Best Hiking Flashlight – 15 Top Flashlights for Camping, and Hiking

When considering the best hiking flashlight you must consider the activity it will be used for. Often when hiking in the dark, you are following a trail with signs or markers. You may even be using a compass for your trip. Having the brightest flashlight to illuminate the signs and a compass is very important. Many hikers overlook the need for a good flashlight. Especially day hikers. Never ever forget to bring a flashlight on a hike, it is an essential tool.

The best hiking flashlights must be lightweight. When hiking, every ounce you carry is significant. Choosing a flashlight that will not weigh you down must be considered. Units with lightweight batteries and housing must be considered. You should try to balance between the highest lumen flashlight and weight.

dark woods

The woods become extremely dark at night. Reliability is another factor to consider when choosing a flashlight. With recent LED (light-emitting diode) technology and solid-state components flashlights are more robust than before.

When in the outdoors you have to consider the weather. Having a waterproof flashlight when hiking is to your advantage.

Flashlights are a valuable tool in the outdoors. So much so, they could actually save your life. When making your hiking and camping equipment list, you must have a flashlight listed.

How to Choose the Best Hiking Flashlights

We spoke a bit above about your need for a good flashlight while hiking. Let’s delve a little deeper into what makes a good flashlight and things to consider when choosing one.

How to choose the best hiking flashlight

With flashlights you get what you pay for. Flashlights can range in price from $20 to $200. The more expensive lights tend to have better quality components which help to make the light last longer and fit specific needs better. Typically the higher the price the brighter the flashlight will be. Things like impact and water resistance as well as the ability to recharge the flashlight will add to the price.

We can not express this enough, Think about how you will use your flashlight. Think about how you want your experience with the light to be. Will you be wearing gloves when using the light? Perhaps that will affect the on/off switch you want on your product. Do you have to use a special tool to change the battery out? How rugged does the housing of the flashlight need to be?

Run Time

Run time is probably the most important aspect of choosing the correct flashlight for hiking or backpacking. Measuring this property in hours, how long can you use the flashlight before the battery drops below 10 percent? How does the light output work? Will the light beam stay consistent throughout the use and then suddenly drop or will it gradually dim? If you can find a runtime graph from the manufacturer this may help you determine if the flashlight suits your needs.

Durability

Now then, when choosing your hiking flashlight you want to think about its durability. Will the light be able to withstand all the use you will throw at it? The last thing you want is to be in the deep dark woods with a broken flashlight because you dropped it on a rock or because it got soaked by rain. The good news is many of the newer lights use a more solid-state design which helps them be more durable. The next two items relate to durability which is weather resistance and impact resistance.

Water Resistance

water resistant flashlight

A flashlight’s water resistance is a metric used to rate your light around bodies of water and use in the rain. If a light has been texted you will find the IPX system rating tag on the box. One will alert you to the fact the flashlight meets the IPX4 rating for splash resistance from all angles. The other will alert you to either the IPX7 (temporary immersion) or IPX8 (constant submersion) to what depth the light will withstand each.

Impact Resistance

Now then, impact ratings are a bit of a misnomer. The way a light is tested is by dropping it 6 times onto concrete from a set distance, say two meters. The test is to make sure the light still functions after those drops. Please note, it does not mean they are rated for hitting other objects with them, or running over them in the driveway.

Size and Weight

Now on to size and weight of your flashlight. There is a correlation between size, weight and run time for flashlights. This is mostly due to the size of the batteries. However this does not mean the light will be brighter due to bigger batteries.

Again, to choose the best hiking flashlight, you must think about your application for the light. What will you use it for? How often will you use it and for how long? Will you need your hands free while using the light? Your choice of flashlight will boil down to personal preference for your use and needs.

Beam Brightness

To understand the brightness of a flashlight you first have to understand lumens. Lumens are a measurement used by most manufacturers to reference the brightness of the flashlight. To make it simple, the higher the number of lumens the brighter the flashlight will be.

