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Best Overall: Lightning Ever LED Flashlight at Amazon
"Wins big thanks to a host of features despite its modest size and 3.4-ounce weight."
Best Budget: Nite Ize Radiant 3-in-1 at Amazon
"This affordable miniature flashlight runs on a single AA battery for up to two hours on high."
Best Battery-Powered: Anker Bolder LC30 at Amazon
"Has an impressive 50,000-hour lifespan while using just three AAA batteries."
Best LED: Fenix PD36R at Amazon
"The cool white LED bulb is rated to last 50,000 hours."
Best for Camping: BioLite HeadLamp 200 at Amazon
"Boasts moisture-wicking fabric that'll be useful when you're setting up your campsite."
Best Waterproof: Volador Diving Flashlight at Amazon
"Casts light up to 80 meters while underwater, so it can be used to locate fish while scuba diving."
Best Compact: ThruNite Ti3 V2 at Amazon
"Measuring slightly more than 2.5 inches, this flashlight delivers some serious power for such a tiny flashlight."
Best High-Powered: Ledlenser i18R at Home Depot
"Can blast out 3,000 lumens of bright light in case your adventures put you in dark circumstances."
Most Durable: Maglite ML50LX at Amazon
"Features an IPX4 waterproof rating and a drop resistance of up to one meter."
Best Clip-On: Coast HX5R 345 at Amazon
"Has an adjustable clip that can attach to your pocket or inside the folds of your day pack."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Lightning Ever LED Flashlight
Some travelers may be skeptical that a flashlight is necessary, but imagine if your vacation rental loses power or if you need to go to the bathroom at night while camping and you’ll quickly recognize its value. Despite its modest size and 3.4-ounce weight, Lightning Ever's LED Flashlight wins big thanks to a host of features. It projects 140 lumens on the high setting, which can illuminate up to 150 meters. It also has an adjustable zoom mode that will be useful in various travel conditions. The flashlight carries an IPX4 rating for waterproofness so it can survive splashes no matter where the water lands on the outer shell. This LED flashlight runs on three AAA batteries, which are included, and is made of durable aluminum alloy.
Best Budget: Nite Ize Radiant 3-in-1
With a maximum output of only 80 lumens, you can’t use the Nite Ize Radiant 3-in-1 to direct traffic or light up an entire field, but the flashlight’s versatility more than makes up for its modest illumination. The affordable 4.5 inch-long device can be operated as a traditional hand-held flashlight, or as a safety light or mini lantern for ambient light. Just slide the casing above the machined-aluminum body to swap modes. It runs on a single AA battery for up to two hours on high, and more than nine hours on the low 15-lumen setting. It can stand up to the occasional splash of water and is impact-resistant to drops of up to 1 meter. A red safety light—with its own switch—sits at the tail end of the Radiant, and can be set to glow, flash, or trigger SOS mode. Oh, and those minimal 80 lumens is still strong enough to cast light up to 50 meters.
Best Battery-Powered: Anker Bolder LC30
The Bolder LC30 flashlight from Anker has an impressive 50,000-hour lifespan while using just three AAA batteries. It utilizes a Cree LED light source to reliably cast 300 lumens of illumination and delivers up to six hours of continuous use when in 50-lumen low-beam mode, and can last even longer when in strobe mode. Measuring only 4.13 x 1.22 x 1.22 inches, this small device is easy to store and comes with a convenient clip to attach the flashlight to your pocket or the inside flap of your day bag. You’ll also appreciate its straight-body aluminum construction and anti-slip design that is comfortable to hold onto in even the toughest of conditions. Other travel-friendly features include an IPX5 water- and dust-proof rating, and overall durable construction.
Best LED: Fenix PD36R
With a maximum output of 1,600 lumens—enough to cast light for 283 meters—the PD36R packs a lot of power into its small 5.43-inch profile. It runs off a rechargeable high-capacity 21700 li-ion battery that lasts twice as long as the standard battery, providing illumination for almost six hours on 800-lumens and 115 hours on 30-lumens. You can also choose low, medium, and 1,600-lumen turbo and strobe. Better still, charging the device for ten minutes provides light for up to five hours, and an easy-to-read battery level indicator assures you won’t be plunged into darkness before knowing you need to find an outlet. The cool white LED is rated to last 50,000 hours, and the digitally regulated circuit assures a stable output.
Constructed of oxidation-resistant aluminum with a hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish, it can stand up to some serious dings, and an IP68 rating fends off dust and can handle full submersion in up to two meters of water. It also comes with a two-way body clip, a lanyard and holster, and a spare O-ring.
