Best Flashlights for Camping: Top 15 Picks to Light Your Way this Season

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Whether you are going camping for the first time or are a seasoned pro, you want to have a good flashlight in your camping gear. With so many different flashlights on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you.

This list of 15 great flashlights for camping will ensure you have a dependable light source in unfamiliar territory at the campground in the darkness.

a lit flashlight on the ground showing one of the best camping flashlights
There are many features to look for when choosing the best flashlights for camping.

Why You Should Have a Good Flashlight for Camping

String lights and lanterns are light sources for setting the mood. They also provide soft campsite lighting for cooking, playing games, or reading after the sun goes down.

But sometimes, you need more direct and intense lighting for activities like walking to the bathhouse in the middle of the night or checking on that critter lurking near the campsite after dark. And not only can they help you see in the dark, but they can also be used as a signal if you get lost or need help.

Flashlights are better for direct light. Unlike lighting around your campsite or in your tent, like a camping lantern, they provide bright light in a small area. 

A handheld flashlight gives more control than a hands-free headlamp.

What to Look for in a Camping Flashlight

Choosing a good camping flashlight is all about the features you need for your lighting. There are a few things to look for when choosing a camping flashlight.

The Power Source

The power source is the number one thing we look at in a camping flashlight. This way, we can be prepared to keep the flashlight working throughout the camping trip.

Rechargeable Flashlights

Rechargeable flashlights mean you don’t need to worry about packing spare batteries in case they die mid-way through your camping trip.

Some are powered by the sun, while others are USB rechargeable. Both types require time and patience for recharging. Solar charging has the extra benefit of no cords or power source to charge, but you’ll need to remember to place it in the sun to recharge.

Battery-Operated Flashlights

Flashlights powered by an alkaline battery mean a quick and easy swap of fresh batteries to get your flashlight running again, but you can’t forget to have extra batteries on hand (and make sure it’s the correct battery type).

The Price

The next thing we look at is price. While we want a dependable light source, there is no need to spend a fortune on the top-of-the-line, best camping flashlights.

Camping doesn’t need to break the bank, so make sure the flashlight fits your budget.

Waterproofness

We also want our camping flashlights to be water-resistant to protect from rain or even snow. For extra protection against the elements or if you frequently camp near water, look for a waterproof flashlight that can withstand submerging in water.

Water resistance, or waterproofness, is indicated by an IP Code (Ingress Protection Code) that measures how well the casing protects against water. The levels range from 0 to 9. Look for codes like IPX4 on the technical specs for camping flashlights to ensure they can withstand being left out in the rain.

Brightness and Beam Distance (or Throw)

Lumens

Flashlights have different levels of brightness or light output, measured by lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. In most cases, a few hundred lumens are sufficient for camping in developed campgrounds. Look for low lumens in flashlights for kids who tend to shine the light in people’s eyes.

Throw

Beam distance is the measure of how far the light reaches. Sometimes referred to as “throw” to describe how far the flashlight throws light. More powerful flashlights shine light further into the distance, and some have an adjustable beam to save power when it’s not needed.

Most flashlights have a beam distance sufficient for family camping, but unlike lumens, manufacturers don’t always provide this information. If a high beam distance is essential, choose one that has this indicated on the flashlight specs.

Lighting Modes and Brightness Settings

Some flashlights simply turn on and off. Others have a wide range of settings to give the right amount or type of light for different situations.

Many flashlights have multiple light settings, so that you can choose the brightness or even type of lighting. Changing to a dimmer setting when you don’t need a bright light helps to save power and ensures you don’t disturb others with your light in the middle of the night

Levels of Brightness

  • high and low beam
  • firefly mode, eco-friendly mode, or another dim setting for when you need very little light

Types of Light Modes

  • a red light mode is used for maintaining night vision, which is particularly useful when stargazing
  • strobe mode is effective in emergency situations
  • turbo mode 
  • focused mode
  • zoom modes to maneuver between a wide flood beam and narrower spot beam

Hours of Runtime or Battery Life

Runtime is the number of hours of light on a single charge. While it’s difficult to know how long you’ve really used the flashlight, the longer the runtime, the better. Look for flashlights with a battery life that will last the full camping weekend.

Weight and Size

When packing all the things for camping, you want to save as much space as possible. And if you’re carrying your gear to your campsite, whether backpacking or having a walk-in campsite at a developed campground, you may also want to minimize weight. 

Materials 

Most flashlights are made from heavy-duty aluminum or plastic (often an impact and heat-resistant ABS material). If you need your flashlight to be able to withstand drops or other impacts, look for those that indicate impact resistance.