Most manufacturers will list a flashlights lumens on the packaging. Referencing the lumens when purchasing a flashlight can help you determine which flashlight you want.

If you come across a manufacturer that lists a Lux number they are using a little different calculation. A Lux calculation figures the illumination (or lumen) over one square meter area from a certain distance.

There can be many other factors that determine the brightness of a beam of light. Things like the color of the bulb, the lens of the flashlight, and the angle of the flashlight bulb.

Beam Throw (Distance)

Before we get into the beam throw of a flashlight, let’s talk briefly about Beam Type. There are three common beam types and are used for different purposes. You may want to consider a flashlight that gives you options with your beam type.

3 Beam types

  1. Flood (usually fixed): This is what it sounds like, a single beam of light that floods the area with light. It is great for general use around your campsite or while walking and hiking.
  2. Spot (focused): Best used for longer distances, this beam consists of a single beam concentrated to penetrate the darkness further. Typically used in faster-paced activities.
  3. Adjustable: This beam type is adjustable and offers the ability to change the focus of the beam of light. Most often using a rotating bezel around the lens. They offer the ability to go from a spot beam to a flood with a single flashlight.

Now on to beam throw or distance. When talking about the throw of a flashlight there are multiple items involved. First is the lumens. Higher lumens create a brighter light. Next is the reflector. A well-formed reflector will tighten the beam, a tighter beam will travel further and create a longer throw.

So if a manufacturer rates their model with 500 yards of throw, they are raiding the distance of their being in that flashlight as providing light at 500 yards beyond the flashlight unit.

Type of Bulb

With the advent of LED bulbs, most other flashlight bulbs are obsolete. Bulbs in the incandescent category have all but gone the way of the dodo. You may find a few on the market like krypton bulbs. The LED technology makes it hard for other bulbs to be the solid-state design, run time, brightness and impact resistance or the newer LED flashlight.

Battery Life

flashlight battery life

Battery size and battery life are usually relational. When considering the best hiking flashlight, you have to think about batter life. Usually the larger the battery, the longer the flashlight will burn. This begs the question of balance when hiking. Longer life batteries like D size batteries are heavier and more cumbersome to pack and haul on a hike.

Seek a balance between weight and life of the flashlight you intend to take on your hikes. You may want to investigate some of the newer rechargeable flashlights via solar or hand crank mechanisms.

Modes

Flashlight modes takes a simple flashlight and creates a useful and multifaceted tool. Some modes can be essential to survival and rescue. Other modes are for convenience in control of your battery life and the flashlight.

  • Strong Light – Using the maximum power and beam of the light.
  • Medium Light – A lower level than Strong, used around the camp for general purpose. 
  • Low light – May be referred to as night light. Low intensity light for use in a tent while others sleep.
  • Flashing light – A flashing or strobe effect of the light, used in an emergency situation to gain attention. 
  • Emergency light – Use of an orange or amber lens to alert others of an emergency situation. 
  • Red light – Using a red lens to reduce glare of a standard white beam of light. Also good inside a tent when others are awake. 
  • S.O.S – A flashlight that can repeat the morse code for S.O.S with the beam of light. Very good in survival situations.

Controls and Components

Another feature you’ll want to consider for your flashlight although minor could make a huge difference and that is the switch. The on/off switch for most flashlights can come in multiple variants. From buttons to slides and even wrist action depending on the flashlight model.

Side Button
One of the most common switches is called the side button. This is typically an easy-to-use button on the side of the flashlight. Operation can vary flashlight to flashlight but typically a full, hard press turns the flashlight on and off, wow quick presses will toggle through the flashlight modes.

Base Button
Another common switch is called the base button. This is a button located at the very rear of a flashlight. The base button operation is very similar to the side button operation. A full hard press will turn the flashlight on and off, and quick presses will toggle through the flashlight modes.

