Best Camping Flashlight (Buying Guide)
A quality camping flashlight is a must-have piece of gear for every outdoor enthusiast. Not only will it contribute to your comfort, but this accessory can also be a real lifesaver in after-dark emergencies. Don’t settle for a regular flashlight, as they often lack the sturdiness, brightness, and durability. If you love camping under the stars, you need a Best Camping Flashlight to illuminate your outdoor adventures!
A durable, high-quality camping flashlight comes with many benefits. Firstly, it will make pitching a tent in the dark a lot easier and quicker. Secondly, it will improve your safety as it can prevent you from falling or tripping over gear or tent stakes in the dark. Plus, in case of an emergency, you can use it as a beacon to signal for help. And lastly, it can help you save your smartphone’s battery life – if you’re a camper that tends to use the torch-function on your devices regularly.
The good news is that high-quality camping flashlights are more lightweight and affordable than ever. No more bulky torches: these sleek led flashlights lights can simply be clipped onto a belt or pack – and take up minimum space in gear pockets. And even better: with rechargeable battery options – you don’t have to waste any money on disposables!
To help you navigate your way towards the top-rated torches that truly deliver on brightness and performance, we’ve created a handy Best Camping Flashlight overview. These 5-star, ultrabright designs are a fantastic upgrade to your outdoor gear collection and make a smart investment on any camping trip or backpacking adventure.
Discover our top picks below and get inspired, and enlightened, about the affordable possibilities!
Best Camping Flashlight – Overview
GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 2-Pack
- ULTRA BRIGHT & LONG-LASTING - Easily light up an entire room or focus in on objects up to 1000 feet away! 10 times brighter than old incandescent lights. Conveniently powered for hours with 3 AAA...
The design is made of top-grade aluminum, giving it strength and durability. The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 may be sturdy, but its also streamlined enough to comfortably slide into your backpack or gear pockets. This affordable design also offers an impressive range of first-class features, including 5 light modes (low, medium, high, strobe, and SOS) and an adjustable, wide-to-narrow beam zoom option.
This best-selling product can light up objects up to 1000 feet away and can survive a 10-foot drop without damage. And for a flashlight with such affordability, that is quite impressive! According to the manufacturer, the product can even be run over with a truck and still work – though we wouldn’t advise you to try that at home…
Oustanding customer reviews
Though customer reviews confirm the GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 provides excellent, bright illumination and indeed covers long distances, the exact amount of lumen is not mentioned by the brand. We would have preferred an indication of its exact light output. The same goes for the IPX rating, which is not listed. That said, over 3000 customer reviews confirm the design’s ability to provide bright light, and withstand wet conditions. So, even though the exact details are a bit vague, you don’t have to doubt its performance according to other campers.
The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 uses 3 AAA-batteries (not included). This means you won’t be able to rechargeable it on the go, but also don’t have to worry about losing functionality as long as you pack enough spare batteries. The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 2-Pack also includes 2 holsters and lanyards, which add to the flashlights their portability.
Budget-friendly, shock-resistant, bright, and with multiple light modes and adjustable beam function: this 2-pack set in Best Camping Flashlights offers a whole lot of bang for your buck. Plus, with a 1-Year Product Warranty, it truly is a risk-free purchase to illuminate your outdoor adventures.
J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight
- ULTRA BRIGHT & LONG-LASTING - Easily light up an entire room or focus in on objects up to 600 feet away! 10 times brighter than old incandescent lights. Conveniently powered for hours with a single AA...
The J5 Tactical V1-PRO is also very lightweight thanks to its aluminum alloy silhouette. Weighing just 3.2oz, it can easily be carried in your pocket and takes up minimum space and weight in a backpack. Another perk is that its aluminum body is durable and corrosion-proof, making it a low-maintenance addition to your gear collection.
And unlike other flashlights that require multiple disposable batteries (such as the GearLight S1000 that requires 3 AAA-batteries), the J5 Tactical V1-PRO only needs a single AA-battery to function. The run time depends on the setting used (customer reviews mention that with average daily usage a single battery can last you up to 3 weeks. Whilst others say the highest intensity setting can drain a battery in hours). However, with over 13000 positive reviews, we think it’s safe to say the run time is not something to worry about!
