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I’ve spent my fair share of time navigating through wild spaces in the hours between sundown and sunrise. My earliest experiences were as a youngster shuffling through the woods, struggling to keep pace with my dad’s flashlight as it bounced ahead of me in the predawn darkness. Since then, I’ve burned through dozens of hunting flashlights and headlamps. I’ve lost quite a few in the woods and cursed the unreliable pieces of junk that left me in the dark.

At least a few times, my flashlight saved my life—or at least several hours of fumbling through the woods to get back to the truck in pitch-dark conditions. I firmly believe that the best hunting happens when you plod into the woods by flashlight and make your way out the same way.

There are thousands of quality lights out there, and the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. We’ve sifted through the options, spent countless hours in the woods during hunting season, and put the top contenders through serious torture tests to bring you this list of the best hunting flashlights.

The Best Hunting Flashlights

Best Hunting Flashlight Overall: Streamlight Wedge XT

Best Overall


  • Slim, ergonomic design
  • Fits in your pocket
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Lockout feature prevents accidental activation


  • Runs hot after just a few minutes on high

The Streamlight Wedge XT hits all the marks for a hunting flashlight. It offers enough illumination for most hunting tasks without overdoing it. I found it to be lightweight, compact, and easy to use, even while wearing hunting gloves. It passed the tree stand drop test (more on that below) with flying colors and survived its trip through the rinse cycle (more on that, too).

This Streamlight flashlight is small enough to slip into my jacket pocket. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

This flashlight just goes above and beyond. The lockout feature is a godsend. With a few taps of the power switch, you can lock the light so it doesn’t accidentally turn on inside your pocket and waste precious battery life. It also has a battery status indicator that gives you a heads-up on its battery life when you first power up. A light on the side will briefly shine green if the battery is good to go or red when it’s ready for a recharge.

The Wedge XT flashlight is one of the brightest I’ve used. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

I first discovered the Streamlight Wedge XT this past hunting season and fell instantly in love. This thing is ultra-reliable, conveniently rechargeable, and easily slips into the pocket of my hunting pants. The light’s flat design also allows it to disappear inside the pocket of my jeans, so this one can pull double duty as an EDC flashlight in the off-season.


  • Lumens: 500
  • Beam Distance: 87 meters
  • Runtime: Two hours on high; 11 hours on low
  • Lighting Modes: Two brightness levels
  • Power Source: Rechargeable lithium polymer battery
  • Waterproof: IPX7
  • Weight: 2.56 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎4.25″ x 0.6″ x 1″

Brightest: Olight Warrior X 3



  • Vibrating low battery indicator
  • Heavy duty build
  • Comes with a rigid belt holster


  • Takes a long time to recharge
  • Engaging low brightness is tricky

With a whopping 2500 lumens of brightness, the Olight Warrior X 3 is probably overkill for most hunting applications. However, when you need the light, it’s nice to have it, and that extra light is especially good for skinning deer, signaling for help, or temporarily stunning any wayward Sasquatch.

I like the ergonomic design of this Olight flashlight. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

Although the Warrior X 3 features two brightness levels, switching between them can be problematic. To access the light’s high setting, fully depress the rear power button. A half-button press is supposed to engage the light’s low mode. However, there is no tactile indicator that you’ve reached a half press. It left me mostly guessing since sometimes I could activate the low mode, and sometimes I couldn’t. Frustration usually had me settling for the ridiculous high surface-of-the-sun brightness setting.

To further complicate matters, the highest brightness is only available when the battery is more than half charged. On second thought, that might be a blessing.

You’d be hard pressed to find a flashlight brighter than this one. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

The Warrior X 3 was designed for tactical applications, so it comes with some cool extra features like a glass-breaking bezel, a strike tip on the ring handle, a silicone tactical grip, and a heavy-duty Type III hard anodized finish. You could run this over with your truck multiple times, and it isn’t going to give up the ghost.

My favorite feature is the vibrating power indicator. When the battery is low, the unit will vibrate gently as a warning. When the battery charge is less than 20%. When the battery is drained to less than five percent, the vibrations become more insistent, pulsing once every ten seconds. This gives you plenty of warning so you can recharge power before heading into the woods.

I also appreciate the included flashlight holster. The Warrior X 3 is pretty hefty, and it quickly weighs down a pants pocket. Since there’s nothing worse than being pantsed by your flashlight mid-hunt, Olight’s high-quality belt holster, which includes a quiet and convenient magnetic closure, is the best way to carry this light while you’re hunting.


  • Lumens: 2500
  • Beam Distance: 560 meters
  • Runtime: 8 hours
  • Lighting Modes: Two brightness levels
  • Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a magnetic charging cable
  • Waterproof: IPX8
  • Weight: 9 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎‎5.8″ x 1.54″ x 5.03″

Best Green and Red: Fenix HT18R Long-Distance

Best Green and Red


  • Includes red and green light filters
  • Waterproof USB Type-C charging port
  • Long battery life


  • Large and heavy

Not only is this Fenix torch seriously bright, it also casts a beam well past 1,000 yards. And while the beam is a blinding 2800 lumens, it becomes much more practical and subdued when paired with one of the red or green filters. Once you have one of the filter adaptors in place, you’ll be thankful for the light intensity.

