks like a nice combination of great features, and it's probably a great setup for the car or truck, where you might get stuck in a snowstorm and need to charge your cellphone to call for help while still requiring illumination and toasty phalanges.

    I think for the survivalists amongst us, the Hybridlight is probably a better bet – is has a solar panel, charges devices, and it uses a Micro-USB port. 😉 https://survivalcache.com/survival-gear-review-hyb

    Reply
    • Well Drew, you might be right the HybridLight is a better choice, but as you pointed out in your review, the HybridLight should not be used as a hammer. Under survival conditions I would have no hesitation using the thermotorch as a hammer. Plus I bet the thermotorch is more likely to deflect or stop a bullet.

      On the serious side, the Celestron does have more than four times the battery with 10k mAh. Plus I think it is a pretty flashlight and looks quite nice sitting on a shelf just waiting for some action.

      Reply

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