3 Light Modes
The J5 Tactical V1-PRO offers 3 light modes: low, high, and strobe (in case of emergency). We would have preferred a medium intensity as well, but for the affordable price listed, we think 3 modes is a fair trade-off. The design can withstand 9-foot drops and is water-resistant to survive temporarily being submerged. That said, without an IPX rating listed, we’re not 100% sure exactly how waterproof the style is, so we wouldn’t recommend taking it for a nighttime swim.
Our experts rate the J5 Tactical V1-PRO as one of the highest-rated, budget-friendly buys on the market. And the thousands of 5-star customer reviews serve as testimony that it truly lives up to, and exceeds expectations. Plus, with a 1-year, ‘no questions asked’ Money-Back Guarantee, you really can’t go wrong with this compact flashlight!
Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight
- Superior quality craftsmanship with weather-resistant seals and anodized inside and out for improved corrosion resistance
A word of warning: the Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight is heavier than other options on this list, weighing in at 30oz when you’ve inserted the batteries. Making it less suitable for hikers and backpacking trips. That said, for car campers, RV-enthusiasts, or those that don’t plan on carrying it in a daypack, it is one of the most solid light sources on the market.
The Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight uses 3 Alkaline D-Cell batteries (not included). The design has an impressive run time of approximately 80 hours on a single battery load, before requiring you to replace the batteries. The torch offers 168-lumens of brightness, which may seem a bit on the low end, but according to other campers, it’s surprisingly bright and powerful. And with a beam distance of up to 1350 feet, we reckon this durable design packs more than enough intensity for the average camper.
The design has a high-quality aluminum body with watertight seals and a diamond knurl finish for a non-slip, ergonomic grip. Though the Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight only has 1 light mode, it does come with the option to adjust the beam’s focus. Simply rotate the flashlight’s head to alternate between spot to floodlight focus. Another perk is the style’s shock-resistant/drop-resistant construction: ensuring it keeps working when dropped up to 3 feet in height.
The Maglite LED 3-Cell D is a tad more expensive than its competitors for the Best Camping Flashlight title, but it does offer extremely efficient battery-life; meaning that in the long-term, its an investment that’s definitely worth the splurge. If you’re looking for a solid and reliable flashlight to leave in your car, truck, RV, or at a fixed campsite: this may be your perfect, durable match.
Anker Bolder LC90 2-Cell Rechargeable Flashlight
- SUPER-BRIGHT: A 900-lumen Cree LED emits a stunningly powerful beam. Sweep bright light over the length of two football fields and reach nearly 660 ft (200 m). Features zoom and 5 adaptable settings:...
The Anker Bolder LC90 2-Cell Rechargeable Flashlight isn’t just energy-efficient but also ticks many other boxes. For example, it boasts an impressive 900-lumen and can reach a beam distance of 1000 feet. This high-lumen design is super bright, ideal for those that want maximum illumination. Don’t worry: this style also has your dimmer, cozy light needs covered. With 5 light modes to choose from (low, medium, high, strobes, and SOS), there’s a perfect intensity for every activity and scenario. The flashlight also features an adjustable zoom slider function, providing easy scaling between broad, sweeping illumination and focused spotlight.
And, unlike the other products on this list, the Anker Bolder LC90 2-Cell Rechargeable Flashlight does proudly state it’s water-resistant rating at IPX-5. This means it ‘Can resist a sustained, low-pressure water jet spray.’ Or, to translate it to outdoor camping: it can be used in rainy and wet conditions without issues. The design’s extra-hard anodized-aluminum body is also shock-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and less prone to scratching chipping. Guaranteeing long-term enjoyment out of your purchase.
This high lumen output flashlight is backed by thousands of 5-star customer reviews. Other campers rave about the design’s performance, ease of handling, excellent brightness settings, and value. And if that’s not enough to convince you, you’ll be pleased to know that Anker also offers an 18-Month Product Warranty on the Bolder LC90 Flashlight.
