9 Best Flashlights for Hiking and Backpacking [2024 Updated]

Last Updated on May, 2024

Hiking flashlights have to be TOUGH, they have to be DURABLE, and the features have to be AMAZING to make them one of the BEST backpacking and hiking flashlights on the market. 

The best hiking flashlights will have all the features that you require. Not only will it be a very durable flashlight, but it will also be specifically designed for hiking and backpacking.

You NEED a flashlight for when you go hiking and backpacking. (Night hiking can be fun but dangerous without a reliable light source.) You are on the HUNT for an exceptional backpacking and hiking flashlight. 

After testing out dozens of flashlights in varying brands, we came down to our list of the BEST 9 hiking and backpacking flashlights. 

Hence, without further ado, let’s dive into the details with the 8 BEST flashlights for hiking and backpacking. 

Editor’s Choice
Acebeam H17
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

Overall Score

5.0

#2nd Best Choice
Olight Seeker 3 Pro
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

5.0

5.0

4.9

4.9

4.9

Overall Score

4.9

#3rd Best Choice
FENIX E-CP
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

4.9

4.9

4.9

4.8

4.8

Overall Score

4.9

Best 9 Flashlights for Hiking and Backpacking

1. Acebeam H17 (Editor’s Choice)

When it comes to picking a hiking flashlight, there are certain things you have to consider, such as light output.

However, the Acebeam H17 is a headlamp, which is a flashlight mounted on the head. 

With 2000 lumens of brightness, this is not your standard flashlight. This flashlight offers EXCELLENT brightness for hiking in the dark and general camping; 2000 lumens worth of light. 

The light output is something that you need to consider, and of course, the battery life. In ultra-low mode, this headlamp will work for 200 HOURS!

When you consider an excellent hiking and backpacking flashlight, you have to consider the battery life (it is one of the most important things.) This light works for 1 HOUR on TURBO mode (beam distance of 158 meters), that is 2000 lumens of light (that you rarely will use).

While the low mode is bright enough to see in the dark with a beam distance of 18 meters (17 hours.)

The Acebeam H17 uses one 18350 rechargeable battery. The fact that this flashlight is rechargeable adds to the appeal!

The best backpacking flashlight will give you the freedom to keep both your hands free. That is the benefit of a headlamp; you don’t have to hold the light source in your hand. You can have your hands free to do whatever that may be necessary (for instance, if you use trekking poles.)

The strobe mode on this flashlight will work for 1 hour at 700 lumens of brightness. This is especially useful when you are hiking. If you ever find yourself stranded and in need of signaling help, the strobe feature could really come in handy. 

It is made with aircraft-grade aluminum, which means this is a STRONG flashlight. You need something with extra strength and durability. You expect the flashlight to get thrown around a little while hiking and backpacking; hence you need something HARDY!

It is impact resistant and has been tested at a 1-meter drop, and is rated IP68 waterproof (can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water.) These are the types of features you absolutely should look for when picking a hiking and backpacking flashlight. 

It has a single switch for easy operation, making the user interface simple to use. Simplicity is another factor that you should look for when picking a hiking flashlight. You don’t want to be toggling with the flashlight whenever you want to turn it ON! *** rotate the dial 90 degrees and click 20 times… NO!

This headlamp is a RELIABLE addition to your hiking gear. This is a great backpacking and hiking flashlight that could really work well for you!

Pros

  • Good design for improved functionality
  • Reasonable battery life for long use
  • Good beam distance and beam profile
  • Can be put to tactical use
  • Waterproof, improving reliability

Cons

  • The battery should be removed and charged externally

2. Olight Seeker 3 Pro (#2nd Best Choice)

Olight is known to be a brand to make GOOD flashlights. The Olight Seeker 3 Pro is a reliable flashlight (best flashlight?) with four high-performance LEDs providing a maximum output of 4200 lumens! (That is one bright light!)

It has a runtime of 35 minutes on Turbo mode and will run on moonlight mode (maximum output of 5 lumens) for 15DAYS!

This is the type of battery life you absolutely need when camping. The greater the battery life, the more reliable it is. 

A 21700 rechargeable battery powers this bad boy, and the light output produced from it is marvelous, making it an ideal backpacking companion.

Rechargeable batteries mean you can recharge the flashlight for extended use!

The beam distance of 250 meters is impressive. You don’t need a HUGE range when picking a hiking and backpacking flashlight. 250 meters is still ¼ of a KILOMETER, which is more than sufficient brightness and range for a flashlight for this purpose. 

