Why Flashlight is Important in Camping? A Definitive Guide

Last Updated on May, 2024

Flashlights are an asset when you go camping. Why? Because you are in the dark wilderness and a good flashlight can light the woods with brilliant light. It could even protect you against wildlife that may find their way to the campsite.

Flashlights come in varying degrees of brightness and with various modes, making each flashlight unique in design and features. Hence, you must understand the characteristics of each flashlight, so you have a good idea as to whether the specific flashlight is suitable for camping or not. 

For instance, all flashlights come with some form of light, but not all flashlights have a strobe function. A strobe mode on a flashlight can come to great tactical use and can work to scare away wildlife or signal someone in case of an Emergency.

Quick Summary

A flashlight is an essential inclusion to your camping gear as it provides a source of light and can be used in case of an emergency.

When looking for the best flashlight for camping, consider one that is reliable, durable, shock-resistant, waterproof, made with strong material, and also comes with a warranty.

6 types of camping flashlights include heavy-duty flashlights, which are high-grade and made for campers and hikers who need more power and toughness.

Why You Need a Flashlight While Camping?

a human holding a flashlight while camping at night

Apart from the obvious need for lighting while camping, a flashlight can be a very useful asset when camping. 

First and foremost, it works as a source of light. For instance, if you need to wander away from the campsite because nature calls at night, a flashlight will help you see in the dark and find a safe spot in the woods in which you can relieve yourself. 

Campsites do not come with lighting. Regardless of whether you are camping in an RV or in a tent, a flashlight is an ESSENTIAL inclusion to your camping gear.

Even if you are camping in an RV, the power could go off. A flashlight is the GO-TO source of light in case of an emergency while camping. It is a handy light source to have at your disposal.

A flashlight can be your sole source of illumination in the dark. Sure, a campfire can work to keep the area lit, but a flashlight gives you mobility… you can carry the light where you wish!

Many things could happen when you go camping. The food that you bring with you could attract wildlife. You could decide to go on a hike and find yourself stranded at night.

In such an instance, not only will a flashlight be a source of light, but if a STROBE feature is built into the flashlight, you could use the strobe to signal rescuers. 

A flashlight can simply SAVE YOUR LIFE while camping! Hence, regardless of whether you think you need a flashlight or not, it is best to have a flashlight in that backpack, just in case a reliable source of light becomes necessary. 

How to Pick the Best Flashlight for Camping?

a flashlight on the rock

When out on the hunt for the BEST flashlight for camping, there are a few things you need to consider. In general, you need this flashlight to generally be very RELIABLE. You don’t want an unreliable flashlight, especially when you go camping. 

Reliability is of utmost importance; hence you should always carry a flashlight that you can TRUST! – I’m excited to tell you there are a fair few that WE personally trust!

How reliable the flashlight is will depend on the DURABILITY of the product. This is yet another thing that is of utmost importance. The more durable the flashlight, the more reliable it will be.

You want something that is SHOCK-RESISTANT, that is WATERPROOF, and made with STRONG material (like aircraft grade aluminum!). 

The light output is yet another thing you want to consider. Maybe you want something that has a HUGE beam distance of two football fields or so. Perhaps you prefer something that gives you control over the modes of lighting, offering many modes to choose from. 

Look for a WARRANTY. Flashlights that come with a company warranty on the product are usually the ones that are more RELIABLE!

Lastly, look for the design to meet your needs! After all, no matter how amazing the features are, you don’t want something that is either too big for you or too small. Find the right size flashlight with the right features, and you will have a WINNER in your hands!

The Six Types of Camping Flashlights

When looking for a flashlight for camping, there are a host of choices out there. Hence, we classified all these options into SIX types.

1. Heavy-Duty Flashlights

Heavy-Duty Flashlights are high-grade flashlights that are made for the adventurer in you.

They are specially designed for campers and hikers who need a little more power and a little more TOUGHNESS!

These aren’t your regular AA flashlights that you find in the store that will break if they hit a rock.

These are HEAVY-DUTY, RELIABLE, HARDY, TOUGH, and incredibly impressive flashlights with MULTI-FEATURES such as strobe, SOS, spotlight, flood light, and even DAYS and MONTHS of run time on eco and low modes. 

Fenix PD35 V3.0

The Fenix PD35 V2 is a VERY good example of a HEAVY-DUTY flashlight. Firstly, this flashlight is pocket-sized, which means you can carry it anywhere you go.

Don’t take HEAVY-DUTY to mean big and bulky. Some flashlights, like the Fenix PD35 V2, are extremely compact and bring with them some exceptional features that make them HEAVY-DUTY flashlights.

For instance, you need to consider the throw distance – at 250 meters on the Fenix PD35 V2. You also have to consider the modes of lighting available – the Fenix PD35 V2 has five, including a STROBE mode.

It uses a rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion battery (you know, the ones even used in ELECTRIC CARS like Tesla!). There is even a battery level indicator, so you know when you recharge your flashlight. 

The Fenix PD35 V2 claims to have a lifespan of 50,000 HOURS! (That’s a long-lasting flashlight!)