You might have to pay a bit more on initial purchase, the Anker Bolder LC90 2-Cell Rechargeable Flashlight is more cost-effective in the long-term considering you don’t need to buy new batteries. Plus, with its impressive lumen output, 5 light modes, zoomable beam, and premium durability, we think it’s still quite the steal that’s worth the splurge.
Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA Dual Fuel Flashlight
- 350 Lumens On High with 1.5 Hours Run Time with CR123A Lithium Battery
The ProTac 1L-1AA by Streamlight is designed for portability and flexibility in the field. The ultralight style weighs just 2.5 oz (including CR123A battery), making it an ideal accessory for backpackers, or active hobbies such as hunting and fishing. The flashlight provides up to 350-lumen on the highest settings, casting a powerful beam to illuminate your nighttime activities. The high-lumen design also offers 3 light modes: low, high, and strobe. The shock-resistant power LED technology ensures the Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA maintains performance even in challenging scenarios or on the go, giving you maximum reliability in one, streamlined silhouette.
This powerful flashlight has been extensively trialed and tested for durability, and gets a big thumbs up from other outdoor enthusiasts on its solid construction. The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA has an impressive water-resistant rating of IPX7, meaning it can be submerged up to 3 feet in water for up to 30 minutes without damage or loss or performance. It is also impact-resistant for drops up to 6 feet, thanks to its special impact-resistant Borofloat Glass lens and anodized aluminum body.
The Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA comes with a reversible pocket clip to easily attach it to belts, visors, or other surfaces, allowing you to keep all ten fingers free for the task at hand.
With thousands of 5-star reviews, the Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA is rated as one of the best ultralight and ultrabright compact flashlights on the market. If you’re looking for a design that offers you the option to alternate between different battery types, without compromising on performance or run time: this could be a good flashlight to enlighten your camping adventures.
Every design on this Best Camping Flashlight overview ticks the box when it comes to value-for-money. Which style is ‘the best’ is difficult to determine, as this is directly influenced by where and when you plan to use the flashlight. For hikers and backpackers, an ultralight option such as the Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA Dual Fuel Flashlight is a great match. This lightweight design won’t weigh down your pack, yet still provide the high lumen performance needed to clearly see your surroundings after dark. For car campers and those with a fixed campsite for whom weight is not a factor, a heavier option such as the Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight can provide an outstanding battery run time (up to 80 hours) and makes a reliable light source to illuminate every corner of your campsite… And for campers who want a rechargeable option to save on the hassle of buying new batteries for every trip, an option such as the Anker Bolder LC90 2-Cell Rechargeable Flashlight may be a perfect fit.
There is no ‘Best’ product, only the best for your needs. Rest assured, all 5 flashlights on this list are a great choice in camping gear, and regardless of which one you choose, we’re confident it will live up to and exceed expectations.
If we had to pick a flashlight from this line-up that we’d spend our money on, we’d settle on the Anker Bolder LC90 2-Cell Rechargeable Flashlight. Yes, it may be a hassle when the rechargeable battery runs out of life and you need to recharge it on the go. But as we always pack a solar power bank on hikes and trails, we’re prepared for emergency top-ups when required. Plus, we like the environmentally-friendly and cost-effective idea of not using disposable batteries anymore.
We also like that this style does come with a solid IPX5 water-resistance rating, guaranteeing it can withstand heavy-rain and wet conditions when out in nature. Plus, with excellent shock-resistance, 5 light modes, and an 18-month product warranty by the manufacturer, it comes with many other attractive benefits that put it top of our list.
Best Camping Flashlight – Buying Guide
What is the difference between a regular flashlight and a camping flashlight?
Though very similar, the main difference between a regular flashlight and a camping flashlight is the durability and brightness. A camping flashlight is designed to withstand heavy-duty outdoor usage and all kinds of weather conditions. For example, you need a camping flashlight to be waterproof, as bad weather can strike at any time. A camping flashlight also needs to be more rugged and sturdy, as it will be exposed to dust, mud, and other debris. A flimsy regular flashlight from your local Dollarstore simply won’t do. You also need a camping flashlight to produce enough beam power to fully illuminate your campsite, instead of a weak beam that fails to provide the brightness needed.
