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It doesn’t matter where you’re camping, what the weather is like, what time of year it is, or how long you’ll be out in the woods for. There’s one thing that’s inevitable: It’s going to get dark. And for that, you’ll need a good camping flashlight.

Whether for nighttime navigation around a campsite, a pre-sunrise hike, or even a chin spotlight during a spooky campfire story, flashlights come in handy for any task outside of daylight hours. Most camping areas have little to no light, especially if you’re backpacking out in uncharted terrain, so a reliable flashlight is essential. To help you find the right light for your needs, we headed outside to test some of the most popular flashlights and lanterns from brands like Fenix, Streamlight, and Olight. After hours of hands-on testing, we analyzed a variety of factors to make our picks, including battery life, lumens, and durability.

From small budget-friendly options to the brightest rechargeable LED lights, these are the best camping flashlights for your next outdoor adventure.

The Best Camping Flashlights

Best camping flashlights laid out on grass
Some of the top-rated flashlights we put to the test. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

Best Overall: Streamlight ProTac 2.0

Specs

  • Lumens: 2,000
  • Power Source: Rechargeable battery
  • Weight: 8.25 ounces
  • Materials: Machined aircraft aluminum
  • Waterproof: IP67-rated, dust-tight and waterproof

Pros

  • TEN-TAP programming with three program selections
  • USB-C rechargeable (cord included)
  • Bright LED light with 2,000 lumens
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Heavier than your average flashlight

Because I naturally gravitate towards flashlights with white light, my best overall pick for camping is the Streamlight ProTac 2.0. This popular tactical flashlight has an impressive 2,000 lumens of LED technology—and it really shows. When I was testing the ProTac, it provided remarkable clarity and illuminated a large area of forest floor.

It has a fairly long runtime of up to 2.5 hours on the high setting, ensuring reliable performance during extended use. The rechargeable SL-B50 battery pack fully charges in 6 hours via a USB-C cord. I appreciate that you don’t need a specific separate charger. The TEN-TAP programmable feature allows for one-handed operation—I was able to effortlessly switch between momentary and constant on modes.

Streamlight ProTac 2.0 Flashlight turned on laying on grass
The Streamlight ProTac 2.0 flashlight in action. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

This flashlight goes beyond basic campsite use. Constructed of high-quality aluminum with an IP67 rating that makes it dust- and waterproof, it’s a dependable choice for almost any task, from hiking to fishing. You can use it rain or shine without worrying about water damage. For added peace of mind, Streamlight also offers customers a limited lifetime warranty to protect your purchase.

TL;DR: I chose the ProTac 2.0 as the best camping flashlight because of its high lumens and rugged design.

Best Budget: Streamlight Microstream

Specs

  • Lumens: 250
  • Power Source: Rechargeable battery
  • Weight: 2.08 ounces
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant

Pros

  • Compact size for portability
  • Impact- and water-resistant
  • Great for all ages (kids included)

Cons

  • Battery only lasts on high for 1.5 hours

The Streamlight MicroStream is a pocket-sized light you can take anywhere. At just 3.87 inches, it’s small and compact—perfect as an EDC flashlight. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and features a pocket clip that was specifically designed to attach to the brim of a ball cap for hands-free operation. The MicroStream produces 250 lumens, which isn’t a ton but it’s enough for most campsite needs.

As a parent, I found this to be a great addition to my kids camping gear. It hardly adds any weight or bulk to their packs and it was very easy for them to handle and operate.

Streamlight Microstream Flashlight turned on laying on grass
The Streamlight Microstream flashlight in action at night. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

Made of water-resistant aircraft aluminum with a scratch-resistant lens, this Streamlight flashlight is so durable and tough, you won’t have to worry about accidental drops or wet conditions. Even better, it costs just under $32, making it one of the most budget-friendly flashlights. Its performance far exceeds its price, in my opinion.

