5 Best Camping Flashlights: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

When you’re camping, the fun lasts all day—and usually well into the night. But when the sun goes down, you need a little assistance from a high-quality flashlight to light your way. Flashlights are a must-have item, but choosing from the endless options can be challenging. That’s why we’re here to give you our picks for the best camping flashlights.

Features to Look for in a Camping Flashlight

Here are some critical things to pay attention to when buying a camping flashlight. 

Brightness

Brightness is arguably the most essential feature in a flashlight. Brightness is measured in lumens, and the higher the number, the brighter the flashlight is. When it comes to camping needs, anywhere from 300 to 1000 lumens is plenty.

Keep in mind that more lumens are not always better. High brightness is often too much for camping, which is why many flashlights allow you to regulate the brightness settings to your environment.

Light Modes

Aside from brightness settings, lots of flashlights come with other light modes that give the device utility in various settings. For example, they come with settings that are useful in emergencies (strobe mode), reading (red light mode), and for illuminating a more full area than usual (lantern mode).

Beam Distance

Beam distance refers to how far you can see with the flashlight’s beam, which can vary quite a bit. In general, a short beam distance is more than adequate for general campsite use. You’ll want something longer, however, if nighttime walks are a regular part of your camping experience.

Weight and Size

When it comes to the ideal weight and size of a camping flashlight, keep your needs in mind. Portability is vital if you’ll be carrying the flashlight around, but when camping, you’re generally just using it around your site. For this reason, most people can get away with lighter flashlights, but remember that less robust models may lack the capabilities you need if you plan to hike at night.

Run Time

A good rule of thumb for run time is that the brighter the light, the shorter the run time. And how much run time you need depends on what your plans for the flashlight are.

If you only need it to get around your campsite at night, a shorter run time is entirely fine. But if you like to explore at night, run times become critical. You don’t want to get caught far from your site with no light.

Durability 

A flashlight should last a long time, and for it to do so, it needs to be durable. One vital part of durability is whether or not it is impact-resistant, which describes the flashlight’s ability to survive a fall. Because unexpected things happen outdoors, it’s best to have a flashlight with impact resistance.

You should also pay attention to the construction materials, which will give you an idea of the flashlight’s durability.

Water Resistance

Finally, water resistance is a crucial feature. Having a water-resistant flashlight means that you can use it in the rain and not have to worry about it coming into contact with water. However, we recommend going a step higher and purchasing something fully waterproof if you’re camping close to water.

Best Camping Flashlight Overall

Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC90

Our choice for the best camping flashlight overall is the Anker Bolder LC90. What initially caught our attention about this product was the tons of positive reviews it has online. But what sealed the deal were the plentiful features it offers to light your way around your campsite.

The Anker Bolder LC90 features an intensely bright CREE LED light, and the beam illuminates up to an impressive 1000 feet. It includes five different light settings—low, medium, high, SOS, and strobe. These settings will ensure that you are covered in basically any situation.

As we’d expect from a high-quality flashlight, you can make the beam’s width narrower or wider as needed. This model is also highly durable and waterproof, and it is ergonomically designed to be comfortable in your hand. A rechargeable battery powers the unit, and it has a six-hour run time.

Pros:

  • Lots of positive reviews
  • Excellent run time
  • Comfortable size
  • Highly versatile thanks to its five modes
  • No need to worry about buying batteries

Cons:

  • Pretty much none to speak of

Best Camping Flashlight Under $300

Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen LED Tactical Flashlight

The Fenix Tactical Flashlight is, in many ways, very similar to our top pick, the Anker. With a brightness of 1000 lumens, it will light your way in any situation. The LED bulbs last up to 50,000 hours, and two CR123A lithium batteries power the unit (they come included). You can switch out the battery to lower the brightness if needed.

Users love that this flashlight weighs in at just 85 grams, so you won’t even notice it in your gear. It’s designed to be comfortable in your hand, no matter how big or small. Plus, the Fenix’s tiny size can slip into just about any pocket.

One handy feature that we appreciate in this flashlight is that it includes a low power indicator uncommon on similar models. It’s a small detail, but one that will stop you from getting caught in the dark in a dangerous situation.

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Low-battery indicator
  • Fits in your pocket
  • High-performance design
  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum

Cons:

  • Slightly less affordable price than others

Streamlight 75458 Stinger LED Rechargeable Flashlight

The Streamlight Stinger is quite a robust flashlight, but where it stands out is in its ability to act as a defense weapon. It can blind intruders and illuminate dark woods until you reach safety. You could even use it as a blunt weapon if needed.

The LED beams it uses as its light source are guaranteed for up to 50,000 hours, and we like that the flashlight is rechargeable. It includes several light modes, and cycling through them is intuitive. The Stinger also features an anti-slip grip that’s comfortable for any size hand, and it’s shock-resistant and water-resistant—so no worries about using it in the rain.

Pretty much the only negative to speak of is its price, but that comes with the territory of a flashlight of this caliber. In our opinion, the price is well worth it for a professional-grade tool that will last for many years.

Pros:

  • Rechargeable
  • Excellent self-defense tool
  • Dependable
  • Professional-grade tool
  • Intuitive design

Cons:

  • More expensive than some others

Best Camping Flashlight Under $100

J5 Tactical V1-PRO

The J5 Tactical V1-Pro delivers a lot in a small package. You get an extraordinary 300 lumens, which covers nearly two football fields. The J5 has three light settings, low, high, and strobe, which are useful in many different situations. You can also switch the light beam from wide to narrow as needed.

When it comes to power, there are two power options. Choose between a single AA battery or a 14500 rechargeable battery. In either case, you get about an hour of lighting, which isn’t the best, but it’s decent for the price.

The J5 weighs in at 0.8 ounces. Despite its small size, it’s robust enough to survive a nine-foot drop, which may be why organizations like the military and police love this flashlight. Plus, it’s compact and includes a clip that you can use to attach it pretty much anywhere.

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Used by military, security, and police
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Available in various colors
  • Water-resistant
  • Fits easily in your pocket

Cons:

  • Short battery life
  • Might feel small in big hands

GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight

Last up, and we’ve got the GearLight Tactical Flashlight, which is made with military-grade aluminum and is shock and water-resistant. Its high-lumen LED bulbs are ten times brighter than their incandescent counterparts, and the five light settings allow you to see objects up to 1000 feet away. You can also change the beam between the wide and narrow settings.

Thanks to its small size and great power, it’s quite versatile. You can use it for all kinds of activities, and the strap and carrying holster allow it to come with you comfortably. The GearLight flashlight is powered by three AAA batteries or one rechargeable battery, and it is sold in packs of two.

The only real downside to this model is that the run time isn’t as great as other models, but that’s to be expected of a flashlight in this price range.

Pros:

  • Compact size fits anywhere
  • Five light settings
  • Highly durable
  • Comes in a pack of two
  • Excellent value for money
  • Includes cases for both flashlights

Cons:

  • Bright lights mean shorter run time

Wrapping Up

The Anker Bolder LC90 was our pick for the best camping flashlight because we considered it an excellent middle-ground option. We like the various light settings and impressive beam distance, as well as its robust, waterproof design that will last for years. Overall, Anker was able to bridge the gap between cheaper and more expensive models with this powerful flashlight.