Yes, technically you could call any flashlight a camping flashlight if you take it into nature with you. However, for us, a camping flashlight meets different criteria, making it a product category by itself. All the options on our overview outperform low-grade flashlights and are worthy of the Best Camping Flashlight title.
Finding the Best Camping Flashlight – Buying Factors
With so many options on the market, finding the Best Camping Flashlight can seem like a daunting task. Don’t worry: it’s not as complicated as it first seems. There are a few factors to take into consideration when buying a camping flashlight. This will help you narrow down the options, and make your search a lot easier. What are these factors? We’ve listed the most important things to look out for when buying a camping flashlight below:
Size & Weight
For car campers, size & weight may not be the most important factor when deciding on a led flashlight. However, for backpacking adventurers and hikers, it’s one of the most crucial things to consider when buying camping gear. As a general rule of thumb: the bigger the flashlight, the more illumination. But bigger isn’t always better. You might get a more powerful light beam, but you’ll also have to carry around a bulkier, and heavier torch in your pack. Plus, a large flashlight might offer less run time on a full battery, as more power/battery life is needed to operate. Large flashlights are also not suitable to attach with a belt clip/pocket clip or fix to the exterior of a backpack with a carabiner.
The good news is that there are plenty of smaller, lightweight options on the market that provide more than enough brightness for the average camper. Meaning that even though you’re downsizing in dimensions, you don’t have to sacrifice a lot on performance.
Most camping flashlights are made of either plastic or aluminum (aluminum alloy). Each has its pros and cons. Plastic is cheap and tends to be more lightweight, but lacks a bit of durability and is more prone to breaking/cracking when dropped. Aluminum flashlights are a bit more expensive and heavy but do offer the durability and impact-resistance needed to handle tougher outdoor situations. That said, both can be a great choice in material, as long as the compounds used are high-quality. For example, ensure a plastic flashlight is waterproof and free of toxins (BPA-free plastic). And check whether an aircraft-grade aluminum flashlight is corrosion-proof to prevent it from deteriorating over time.
How do you check if the materials are up to scratch? Or should we say: can avoid scratching? Simple: see what others are saying by browsing customer reviews. Manufacturers can give you a great story about how their product is the best, most durable in the world. But actual customer reviews confirm whether a product lives up to expectation. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of checking all the reviews, save yourself time and effort and simply use our Best Flashlight For Camping overview to pick your match. We’ve ensured all products included in this overview tick the box on quality, using top-grade materials to illuminate your camping trips with powerful brightness.
When shopping for a camping flashlight, you’ll often come across the term ‘Lumens’. Lumens refers to the brightness/light output of a flashlight. The more lumens, the more powerful a flashlight’s brightness.
How many lumens do you need? Well, this depends on where and when you plan to use your flashlight. As a general rule of thumb: a led light with 100 to 200 lumens should be more than sufficient for most campers. If you have a larger campsite and/or want super bright light during night hikes and/or pitching a tent after dark, 200 lumens will get the job done. If you want a ‘softer’ light, for example, to read a book in your tent, somewhere around 100 lumens of light is the sweet spot.
Tip: Some flashlights offer the option of multiple brightness intensity settings/light modes. If you want a more versatile flashlight that works in a range of scenarios, pick one of these options. Pitching a tent after dark? Switch to the high lumen light setting. Trying to find your socks in your tent? Choose a lower setting to not blind yourself or a partner. A design with a strobe function is particularly recommended to use as a beacon in emergencies. Flashlights with multiple brightness intensities and strobe settings may be slightly more expensive than a simple on/off design, but we think their functionality makes them worth the investment!
The beam distance of a flashlight is directly related to the design’s lumens. The higher the lumen, the greater the beam distance. A flashlight that only has a beam distance of 10 feet may be sufficient for rummaging around in your tent, but loses its function on night hikes where you want illumination over long distances. Determine how far you want your flashlight to reach before you start shopping. This will help you narrow down the options based on the beam distance and beam strength offered by each style.