The flashlight is rated IP68 waterproof and has been drop tested at 1 meter! This is what makes a DURABLE flashlight!

What more? This flashlight runs for 430 HOURS on eco mode (low mode). That is over 2 WEEKS of illumination. These are things you need to look for when you are trying to spot a HEAVY-DUTY flashlight! 

2. Small Flashlights

Now, these types of flashlights are small. Smaller than the average flashlight. However, these flashlights are not the best for exploring the woods.

They often don’t have exceptionally great beam profiles, which means they are best for chores around the campsite. 

When camping, it is natural for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. You, in fact, start using night vision, which humans are capable of.

Hence, you don’t need as strong of a light as you may think. 

However, the DECISION to go with a more miniature flashlight depends on what you expect to do during your camping trip.

Fenix E12

You have to consider the uses of the flashlight. If you don’t need a flashlight to be powerful enough to wake the whole camping site, you can rely on a smaller flashlight such as the Fenix E12 LED flashlight. 

Small flashlights provide sufficient light for when you have to leave the campsite area to use the washroom (in this case, a tree.) 

Small flashlights also offer sufficient light for reading maps. The Fenix E12 is only 3 inches long, classifying it as a MINIATURE flashlight. 

Don’t get us wrong; small flashlights don’t have to be dim flashlights. For instance, the Fenix E12 produces 130 lumens worth of light and has a beam distance of 88 meters. This is plenty of light for a camping flashlight that you will basically use to get around the campsite. 

With smaller flashlights, you should be on the lookout for other things other than beam profile. With the beam it projects being sufficient, you should consider the durability, including shock resistance and water resistance.

You should also look into the availability of added features, such as STROBE and SOS, for emergencies. 

Small flashlights produce sufficient light for the purposes of illuminating a campsite. However, if you are planning on doing a lot more exploring and hiking during your camping trip, we do recommend that you carry a flashlight which may be bigger but has a better beam profile. 

3. Solar Powered Flashlights

These are varied types of flashlights in comparison to other flashlights. They are powered by solar energy and will work to charge themselves during the day. 

This is an exceptional feature for any flashlight that you want to use while camping. You don’t always have access to a power source to charge a flashlight while camping.

Hence, the option to allow the flashlight to charge itself sure does come in handy!

These flashlights have solar cells built into the design of the flashlight that works to harness the sun’s energy and charge the battery.

Though these flashlights don’t charge through the sun incredibly fast, they come with a standard charger that you can use to charge the flashlight through a power outlet.

Spurtar Rechargeable Waterproof

This is a fancy TYPE of flashlight which, through charging itself during the day, will mean you have a light source at night. The Spurtar rechargeable solar flashlight is an excellent example of a solar power flashlight that you find in the market

This flashlight only needs a few hours of the sun every day to charge the battery. This means, on a sunny day, the flashlight will charge itself, allowing you to use the light at night. 

The brightness of the LED is easily bright enough to light up a room (500 lumens), with a lighting time of 3 to 7 hours. With it recharging daily, this should be sufficient light to make it through the night while camping. 

Don’t confuse yourself; solar flashlights are not ONLY solar charged. These flashlights have dual charging capabilities. You can charge these flashlights using a power outlet or relying on the power of the sun!

4. Multi-Purpose Flashlights

These flashlights come with extra attachments that make them even more useful while camping.

They can be used for various purposes, including map reading, spot illumination, flood illumination, strobe lighting, and SOS functions.

For instance, some flashlights come with a red light mode that can be used for SIGNALING. This tactical use of these tactical flashlights comes in handy during emergency situations. 

The NewVan Tech 3-in-1 flashlight is a prime example of a multi-purpose flashlight. It has a red light mode which is perfect for emergencies. 

NewVan Tech 3-in-1

If you switch modes, it can be converted into a work lamp for when you need general lighting around the campsite. This can be great for reading or generally lighting the campsite.

Lastly, it has a general flashlight mode that can be used for general hiking and exploring. 

Multi-purpose flashlights offer the user more than one thing that you can rely on the flashlight for. When camping, the multi-purpose features often come in handy. 

For instance, if your flashlight has a red light signal, this could mean you can use this light in case of emergency. Using a flashlight that doesn’t have a red light or strobe function will not help you signal help in case of an emergency. 

5. Handheld Flashlights

Sometimes, it becomes necessary that you carry a bigger flashlight that offers more light while camping.

A pocket flashlight will only get you so far, and if you have to set up a campsite at night, you may need a much STRONGER source of light. 

Handheld flashlights are often bigger in size and dimensions and are bulky. However, the bigger size means they have a much better beam profile, and the brightness levels are usually much greater. 

For instance, the Acebeam L19 2.0 Flashlight works on 21700 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and can illuminate the whole area in front of you. 

Acebeam L19 2.0

These flashlights often have both spot and flood light features allowing you to either shoot the beam into the night sky or illuminate the whole forest with a flashlight so bright. 

The Acebeam L19 2.0, for instance, uses a really bright 2200 lumen LED bulb. That is a whole lot of light for when you go exploring the woods. 

