Backpacking and hiking at night require a flashlight. Most of the time, a headlamp will do. However, if you are looking for something with more range, or brightness, then you might want to consider bringing an extra flashlight with you on your trip.
I’ve got a list of the best flashlights for backpacking and night hiking to help you choose.
There are many flashlights that are designed specifically for backpacking or hiking that have features that make them optimal for these activities.
They can be found in many different sizes and shapes to best suit your needs. If you plan to go on a backpacking or hiking trip, it is important to bring along the right equipment so that everything goes smoothly.
Having a flashlight around is so necessary, especially when you spend time outdoors, I make sure it’s always in my backpack, even if it’s just a quick hike during the day. You never know what you might come across that needs more lighting.
Flashlights range from under $20 to over $200, yet they may be the same size. What are the differences? Do you really need to spend that much? Thankfully all the ones on this list are under $60. I’m breaking down the best ones for you.
The Best Flashlight for Backpacking and Night Hikes for all Budgets
Max Distance: 50M
Battery Type: AAA
Max Runtime: 1HR – 115HRS
Additional Modes: HIGH/LOW/FIREFLY/STROBE
Impact Resistance: 1.2M
Water Resistance: IPX8
Price Range: $$
As a hiker, it is important to have a convenient and portable flashlight that can be easily taken anywhere. As the name suggests, ThruNite Ti3 flashlight is small and powerful. It’s also waterproof and can be used outdoors and in water.
It has a maximum beam distance of 50 meters, a light that is silvery-white, and a maximum output of 120 more lumens. The tail switch on the bottom can turn on/off the clip flashlight, giving you more control over the brightness.
You will love the sleek design of this tactical flashlight when you use it hiking; because it fits easily in your hand or in any backpack pocket. It uses a AAA battery that can be picked up anywhere. You forget you are even carrying this ultralight flashlight because it weighs next to nothing.
Max Distance: 209FT
Battery Type: USB
Max Runtime: 55MIN – 30HR
Additional Modes: Flood/Spot/Burst/High/Med/Low
Impact Resistance: 2m
Water Resistance: IPX6
Price Range: $$$
Fenix E05R Flashlight for Hiking is a lightweight, durable and compact flashlight that comes complete with a rechargeable battery, charging cable, and carrying case.
The EdisonBright charging cable carries the flashlight with power stored in the micro USB port. EdisonBright connector can be used with any other micro USB charger.
The Fenix E05R hiking Flashlight has a maximum output of 400 lumens and is equipped with a single switch operation.
The LED bulb can be changed by pressing the tailcap switch to rotate through three different brightness levels: 40%, 25%, and 15% brightness.
It also has a maximum beam distance of 150 meters and works in temperatures from 20°C to +30°C (68°F to +86°F).
RovyVon Aurora A3 Pro Mini Keychain Flashlight 3
Max Distance: 109m
Battery Type: USB
Max Runtime: 75min – 35hr
Additional Modes: High/Medium/Low/Moonlight/Strobe
Impact Resistance: 1.5m
Water Resistance: IPX6
Price Range: $$$
Rovyvon Aurora A3 Pro is a powerful and high-quality LED flashlight with a strong beam. It is designed as a keychain flashlight and can be used as a handheld flashlight. Unlike other keychain flashlights, it is compatible with your smartphone, so you can get instant access to your phone in case of an emergency.
The Rovyvon A3 Pro uses long-lasting rechargeable batters which keep your device charged when you take it out hiking or camping at night.
It also has an integrated charging port and an output power of 700 lumens, which is enough for you to use it as a rechargeable flashlight or just as a reading light on the go. The flashlight will run for 35 hours when the light is turned on in low mode.
The Rovyvon A3 Pro has 4 brightness settings: Moonlight/Low/Med/High/Strobe, so you can customize its output according to your needs.
Besides all that, this product has an integrated USB charging cable into the body of the flashlight and an extra clip so that you can attach it directly to your belt or pocket without any hassle!
Max Distance: 90m
Battery Type: USB
Max Runtime: 55hrs
Additional Modes: High
Impact Resistance: 1m
Water Resistance: IPX6
Price Range: $$$$
Nitecore TIP2 is a handy flashlight for backpacking, hiking and camping. The compact, 6-LED flashlight comes with a powerful battery that can be charged via USB Cable.
It also features a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which allows the flashlight to run for up to 55 hours on a single charge.
The powerful flashlight comes equipped with four brightness levels, which you can adjust using the side switch or the clip. It also features a tiltable head, which allows you to direct your beam where you want it.
Max Distance: 166m
Battery Type: Rechargeable with Magnetic Charging Cord
Max Runtime: 75min – 20 days
Additional Modes: 5 Light Intensity + Strobe
Water Resistance: IPX8
Price Range: $$$$$
The OLIGHT Baton3 is a powerful and lightweight, 1.87oz flashlight that has a large, flat magnetic tail cap that can stand steadily or be attached to iron objects.
It has an IPX8 waterproof rating, which means you can go up to 1.8 meters underwater for 30 minutes.
The long-lasting battery delivers a huge output of 1200 lumens, 166-meter throw and can withstand the elements of extreme weather conditions like rain and snow. It is high lumen and can get super bright when needed.
It can run for 20 days on one full charge, which makes the Baton3 ideal for backpacking trips in the wilderness or exploring remote locations where your light source may not be visible from the road.
The outer layer provides an anti-slip grip that makes it easy to hold and helps you locate your light without getting wet or slippery when navigating rugged terrain.
How to Choose the Best Flashlight for Backpacking and Night Hikes?
