Best camping flashlights
& headlamps

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Skip the text and jump straight to our recommended flashlights

  1. Best small flashlight for camping
  2. Best AA flashlight for camping
  3. High power multi-usage flashlight
  4. Best headlamp for camping (lithium-ion battery)
Nebo flashlights

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What to know beforehand

Before you jump right into our recommended flashlights, I’d like to take a minute and explain a few things.

Please be aware of Alkaline batteries. Why? Because they can leak and damage your flashlight. Plus, Alkaline batteries are not powerful enough to maintain high output. They are usually fine to use in an emergency, but they shouldn’t be part of your regular camping gear, unless you really have to, like D-size batteries. If you want to stick with regular AA and AAA batteries, use rechargeables. Panasonic Eneloop batteries are one of the best if you don’t like using lithium-ion batteries.

Also, the flashlights listed here are only based on our testing. We haven’t added any flashlights here, that we haven’t personally tested. We also made a list with some of the best camping lanterns, in case you were looking for that.

Some things to consider before buying your next camping light:

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries run your flashlights longer than any AA or AAA batteries in the highest modes
  • Don’t go camping often? Don’t use Alkaline batteries!
  • You don’t like recharging lithium-ion batteries? Get a flashlight with onboard charging and a lithium-ion battery built-in, so you can charge it on the fly. If you choose rechargeable AA or AAA batteries, buy the standard Panasonic Eneloop batteries with 1900mAh since they can keep their charge the longest.
  • If you have to choose between a flashlight running on AA or AAA batteries, choose AA. They are only slightly larger but have 3 times the capacity.
  • Don’t keep batteries in your flashlights while storing
  • Get a 12V USB car charger, so you can charge the flashlight on the road, or anywhere with a USB connector if the car breaks down
  • Try to recharge all your batteries at least once a year (it also helps to spot any problematic batteries)
  • Get a cheap diffusor so you can use the flashlight as a lightbulb (a diffuser spreads the light into a wider area) which is great for camping, or a red/orange cone as a warning signal. You can also use a plastic cup, in lower output modes. It could melt in Turbo mode.
  • Get a flashlight with very long runtimes (the lowest modes should be below 5 lumens to last multiple nights on a single battery)
  • When your light stops working with rechargeable AA batteries (like an Eneloop) you could use Alkaline batteries in an emergency. Alkaline batteries can run at very low outputs for a very long time.
  • Get a flashlight with a magnet built in the tailcap so you can stick it to metal, like the hood or the body of the car
  • Get a flashlight with a beacon mode. This mode will blink once every few seconds and lasts long enough for a rescuer to locate your position if you get lost
  • Don’t get a camping flashlight with camouflage colors, but rather a colorful on: you’ll be able to find it much quicker
  • Keep in mind: two is one, and one is none

Best mini flashlight for camping

The best flashlight is the one that you have when you need one. And to increase the likelihood of having a great flashlight with you, all the time, is by EDC-ing. If you don’t like carrying an extra flashlight in your pocket at all times, just get a keychain light, that is hardly bigger than your pinky.

Nitecore Tini 2

in hand
Nitecore Tini 2 runtime graph
Specification:Highlights:
Output1 – 500 lumens (we measured 458)
FeaturesUSB-C Rechargeable, 5 modes, available in titanium, stainless steel and aluminum
Battery configurationBuilt-in 280mAh

No need to take extra batteries for your keychain light. Just charge it with any USB-C charger (with USB-C cable) to power up this little bugger.

In testing, the SS and Ti models have an almost identical runtime to the aluminum version. At turn on, it was able to reach 471 lumens, which dropped to 458 lumens in 30 seconds. After 10 minutes, Turbo mode was down to 190 lumens. The lowest modes can run for hours and hours, or even days.

Best AA flashlight for camping

Olight i5R eos

Olight i5R holding
Olight i5R runtime graph
Specification:Highlights:
Output2 modes: 15 and 350 lumens
Features2.4V battery included, only 2 modes, runtime up to 35 hours
Battery configuration1AA / special 2.4V battery

The Olight i5R Eos is a great little flashlight running of AA batteries. So you can use all kinds, ranging from NiMH, NiCad, Alkaline, lithium (1.8V) and it even includes a very interesting 2.4V battery. (of course it’s not 2.4 volts inside, but it uses a few electronics to get the voltage to 2.4V

This battery is able to produce 366 lumens, and drops to 164 lumens in 10 minutes.. You can use it for 2 hours in high mode. We didn’t test low mode, but it is supposed to run for 35 hours, at roughly 15 lumens.