These handheld flashlights offer a much better beam profile. Ideally, you should have one of these handheld flashlights in your camping gear, including a small second flashlight for secondary use. 

These handheld lights are usually much more powerful than a regular flashlight and could very easily wake the whole campsite due to the brightness of light produced!

6. Hands-Free Flashlights

These types of flashlights are better known as headlamps.

They are worn on the head, so as to give both your hands the freedom to do whatever it is that needs to be done around the campsite. 

These hands-free flashlights can really come in handy. You may have seen cave explorers use these flashlights mounted on their heads.

Hands-free flashlights give you the mobility that may prove useful when for instance, setting up camp in the dark.

The Sonoma Valley Headlamp is an excellent example of a hands-free flashlight.

Sonoma Valley Headlamp

The headlamp is mounted on the head and will illuminate the area in front of you with 5000 LUMENS of brightness! 

These hands-free flashlights can be exceptionally bright; hence though these flashlights can be great additions to camping gear, a regular handheld flashlight or smaller flashlight should be included as a secondary source of light. 

Why You Need a Tactical Flashlight While Camping?

A tactical flashlight can come in great tactical use when camping. For instance, your food may lure in wildlife, in which case, your tactical flashlight with the tactical strobe function could work to scare them away. 

What if you stumble upon a scary forest person in the dark? The strobe feature would work to blind the forest person momentarily, giving you time to run away!

If you find yourself having hiked to an unknown part of the camp and are stranded, you could use the SOS feature of your tactical flashlight to signal for help

There are various situations that you could find yourself in which would benefit you from having a tactical flashlight. 

Remember, even a tactical flashlight will only go so far as to save you in case of EMERGENCY. However, having a flashlight with you could mean the difference between life and death.

Related article: Why You Should Bring a Flashlight When Hiking?

Importance of a Flashlight in a Survival Kit 

When going camping, it is a good idea to make a survival kit that includes all the necessary things in case of an emergency. This KIT should most certainly include a flashlight or two.

A source of light can be a very important thing in survival situations. If you are stuck in a cave, would you not wish to have a flashlight with you so that you could signal people for help and keep yourself lit? 

When it comes to survival, we need a source of light. We, humans, are not intended for the night; we are people of the day who require light to see and work, and function.

Hence, in any case, if you find yourself stranded in a survival situation, having a flashlight as a source of life could very well lead to SAVE YOUR LIFE!

Benefits of Having a Flashlight While Camping

When camping, you NEED a powerful source of light to keep the darkness away. Regardless of how simple it may sound, you NEED a source of light other than a campfire when camping.

A flashlight will ensure that you have a RELIABLE source of light around the campsite. 

Adding to the reliability is the fact that a flashlight can come in real handy during EMERGENCY situations. If you find yourself in a survival setting, a flashlight could be the difference between life and death. 

LED camping flashlights are designed to last much longer than regular flashlights.

Hence the benefit of having a good flashlight means that you won’t have to worry about spending any time in the dark. Your flashlight will become your camping companion, illuminating the way and keeping you safe!

Unique Ways to Use a Flashlight While Camping 

using flashlights while camping at night

Red light flashlights are mainly used for stargazing. Hence if you are a fan of looking into the night sky to find stars, a red light flashlight could come in handy. 

A blue light flashlight could help you spot traces of blood, which can be helpful when hunting in the dark. If you are on a hunting camping trip, having a flashlight that offers blue light could help you track down wounded prey!

Green LEDs are useful for night vision and can help you explore in the dark. These varied spectrums of light all offer varying uses. 

There are so many unique ways you can use a flashlight while camping. We gave you the three examples above to simply show you why a flashlight can be a very important asset in your camping gear!

Final Thoughts

A flashlight during your camping trip is, for sure, an essential inclusion in the list of things to carry. In fact, we recommend that you carry more than one flashlight and have ample sources of lighting to make the trip safe and enjoyable. 

With so many options in the market, you should be able to find a reliable flashlight that serves the purpose well. After all, you would know how bright of a light you would need and the features to look out for. 

We are experts when it comes to flashlights and have researched and tested 100s of flashlights in the process of bringing you the information that you need to make an informed decision. 

Hence, if you are on the hunt for a GREAT camping flashlight, we recommend you read this article on the BEST Camping flashlights! These are our picks, and you can trust us to only RECOMMEND the BEST to our readers!


A strobe function is important when camping as it can be used to blind threats, scare away wildlife, and signal for help, making it a very useful tool.

Yes, solar-powered flashlights are a great choice for camping, as they are able to charge during the day using the sun, allowing you to have a reliable source of light even when you don’t have access to a power supply.

When looking for a camping flashlight, ensure it is durable and reliable. Consider the beam profile to determine if the brightness level meets your needs. Additionally, make sure the run time of the flashlight is sufficient to last the duration of your camping trip.

Hand-free camping flashlights are typically very bright, producing light output of up to 5000 lumens, while standard flashlights typically produce light of only 500 lumens.

Heavy-duty flashlights can come in both large, bulky sizes as well as smaller, pocket-sized models.

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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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