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Our Top Picks
Best Overall: ThruNite Archer 2A V3 at Amazon
"As close to ideal as we’ve found in a travel flashlight, with a hard-wearing exterior."
Best Super-Bright Beam: Yifeng XML-T6 1000 Lumens Super Bright CREE LED Tactical Flashlight at Amazon
"The 1,000-lumen beam adjusts to your lighting needs."
Best Camping Flashlight: Rugged Camp Titan X10 Rechargeable Spotlight at Amazon
"You can charge your phone or other devices with this, thanks to the USB port."
Best Headlamp: Petzl Actik Core Headlamp, 350 Lumens at Amazon
"Comes through when you need a little more light than your environment provides."
Best Solar-Charging Flashlight: Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight at Amazon
"It's a great addition to any traveler, hiker, or camper’s set of essentials."
Best for Boating: Dorcy Floating LED Flashlight at Amazon
"Delivers when you need to get a good glimpse at your surroundings."
Best Diving Flashlight: Reiled Diving Flashlight at Amazon
"Has three brightness modes: high, low, and strobe, so you always have the perfect lighting level."
Best Super-Compact: Streamlight Nano Light Mini Flashlight at Amazon
"It’s strong enough to adequately light up a dark path at night."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: ThruNite Archer 2A V3
With a bright LED beam and a compact shape, this ThruNite flashlight is as close to ideal as we’ve found in a travel flashlight, with a hard-wearing exterior. It takes AA batteries, so there are no worries about searching for an outlet to recharge it, and they produce a 500-lumen beam, which is more than enough to light up even the darkest corners and paths. That being said, you can go a little less bright if you’d like: There’s a useful firefly mode that’s handy at night—you can turn it on this ultra-low setting when your eyes are already adjusted to the dark so you don’t blind yourself. At just over two ounces, it’s also extremely lightweight, which is perfect for ultralight backpackers or hikers who don’t want to weigh themselves down with a heavy load.
Plus, it won’t roll on flat surfaces and can survive short drops (both off a ledge and into the water) with ease. Should it all go south, the flashlight comes with a 30-day free replacement guarantee and a lifetime limited warranty.
Best Super-Bright Beam: Yifeng XML-T6 1000 Lumens Super Bright CREE LED Tactical Flashlight
It doesn’t get much more illuminating than Yifeng’s XML-T6 100 flashlight, which definitely lives up to the “super bright” part of its name. The 1,000-lumen beam adjusts to your lighting needs, whether you want to go with the floodlight setting if you want to brighten up a whole campsite, a spotlight setting that zooms in on a specific distant point for clarity (up to 75 feet away)—plus you can set the beam at high, middle, low, strobe, and—if things go really awry while you’re traveling—an SOS mode.
As far as durability, this one takes the cake, too: The flashlight is made from an aircraft-grade alloy that’s hard-anodized and water resistant (up to IPX-6, if you want to get really technical).
Best Camping Flashlight: Rugged Camp Titan X10 Rechargeable Spotlight
Cheap this flashlight is not, but it delivers when it comes to the ruggedness needed for a camping trip. It’s 1,000 lumens, so it’ll light up just about anything you need illuminated—and it has three modes: a spotlight, for casting wide swaths of light; a work light for tasks at hand, like building campfires; and a blinking emergency light in case you get lost during a hike (it comes with a handy carry strap for this purpose) and need a bit of a rescue.
Back at the campsite, it pulls double-duty: You can charge your phone or other devices with this, thanks to the USB port to plug in your charging cable. While you’re at it, you might as well get a backup one in case the lights go out at home during a storm or power cut—thanks to the tripod, you can set this up so you don’t have to hold it to see what you’re looking for.
