Is there anything more important than being able to see in the dark when you are out camping? Whether it is for an emergency or simply to light your way to the toilet safely, a camping flashlight is potentially one of the most essential pieces of camping equipment out there.
Unfortunately, due to the high demand for these lights, there are some manufacturers who make them very cheaply. This means that you might not always have a reliable piece of equipment which is why you need to scrutinise each product carefully. But who’s got time for that? You likely want to choose a flashlight and get on with your camping trip.
If that’s the case, we have got your covered because we have done the hard work for you and put together a list of the best camping flashlights on the market in 2021.
Latest Update April 2021
Do You Need A Camping Flashlight?
Before you rush off to buy one of the incredible products we have sourced, take a few moments to think about whether you need a flashlight. A lot of people instantly assume that they require a flashlight when in truth, they would be better served with a lantern (We love the soft light from these candle-powered camping lanterns) These lights provide a great option if you are looking for something to illuminate your camp as a static light.
However, a flashlight will also come in incredibly handy for several things such as heading to the bathroom once the sun goes down or locating items in the tent in the dead of night.
As a general rule, use a camping lantern when performing tasks that require the use of both of your hands but use a flashlight when you are able to hold it without compromising what you are doing. Unless you decide to for a headtorch. Actually, the best headtorch we’ve found is the new Actik Core 450-lumen Petzl. It’s big advantage is that it can be recharged from a USB socket or used with batteries. Very bright, very comfortable.
With that in mind, you may still feel as though it is a flashlight that you are looking for. In which case, check out our top picks below.
The Best Camping Flashlights
One of the problems with online shopping is that a quick Google search yields a plethora of results ranging from high-end equipment to that which leaves a lot to be desired. The main issue is sifting through it all to discover the best products.
We like to think that we know a little about camping and have tried and tested some good, and not so good, flashlights in order to give you a run down of our favourites.
What we really love about this light is that it is so much more than just a flashlight. If you are looking for something multifunctional then this is a great option since it features a 4 in 1 mode that turns this from a flashlight into a camping lantern.
It is fitted with a powerful 1000 lumen, LED light that can be easily adjusted to suit every camping situation. If you are wild camping and need to get a good range then this is ideally suited since it shines between 250 metres and 500 metres depending on the current settings.
The flashlight boasts a 3600mAb rechargeable battery as well as a USB port. If you are out in the middle of nowhere and loose charge on your smartphone, the torch can be used to give it a boost.
In terms of durability, you won’t get much else that compares to this since it is both waterproof, shockproof and dust proof. Made from an incredibly robust plastic with portability in mind, you can feel confident that this flashlight will not let you down, or weigh you down.
For those who like nothing better than camping in a remote location, one of the most essential things is being aware of any incoming hazards such as storms. You simply cannot rely on smart technology for this as quite often, there is not a good enough signal.
However, this flashlight that also features a handy FM/AM radio could be something of a lifesaver.
In terms of power, the flashlight has two options. There is a solar charge which is excellent if you are camping on a bright day and can expose the device to plenty of sunlight. However, if this fails, there is a wind up back up which is essential in emergency situations. But the manufacturer has even gone one further and included a USB port for charging your phone with the wind up device in the case of emergency. This truly is a product that has every eventuality covered.
This is a very powerful light which boasts having 1W additional brightness to regular LED lights making it even more suitable for your outdoor adventures.
If you are looking for something a little more high end and robust then this is a flashlight that is worthy of even the most trying Bear Grylls style adventure. This tactical flashlight is housed in one of the most durable, military-spec Aluminium casings available yet remains as lightweight as possible.
In terms of brightness, 1600 lumens gives you incredible sight in even the darkest conditions making this the perfect light for survival situations as well as every day camping. There are several settings which can be adjusted with a single touch including a strobe setting, high and low light and the tactical setting.
The battery-powered flashlight boasts a smart system that enables you to adjust the power once the battery starts running low. This allows you to get the optimal use out of the flashlight. What’s more, there is an internal temperature regulator that assures the flashlight will never overheat and that the internal parts are never damaged even when the torch receives heavy use.