This Fenix flashlight is heavy but worth the weight. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

Why use a red or green light for hunting? Not only will the red or green light help preserve your natural night vision while hiking to or from your favorite stand, it is also virtually invisible to the dichromatic eyes of most game animals.

Proof of how well the red light on this bad boy works. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

While it’s easy to love the HT18R’s performance, this isn’t a flashlight that fits conveniently in a pocket. It is bulky to say the least, and at 11 1/2 ounces, this isn’t one you’ll want to haul into the backcountry.


  • Lumens: 2800
  • Beam Distance: 1100 meters
  • Runtime: 42 hours
  • Lighting Modes: Six lighting modes including four brightness levels, strobe, and SOS
  • Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Waterproof: IP68
  • Weight: 11.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 7.42 inches

Best Headlamp: LedLenser HF8R Signature

Best Headlamp


  • Temperature control system prevents overheating
  • Adaptive light beam automatically adjusts to ambient light conditions
  • Red, green, and blue light modes
  • Remembers light mode and brightness level for next use
  • Handsfree use


  • Only charges with the included cord

There is so much to love about a good headlamp, particularly this one. If a genie popped out of a bottle and promised to grant all of my hunting flashlight wishes, this product would materialize out of that magic. The only reason this one didn’t take the number one spot is because it isn’t technically a flashlight.

This thing can really read a room. It automatically adjusts the brightness, warmth, and focus of its beam to perfectly light the environment. You can focus on stirring your pre-dawn oatmeal at base camp, and the lighting is perfect for the task. Then you can look up, and the light will shoot across camp to light up trees some 200 yards away. You never even have to flip a switch. You can just keep stirring your oatmeal.

I am obsessed with this Ledlenser headlamp—it’s seriously so good. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

The light also has a handy manual mode for those times when you want a little more control. By turning the front adjustment wheel, users can seamlessly transition from a homogenous floodlight to a focused spotlight. The lamp head tilts so you have flexibility to direct the light right where you need it.

You can also opt for a red or green beam to help you get to your favorite honey hole with ninja-like stealth or go for blue to help you better follow a blood trail.


  • Lumens: 2000
  • Beam Distance: 200 meters
  • Runtime: 90 hours
  • Lighting Modes: Adaptive lighting, three brightness levels, four colors, blink, SOS, and strobe
  • Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Waterproof: IP68
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎3.34″ x 5.7″ x 4.7″

Best Blood Tracking: Primos Hunting Bloodhunter HD

Best Blood Tracking


  • Lightweight
  • Filters out specific hues to make red more visible
  • Affordable


  • Not waterproof

The Primos Bloodhunter HD features a unique optical filter that reduces select colors to make blood more visible, even in low light conditions. That makes it handy to have on hand when you’ve got a sparse blood trail. It’s one of those pieces of gear you don’t really need until you do. When you do need it, you’ll be glad it spent most of the season taking up space in your hunting pack. And since it’s relatively lightweight, most of the time, you’ll forget it is even there.

However, this one is water-resistant, not waterproof. I didn’t even bother running this one through the washing machine, because the odds of its survival are pretty low. That means you’ll want to hold onto it when crossing creeks or trudging through flooded timber.


  • Lumens: 600
  • Runtime: 8 hours
  • Lighting Modes: Two brightness settings
  • Power Source: 4 lithium metal batteries
  • Waterproof: IPX 4
  • Weight: 3.53 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎8” x 5” x 3”

Best Budget: ThruNite Archer 2A V3

Best Budget


  • Long battery life
  • Inexpensive
  • Compact, lightweight design


  • Batteries not included

If you don’t have a wad of cash to invest in an expensive hunting flashlight, the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 is a solid option that won’t put a hurting on your bank account. While it lacks some of the high-end features that really make some of the more expensive options on this list stand out, it still scores big on the basics. It is reliable, sturdy, and has a simple and intuitive interface.

It is also impressively impact-resistant and has an IPX8 waterproof rating, which is more than we can say for some of the more expensive models we tested.

One of the reasons for the Archer’s affordable price tag is that it uses AA batteries. While I prefer something that is rechargeable, I can’t deny that disposable batteries are convenient, especially when your hunting adventures take you miles deep into the backcountry.


  • Lumens: 500
  • Beam Distance: 93 meters
  • Runtime: 15 days
  • Lighting Modes: Four brightness settings and strobe mode
  • Power Source: AA batteries
  • Waterproof: IPX8
  • Weight: 1.69 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎6.1″ x 0.87″ x 0.87″

How We Picked the Best Hunting Flashlights

I’ve relied a lot on good flashlights through the years, and I leaned heavily on that experience to compile this list. I also put each flashlight through rigorous field testing. 