A rechargeable flashlight such as this, with its various (six) light modes, including strobe, has all the features necessary to make it a worthy hiking and backpacking flashlight. 

Flashlights for backpacking have to be strong, and this flashlight is made with high-grade aluminum alloy. (It is a durable buddy to take with you on those backpacking trips.)

This is a compact flashlight that is rated IPX8 (waterproof rating). This means you don’t have to worry about rain and getting the flashlight wet when you go hiking. 

The Olight Seeker Pro 3 is an amazing flashlight with some jam-packed features that are perfect for your backpacking trips. With a maximum brightness of 4200 LUMENS, this rechargeable flashlight is one of the best flashlights for backpacking!

Pros

  • Good battery life, providing great longevity
  • Durable with great build quality
  • Good amount of brightness (4200 lumens)
  • Quick access to Moon, Turbo and Strobe
  • Waterproof rated IPX8

Cons

  • The flashlight will get locked out automatically after 30 seconds, that can be problem in some cases

3. FENIX E-CP (#3rd Best Choice)

Fenix is yet another brand of trustable flashlights. You can trust them to deliver high-quality flashlights such as the Fenix E-CP. 

The light output of this flashlight is impressive, with 1600 lumens of maximum brightness. The battery life is also impressive, with it working for 2 HOURS and 30 MINUTES on TURBO mode. 

On ECO mode, this flashlight will work for 21 DAYS! 

The high battery life on TURBO mode is what makes this flashlight such a worthy pick. Most flashlights don’t allow for such life of usage on high modes.

This can be very useful while hiking and backpacking.

With five brightness levels and a strobe to choose from, the strobe capabilities can be put to great tactical use. If you ever need EMERGENCY signaling while hiking and backpacking, the strobe function on this flashlight could really come in handy. 

Is this the ultimate BEST backpacking flashlight for hiking? For certain, it is one of the very BEST, which is why it landed on our list!

Handheld flashlights such as this can be very useful when backpacking and hiking. 

It has a waterproof rating of IP68, submersible in up to 2 meters of water. You really need to ensure that your flashlight is water-resistant if you are going to use it for hiking and backpacking.

There is a very good chance you could encounter rain, in which case, you don’t also want a faulty flashlight (because it got wet in the rain). 

This LED flashlight is impressive, to say the least, with the brightest light reaching a distance of 222 meters; you won’t need extra batteries because this flashlight is RECHARGEABLE! 

Plus, as an added bonus, this flashlight works as a power bank and will work to charge your other electronic devices (such as your phone.)

Want to learn ore about this flashlight? Read our review of Fenix E-CP.

Pros

  • Rechargeable battery requiring no extra batteries
  • Tactical functionality with strobe mode
  • Can be used as a power bank
  • Waterproof rated IP68
  • 222 meters of beam distance

Cons

  • LED tint is a tad green

4. Thrunite TH30 V2

Headlamps offer a greater degree of functionality. A headlamp is mounted in the head in comparison to an LED flashlight which is usually carried in hand. 

The Thrunite TH30 V2 is a solid headlamp with AMAZING light output. The brightness settings allow for seven modes of lighting, with a focused beam of 3320 lumens in TURBO mode. 

The Turbo mode will work for close to 2 HOURS! That is exceptionally good battery life for a hiking and backpacking flashlight.

The brightness modes allow you to choose between 7 configurations of light, with the lowest level of light illuminating the way for 29 DAYS!

This headlamp also has an SOS feature which can be especially great in case of EMERGENCIES!

The light beam and intense light make this flashlight perfect for outdoor adventures at night. The light mode and the broader beam produced by this headlamp make the beam profile excellent for hiking. 

You are free to do whatever it is that you please with your hands (this light source is HANDS-FREE!)

Though you don’t always need a super bright light, the various brightness levels allow you to choose between performance and long battery life. The power output and battery capacity are impressive, and this headlamp is rated IPX8 waterproof (waterproof rating.) 

It is shock-resistant up to 1.5 meters. It runs on 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and can be recharged using USB-C. 

Flashlight durability is a factor when buying any light source. This headlamp is AMAZINGLY durable and hardy, which is why it is considered the best hiking flashlight *headlamp with multiple brightness settings.

Pros

  • Impressive battery life and runtime
  • Hands free feature, allowing for hands free use
  • Excellent light output considering its size
  • Durable and strong build
  • Waterproof rated IPX8

Cons

  • Does not reach the claimed spec in some modes

5. Wuben T70

The best backpacking flashlight will not only have great light output but added features that make it the best flashlight. 