What is your intended use for the best backpacking flashlight? Do you prefer a hands-free headlamp? Or do you prefer to hold it with your hand for more direction?
Do you want rechargeable batteries or carry a few spares in your pack? What type of light is looking for? How bright or far does the light need to go.
All are important factors when choosing the right flashlight. There are also a few other considerations to take like its durability in a fall.
Water Resistance is a great indicator too. If the flashlight gets submerged or rained on you want to make sure it’s dependable.
Flashlight Size and Weight
Most backpackers are all about the smallest size and lightweight. Those that have dabbled in the ultralight world know that you are sacrificing battery, light output, and even grip. The best hiking flashlights have a balance.
I like to compare the world’s desire to smaller things to what happened with cameras. As soon as the cameras started shrinking, so did people’s ability to hold it steady.
The same can be said for flashlights. If you can manage a slightly bigger one, the benefits outweigh the weight.
Flashlight Durability & Impact Resistance
I don’t know a single person out there that would agree that you want your flashlight for backpacking to last. That’s why you need to know how well it holds up. There are a few things to watch out for.
Impact Resistance – Measurement of if it will still shine after a fall on concrete. Manufacturers test this by dropping it a minimum of six times.
While hiking, the concern may not be something you encounter much, but you’ll want to make sure it can withstand hitting a fire grate, rock-covered ground, or even just dropping your pack off your shoulders.
Waterproof Rating – Another factor you’ll experience outdoors is rain. No matter how much you avoid it, there is bound to be some time when it rains on an adventure.
The rating scale for water resistance is measured by IPX4 – IPX8 value. Simply put, the higher the number the more water-resistant it is.
IPX4 – IPX6 ratings indicate it will work in light to heavy rain. IPX7 and IPX8 are submersion ratings of under or up to 1 meter.
Simply put the Battery Life is dependent on how efficiently your flashlight manages it’s power consumption. You can play a factor it in by utilizing different settings.
Like most of you, you are probably wanting to maximize the life of the batter. Here are some things you can do.
- Turn the brightness setting down.
- Make sure you have extra batteries with you.
- Choose a model that has a higher battery capacity.
What kind of battery should I use?
There are many different types of batteries that can be used with flashlights for backpacking. The two main types are disposable and rechargeable.
Disposable batteries are the most common type, but they do require you to buy new ones before your trip.
The nice thing about them is they typically are lighter than their rechargeable counterpart. Fresh batteries can be purchased at any convenience store.
Rechargeable batteries last longer but may need to be recharged before use, which may not be possible in an emergency situation.
The technology has come a long way and recharging can now be done via USB Cable or by solar panels. This makes its appeal to those on longer backpacking trips.
Different people will prefer one type of battery over the other depending on their personal preferences and needs.
The run time is measured by the manufacturer is based on how long it takes for it to go from maximum brightness to 10% remaining. The brighter the light the shorter the runtime is.
How Bright Should Your Backpacking Flashlight Be?
There is a difference between brightness and luminous intensity. Brightness is the amount of light per unit area. Luminous intensity is the amount of light per unit time, measured in lumens.
Luminous intensity can be measured in lumens/second, lumens/hour, or lumens/minute.
So, how brightly should your flashlight be?
Here’s the deal: the correct answer to this question depends on two things: the type of activity you are doing and the longevity of the battery.
When it comes down to it, the more lumens, the more battery it will consume. A rechargeable battery can put out 800-900 lumens, whereas a AA alkaline battery can put out around 500 lumens.
In most cases, it’s best to have a flashlight with adjustable modes.
There are two general types of beams, a spot, and a flood.
- Spot – A narrow focused beam. This works great for spotting things or walking down a trail. It tracks your route.
- Flood – A broader beam illuminating the entire area.
The best type is something that can do both.
A throw distance is a term used to measure how far away the beam of light goes. It compares the light level at that distance to a similar light that a full moon puts off. LED’s have multiple beam patterns, allowing for different throws.
Having multiple modes on your flashlight allows you to have better control over your battery, as well as making for a more enjoyable experience. Some of the more common modes you’ll see are:
- High – Maximum Brightness Level
- Mid – A third to half light.
- Night – Barely on, think of a nightlight.
- Strobe – Used in emergency situations or to distract people
- Colored Lights – A red light is easier on the eyes for adjustment and doesn’t blind your hiking partners. Creates less light pollution and potentially fewer bugs.
Handheld vs Headlamp? Which is better?
Headlamps are a popular choice for outdoor activities, but they require close proximity to the object that you want to see. They also allow the user to be hands-free.
Headlamps are not the best option when it comes to backpacking or camping because they can be bulky, heavy, and difficult to use in certain situations.
The other issue is that the lamp turns with your head so if you turn to look at your hiking partner or child, you often blind them.
Handheld flashlights on the other hand provide more light output and can provide a larger area of visibility, unlike headlamps.
Handheld flashlights are great for any outdoor activity because you can easily carry them in your hands or store them in a bag.
They also come with many different settings which are not found in most headlamps. When it comes to flashlights for backpacking, think handheld.
Which flashlight do I use backpacking or on night hikes?
I bring with me the RovyVon Aurora mini keychain. I love that it easily sits in my bag so I never need to go looking for it. It’s a great midrange light that gets the job done.
When I decide to upgrade, I’m spending the extra money on the Olight Baton3 only because of the extra life in each charge.
It will give me extra peace of mind when I’m on a longer backpacking trip. Whatever you decide, make sure you have a great lightweight flashlight for backpacking.