Twist Switch
The last switch we will investigate is the twist switch. Flashlights with this type of switch our first turned on by twisting the bezel on the head of the flashlight. Once owned you can typically adjust the beam on these flashlights by continuing to twist the bezel.

We listed the twist switch last because we feel it is more difficult to operate one handed. However one pro for the twist switch flashlight may be that it is more difficult to accidentally turn on in your pack.

Additional Components
When purchasing your flashlight there may be additional components that you want to consider. Perhaps you need a lanyard attached to the rear of the flashlight to loop around your wrist so you don’t lose it. Maybe you would like a flashlight that can clip to your pack strap, or to the bill of your hat.

List of 15 Best Hiking Flashlights

We have created a list of the best hiking flashlight by category below. The list is broken into the type of flashlight. We describe the pros and cons of the flashlight as well as its components. Remember to consider your needs for your particular activities before choosing a light. If you do a combination of activities such as hiking and camping you may want to make a different decision.

Handheld Hiking Flashlights

Many people prefer a handheld light. One advantage to handhelds which make them a candidate for best hiking flashlights, is you can direct them in any direction almost instantly. These lights are built in a tube with the light at one end and the batteries inside the case. A downside is that they usually use two D-size battery cells and can be heavy. 

GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000

Handheld Tactical Flashlight
  • 2 pack tactical flashlights
  • Ultra bright
  • Long lasting
  • Compact
  • 5 Modes
  • Water Resistant
  • Max 800 Lumens

A compact LED tactical flashlight with a steel case utilizing 3 AAA batteries. From reviews customer’s state there is very good customer service for the product. In reading the reviews, professionals, like firefighters talk about how bright the light is and how good the support for these flashlights are.


XHP70 LED Rechargeable Flashlight

  • Super Bright
  • Long Lasting
  • Water Resistant
  • 5 Modes
  • Zoomable
  • Rechargeable
  • AAA battery adapter
  • 5000 Lumens

The XHP70 LED flashlight is interesting as it has the capability for dual power sources. It comes with a USB rechargeable battery. But also includes a AAA battery adapter so you can run your torch off 3 AAA batteries.

Most of the reviews noted the flashlight as bright and durable. The manufacturer states 5000 lumens for this product but we are unable to confirm that. Several reviewers noted that brightness was not close 5000 lumens. One reviewer compared it to a 2300 lumen light he owns and noted it was comparable to 2300 lumens.


Anker LED Flashlight

  • Bright
  • Long lasting 6/hr
  • Water Resistant
  • Compact
  • 5 Modes
  • Zoomable
  • Rechargeable
  • 900 Lumens

The Anker LED flashlight received many positive reviews. The customers liked the brightness and the quality of the flashlight. Best of all, they raved about the customer service they received from the manufacturer. The worst thing anyone stated in a review was that the charging port was inconveniently placed.


Hoxida LED Flashlight

  • 2 pack LED Flashlights
  • Bright
  • Water resistant
  • 4 Modes
  • COB sidelight
  • Magnetic base
  • Rechargeable
  • 1000 Lumens

The Hoxida LED flashlight gets positive reviews for its brightness and usability. Most reviewers like the magnetic end as well as the clip provided. Also mentioned often was the value for the light at around $10 each. These would be perfect starter lights for a novice camper or hiker.


Phixton Tactical LED

  • LED
  • Bright
  • Water-resistant
  • 4 Modes
  • Magnetic base
  • Rechargeable
  • 1000 Lumens
  • Zoomable

The Phixton tactical flashlight is a bright, sturdy, reliable and rechargeable led flashlight. This flashlight has three modes of operation: high beam/strobe mode for maximum brightness, low beam/high intensity mode for long battery life and low power consumption, and the SOS mode for emergency situations. The Phixton tactical can be used at any time to illuminate an area or to signal for help when you are lost or injured.