Best Headlamp: Petzl Actik Core Headlamp, 350 Lumens
It’s not always handy to carry around a flashlight, whether you’re walking the dog during a road trip, hiking a wooded trail, going on an evening run in a new city, or cycling along a dark road—and that’s where headlamps come in. Petzl makes some of the best in the industry, and while they’re not cheap, they’re super-reliable and dependably come through when you need a little more light than your environment provides. It’s 350 lumen, which is more than enough to light up the road in front of you (far more than your iPhone light), and has 150 hours of light before you need to recharge the battery—which you can handily do via micro USB port (or you can also pop some AAA batteries in). There are two beam settings (wide and mixed) for your activities, and we love that the red lighting helps to keep your night vision intact.
Best Solar-Charging Flashlight: Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight
If you’re headed off the grid on a trip, the last thing you want to bring with you is something that’s going to require an outlet or a change of batteries to recharge (not to mention that batteries can be heavy in a pack). This might not be the cheapest option on the list, but the features this flashlight brings to the table definitely justify the cost. There’s multiple ways to power up this handy flashlight, whether you’re traveling where there’s power and want to use a USB cable, or if you’re going totally remote and need to rely on the sun to get your power fix (and you’ll get plenty of time as a result—this flashlight can run for up to 48 hours).
If things really get dire, you can also hand-crack the flashlight to charge it up. The resulting beam is plenty bright, too, with 250 lumens that can be set to flashlight, floodlight, or a red emergency light setting. It’s a great addition to any traveler, hiker, or camper’s set of essentials—and back at home, it’s super-handy during a power outage.
Best for Boating: Dorcy Floating LED Flashlight
If your holiday involves plenty of time spent on the water, you’re going to want a flashlight that’s not just water-resistant, but waterproof. Dorcy’s version delivers, at an extremely budget-friendly, too—and a 200-lumen strength that delivers when you need to get a good glimpse at your surroundings or find something in a dark compartment on the boat.
Although it isn’t rechargeable, the three AA batteries you’ll use to charge this flashlight will give you a long-lasting beam: You’ll get 17 hours of run time on one change of batteries, and the beam will light up to around 220 feet. Of course, a good boating flashlight is also going to need to be waterproof, and this one is so watertight you can leave it bobbing around on the surface of the water (it won’t sink) for a couple hours with no issues. And if the seas get a little choppy, the flashlight is protected from crashes and dings with shock-absorbing water.
Best Diving Flashlight: Reiled Diving Flashlight
If you’re an avid SCUBA diver, there’s no way you want to miss out on any of the sea’s gorgeous fish or fauna—and carrying a diving flashlight is definitely the way to avoid that. Better than just carrying a waterproof flashlight with you, a diving flashlight is specially designed to work under the water so you can get a concentrated beam of life in the nooks and crannies of the ocean (and it’s also handy to aid photography). This flashlight, which works up to a 90-foot depth, has three brightness modes: high, low, and strobe, so you always have the perfect lighting level—and if the beam starts to dim, simply replace the battery with three more AAAs, and you’ll be good to go again. But it’s also great for other water-adjacent sports, like caving, sailing, hunting, and fishing.
It’ll hold up over time, too, thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy construction. Should something go amiss, the budget-priced flashlight comes with permanent free service—just reach out to the company and they’ll fix what ails it.
Best Super-Compact: Streamlight Nano Light Mini Flashlight
If your goal is going tiny with your flashlight, it doesn’t get much smaller than Streamlight’s Nano Light Mini Flashlight, which isn’t just purse size—it’s keychain size. But that doesn’t mean the beam on this doesn’t deliver: It’s strong enough to adequately light up a dark path at night; you’ll get up to eight hours of use with this battery-powered flashlight; and the LED bulb will last 100,000 hours of use. It also doesn’t mean it’s fragile: The exterior of this flashlight is made from aircraft aluminum with anodized finish, which renders it basically insusceptible to drops, falls, and other shocks.
In rain or snow, this flashlight will continue working, thanks to its weatherproof casing. If black’s not your thing, or if you want a cute gift for a group of travel buddies, it comes in a range of other colors, including blue, red, and pink.