A comparison of the light beams of the flashlights I tested. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

I once had a flashlight that took a swan dive off a ladder stand just before quitting time. I climbed down to discover it hadn’t survived the crash, and I had to hike out without a light. To save you the same heartache, each light on this list survived the tree stand test. Yes, purposely tossing hunting flashlights from a 15-foot ladder stand is now part of my job description.

Each flashlight also made a trip through my washing machine’s rinse cycle, all in the name of science. This test was designed to see how reliable each light would be if it went for a swim in a creek or accidentally got tossed in the laundry with your camo.  

Tossing the flashlights in my washing machine tested just how water-resistant they are. (Photo/Alice Jones Webb)

Lastly, I evaluated each flashlight’s battery life, weight, packability, lumens, and beam distance. Models earned bonus points for rechargeability and if the controls were easy to manipulate with gloved fingers. 

What to Look For in a Hunting Flashlight

Hunters are a special breed, and they require a special set of qualities from their hunting flashlights. There are a lot of things to consider in your search for a flashlight to add to your hunting gear. The needs of a backcountry elk hunter differ significantly from a whitetail hunter, who rarely ventures more than a half mile from the truck.

Both should carry a flashlight.

But they probably don’t need to carry the same one.

When shopping for a hunting flashlight, the type of game you’re hunting, the time of day (or night) you’ll be in the field, and how long you’ll be there all dictate the features you’ll need in a light. You should also consider the possibility that you might need some extra help tracking wounded game after the sun sets.

Here are a few specs to consider before you invest in a flashlight for hunting.

Light Output

The intensity of the light put out by a flashlight is measured in lumens. One lumen is approximately equal to the light generated by a single birthday candle. For most hunting situations, 500 lumens is plenty. Anything over 1,000 is usually overkill, although those high numbers are handy if you need to illuminate long distances.


Lumens is just one factor in the brightness equation. A flashlight with high lumens won’t seem as bright if it casts a wide beam. On the other hand, a narrow beam magnifies intensity. Most modern flashlights will list a max beam distance. This is how far the torch will cast light on the brightest setting.

Size and Weight

Unlike an emergency flashlight, hunting flashlights must be compact and lightweight. Remember, you’ll be hauling yours around in the woods. Most hunters don’t want to tote something big and bulky. Flashlights that slip easily into a pants pocket or a daypack steal the show in the hunting world.

Battery Life

Getting stuck in the dark woods miles from camp with no flashlight is not my idea of a good time. Hiking out with a light that slowly fades due to dying batteries will break your heart. Although I almost always carry some extra just-in-case batteries, a flashlight with a respectable battery life provides mental comfort and security.

Brightness is a critical factor in battery life. Brighter flashlights tend to drain batteries faster, and I would rather have a dim light than no light at all.

Flashlights with easily rechargeable batteries can also be a godsend and save you tons of money in the long run. However, recharging should be easy and shouldn’t take days.

Water Resistance

If you’re a duck hunter, you want a light that can survive a plunge, just in case it takes a swim while setting decoys. If you’re hunting muleys in the high desert, you probably don’t need the same level of water resistance. However, a flashlight with a tight construction will also ward off dirt and dust. Plus, preparing for the worst-case scenario is always a good idea when you’re wandering well off the beaten path.


Q: What is the best color flashlight for deer hunting?

Red flashlights are all the rage among deer hunters. Whitetail deer and other ungulates are protanopic, which means they have a particular colorblindness that reduces their ability to see red. That’s why they have such a difficult time seeing the blaze orange wave that enters the woods on the opening day of deer season.

Deer can still see a red light, but it will appear much less intense to their eyes than the standard white light.

Q: Is red light better for hunting?

Red lights are a smart option for hunting situations where you have to move through the woods in the dark. A red light preserves your natural night vision, which means when you turn off your light, your eyes can still see decently well, even in extremely low light.

Other colors can spoil your night vision, which means it will take longer for your eyes to adjust to predawn or post-dusk light when you switch off your flashlight.

Q: Why do hunters use green lights?

Hunters tend to have strong opinions about which color flashlight works best. Red light is the traditional go-to flashlight color for most seasoned hunters. However, green light LEDs have gained a lot of traction in the hunting world, particularly among nighttime hog hunters. Many hog hunters claim green lights are more effective at illuminating the dark bodies of wild hogs.

A green light LED is also easier for other hunters to see, which is a handy safety perk when you’re cruising to and from your stand in the dark.

What Is the Best Hunting Flashlight?

Hunting means different things to different hunters. However, whether you’re hunting deer, waterfowl, turkey, or alligator, every hunter needs a good flashlight. After some punishing testing and serious scrutiny, the Streamlight Wedge XT came out on top, earning bragging rights as the best hunting flashlight right now.

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.