If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
It’s no secret that camping and hiking require a lot of gear if you’re going to do it properly. While it’s impossible to forget the basics like your tent, backpack, water and bug spray, it’s easy to overlook other essential gadgets in the name of packing light. One thing you should never go without is a dependable outdoor flashlight to help you see even after the sun goes down.
Outdoor Flashlight Buying Guide
When selecting your flashlight, there are a few main factors to take into consideration: the conditions it can withstand; its brightness and battery life; and, how it can accommodate your personal camping and hiking preferences.
The best outdoor flashlights should at least be water-resistant, meaning that a few splashes of water or a quick spill won’t hurt anything. However, choosing a waterproof model is recommended if you live in a particularly wet area or do most of your outdoor activities by the waterside. That way, accidental submersion does not turn into an emergency — and neither does rainfall. Hikers and climbers will want to take durability one step further and select an outdoor flashlight that is also shock and/or resistant to unexpected drops.
In addition to their durability, the best outdoor flashlights are also relatively compact so they don’t bulk up your gear. For campground getaways or easy hikes, many of today’s smaller flashlights can get the job done — and since they often come in value packs, there will be plenty to go around. However, for more advanced activities, the best outdoor flashlight would be a model with multiple light settings, including a strobe and/or SOS mode. If you’re the type of adventurer who visits trails where two hands are needed to navigate safely, then a headlamp will be the best outdoor flashlight so that you never have to sacrifice safety.
What Are the Best Outdoor Flashlights?
Luckily, there is an outdoor flashlight for every type of situation. These four picks will help you prepare for whatever comes your way.
1. Comcrosfly Rechargeable Waterproof Flashlight
Waterproof, shockproof, rechargeable, zoomable, and super-bright: The Comcrosfly LED Flashlight has everything you need in a dependable outdoor flashlight. While the flashlight is compact for easy hand-held use, it is capable of bringing light to large areas, and can also focus on objects up to 660 feet away. It has high and low brightness modes and a strobe light setting, all of which are easily transitioned to through a one-switch control. Thanks to its durable build and high-performance 18650 rechargeable battery, you can count on this flashlight to persist with you through all of your outdoor activities.
2. Hatori Mini LED Flashlight Set
Whether you are hiking or camping, it’s best that everyone in your group is prepared with their own outdoor flashlight. Having this four-piece Hatori mini LED flashlight set on hand is a great way to help your friends and family put safety first, too. Each flashlight is 3.55 inches long, making them effortless add-ons to your existing gear. They’re super rugged, made from a high-durability aluminum alloy that’s also water- and snow-resistant. You’ll need a AAA battery for each one to operate, and they can last for two straight hours when kept on full-time. Thanks to their size, they’re a great full-time addition to any backpack.
3. Melun Tactical Flashlight
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you know that for as much as you plan, some things are just unpredictable. This Melun six-mode hiking and camping flashlight is one of the best outdoor flashlights to have on hand for any situation that comes your way. It has a 90-degree rotatable head that helps you light even the most complicated environments. It has a strong magnet that helps you attach it to an iron surface to prop it up for long-lasting use as your main source of light. It’s capable of six different lighting modes — from high to low to SOS and flash — and operates on a rechargeable lithium battery. Additionally, it will still work even if you drop it from 10 feet above, and it’s even IPX8-rated for water-resistance.
4. Odear Headlamp Flashlight
As hikers and climbers know, sometimes navigating outdoor terrain requires two hands. However, this doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice the safety that the best outdoor flashlights provide. The Odear Headlamp Flashlight is the perfect solution for such situations. When wearing this headlamp, you’ll be able to see up to 500 yards away. The light has two modes (high and low), and you can even adjust the light’s angle from 0 to 45 degrees at a moment’s notice. It’s also waterproof, so if you’re splashed or you encounter a little rain, you don’t have to worry about being stranded without light. It operates on two built-in rechargeable batteries.