Best Headlamp Hiking Flashlights

Headlamps are a smart choice for your hiking or camping flashlight. We like headlamps for best hiking flashlights as these lights are worn on your head which frees your hands up for other tasks. They vary in style and capabilities. Some allow you to focus the beam for up-close tasks. Most are ultra-lightweight. One downside is you have to turn your head to move the beam. 

TINMIU Rechargeable LED Headlamp

  • 2 Pack Deal
  • Bright
  • Long Lasting
  • Motion Activated
  • 6 Modes
  • 90 Degree Adjust
  • Water Resistant
  • Durability

Tinmiu’s rechargeable LED headlamp is the perfect outdoor tool, whether you’re hiking, camping or climbing. This versatile, energy-efficient headlamp features a bright white light that and can be adjusted between various angles for maximum flexibility in any situation. The long-lasting battery keeps your Tinmiu LED Headlamp going strong through all your adventures.


IKAAMA Rechargeable LED

best hiking flashlight
  • 2 Pack offer
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Bright LED
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Resistant
  • Rechargeable
  • 8 Modes
  • Motion Detection

Ikaama Rechargeable LED flashlight is designed with dual buttons for easy operation. It has 8 different modes of lighting, including strobe, SOS, and dimming. The rechargeable battery can be charged via USB cable. Includes a lifetime warranty on the product. Ikaama is a great gift for outdoor enthusiasts, travelers, campers, and more!


QS USA Rechargeable LED

  • Adjustable
  • Bright LED
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Resistant
  • Rechargeable
  • 4 Modes

QS USA Rechargeable LED Flashlight is a high-quality, rechargeable flashlight that features 4 modes of lighting. The QS USA Rechargeable LED Flashlight has a lightweight design and is easy to use. It’s construction makes it great to slide over a hat or toboggan. The QS USA Rechargeable LED Flashlight is a powerful, versatile and durable light that provides hours of illumination for any situation.


Outdoor Pro Gear LED

  • 2 Pack offer
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Bright LED
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Resistant
  • Rechargeable
  • 8 Modes

The Outdoor Pro Gear LED flashlight is a super bright and energy efficient light. This flashlight uses 3 AAA batteries (included) and has an adjustable focus that allows you to switch between spotlight function and floodlight function. The Outdoor Pro Gear flashlight is lightweight, durable, waterproof and comes with a 1 year warranty for your peace of mind.


Best Clip-on Hiking Flashlights

Clip-on lights are another smart choice. They often have a 90 degree head on them and can be clipped onto a pack strap. The downside is they can be heavier and you must turn your body to illuminate your path. One positive is you can unclip them and use them as a handheld flashlight. 

NICRON N72 LED Flashlight

  • 90 degree light
  • Magnetic base
  • Bright LED
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Resistant
  • 1 year warranty
  • 4 Modes
  • Removable clip

When seeking the best hiking flashlight, we found the Nicron N72 LED flashlight is the perfect combination of brightness and compactness. It has a unique 90 degree light beam that can be adjusted to your liking with the head pivoting function. The magnetic base allows you to attach it to any metal surface, such as refrigerator doors or cars. This flashlight is powered by 3 AAA batteries (not included) and has an easy-to-use on/off switch for quick operation.


NICRON N7 LED Flashlight

  • 90 degree light
  • Magnetic base
  • Bright LED
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Resistant
  • Metal clip
  • 4 Modes
  • Metal housing

A super bright and portable flashlight that comes with a 90 degree light head. The N7 uses magnetic base to stick to any metal surface for hands free use. It has a powerful magnet in the base, so it can be used as a worklight or placed on any steel surface. This is one of the best flashlights you will ever own!