One potential downside: Due to the size of this micro flashlight, the battery is not very large. When I used it on high, it only lasted for about 1.5 hours, so be sure to bring a charging source. Priced just under $32 this light is a budget pick.

Best Small: Olight Seeker 4 Pro

Specs

  • Lumens: 4600
  • Power Source: rechargeable battery
  • Weight: ‎1.28 pounds
  • Waterproof: IPX8

Pros

  • Compact ‎size
  • Dual charging capabilities
  • Different color light options, including cool and neutral white

Cons

  • More expensive than others we reviewed

The Olight Seeker 4 Pro is a lightweight and compact flashlight perfect for backpacking. The flashlight conveniently stows in a holster that easily attaches to a backpack strap and doubles as a charging port. The Seeker 4 Pro takes high-performance LED flashlights to a whole new level with its 4,600 lumens output and an impressive throw distance of 260 meters. The holster use offers charging capabilities along with versatile storage and carrying options.

Setting the Seeker 4 Pro apart is its dual-charging flexibility. With support for Type-C charging through the holster or magnetic charging using the optional MCC3, it provides users with convenient and efficient charging options. Users can select from cool white and neutral white light options. For those seeking a high-performance flashlight with versatility and reliability, the Seeker 4 Pro stands out as a great choice.

Best Rechargeable: Fenix TK16 V2.0

Specs

  • Lumens: 3100
  • Power Source: Rechargeable battery
  • Weight: 3.95 ounces
  • Waterproof: Rated IP68 waterproof

Pros

  • Extended battery runtime of over 43 hours
  • Six run settings: Strobe, Eco, Low, Mid, High and Turbo
  • Long beam distance of 415 yards
  • Weather-resistant

Cons

  • Pricier than other flashlights

The Fenix TK16 V2.0 flashlight really shines (pun intended) thanks to its powerful lithium-ion battery, which is why I awarded it the best rechargeable. The performance is incredible—it can run for over 43 hours on its lowest setting. It has six other settings, too, including an extra bright turbo option, which has up to 2 hours of battery life.

With an impressive temperature tolerance of -31 to 113 degrees F and dust- and waterproof exterior, you can use this flashlight in any weather conditions year-round, whether it’s the dead of winter or the heat of summer. It has a peak beam distance of 415 yards, so it’s great for camping along with emergency situations (like search and rescue missions), survival, and trail navigation while hiking. Plus, it weighs less than 4 ounces ounces—great for tossing in a backpacking backpack or day pack without adding a lot of weight.

Best LED: Ledlenser P7R Core

Specs

  • Lumens: 1400
  • Power Source: Lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Waterproof: IP68

Pros

  • Long 90-hour battery life
  • Spot and flood modes
  • Flex sealing technology protects your flashlight against dust and water

Cons

  • Specific magnet charging system

The Ledlenser P7R Core delivers exceptional performance with 1400 lumens, illuminating everything I needed to see while I was at the campsite. The flashlight has seven settings: power, mid-power, low-power, boost, SOS, blink and strobe. It was very easy to switch modes, especially between spot and flood.

More than that, I really liked the feel of this flashlight. The P7R Core is one of the most lightweight flashlights I tested.

Ledlenser P7R Flashlight turned on laying on grass
The Ledlenser P7R Core flashlight in action at night. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

Powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, this Ledlenser flashlight has a remarkable 90-hour battery life, providing long-lasting use between charges. The inclusion of Flex Sealing Technology makes it very durable, protecting it against dust and water with an IP68 rating. This is a light you can be rough with.

While the P7R Core excels in many aspects, its specific magnet charging system may be a potential drawback for users who prefer a more universal charging method like the USB-C. However, this is a minor inconvenience compared to the flashlight’s overall performance and functionality.

