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When you’re out camping, you need to be able to see what you’re doing. When the sun is up, that’s not a problem, but as it starts to set, you’ll need a flashlight to get around.
The problem with most flashlights is that they don’t light up enough, and even when they do, the battery dies in almost no time. Even worse, many of them aren’t waterproof, so if it starts to rain at the campsite, your flashlight will be ruined.
We don’t want you left in the dark, so we highlighted 10 of the best camping flashlights for this year, with comprehensive reviews for each one. There’s also a buyer’s guide that’ll walk you through everything that you need to know to get the perfect camping flashlight.
|Best Overall||Streamlight Stinger HL LED||
|Best Value||Smith & Wesson Delta Force CS LED Flashlight||
|Premium Choice||SureFire Tactical LED Flashlight||
|Streamlight ProTac HL 5-X||
|Pelican 7610 Tactical Flashlight||
|Maximum light output:||800 lumens|
|Battery life:||5 to 5 hours|
When you’re looking for the best overall camping flashlight, look no further than the Streamlight Stinger HL LED. Streamlight makes many great flashlights, and the Stinger HL LED is its best combination of price and performance.
It has a great maximum lumen output of 800, and it comes with a lifetime warranty, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking. It’s also completely waterproof, and the LED bulb lasts for 50,000 hours.
This flashlight is an excellent mix of price and performance, especially considering that it uses a rechargeable design, so you won’t need to drop more money to keep using it. However, for everything that this flashlight does right, it’s not perfect.
Our chief complaint is that it has a short battery life and no backup option to keep using it until you recharge it. If you’re not careful, that can leave you in quite a pinch while you’re camping.
|Maximum light output:||130 lumens|
|Battery life:||1 to 10 hours|
Smith & Wesson might not be all about flashlights, but if you’re looking for a reliable flashlight at a great price, it’s hard to top this one. It uses replaceable batteries, so you’re never left stranded, and with a waterproof design, it won’t break on you during inclement weather.
Another perk is that while it makes a great handheld flashlight while you’re camping, you can also mount it to a weapon if you need to. The maximum lumen output of 130 is on the lower end of things, though, as is the battery life.
Still, at this price point, the Smith & Wesson Delta Force CS LED Flashlight is easily the best camping flashlight for the money.
|Maximum light output:||1,200 lumens|
|Battery life:||1 to 60 hours|
While the SureFire Tactical LED Flashlight is expensive, there’s no doubt that it offers tons of extra features. First, it has a maximum lumen output of 1,200, so you’re not going to run into a situation where you need a brighter flashlight.
Second, even at that maximum lumen output, you get an impressive 1-hour runtime, and at more reasonable usage levels, you can get up to 60 hours.
It’s also extremely durable, completely waterproof, and easy to use. In fact, you can switch the brightness level with just one hand, which is a great feature when you’re out camping and need to multitask.
The only drawback with this flashlight is the price, but if you can afford it, purchase the SureFire Tactical LED flashlight and never look back!
|Maximum light output:||3,500 lumens|
|Battery life:||25 to 11.5 hours|
The Streamlight ProTac HL 5-X uses a rechargeable design and has an impressive 3,500-lumen output. It also has a strobe light option, and it’s IPX-7 waterproof, so no amount of inclement weather will do this flashlight in. Even better, it has a battery life that ranges from 1.25 to 11.5 hours, meaning you don’t have to worry about it dying on you anytime soon.
However, while there’s much to love about this flashlight, it’s expensive, and it doesn’t do enough to account for the extra money that you need to spend to get it.
|Maximum light output:||1,018 lumens|
|Battery type:||AA or CR123|
|Battery life:||5 to 33 hours|
If you’re looking for a durable flashlight from an excellent brand for your next camping trip, the Pelican 7610 Tactical Flashlight is a great choice. Not only does it have rechargeable batteries to help save you money, but it also has CR123 replaceable batteries that you can use as a backup option.
It also has a higher maximum lumen output of over 1,000, and the battery life ranges from 1.5 to 33 hours. Furthermore, it’s a great mix of price and performance, and there are multiple programs that you can choose from.
Finally, it’s IPX-8 waterproof, so it won’t have any problems if it gets a little wet. However, it does have a limited number of brightness settings, so you don’t get the exact brightness level that you want in most situations.
|Maximum light output:||1,000 lumens|
|Battery life:||3 hours|
While there are many great features with the Streamlight Wedge, the primary selling point is its shape and size. It has a flat design that makes it easy to slip into a pocket and take with you all over the campground.
It’s a completely rechargeable flashlight that goes from no charge to full charge in 3 three hours. That’s especially impressive considering that you can use this flashlight for 3 hours on a single charge, giving you a 1:1 recharge ratio.
It also has an easy-to-read battery level indicator, and it’s IPX-7 waterproof. However, keep in mind that while it does have a maximum lumen output of 1,000, due to a complicated output system, you won’t get that level for long.