In case of emergencies, you can simply replace the 2.4V battery with any AA battery you like..

Want to know all the details, read our in-depth review here: https://1lumen.com/review/olight-i5r-eos/

Best camping flashlight headlamp

Armytek Wizard C2 PRO

Specification:Highlights:
Max output0.03 lumens – 2000 lumens
FeaturesUSB rechargeable, head strap, magnetic tailcap, bicycle attachment
Battery configuration1*18650 (rechargeable)

The reason why I chose the Wizard C2 PRO is the following:

  1. The right-angle flashlight can be used or carried in different ways.
    1. It includes a headband so you can use it as a headlamp, so you have both hands free to
    2. It has a magnetic tailcap, so you can stick it to something metal like your car hood
    3. It has a clamp to attach it to a bike, but you can also use it to attach it to a pole or anything else
  2. It can be charged with a USB charger
    1. Whether you have a USB charger at home, in the car, RV, or anywhere. You change charge the battery inside the flashlight
  3. Its lowest mode is extremely low, so you have a very, very long runtime.

There are however 2 caveats.

  1. The UI needs to be memorized in order to use it properly. Therefore I recommend setting it to General UI, and forget about the Advanced UI
  2. To charge the battery you have to unscrew the tailcap 1/4 turn.. so you have to remember this, which is not easy. It’s best to keep a small cheatsheet with the UI inside the flashlight.

For all these reasons, the Armytek Wizard C2 PRO is a great flashlight to keep in your car for emergencies. Also, keep in mind you better get a USB car charger adapter to make sure you can always charge the flashlight.

Use discount code: Lumen15 at the Armytek store for 15% off!

Best affordable high power camping light

Sofirn SP36 PRO with diffuser

flashlight in hand
Sofirn SP36 PRO runtime full
Specification:Highlights:
Outputup to 8,000 lumens (we measured 5750 at turn on)
FeaturesUSB-C onboard charging and can turn on while charging
Battery configuration3* 18650 batteries

The Sofirn SP36 PRO runs on 1, 2, 3 or 4 batteries, so that gives you an incredible diversity of uses. Using more batteries will result in more lumens, but you don’t really have to use 4 at once.

And if you add a cheap diffuser, you could probably use it as a tent light, and a camping lantern at the same time. There are a few different SP36 versions, and I’m referring specifically to the SP36 PRO.

It’s using USB type C for onboard charging, and that’s awesome, but in my opinion, it’s more of a convenience feature.

Alas, the built-in USB charging works fine, and it took around 4-5 hours to recharge the light after a runtime test on a 2.1 amp wall adapter. The termination voltage was right at 4.20 volts on the nose. Read all details in our extended review of the Sofirn SP36 PRO.

However, keep in mind that you can only use this light with a diffuser when you can put it down on a flat surface. There is no lanyard attachment. The other alternative is adding a strong magnet at the bottom of the tail cap so it can hang from a metal object. The diffuser is only $3.

Buy diffuser at Sofirn. But you can also buy a generic diffuser, as long as the diameter fits.

FAQ:

How many lumens do I need for a camping flashlight?

Are you asking how bright a camping flashlight should be? You probably only need 500-1000 lumens at max for most general tasks during camping. Many flashlights can produce that output, but one of the things you need to keep in mind is the batteries it uses, how long they can run, and whether it’s waterproof.

How many lumens does a tent light need?

I’d say, you only need about 200 lumens. The easiest way to use a tent light is by adding a diffuser to a ‘regular’ flashlight. That way, you don’t really need a specific tentlight, and you can use it for more tasks, instead of just inside the tent.

Is 200 lumens bright enough for camping?

200 lumens could be enough. But it depends on how the beam is emitted, and what you want to use it for. I would probably aim at 500-1000 lumens for a flashlight, that you can use for multiple purposes. Also, don’t forget about a magnet in the tailcap. That could help you in certain situations.

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