Always pick a flashlight that at least offers some resistance to water, as bad weather conditions, condensation, and wet undergrounds can be a real factor on any camping trip. Though many manufacturers claim their torches are waterproof, there is a scale on which to measure their exact water resistance: the IPX Rating. The IPX Rating, also known as the ‘IEC Standard 60529’ scale, has been developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission. This expert body found a way to measure whether a product is only drip-proof, or fully-submersible, with 11 different levels of water resistance. Not all manufacturers disclose the IPX Rating, but if they do, the rating translates as follows:
IPX0: The product offers no special protection from water.
IPX1: Can resist water that drips vertically onto the product.
IPX2: Can resist water that hits the product at a 15° angle or less.
IPX3: Can take water sprays of up to 60°.
IPX4: Is resistant to water splashes from any direction.
IPX5: Can resist a sustained, low-pressure water jet spray.
IPX6: Can resist high-pressure, heavy sprays of water.
IPX6K: Can resist water jets of extremely high pressure. Rarely used.
IPX7: Can be submerged up to 1 meter in water for 30 minutes.
IPX8: Can be submerged deeper than 1 meter. The exact depth is specified by the manufacturer.
IPX9K: Resists high-pressure, high-temperature sprays at close range. A very special case that’s dictated by a separate standard. Rarely used.
Look for a flashlight that has an IPX Rating of at least IPX4 to ensure it is waterproof/water-resistant enough to handle most camping and backpacking scenarios including heavy rain, crossing streams, and condensation.
Though products can come with multiple types of lights, we’d recommend you to choose an LED bulbs option. LED flashlights are more energy-efficient, making the battery last longer. Fortunately, most outdoor brands nowadays use bright LED lights in their designs, meaning you won’t have any trouble finding a match. Also, in the past, LED lighted torches were more expensive than regular incandescent bulbs, but these days, there isn’t much price difference anymore. You can take advantage of the power-saving LED technology, without having to pay more: which seems like a win-win to us!
When buying a camping flashlight, you’ll quickly notice that you can either choose a design that uses disposable batteries, or a torch with a rechargeable battery. Each type has its pros and cons. For example costs. A disposable-battery operated a flashlight (for example, AA-batteries) may be cheaper on the initial purchase but will cost more in the long-term when you keep having to replace batteries. A USB-rechargeable, or other type rechargeable battery flashlight, tends to be a tad pricier at first but is more cost-effective with repeated usage. Another thing to consider is whether you plan to take your flashlight on multi-day camping trips without access to power.
A disposable-battery operated flashlight does not lose functionality, as long as you pack enough spare batteries. You might be tempted to automatically opt for a rechargeable flashlight because it sounds fancier and is more environmentally-friendly. That last part is true. However, We’d recommend you consider whether you’ll be able to use the charger on your trails and outdoor adventures. If you can’t recharge a flashlight, and it loses battery on day 2 of a week-long hike, you’ll regret not buying a disposable battery option. Trust us, we’ve been there, done that.
Tip: If you do want the convenience of a rechargeable flashlight without the risk of an empty battery, invest in a solar-powered power bank to top up battery life on the go. This camping accessory can provide a boost in battery life when most needed, whilst using direct sunlight to recharge itself. Handy!
Do I need to buy from an expert brand?
Buying from an established, expert brand in outdoor gear is always a solid way to guarantee quality and reliability. Though there are many cheap, knock-off styles on the market, we’d always recommend buying from an expert – as this also reduces the risk of receiving a low-grade flashlight that fails to deliver. Plus, most established outdoor brands will offer a limited lifetime warranty or money-back-guarantee on their products, ensuring your full satisfaction.
Brands we would recommend to take into consideration are Anker, J5, Gearlite, Streamlight, Fenix, OLIGHT, Wsiiroon CREE, and ThruNite.
As this is a review focusing on camping flashlights, we’ve chosen not to include any headlamps. We consider this a separate product category and will dedicate a full post to the Best Camping Headlamps in the future.