The Wuben T70 offers incredible light output at 4200 lumens! It is powered by a 26650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery (lithium batteries are the BEST).

With a maximum run time of 35 HOURS in low mode, this flashlight offers sufficient juice to make it an excellent hiking and backpacking flashlight. 

Made with rugged aircraft-grade aluminum, this is one HARDY and TOUGH flashlight that can take being dropped on a rock. It has been drop tested at 1 meter (shock resistant.)

This LED flashlight has a focused beam. When it comes to LED flashlights, the Wuben T70 is a sturdy flashlight making it a powerful pick for your backpacking trip. 

The durable aluminum body and focused light make for a combination of PERFORMANCE and DURABILITY. With a beam throw of 250 METERS, the performance of this flashlight is not very far from being the best flashlight on the market. 

This is a powerful flashlight that should be an ESSENTIAL inclusion in your backpacking trip gear! When it comes to flashlight brands, Wuben can be trusted!

With a runtime of over 2 hours in Turbo mode, this flashlight has six brightness levels. The less light output you choose, the longer the battery will last. 

You won’t need spare batteries. With the built-in USB charger, this flashlight will work to illuminate the night for HOURS on a single charge!

Rated IP68 waterproof, this flashlight can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water. You won’t have to worry about the rain during hiking, messing with your flashlight.

It also has a Strobe and SOS mode which is perfect for emergency lighting. 

This is an extremely bright light with features that makes it one of the top flashlights on the market. The Wuben T70 could be the best companion for all your hiking adventures. 

Pros

  • Waterproof rated IP68
  • Rechargeable, with no need for extra batteries
  • Super bright
  • Strobe and SOS for tactical use

Cons

  • The charging port can be confused with the power switch in the dark

6. Imalent LD10

At a length of only 2.8 inches, this is a handy little flashlight (miniature flashlight). It has a simple user interface and is operated via a simple tail switch.

With a lifespan of 50,000 HOURS, the flashlight has a maximum light output of 1200 lumens.

With a maximum throw distance of 247 meters, this flashlight is sufficiently bright for hiking and backpacking. 

It has a maximum runtime of up to 18 HOURS. This is a powerful flashlight for its size! (Once again, reassuring Kevin Hart that size doesn’t matter.)

In the highest light mode, this little flashlight can illuminate the whole campsite. With five brightness settings (five light modes) to choose from, the light mode you choose will define the battery life.

It uses a rechargeable 18350 lithium-ion battery, which caters to the varying brightness levels of this small but mighty flashlight. 

The LED bulb used in the flashlight is extremely reliable and bright. We were surprised at how bright this flashlight was, considering its size. 

The low mode on this flashlight offers 10 lumens of brightness (which is still plenty of light), allowing for battery conservation coupled with QUALITY performance. 

It has been impact resistance tested at 1.5 meters, which means it can take a drop or two and still work. It is obvious that you will drop your flashlight at some point when you go hiking or backpacking. Hence, impact resistance is a nice feature to have in any flashlight that you pick for hiking and backpacking.

Rated IPX8 waterproof, the Imalent LD10 is one of the best flashlights and is particularly appealing due to its small size. 

Pros

  • Reliable battery life for long use
  • Waterproof rated IPX8
  • Great build quality, with exceptional durability
  • Simple user interface so simple use

Cons

  • The battery is not removable 

7. NITECORE EC30

The Nitecore EC30 is a great flashlight with five brightness modes to choose from. It also has special modes, SOS, beacon, and Strobe.

It is the added special modes on this flashlight that make it PERFECT for tactical use. 

When hiking, you may come across unexpected wildlife. The strobe feature, for instance, will work to scare unwelcomed wildlife that may stumble into your path. 

This flashlight isn’t too big, at only 4.3 inches.

On the lowest light setting, this flashlight will work for 310HOURS! That is days and nights worth of lighting.

You need something with reliable battery life when you consider picking a flashlight for hiking and backpacking. 

The light output at 1800 lumens is bright enough to illuminate a whole area before you (perfect for hiking and backpacking.)

It has an anodized aluminum construction, making this a very DURABLE and HARDY flashlight. Impact resistant up to 1 meter, you can throw this flashlight around a little and not have to worry about it breaking or malfunctioning. (Even if you drop this flashlight while hiking, it will still work.)

Rated IPX8 waterproof, it can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water. Imagine dropping this in the lake while hiking, and it still works after you retrieve it!

It runs on 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which means you won’t need spare batteries. 

The Nitecore EC30 is a reliable and WORTHY flashlight that has some impressive features, which is why it landed itself on our list of the best NINE!