Best Large: MagLite ML300L

Specs

  • Lumens: 1008
  • Power Source: 4 D-Cell batteries
  • Weight: 32 ounces with batteries
  • Waterproof: water-resistant

Pros

  • Long beam throw of 558 yards
  • Incredible runtime on eco setting
  • Four programmable function sets: General, Outdoor, Law Enforcement, and Military

Cons

  • Bulkier than others we tested

MagLite has a reputation for making robust military/law enforcement grade flashlights. Using their patented LED Heat Sink technology, the MagLite ML300L 4D has a beam throw range of 558 yards. On eco mode, you can get 18 days of continual use. That is plain wild.

Unlike most of the flashlights we tested, this one uses four D-Cell batteries. Most flashlights are rechargeable; however, that is not always practical when power sources may not be accessible. Using alkaline batteries may be a pro to some and con to others. It is worth noting that only with a battery change you will be back in action—there is no charging time.

Maglite ML300L Flashlight laying on grass
The Maglite ML300L flashlight in the field. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

This Maglite flashlight weighs 2 pounds including batteries, which makes it significantly heavier than others we tested. But that’s for good reason. This thing is a beast. It’s comprised of heavy-duty aluminum that sets the standard for durability.

One of my favorite features was how easy it was to use and how bright the light is. With a small 1/4-turn adjustment, the focus quickly goes from spot to flood. I’m a big believer in the brand now. MagLite definitely earns its place at best large for its iconic build and recognizable large design.

Best Lantern: Ledlenser ML6 Lantern

Specs

  • Lumens: 750
  • Power Source: Lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Waterproof: IP66 rating

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Can light a large area
  • Serves as a power bank for other devices
  • 7-year guarantee

Cons

  • Heavier than most lights we tested

The Ledlenser ML6 lantern is my favorite camping lantern of all the ones I’ve tried. It uses patented micro prism technology to produce glare-free and efficient distribution of 750 lumens. I like the lantern-style light—it’s very versatile at the campsite, illuminating a large area for cooking dinner, starting a fire, or just kicking back.

In addition to providing a light source, the Ledlenser can serve as a power bank for other devices using a standard USB inlet. The lantern has a 4-hour run time when using the highest light setting and it will even let know when it needs to be charged.

Ledlenser Lantern sitting on ground turned on
The Ledlenser ML6 camping lantern in action at night. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

Using smart light technology, you can dim the light using the plus or minus push buttons. The ML6 also has a red-light option. This is the warm light series producing a soft light. Though on the heavier side, when testing, I felt this to be very robust and durable. This lantern was the most user-friendly out of the lights tested. It was not much of a learning curve to change settings. Bonus: I loved that the lantern has an integrated magnet and hook for various attachment arrangements.

Best Campsite Light: Goal Zero Torch

Specs

  • Lumens: 500
  • Power Source: Lithium-ion battery
  • Weight: ‎12.8 ounces
  • Waterproof: IP67

Pros

  • Built-in solar panel
  • Doubles as a USB power bank
  • Three powerful brightness settings

Cons

  • Flood light does not cover the whole face of the torch

If you are looking for a hanging light for your campsite, the Goal Zero Torch is a solid option. The Torch produces yellow warm light, making it easy on the eyes and perfect for close quarters. This lantern has two light options: a forward-facing flood light and a spotlight on the end. Each light offers three settings: low, medium, and high.

In addition to the light capabilities the torch offers a power bank with a USB inlet, that will charge a phone, tablet up to 50% and or three cameras. I liked this for an in-tent option as well. In testing, the soft light was soothing and the unit itself allowed me to charge my devices. The only potential negative, in my opinion, is that the design could have allowed an increase to the floodlight size on the face.

Goal Zero Torch flashlight lit up on the grass
The Goal Zero Torch flashlight in action at night. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

However, the full-size built-in solar panel running the back of the Goal Zero Torch provides continual charging, which is awesome. And you get a 300 lumens spotlight and 300 lumens floodlight powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can charge in 4 hours plugged into a wall outlet or 23 hours of full sun exposure to the solar panel.