Best for Camping: BioLite HeadLamp 200
Many campers know BioLite for their innovative outdoor products, and their HeadLamp 200 bears all the high-quality features you'd expect. The 3D SlimFit technology evenly distributes the product's 50-gram weight across the adjustable band to reduce pressure points on your head. And the flashlight's housing has been integrated directly into the band so that it fits flush against your head for a comfortable fit. The band also boasts reflective accents and moisture-wicking fabric that is sure to be useful when you're setting up your campsite. This flashlight can run for three hours at the high, 200-lumen setting and on low for 40 hours. It features a lock setting that prevents the headlamp from turning on in your pack and the battery is rechargeable via a USB cable. Pair it with BioLite’s Light Diffusing Stuffsack, and you can transform the HeadLamp 200 into a hanging lantern for inside your tent.
Best Waterproof: Volador Diving Flashlight
If your travels include scuba diving, fishing, or doing anything else close to water, a waterproof flashlight might be a handy item to pack. While the Volador Diving Flashlight is mostly used in scuba diving applications it can really be used anywhere. It features a sealed design with an impressive IP68 waterproof rating that can survive in up to 150 meters, so it won't get damaged if it gets wet in your boat. Plus, it's made of a durable aluminum outer shell that resists seawater corrosion. The Volador flashlight can also be used to locate fish while scuba diving or fishing since it can cast light up to 80 meters while underwater. The LED bulb can illuminate up to 1,000 meters in dry conditions and has a 50,000-hour lifespan. There are four different lighting modes, including low, medium, high, and strobe. This flashlight comes with a rechargeable battery, battery charger, and three O-rings.
Best Compact: ThruNite Ti3 V2
Measuring in at slightly more than 2.5 inches, the Ti3 V2 from ThruNite delivers some serious power for such a tiny flashlight. At high setting, it can cast 120 lumens—enough to illuminate up to 50 meters—along with low, “firefly” ultra-dim, and strobe settings. Running off a single AAA battery, you get the functional life you’d expect from a compact flashlight, including half an hour of usage at maximum power, and more than six hours on low. The sturdy aircraft-aluminum body can stand up to the bumps of the open road, with an IPX8 waterproof rating and a hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish. A clip makes it easy to access it from your pocket, bag, or glove compartment.
Turning it on is refreshingly straightforward—simply twist the head. That said, cycling through the modes is a bit less intuitive; turn it on, then turn it off for two seconds and then back on to change the mode (and getting to strobe mode is even more complicated). But thankfully, the device remembers what mode you selected when you turn it off, which is convenient until you need to change the mode again.
Best High-Powered: Ledlenser i18R
Most travelers don’t need more than 80 to 325 lumens to help light up the world around them, but if your adventures put you in truly dark circumstances, the i18R from Ledlenser affords the ability to blast out 3,000 lumens of bright light. An Advanced Focus System lets you control how that powerful light can be broadcasted: just twist the Rapid Focus dial on the cone and you can switch from a focused beam to “unfocused,” which casts a wider dispersion of light. Ledlenser has also integrated a temperature control system to assure that the heat generated from the LED lights is regulated, which allows you to comfortably hold the aluminum-crafted flashlight, and also extends the device’s longevity. The rechargeable battery delivers five hours of power, and a single button on the front lets you cycle through four different lighting options with one hand. You can also lock the device in the off position while you’re traveling to avoid accidentally triggering the device while in transit.
Most Durable: Maglite ML50LX
The ML50LX from Maglite can handle most drops and spills, so it's destined to become your go-to flashlight for outdoor use. It features an IPX4 waterproof rating and a drop resistance of up to one meter. Boasting a maximum output of 1,082 lumens on the highest of three settings, it can cast light up to 458 meters. You get a robust three hours and 15 minutes of light at its highest setting (and up to 79 hours in the 25-lumen “Eco” mode), but perhaps best of all, this rechargeable LED light recharges to 80 percent power in half an hour. The matte-anodized finish feels comfortable and solid in your hand. All this, and it still only weighs a travel-friendly 15.2 ounces.
Best Clip-On: Coast HX5R 345
Clip-on flashlights are a great option for active adventures such as boating or hiking because they can attach to your pocket or the inside folds of your day pack without falling out, so it's ready whenever you need some extra light. Coast’s HX5R allows for both of those options thanks to an adjustable two-way clip. You also get the travel-friendly option of powering the device with USB-rechargeable batteries or with a standard C123 alkaline battery, which emits a maximum output of 345 lumens for as long as four hours.
Thanks to pure-beam focusing optic technology that merges two beams into one without halos or hot spots, you can cast light up to 178 meters. A single button lets you cycle through light modes, including low-light and strobe, while a beam control slider lets you shift between spot and flood beams with one hand. The latter option shoots out a sharp ray of light with a transitional halo to increase the effective viewing area, while the flood beam provides edge-to-edge clarity in a broad circle. The HX5R has also passed the IPX4-level water resistance test to help fend off the elements.