Second, it only uses a rechargeable battery, giving you no backup option if the battery does die and you need to use it right away.
|Maximum light output:||4,000 lumens|
|Battery type:||21700, CR123, or lithium-ion|
|Battery life:||5 to 350 hours|
If you’re looking for the flashlight that gets the brightest for your next camping trip, that accolade belongs to the Nitecore P20iX. It reaches an impressive 4,000 lumens, which is far more powerful than most other options. That said, unless you’re trying to disorient an attacker, there’s no reason to use a flashlight at that brightness level.
Still, it’s a great tactical choice, it includes a memory function, and it has both rechargeable and replaceable batteries.
But even with all these great features, this flashlight is expensive. You’re paying for high-end features that you’ll probably never need or use on a camping trip.
That said, it is completely waterproof and extremely durable, so you won’t have to purchase another flashlight if you do decide to splurge and get this one.
|Maximum light output:||600 lumens|
|Battery life:||5 to 40 hours|
The SureFire G2X Pro Flashlight is a SureFire product available for an affordable price. It has multiple output modes, and with a minimum battery life of 2.5 hours, you know that it’s not going to die on you soon after you start using it.
It also uses replaceable batteries, so even if the flashlight does die, you can swap them out and keep using your flashlight for as long as you need to.
It has multiple output modes and a waterproof design, and it comes with the SureFire guarantee that you won’t have any problems with it.
However, while the 600-lumen output is nice, when you compare it to most other flashlights, it’s on the lower end of things.
|Maximum light output:||700 lumens|
|Battery life:||2 to 10 hours|
The InForce TFx Handheld flashlight is a unique choice. It has a reinforced polymer casing that helps protect it from damage. It’s also extremely lightweight and the overall design is quite compact.
However, there are no rechargeable functions, meaning you’ll need to keep extra CR123A batteries around in case it dies on you. It also doesn’t have any memory functions, and compared to many other flashlights, it’s not the most durable.
|Maximum light output:||1,150 lumens|
|Battery type:||18650 or CR123A|
|Battery life:||4 hours to 60 days|
The Olight S2RII Rechargeable Flashlight is an extremely affordable flashlight that has both a high battery life and a high maximum lumen output of over 1,100. However, it only stays that bright for about 4 minutes before it defaults to a lower brightness setting. Still, it has an easy-to-see battery life indicator, it’s compact and portable, and the textured grip makes it easy to use and keep track of.
That said, it doesn’t have any advanced features, and it’s not quite as durable as many other options. It’ll last a long time but probably not a lifetime.
With so many great flashlight options out there, it can seem overwhelming trying to narrow it down to just one. That’s why we developed this comprehensive buyer’s guide, to walk you through everything that you need to know to get the perfect flashlight for your next camping trip.
If you’re out camping, you likely don’t need as many lumens as you might think. For most camping applications, 100 lumens is more than enough. You can light up an area and see what you’re doing, but you won’t be shining a beacon at your campsite when you turn the flashlight on.
However, there are a few situations where you’ll want a higher lumen output, especially if you’re trying to see something happening farther away. You can use a high-lumen flashlight as a “spotlight” to highlight a wider area or to disorient an animal or person. You won’t need to leave the flashlight on these higher lumen settings, but it can come in handy for short bursts from time to time.
There are two main battery options to choose from when you’re picking out a camping flashlight: rechargeable and replaceable. They both come with their pros and cons.
Rechargeable batteries mean you don’t have to worry about spending a ton of money to stock up on batteries for every time the flashlight dies. It also means one less thing to pack, and you can go on any camping trip with a full battery — as long as you charge it before you head out.
However, if you don’t have a charging source at the campsite, you’ll need to bring a portable battery pack or simply not have a flashlight after running through the battery.
That’s not the case with replaceable batteries. While you’ll have to pack extra batteries and constantly pay to replace them, you won’t have to worry about having a dead flashlight and no way to get it working again.
The best of both worlds is to get a flashlight with rechargeable and replaceable batteries.
When you open the battery compartment on a flashlight, you likely expect to see AA or AAA batteries. So, it can be surprising and a little frustrating to see a CR123A battery instead. It’s not likely a battery that you already have on hand, and they’re more expensive than AA or AAA batteries. Why do so many flashlights use them?
Neither AA nor AAA batteries have enough of a punch to deliver the high lumen levels that many flashlights require. If you want those lumen outputs and replaceable batteries, you need a CR123A.
It simply gives you more capabilities that you’ll enjoy using when you need something a bit brighter.
If you’re getting a flashlight to use while you’re camping, you should get a waterproof one. After all, when you’re out in nature, you don’t get to control the weather. The last thing that you want is to not be able to use your flashlight while it’s raining.
The good news is that every flashlight on this list is waterproof, at least enough to handle severe rain and other weather. Some of the flashlights can even spend a significant amount of time completely submerged, although we wouldn’t recommend testing that out.
If you’re still debating about which flashlight is best for you after reading through the reviews and the buyer’s guide, go with the Streamlight Stinger HL LED. It’s our top choice for a reason, as it’s an outstanding combination of price and performance.
If the Streamlight Stinger HL LED is a bit out of your budget, consider the Smith & Wesson Delta Force CS LED Flashlight. It’s an extremely reliable choice at an even better price.
What’s important is that you order a flashlight, so the next time you go camping, you don’t find yourself out in the dark!
Featured Image Credit: Andreas Dress, Unsplash
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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