Olight Baton3 LED Flashlight

  • Lightweight
  • Rechargeable
  • Bright LED
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Resistant
  • Metal clip
  • 6 Modes
  • Aluminum housing

In our opinion, this is one of the best hiking flashlights on the market. The Olight Baton3 LED flashlight is the latest edition to the Baton series. This compact and lightweight rechargeable flashlight features an aluminum body with a built-in charging dock, making it easy to charge anywhere that you are. The Olight Baton3 has 6 different brightness modes and can last up to 33 hours before recharging it.


Best LED High Power Flashlights

Lumens are the gauge for how bright a light is. The higher the lumen, the brighter the light. Our opinion is that 1000 lumen flashlights and above are better for hiking and camping. This list contains up to 10000 lumen flashlight. They are LED flashlights that will provide long battery life and a solid-state design for dependability. 

P70-S High Powered LED

  • 90000 Lumen
  • Rechargeable
  • Zoomable
  • 10 Modes
  • Waterproof
  • Aluminum housing

One of the best hiking flashlights we found was the P70-S. The P70-S is a super bright LED flashlight. It has an aluminum housing and 90000 lumens of light output, which is more than enough to blind someone temporarily. The rechargeable battery can be charged with the included USB cable. The wrist strap makes it easy to hold onto the flashlight when you need both hands for something else, such as working on your car or hiking up a mountain trail. This flashlight is great for camping, hunting, fishing, search and rescue, or Emergency/Survival applications.


ARTISTORE High Powered LED

  • 90000 Lumen
  • Rechargeable
  • Zoomable
  • 3 Modes
  • Waterproof
  • Aluminum housing
  • Remaining charge display

The ARTISOTRE High Powered LED is one of the most powerful rechargeable flashlights in the world, designed to be used by people who need a high-quality and portable light source. The flashlight has a super bright LED that can shine up to 90000 lumens. It’s made of aluminum, so it can be used for many years without any problem. It also comes with a battery charge display that allows you to see how much battery power you have left at all times. This rechargeable flashlight is waterproof and shockproof, so you won’t have any worries while in the wilderness. If you are still seeking the best hiking flashlight for yourself, this would be a good option.


GEARLIGHT S2000 High Powered LED

  • High Lumen
  • Super Bright
  • Zoomable
  • Multiple Modes
  • Waterproof
  • Aluminum housing

The GearLight S2000 is a versatile, rugged and bright LED flashlight that can be used for camping, hunting, fishing, hiking or any other outdoor activity. The lightweight aluminum housing and waterproof design make it perfect for any situation where you need a high-powered light source. With five modes to choose from (high beam / low beam / strobe / red flashing beacon and SOS), the GearLight S2000 is the perfect companion on your next adventure.


Best Hiking Flashlight Under 100 Dollars

For those who are hobbyists in hiking or camping, you may be looking for a product that is easy on your budget. Above we have composed a list of the best hiking flashlights that are under one hundred dollars. These are great options without breaking the budget.

P70-S High Powered LED

  • 90000 Lumen
  • Rechargeable
  • Zoomable
  • 10 Modes
  • Waterproof
  • Aluminum housing

The P70-S is a great buy when shopping for the best hiking flashlight. The brightness of this light paired with all the functions and modes make it our favorite for the money. It is durable and easy to use and will make a great companion on any hiking trails.


Conclusion: Overall Best Hiking Flashlight

After all our research and investigation, we have determined our overall winner. This light was chosen based on our pros and cons. This flashlight meets more of the requirements to be deemed the best hiking flashlight.

Olight Baton3 LED Flashlight

  • Lightweight
  • Rechargeable
  • Bright LED
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Resistant
  • Metal clip
  • 6 Modes
  • Aluminum housing

The Olight Baton3 LED flashlight is a must have in our opinion. If you want the best hiking flashlight then choose this one. It is a super bright flashlight and weighs in at less than two ounces. Depending on how you use this light it can provide up to 33 hours of use on a single charge (the portable charger gives you 3 more charges). Not to mention the all-aluminum construction which makes it water-resistant and durable. Lastly, we like the metal clip which can make it hands-free while on the trail.


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