Additional Features

Some flashlights come with extra features that can be nice to have:

  • power bank to charge electronic devices
  • safety features like an emergency beacon
  • tail cap switch, or tail switch for powering the flashlight on and off
  • belt clip 
  • lanyards

Type of Flashlights

There are two types of flashlights: tactical and everyday carry (or EDC). Tactical flashlights aren’t necessarily the best flashlights for camping. These military-grade flashlights, used by police, military, and emergency services, are weather- and drop-resistant but often have additional features that are overkill for camping. Otherwise, ECD flashlights make a good camping flashlight.

The 15 Best Flashlights for Camping

1. GearLight LED Flashlight

We think the GearLight LED Flashlight comes pretty close to the perfect camping flashlight. This budget-friendly option (less than $25 for a 2-pack) has military-grade durability (water- and drop-resistant). The no-frills light doesn’t have multiple settings, but the zoom feature widens the beam of light when needed.

Includes holster and lanyard for carrying.

Power source: AAA batteries (included)
Size: 6″L x 1.6″W
Brightness: up to 800 lumens of brightness
Zoom: yes
Light Modes/Brightness Levels: single (on/off)

Pros: zoom mode to widen the beam of light
Cons: no red light


2. Rechargeable Tactical LED Flashlights

A bright flashlight with 5 lighting modes for the right lighting when you need it. This long-lasting flashlight (up to 20 hours on low mode) will get you through the camping weekend on just one charge. 

It comes with 2 flashlights and includes rechargeable batteries, cords, and hand lanyards.

Power source: USB rechargeable battery
Size: 5.6″L x 1.1″W (expands to 6.2″L when in spotlight mode)
Brightness: up to 3500 lumens
Zoom: yes
Light Modes: 5 (high, medium, low, strobe, SOS)

Pros: battery power indicator
Cons: no red light


3. AlpsWolf Rechargeable Flashlight

The largest camping flashlight on our list is a versatile flashlight that also functions as a lantern and spotlight. Simply pivot the handle to set it up in any way you need it. And the IPX5 waterproof rating means you don’t need to worry about leaving it out in the rain. 

This powerful flashlight throws over 1,600 feet.

Power source: USB rechargeable battery
Size: 6.7″L x 3.7″W
Brightness: up to 800 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness: 3 flashlight settings (high, low, flash), 4 lantern settings (high, low, red, red flash)

Pros: can be used as an emergency power bank for your cell phone
Cons: bulkier than a traditional flashlight


4. Eveready LED Flashlight

It’s your basic camping flashlight. This excellent budget flashlight has no special features but is a solid option for new campers or those who want to stash a few backup flashlights for camping.

The low lumens make this one of the best camping flashlights for kids – and last longer than most camping flashlights (up to 60 hours of runtime).

Comes in a 2-pack and includes a hand lanyard for carrying. 

Power source: D batteries (x2)
Size: 9.5″L x 2″W
Brightness: 25 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness Levels: single (on/off)

Pros: a good camping flashlight at an affordable price
Cons: can’t change the brightness level


5. LED Glow in the Dark Flashlight

These glow-in-the-dark flashlights are an excellent choice for the kiddos. The low lumens provide enough light but won’t blind the grown-ups. Plus, they come in a 6-pack, so there are spares when some get lost. These flashlights will last up to 10 hours on 3 AAA batteries (included).

Power source: AAA batteries (x3)
Size: 3.6″L
Brightness: 40 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes: single (on/off)

Pros: glows in the dark and are great for kids
Cons: no light modes or brightness settings


6. Nitecore Tactical Flashlight

The Nitecore MH12S Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight is an ultra-compact but powerful light with a tactical tail switch for quick on/off. The battery gauge makes it easy to see how much light you have left on the charge.

A battery case and tactical holster are included, but the red filter accessory is sold separately. 

Power source: USB-C rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
Size: 5.5″L x 1.1″W
Brightness: up to 1800 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness: 8 (turbo, high, mid, low, ultralow, strobe, beacon, SOS)

Pros: battery charge indicator
Cons: this tactical flashlight is not budget friendly


7. Nite Ize Radiant 3-in-1 Mini Flashlight

Several light modes on the Radiant 3-in-1 make this an all-purpose flashlight no matter what you need it for. It has a red light for stargazing nights and even a lantern function for nighttime reading in the tent.

This impact and weather-resistant light is plenty durable for camping or any outdoor family activity.

Power source: AA batteries (x)
Size: 4.5″L x 1″W
Brightness: up to 80 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness Levels: 2 flashlight brightness settings (high, low), 2 lantern settings (high, low), 3 safety/red light modes (glow, flash, SOS)

Pros: lockout mode prevents battery drain
Cons: no lanyard or belt clip for carrying


8. Fenix TK16 v2.0 Tactical Flashlight

While this one might be overkill for some, Fenix makes very high-quality flashlights that you can count on. The powerful beam has 3,100 lumens and 1,300 feet of throw. The tactical tail switch makes powering this light easy.

Lanyard & holster included.