This Goal Zero flashlight has metal hangers on both ends, which I used to hang the light in various fixed positions. When testing this light, I was not afraid of the tasks I was using it for with its robust construction. With a waterproof rating of IP67 it can withstand water hose sprays and momentary immersions in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. This is a great all-purpose light for an outdoor camping adventure.

How We Tested Camping Flashlights

Unless you’re going the really primitive route, flashlights are a necessity when camping. But there are so many options out there. Because it would be nearly impossible to test all of them, for the sake of this article, I narrowed it down to a handful of top contenders based on the following factors:

  • Durability: Is this flashlight going to withstand the ruggedness of my outdoor use?
  • Beam Range and Brightness: How far does the light shine? What is the maximum distance? Is it white or yellow light? How bright and powerful is the light itself?
  • Battery Life: How long does the flashlight last on a single charge? Is it rechargeable? Will I be able to charge the light while camping or do I need to pack extra batteries?
  • Weather Resistance: Will this flash be able to endure the elements? What is the waterproof rating?
Best camping flashlights lined up on pavement at night
We tested some of the most popular flashlights for this review (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

What to Look For in a Camping Flashlight

Lumens

Assess the level of brightness needed for your activities. Lower lumens (100-300) suffice for close quarters, while higher lumens (300-1000+) are ideal for broader illumination. Evaluate the beam distance and spread to determine how far and wide the flashlight can illuminate. This is essential for navigating trails or larger campsite areas.

It’s important to note that brighter isn’t always better. Your intended use can affect the ideal lumens for your flashlight. For instance, in close quarters like inside a tent, you do not want a high-powered white light. Instead, a soft yellow warm light with several settings may be best.

Best camping flashlights lined up on grass at night
A comparison of the brightness of the lights we tested. (Photo/Bethany Beathard)

Battery Life and Type

A flashlight’s battery is one of its most important components. After all, you don’t want your light to die in the middle of the night when you’re trying to navigate back to camp. First, consider the type of batteries the flashlight requires. Some may use AA batteries, while others run on high-powered lithium-ion batteries. If you’re using a rechargeable flashlight, remember you’ll need some kind of power source to charge it, whether that’s a portable solar generator or power bank.

Pay attention to the battery life, as well. Longer battery life is crucial for extended camping trips or short weekend trips. Some flashlights have low settings or energy-efficient modes that help conserve power when you’re out in the wilderness.

Durability, Size, and Weight

As is the case with any camping gear, camping flashlights need to be tough enough to withstand even the most inclement outdoor conditions. They should be able to take a beating. Look for models with robust construction made of durable materials. Check the IP rating to determine if a light is fully waterproof or merely water-resistant. Some are also shock-resistant and/or dust-proof to ensure longevity in challenging environments.

Portability also matters when camping, especially if you’re backpacking or if you plan on hiking a lot. Opt for a compact and lightweight flashlight that fits easily into your gear without adding unnecessary bulk.

FAQs

Q: How many lumens is a good flashlight for camping?

We reviewed flashlights with 250+ lumens. A good flashlight for camping typically ranges from 100 to 300 lumens for general tasks or tent lighting, while higher lumens of 300-1000+ may be preferred for more demanding outdoor activities or larger campsites. I typically prefer a flashlight with lumens on the higher side—there’s nothing worse then being out at night and straining to see.

Q: Are expensive flashlights worth it?

High-end flashlights often offer higher build quality, brightness, and durability. If you are an avid user investing in an expensive model may be worthwhile for enhanced performance and longevity. However, for casual or occasional use, mid-range and budget flashlights may provide sufficient functionality at affordable pricing.

Q: Is white or yellow light better for camping?

The best flashlight color comes down to personal preference. White light offers a clear and bright illumination. It mimics natural daylight, making it suitable for a variety of activities. Yellow light is less harsh on the eyes and may be preferred for times in close quarters. It offers a warm and cozy feel.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.