Unfortunately, the Nitecore EC30 has been discontinued. Check out the Nitecore E4K for similar brilliance.

Pros

  • Exceptional battery life with 310 HOURS of lighting
  • Good beam profile and levels of brightness
  • Durable and lightweight by design
  • Waterproof rated IPX8
  • Magnetic tail cap

Cons

  • UI is a little hard to get used to

8. Astrolux S3

Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, this flashlight offers 1400 lumens worth of brightness and has EIGHT modes that you can choose from.

This is more than any other flashlight on our list. 

It runs on 14500 batteries which can be opted to be rechargeable. However, the battery is not built in, which can be very useful for a flashlight when hiking and backpacking.

The fact that you can replace batteries (disposable batteries) means that you can keep extra batteries around to ensure your flashlight is working, even on those LONG hiking trips!

The Astrolux S3 is operated using a tail switch, which is simple to use. The user interface is simple, which is what makes it a GREAT hiking flashlight!

This is one of the best flashlights on the market, which is ideally suited for the outdoors. For instance, it is IPX8 waterproof which means you can get it wet in the rain. 

It also has shock resistance and has been drop tested at the height of 1 meter! You need durability when you consider a flashlight for hiking and backpacking. You don’t need a flashlight that will stop working if it falls off your hand or your bag. 

Though this flashlight doesn’t come with a battery (not included in the package), you can buy as many rechargeable batteries as you may need to run this flashlight! (Though you only need one 14500 lithium ion battery.)

The Astrolux S3 is a handy and HARDY flashlight with an amazing beam profile. The battery life is EXCELLENT, with run times of up to 45 minutes of illumination on the Ultra-High mode (1400 lumens of brightness.) – On low mode, it could take WEEKS or even MONTHS to drain the battery completely!

Pros

  • Strong design with reliable durability
  • Lightweight and simple use interface
  • Impressive battery life with improved longevity of use
  • Good beam profile
  • Waterproof rated IPX8

Cons

  • The flashlight gets a little hotter compared to other lights

9. Cyansky P20

The Cyansky P20 is a practical choice when looking for a hiking and backpacking flashlight.

This is an outdoor flashlight with outdoor features, which make it perfect for hiking and backpacking. 

With 1600 lumens of brightness, it has a maximum throw distance of 240 meters, which is sufficient brightness to illuminate the WHOLE trail before you!

Powered by one 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, this is a reliable flashlight that you can guarantee will not fail to work when you need it the most!

It has four modes of brightness to choose from and a strobe function for tactical use. A tactical flashlight can be very useful when hiking. You never know the dangers that may fall on you or what emergency you may find yourself in.

Having a tactical flashlight with a strobe mode can be the difference between life and death in emergency scenarios while hiking and backpacking.

With an impact resistance measure of 2 METERS, this is a hardy and DURABLE flashlight that can take a punch or two! 

It only weighs 74 grams, so it is not too big and bulky, making it difficult to carry the flashlight while hiking. 

Rated IP68 waterproof, this flashlight can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water. The rain won’t stop this light from illuminating the hiking trail!

This flashlight has a maximum run time of 1.5 HOURS on turbo mode (1600 lumens). On low mode with 10 lumens of brightness, it will work for 150 HOURS!

You can’t go wrong with picking the Cyansky P20 for your next hike. It has all the features necessary to make it a worthy flashlight for your outdoor adventures!

Pros

  • 150 hours battery life
  • Durable and lightweight design
  • Good beam distance and great beam profile
  • Rechargeable, so no need to buy extra batteries
  • Waterproof rated IP68

Cons

  • Has a slight green tint
  • Addition of a moonlight mode could’ve been better

How to Spot a Good Hiking and Backpacking Flashlight?

flashlights on the floor

When looking for a GOOD flashlight for hiking and backpacking, you need to consider the DURABILITY of the flashlight. You need something that is DURABLE and HARDY that will not break that easily. This is one of the most important things to consider when picking a good hiking and backpacking flashlight.

You have to consider the output of the flashlight and its performance, which are both important aspects. You need something that offers BETTER performance than a regular flashlight and has features such as SOS and Strobe.

These special features come to great tactical use in case of emergencies, which is a real possibility when hiking in the wilderness!

The brightness of the flashlight is important, so the beam distance is a factor. The better the brightness and beam distance, the better when it comes to hiking.

However, you have to keep in mind the battery life. When using these high modes on these flashlights, the battery could deplete fast. Hence, be mindful of when you use your flashlight (whichever flashlight) in Turbo and High mode. 

