Roasting marshmallows outdoors and falling asleep under the stars are some of the joys of camping.
However, the wonderful outdoors can be overwhelming, especially after the sun goes down.
When in the dark, and when you can no longer rely on your eyes, ending up rummaging in your backpack, struggling late-night walks to the bathhouse, or finding a warm pair of socks or even when finding your way around the camp, a bit of light can be a real god-send
In moments like this, you need a good camping flashlight to light up the night.
Most people try and cram a flashlight or a normal torch in the toolbox or RV cabinet hoping that should do the trick. To be honest, though, your regular flashlight isn’t going to cut it in outdoors.
See, a regular flashlight emits anywhere from 40 to 100 lumens, just enough to see a few feet in the darks and no more than that.
On the other hand, true camping flashlights aren’t only brighter but have diverse usage. For instance, some double up like lanterns, glass breakers, weapons, and every power source.
Camping flashlights are also more durable, enough to shrug off any abuse. Some even have a waterproof rating, so there is no need to panic if it’s pouring outside, or you happen to accidentally drop the flashlight in a pool of water.
By choosing a camping flashlight, you benefit from better illumination in the dark, avoid costly accidents, and save your phone’s battery.
And in this camping flashlight guide, we shall review the best options in the market.
Table of Contents
The Best Flashlights for Camping For The Money
#1 ThruNite Archer 2A V3 - Compact
ThruNite Archer 2A V3 is a step up to the already popular ThruNite V2.
It’s a compact and scaled-down option, a far cry from the bulky flashlight your dad used to carry back then.
Despite the edginess, ThruNite V3 is a capable lighting solution, resistant to impact and water.
But often, we see the compact flashlight presenting “style over substance.”
Is it the case with the ThruNite Archer V3?
Features and Benefits
ThruNite Archer 2A has all the features of a tactical flashlight, but it’s scaled down to fit in any size of hands easily.
Coming at 6 inches long and less than an inch wide, this option is quite modest in dimensions, thus portable.
If you’re planning for an all-day hike, the 2 ounces weight on this option is welcome.
It’s easy to fit ThruNite Archer 2A in your purse, backpack, or pocket, and probably you won’t even notice it.
The choice of material in a camping flashlight determines the overall sturdiness and durability.
ThruNite Archer 2A excels in this department with the aluminum grade aluminum construction, enhancing the rugged performance. On the other hand, the aluminum shell’s ant-abrasive finish offers protection against the elements, particularly rusting.
You don’t have to worry about dropping the ThruNite Archer 2A. The manufacturer presents the flashlight as impact-resistant from being dropped from heights of up to a meter.
The IPX8 water rating means this option can be submerged in water, up to 2 feet, without compromising its integrity.
Sporting a CREE XP-L V6 LED lighting system, ThruNite Archer 2A delivers a maximum of 500 lumens, which will shine a light over 300 feet.
It’s the perfect brightness level while outdoors as it gives you a greater view in the dead of night.
The brightness is also adjustable, which helps to conserve the battery. But unfortunately, both the medium and low settings underperformed in terms of brightness. For instance, the medium setting emits 75 lumens, and the low setting emits 17 lumens, which we think is a drastic drop in quality.
Beyond the brightness levels, ThruNite Archer 2A also supports two other lighting modes for greater versatility.
The strobe mode, for instance, is useful for emergencies while the extra-dim firefly mode, emitting a paltry 0.2 lumens, is perfect for the camping chores that don’t require much lighting.
While the high setting is extremely bright, we would caution anyone for using it for an extended period as it doesn’t last more than 2 hours.
To me, it didn’t feel like a decent amount of time, but even more alarming is the warning on the manual advising not to use the flashlight at the high setting for more than 10 minutes.
Easy to Use
ThruNite Archer 2A is an easy to use lighting solution coming with plenty of convenience and comfort-enhancing features.
The switch buttons are conveniently placed to allow switching on and off. The flashlight also utilizes a double-button system to prevent an accidental switching on or change of the mode.
Overall, ThruNite Archer 2A is a nice camping flashlight, coming with a host of desirable features for camping enthusiasts. Our only concern was the limited battery life, which might affect the overall usage.
#2 GearLight S1000 LED Tactical Flashlight - Best Value
GearLight promises quality, performance, and value, and the S1000 delivers on all three counts.
The S1000 is an inexpensive option, but no compromises are made to the quality. This flashlight is super sturdy and built to shrug off any abuse.
It also offers a bright beam and extended battery life.
All the features, accompanied by a reasonable price, make the S100 a product you won’t regret spending money on.
Features and Benefits
Like the ThruNite, S100 is yet another nifty and compact lighting solution.
Weighing 5.7 ounces, it feels light, and you won’t even feel it when backpacking or when carrying it in your pocket.
The 6.10 x 1.57 x 1.57 inches dimensions make it ultra-compact, so it doesn’t bulk up your camping accessories.
S1000 is as sturdy as it looks.
Coming with military-grade aluminum housing, S1000 is virtually indestructible, and you can count on it to last in the harsh and rugged outdoors.