You are also getting a beam distance of up to 240 metres making this a perfect flashlight for night time hiking and other after dark activities.
With a brightness of up to 8000 lumens, you can feel confident that this is a camping flashlight that will serve you no matter what happens. This is one of the most powerful and bright camping torches but what makes it even better is how affordable it is.
For some torches with this type of power, you could expect to pay a much higher price, but this one certainly won’t break the bank.
Furthermore, the torch gives as many as 10,000 light hours over the course of its lifetime and an impressive 8-hour run time on each charge. The light is emitted up to 800 metres making this ideal for more remote camping locations or when you are in an emergency situation.
If you love going off on wild adventures then you will certainly need something that is durable and robust. It boasts an IPX4 waterproof rating and a hardy casing that is made from a high quality aluminium alloy. This means that the torch is very lightweight on top of being able to handle drops and bumps with ease.
What To Look For When Buying A Camping Flashlight
It would be all too easy to simply choose a flashlight, pack it in your bag and get on with your camping trip but unfortunately, a lot of people do this and quickly come to realise that what they have purchased does not suit their needs.
We have already discussed the importance of deciding whether you need a camping flashlight or whether you would benefit more from using a lantern but there are other things that you will need to consider when making your purchase.
Battery vs Wind Up
It is important to remember that a wind up flashlight does still have a battery but in this case, it is typically a rechargeable one. This is powered by a DC adapter which generates power as you turn the hand crank. Unlike other types of battery power, you do not need to replace the battery once the power has been used up.
However, you may wish to think about which option is better for you. You may purchase rechargeable batteries for a battery-powered torch and use an electric charger. But the downside here is that this is an additional piece of equipment to pack and you must be able to connect to a power source. If you enjoy wild camping, this will not always be possible, in which case, a wind up flashlight might be a better idea.
According to Wikipedia, users should be prepared to wind their flashlights for around two minutes per fifteen minutes of use. This is a good rule of thumb but in truth, this will vary dramatically depending on the individual product.
A battery flashlight is typically better suited to people who will be using the light for longer periods of time whereas a wind up light works well when you only need light for a few seconds or a few minutes at a time.
We’d assume that since you are looking for a flashlight, you’re going to want to use it to see in the dark but unless the light is bright enough, this may be difficult.
In general, flashlight brightness will be measured in lumens and the best way to understand this is that the more lumens the flashlight puts out, the brighter it will be.
However, there may be times when you do not want your torch to emit quite as much light. For example, on a busy campsite in the small hours, heading to the camping toilet with your flashlight at full beam could stand to wake up and annoy fellow campers. Conversely, a very bright light may be useful to use as a distress signal.
One of the best things to look out for when buying a camping flashlight is to check whether there are multiple brightness modes. This will make the device much more multifunctional. However, do be mindful to check how bright the brightest and how dim the dimmest modes are to ensure that they will be fit for purpose.
Does It Have Red Light Mode?
White light can be extremely irritating to the eyes, especially if you are exposed to it for long periods of time. But there is a solution; red light mode. This is a much gentler light that is ideal for flashlights.
If you spend a lot of time using the eyes doing things like reading then this may be even more beneficial to you. What’s more, when you are using the flashlight when everyone else is sleeping, red light will stand a much lesser chance of disturbing them.
That being said, if you cannot find a torch with red light mode, there’s no reason to be too concerned since a low white light can be just as effective.
Does It Have Strobe Mode?
This is not as important if you tend to only camp on an organised site since you will always be in close proximity to other people. However, if you do a lot of wild camping, then it is vital to have some sort of signal to let people know when you are in distress.
Many camping flashlights come with what is known as a strobe mode which causes the torch to flash, signalling that you need help. These flashlights tend to come with strobe mode in either a red light or a white light but we would always suggest going for one with a white strobe mode as this will draw much more attention.