We considered all the factors, not the most important ones, so you can TRUST us with our recommendations of the BEST nine flashlights for hiking and backpacking.

Why Do You Need a Flashlight for Backpacking and Hiking?

Even if it is a day hike that you have in mind, you never know where the trail may lead you. Hence, it is always good to be prepared with a trustable and handy flashlight. It should be an inclusion in all hiking and backpacking gear. 

In case you stumble onto an emergency on your trail and are stranded through the night, not only will a good flashlight provide you with a source of light, but it will also have SOS and Strobe features to signal for help if it ever becomes necessary. 

A trustable flashlight can work to SAVE YOUR LIFE! Hence, it is always a good idea to keep a flashlight with you when you go hiking or backpacking.

Not only will the flashlight provide you with brilliant illumination at night if camping overnight, the right flashlight will make the whole experience ten times, if not 1000 times better!

Benefits of Having a Flashlight While Backpacking and Hiking

a man wearing headlamp

You may find yourself stranded in the woods and need to signal someone on the other shore of the lake. Your flashlight at night could SAVE YOUR LIFE! 

You never know what wildlife you will encounter at night when hiking and backpacking. A good flashlight with a nice strobe feature will work to scare wildlife away! 

Even if your hike takes a little longer than expected and you are taking your time hiking back to civilization, a handy flashlight in your backpack could mean the difference between finishing that hike and getting stranded in the dark!

A flashlight on your outdoor adventures could work to greatly improve your experience. You will have a better time hiking and backpacking with the right gear with you!

Which is Good for Hiking? Headlamp or Flashlight

When hiking in the dark, you may like to have both hands free, which only headlamps provide. Flashlights require you to keep at least one hand accommodated to hold the light. 

This can be troublesome for many hikers, especially those who prefer using trekking poles. If you are carrying too many things, having a flashlight to carry may become too much of a burden. 

A headlamp takes away the worry of having to hold a flashlight. Not only that, headlamps usually have a higher lumen output than flashlights, and you can find something that offers better light. 

Hence, in our opinion, headlamps are considered the better choice for hikers. It is advised, however, that you carry not just a headlamp but a flashlight also. (Both are essential inclusions for hikers and backpackers.)

How Many Lumens Do You Need for Hiking and Backpacking?

a human using a flashlight at night

Generally, a headlamp that offers 300 to 600 lumens of light should be sufficient for hiking and backpacking.

However, when picking a flashlight, it is considered better to choose a light that offers more brightness in the range of 600 lumens up. These flashlights offer not only brightness but a host of other features which make them better than the regular 300-lumen headlamp that you would find. 

Ideally, you should target 600 to 1500 lumens of light for when you go hiking and backpacking. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of where it is that you go hiking or backpacking or what time of the day, it is important that you carry a flashlight with you in case of emergency. It is always a good idea to ensure that you have a trustworthy and RELIABLE flashlight that will prove useful in hikes and the outdoors!

With that in mind, there’s nothing better than the Acebeam H17, the versatility of a headlamp along with 2000 lumens of brightness and 200 HOURS of lighting, you just won’t be disappointed.

However, that does not mean that the other flashlights are bad. All the flashlights on this list have exceptional features which make them PERFECT for hiking and backpacking. Hence, take your pick from this list, and you won’t go wrong!

FAQs

Yes, it is recommended to bring a flashlight, preferably a tactical flashlight, when hiking as it can be helpful in emergency situations.

Yes, the Acebeam H17 Headlamp is rechargeable, as it uses one 18350 rechargeable battery.

The strobe feature on a flashlight is important when hiking because it can be used to signal for help in an emergency situation, providing a reliable source of illumination in any environment.

Yes, a hiking flashlight should be weatherproof, as having a waterproof rating ensures it will function in wet conditions.

A survival flashlight should have a minimum of 10 lumens of light, and should be able to operate for days or weeks.

The tactical flashlight is important for hikers and backpackers as it provides a reliable light source in emergencies, as well as a strobe feature which can be used to signal for assistance if needed.

OUR #1 RECOMMENDATION
Acebeam H17
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

Overall Score

5.0

visa, master, amex, paypal
Pros
Good design for improved functionality
Reasonable battery life for long use
Good beam distance and beam profile
Can be put to tactical use
Waterproof, improving reliability
Get the BEST PRICE until the end of May
Cons
The battery should be removed and charged externally

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Author
Dillon Morrison
I have been involved in the flashlight community since 2007. My brother has a flashlight shop from where I have tested and reviewed more than 600+ different types of flashlights. You can find more about me here.

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