Power source: USB-C rechargeable battery
Size: 5.6″L x 1.3″W
Brightness: up to 3100 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes: 6 (turbo, high, mid, low, eco, strobe)

Pros:
Cons: not budget-friendly


9. Fenix E12 v2.0 EDC Flashlight

If you don’t need the features of a tactical flashlight, an everyday carry (EDC) will do just fine and make good flashlights for camping. This Fenix flashlight is barely larger than the AA battery that powers the light, and the strong pocket clip on the side ensures you always have it close by.

Battery organizer and lanyard included.

Power source: AA battery (x1)
Size: 3.1″L x 0.8″W
Brightness: up to 160 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness: 3 (high, medium, low)

Pros: the quality of a Fenix flashlight at an affordable price
Cons: no last setting memory, so the light always turns on to the lowest setting


10. Fenix E05R EDC Keychain Flashlight

The third Fenix flashlight on our list also packs a punch. The pocket-sized light emits up to 400 lumens of light at a distance of 200 feet at maximum output, and it conveniently fits on your keychain. It’s also an excellent flashlight to stash in your pack for night hiking.

The highly waterproof flashlight (IPX8) weighs only 0.8 oz. Available in 3 colors.

Power source: USB-C rechargeable battery
Size: 2.6″L x 0.6″W
Brightness: up to 400 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness Levels: 4 (high, medium, low, burst)

Pros: an ultra-compact flashlight
Cons:


11. ThruNite Archer 2A V3

When you need a flashlight with excellent water resistance, the ThruNight Archer is an excellent choice. It’s rated IPX8 waterproof, meaning it can withstand being submerged in up to two meters of water. This small flashlight has plenty of brightness for most campers, making it great for family camping and backpacking.

Comes with a lanyard and pocket clip for easy carrying. Uses AA disposable batteries, so don’t forget to pack extra batteries for your trip.

Power source: AA batteries (x2)
Size: 6.1″L x 0.9″W
Brightness: up to 500 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness Levels: 5 (high, medium, low, firefly, strobe)

Pros: highly waterproof
Cons: no red light setting


12. Otdair LED Solar Power Flashlight

This flashlight also tackles emergency situations with the built-in cutter and strobe light mode. The adjustable focused beam can provide light up to 700 feet.  Comes in a 2 pack, so you can keep one in your camping tote and one in your car. 

Power source: solar power or USB-C rechargeable
Size: 7.9″L x 1.6″W
Brightness: up to 500 lumens
Zoom: yes
Modes/Brightness: 5 (high, medium, low, strobe, SOS)

Pros: can use as an emergency mobile phone charger
Cons: solar can be slow to fully charge (2-3 days)


13. Goal Zero Torch 500 Multi-Use Light

This versatile flashlight functions as a spot light (the flashlight) or a flood light when you need a wider beam of light. The IPX7-rated light has up to 50 hours of runtime on the lowest setting.

Can also be used as a backup battery pack for your phone.

Power source: solar power or USB-C rechargeable
Size: 8.8″L x 2.2″W
Brightness: up to 500 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness Levels: spotlight and floodlight each have 3 brightness settings (high, medium, low)

Pros: doubles as a lantern in a single device
Cons: solar charging can be very slow


14. ACEBEAM Rider RX Rechargeable Pocket EDC Flashlight

This small but mighty pocket EDC is an impressive flashlight. Plenty of brightness with a beam of over 300 feet, but it takes up very little space. It makes a fantastic gift for your favorite backcountry camper!

The side belt clip allows for hands-free use, and the tail switch makes it easy to power on and off.

Power source: rechargeable AA battery (USB-C)
Size: 3.7″L x 0.7″W
Brightness: up to 650 lumens
Zoom: no
Modes/Brightness Levels: 5 (high, medium, low, firefly, strobe)

Pros: remembers last selected setting
Cons: no red light setting


15. High Power Tactical Flashlight

A powerful flashlight at an affordable price. We’re adding this one to the list because it’s one of the brightest flashlights for camping we could find and very budget-friendly at under $30 but the lumens of output is likely way more than you’ll ever need.

It can be a backup phone charger and has a battery gauge so you know how much power you have left. Comes with a case to keep all accessories together.

Power source: USB-C rechargeable or 3 AAA batteries (both battery types are included)
Size: 6.5″L x 1.6″W
Brightness: up to 10,000 lumens
Zoom: yes
Modes/Brightness: 5 (high, medium, low, strobe, SOS)

Pros: can use as an emergency phone charger
Cons: the extreme light output can be a nuisance to others


Frequently Asked Questions About Flashlights for Camping


With the right flashlight in hand, you can easily find your way around the campsite and campground after dark. These recommendations are all ideal options for your next camping trip. Pack up one (or more) of these flashlights to ensure a safe and enjoyable time outdoors under the stars!


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