The flashlight also boasts impressive impact resistance, with the flashlight surviving as much as a ten-foot drop.
Built for tough handling, the S1000 is water-resistant and will survive temporary submersion in the water or even freezing, which is a fantastic option for winter survival.
Despite the ruggedness, the flashlight doesn’t feel all that premium either-it’s to be expected at this price point. For example, when you shake the flashlight, you can hear something small rattling around inside.
However, premium or not, it doesn’t affect the overall sturdiness of this flashlight.
Aptly named the S1000, this flashlight comes with 1000 lumens for its LED lighting.
The folks at GearLight claim that the LED on this flashlight can light up an object as far as 1000 feet, which is impressive.
The LEDs used on this option are nearly ten times brighter than old incandescent light.
So, whether you need to rummage through your backpack and even head out for the bathhouse, the S1000 will provide you with sufficient lighting options.
S1000 is a multi-purpose option, suitable for different activities, all thanks to the different lighting modes.
It consists of high, medium, and low modes, which are pretty standard in most camping flashlights.
Also, it has an SOS and strobe modes, which can come in handy in emergencies.
Another nice thing with the overall lighting on the S1000 is the wide or narrow beam option, allowing you to control how the flashlight illuminates your area.
S1000 is a true value option, coming with a host of add-ons.
First, you get two for one, which is fantastic, considering the light’s price point.
You also get carrying cases for both of them for safety and storage.
#3 Wowtac A7 Tactical Flashlight - Tactical Option
The Wowtac isn’t only an affordable camping flashlight but among the brightest and most durable options.
It’s marketed as the perfect tactical flashlight for use in the rugged outdoor terrains.
But will it serve your needs?
Features and Benefits
This flashlight’s overall design isn’t any different from what we’ve seen with other flashlights on our list.
However, this model is fashioned for tactical use; the 1-inch design, a standard design in the tactical tool, promotes ease of use, practical, and convenience.
The flashlight is also both compact and lightweight, features enhancing portability. The paltry 5.2 ounces, in particular, don’t bulk up your backpack.
Durability is essential with any tactical tool, and the Wowtac A7 doesn’t disappoint in this sector.
The heavy-duty aluminum hard body easily takes on the drops and hits without compromising the flashlight.
Additionally, the solid construction can easily take on the drops, something the backpackers will appreciate.
The flashlight has an impressive IPX8 waterproof rating, which users claim proved accurate as it easily handled full submersion without impacting the performance.
When fully charged, the 1,047 lumens offer an intense beam, which can easily light up to ranges of 880 feet.
5 Light Modes
For true versatility, Wowtec has five brightness modes.
The Turbo mode offers the brightest lighting experience, though it’s meant for short periods of ultra-brightness.
The firefly mode is the dimmest, reports 0.5 lumens, but has an impressive run time of 108 days.
There’s also a Strobe mode with high lumen output and is a handy mode during emergencies.
Easy to Use
Wowtec is rich in features, but surprisingly, it’s easy to use lighting solutions.
For instance, I liked how the manufacturer has placed the switch button separate from the on/off button. This way, it’s easy to keep the flashlight at your preferred mode and not have to go through the inconvenience of cycling through each time you turn it one.
The aluminum body surrounding the on/off is raised slightly, making it difficult to turn the unit on in your pocket or backpack accidentally.
Wowtec operates on a 18650 battery, which offers a decent runtime of 10 hours on top brightness. It could be a great option for weekend excursions. However, I would’ve preferred to see a more common battery on the flashlight.
Along with the battery, this option includes a micro USB charging cord, which can be used if your campsite is connected to the grid.
#4 Deseeker Tactical Flashlight - Brightest
Dayseeker DS09 is yet another compact flashlight utilizing a magnetically charged function.
It utilizes XML- U3 LED, which along with the 18650 battery, guarantees a maximum output of 1380 lumens.
The DS09 is also a multi-functional unit whose usage extends beyond camping and self-defense, climbing, and outdoor activities.
Features and Benefits
DS09 is a typical EDC flashlight, offering a maximum output of 1380 lumens for better illumination. Deseeker flashlight is a perfect option for campers as it shines far away while making a large area up close.
The model has a modest dimension of 4.5 x 1.2 x 1.2 inches and only weighs 117g with the battery, so it easily fits into your pocket.
It’s a sturdy option too, a tactical-style flashlight with a shock-resistant aluminum body to take on the drops, dings, and hits.
The anodizing-grade aluminum is shock-resistant and won’t compromise the flashlight’s overall integrity, even when dropped from a height of 1.5 M.
Magnetic USB Rechargeable
DS09 is a unique flashlight, coming with a USB magnetic charging cable, so you can conveniently connect the USB cable to the charging port.
The magnetic charging cable has a nice touch, ensuring the light watertight.
It also features two congenial batteries, which may provide a perfect backup or outdoor adventures.
6 Lighting modes and Gear Memory Function
A true multi-functional flashlight, DS09 features four basic modes: Turbo, High, Medium, Low, and two modes for emergencies-strobe and firefly.
It has a gear memory function for the four main modes, and it immigrates to the prior working conditions after being activated similarly.