Again, much like red light mode, this isn’t an essential feature but it is worth considering for safety reasons.
How Long Does The Light Last?
Earlier, we touched on using a wind up torch compared to a battery operated one but another important consideration is how long the power will stay on. The last thing you want is to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to illuminate your camp.
Choosing a running time will largely depend on how you intend to use the light. For those who might be taking part in night time hiking or other after dark activities, having a longer running time is crucial. In contrast, if you only intend to use your flashlight to aid you in small tasks around the camp then you won’t need to worry quite as much about this.
All flashlight manufacturers will state the running time on their product listings but this is not always a reliable figure since it is typically exaggerated to the maximum time. That being said, it is still worth looking at to get a general idea of how long your light will remain on for each charge or set of batteries.
Speaking of batteries, you will also need to factor in taking replacements with you and how long the light runs for will give you a good idea of how many extra batteries you should pack. In terms of a wind up light; just make sure you stay on top of winding it.
Something that a lot of people forget to look for when purchasing a camping flashlight is how far the beam of light will travel. Again, your needs will vary hugely depending on how and where you intend on using the light but you will want to look for something that gives a decent amount of coverage.
You will notice that the distance of the beam is typically given in metres and there are some camping flashlights that are so powerful, they can spread their light to up to 500 metres. These torches are typically much better for wild situations where you may spend many hours hiking in the darkness.
However, for camping on an organised campsite, you may not need something quite as long distance.
In addition to looking at the distance of the beam, you should also pay attention to the type of
beam that is emitted. In most cases, this will either be a spot light or a flood light. A flood light will spread a much wider light and is typically better for when you do not need to see over a long distance, perhaps inside the tent or around the campfire. Conversely, your spot beam is better for when you need to see into the distance and is more suited to night time hiking. It is important to choose the right type for your needs.
That being said, there are plenty of modern camping flashlights that come with an adjustable beam making them suitable for use in several different situations.
Size And Weight
Regardless of any other feature of the light, one thing is for certain, you will need to carry the weight of the flashlight on your trip. Now, if you are loading up the car and heading to a campsite where you can park up and pitch where you land; great, the size and weight of your light won’t matter all that much.
But if you are going to need to hike to your location then you are going to want to minimise the weight you need to carry. With so much camping equipment already in your pack, the last thing you need is a bulky torch adding extra, unnecessary weight.
A lot of modern camping flashlights are made from lighter materials when compared to some of the models you would have seen your parents using as a child. However, this is something you should look at when purchasing as there are still those that have a higher weight.
When you are out camping, whether that is in the wilderness or at an organised site, there is a significant chance of things getting broken or damaged; this is just a risk that you have to take when spending time in the great outdoors.
However, by choosing equipment that is built for an outdoor lifestyle, you stand far less chance of things sustaining damage and your flashlight is no different. While these camping accessories are not generally expensive to replace, the cost will quickly rise if you have to keep purchasing new ones.
For this reason, we would always suggest looking at two things; the build quality of the torch and the materials that it is made from. Materials such as aluminium tend to be a lot more robust and provide a greater level of shock proofing compared to materials like plastic. Furthermore, they are much more lightweight.
You should also check whether the flashlight is water-resistant as you never know when the heavens might open or you could drop the torch into a puddle. However, it is important to keep in mind that water-resistance is different to waterproofing but each product should come with a waterproof rating to give you more information on this.
Finally, make sure that the grip is comfortable and gives you a good enough hold on the flashlight that you won’t need to fret too much over how durable it really is.
There are many pieces of equipment that are vital when going camping and one of the most essential is the camping flashlight. However, when you purchase one of these camping accessories, there are certain things you should look out for.
Our top picks of the best camping flashlights gives you an introduction to just some of the excellent products that are currently on the market. Whether you need a dual purpose light, something incredibly durable or a basic light for an organised campsite, we have got you covered.
If you like the sound of a rechargeable camping lantern head over to our article 7 Best Rechargeable Lanterns.