#5 Nite Ize 3-in-1 LED Flashlight - Budget Option
Nite Ize is an inspiring option for those on a budget. But despite the budget tag, it’s capable, and more importantly, versatile option, serving as a 3-in-1.
But Nite Radiant, alongside it, features the right option for you?
Features and Benefits
The biggest highlight of the Nite Ize is the three different modes. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but for a budget option, it’s quite a big deal.
The three modes consist of a flashlight, lantern, and a proper electric torch.
Nite Ize is a portable flashlight, coming with a compact design of a 4 ½” x 1 ⅕”.
Along with the compact design, the torch has a decent weight of 77 grams, so it won’t fatigue you even when carrying it for an extended period.
Additionally, the flashlight is machined with aluminum for durability and has a lanyard hoop for easier portability.
For the price, expect some compromises, and one of them is the light output.
The Nite Ize is among the least powerful models we have on the least, putting out a measly 80 lumens.
It doesn’t also help that it has a low water rating of IPX4, though it can tolerate water splashes and light rain.
Another silver lining is the 1-meter impact resistance, meaning you don’t have to worry about the low drops.
The Ize might not be the most powerful option, but it’s not only inexpensive, but it offers further value by incorporating three different light modes.
Best Camping Flashlights Buying Guide
With plenty of options in the market, selecting a camping flashlight can feel intimidating. But here are some of the factors and features to consider in your next selection.
Selecting a Camping Flashlight: What to Consider
A flashlight’s brightness is measured in lumens. More lumens equal stronger brightness.
Generally, flashlights with 400-1000 lumens are enough for your camping needs. Less than 300 lumens, and you’ll get a useless light.
However, too much brightness can work against you, blinding the sport you’re trying to illuminate.
This is why most flashlights have an adjustable button for determining the intensity of the brightness.
Beyond the brightness settings, some flashlights incorporate additional helpful modes such as:
- Strobe Mode: This lighting mode is helpful in emergencies. The mode causes the light to operate as a blinker, and you should consider a model with this option if you foresee a potential emergency.
- Red Light Mode: This is an alternative to a dim setting, offering the perfect lighting condition for reading a map or book without distracting your partner.
- Lantern: Some flashlights feature a wide lens, which can be changed to function as lanterns.
Weight and Size
Portability is of the essence since you already have a lot of items to carry in your backpack.
You don’t want to have a hefty flashlight that will bulk up your backpack. Instead, you should choose a lightweight and compact unit.
However, understanding bigger flashlights have their advantages as far as features are concerned; large flashlights are characterized by more brightness durability, longer distance beam, and so on.
The trick here is to balance between the size and performance.
Camping flashlights usually have a diverse powering system.
Battery sources are the most common powering system, but I would suggest you choose an option with multiple powering options as general advice.
Here are some of the common powering sources:
- Batteries: The battery flashlights are convenient, especially when you’re camping off-grid. But they’re uneconomical since they require frequent replacement.
- Rechargeable Flashlights: These run on AC power and save you tons of money in the long run since they don’t require a change of batteries. However, your campsite needs some form of electric hookup. Otherwise, you won’t be able to recharge.
- Solar flashlights: The solar flashlights save on batteries, but they’ve their limitations, too. Notably, they can’t be recharged in cloudy weather or at night. If you run out of juice after nightfall, you’ll be stuck in the dark. Ideally, they should only serve as a backup.
- Faraday Flashlights: They’re also known as shake flashlights as they use mechanical energy to create power. While they’ll always assure you of power generation, they cause a lot of fatigue.
Run tie refers to the amount of time a flashlight can last.
Normally, run time is determined by the strength of the battery, which is why you should pick an option with a dime setting to extend the life of your flashlight.
Also, the brightness level affects the overall runtime. For instance, a higher level of brightness shortens the run time, which is why
There’s no fit run time, and it should be determined on how you use your flashlight. If you need to use your flashlight for a few minutes, the short run time will suffice. However, if you need a flashlight for longer usage, you’ll require a longer run time naturally.
I can’t emphasize the importance of durability in a camping flashlight.
Sure, camping flashlights are generally durable than regular flashlights, but some have better ruggedness than others.
You need to choose a sturdy option and one that will last in extreme conditions.
Additionally, your choice of flashlight should reflect on the kind of camping trip. If you plan to do a lot of water sports, then get a waterproof model. If you’ll be doing a lot of climbing, and you might drop or bang the flashlight, then choose an impact-resistant option.
Either way, understand durability comes at a price.
Verdict: Our Choice
There’re plenty of options to choose on our list, but we feel the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 is slightly better than other options.
Sure, it’s not the brightest option, but still, the 500-lumen brightness is super impressive for outdoors. Again, remember the best flashing for camping is not all about brightness.
The ThruNite Archer 2A V3, for instance, has greater lighting versatility, offering numerous lighting modes to cater to the different camping needs.
It’s also a practical solution, with sturdy aluminum construction, water-resistance, and impact resistance properties to shrug off any abuse.
More importantly, the flashlight perfectly balances the cost and functionality; it comes at a price range most people can afford, yet ticking all the boxes for a fantastic performance.