Weighing less than a pound and smaller than a snickers bar, flashlights built for travel are the dirty work’s best friend. When the chores don’t stop after sunset, Flashlights are an essential part of all packing lists. You don’t have to be living in the woods to need a bit of sunshine in your pocket.  Whether it’s for an emergency situation, a quick game of tag, that last midnight mile, or simply searching for crabs on the beach, the best flashlights for travel present an inexpensive way to light up your night.

Hopefully, we don’t have to convince you that this handy tool is a camping essential, but I would argue that no matter where you’re headed, every traveller should roam with a proper torch in their kit, so let’s get shopping.

Modern travellers certainly have plenty of flashlight options, but it’s a double-edged sword. There are so many torches out there, and you won’t find much difference in appearance. It’s not easy to stare at walls of flashlight options to determine which light is right for your next journey. You’ll have to find the tool that lines up with your weight requirements, weather resistance demands, battery capabilities, and of course, the perfect blend of special features.

That’s where we step in.

About Our Best Flashlights Review

This updated buying guide will shine a light on the very best in torch technology. I’m not kidding around here. We’ll take you through the latest and greatest in hands-free headlamps, budget lighting, and glowing camping lanterns in the business.

From high-quality flashlights that have helped me climb a mountain before sunrise to crappy bricks that drain through four AA batteries before dusk has even settled, I’ve sampled the industry and seen what a difference the right torch makes. My flashlights have gotten me through hurricanes, midnight bathroom runs, and night scuba dives to the point where I’d hardly consider heading to the grocery store without one in my glove box.

So follow along, charge up your batteries, and take a look at what the best flashlight technology can bring to your next adventure. 

Quick Answer – These Are The Best Flashlights

If the power’s already out, there’s no time to talk details. Here is a look at our favourite flashlights and what they each do best.

#1 Overall Best Flashlight – Coast XP11R

#2 Best Head Lamp – Black Diamond Spot 350

#3 Best Budget Flashlight – Coast G22 Flashlight

#4 Best Rechargeable Flashlight – Fenix PD36R

#5 Best 3 in 1 Flashlight – Nitze Ize Radiant 3 in 1

#6 Best Hand Torch – Nathan Zephyr Trail 200

#7 Best Camping Lantern – MPOWERD Luci Base

Product
Description
Overall Best Flashlight
Overall Best Flashlight

Coast XP11R

  • > $
  • > Charge it with a USB-C connection or AAA batteries
  • > The adjustable front lens goes from 75-2,100 lumens in a hurry
Best Head Lamp
Best Head Lamp

Black Diamond Spot 350

  • > $
  • > Adjustable brightness levels
  • > Black Diamond brand is known for build quality
Best Budget Flashlight
Best Budget Flashlight

Coast G22 Flashlight

  • > $
  • > Several different light output settings
  • > Durable as many more expensive models
Best Rechargeable Flashlight
Best Rechargeable Flashlight

Fenix PD36R

  • > $
  • > The battery promises to work for 115 hours on eco mode
  • > The flashlight comes with a lifetime guarantee
Best 3 in 1 Flashlight
Best 3 in 1 Flashlight

Nitze Ize Radiant 3 in 1

  • > $
  • > Comes with an SOS beacon
  • > You can use it to communicate in Morse Code
Best Hand Torch
Best Hand Torch

Nathan Zephyr Trail 200

  • > $
  • > The strobe light feature makes for a great bike light
  • > 2 AA batteries last for 9 hours even on high output
Best Camping Lantern
Best Camping Lantern

MPOWERD Luci Base

  • > $
  • > Battery lasts for up to 50 hours of lighting
  • > Convenient clip hooks onto tent ceilings

These Are The Best Flashlights For Travel and Camping

Elucidate your life in style with these classic torches.

Every single flashlight on our list can fit easily into the palm of your hand, provides enough lumens to help navigate rough terrain in the dark, and packs the battery life to get you to dawn. 

Beyond that, the rules are out the window. Read on to find out some unique qualities and some unfortunate quirks of the industries best flashlights. 

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    #1 Overall Best Flashlight – Coast XP11R

    Coast XP11R
    Coast XP11R is our top pick for overall best flashlight

    This flashy piece of equipment ranks at the top of our list and easily fits into the palm of your hand. Coast’s flagship flashlight packs in plenty of lighting customisation options, a quality aluminium build, and a high-intensity output to serve as my favourite flashlight.

    Convenience features are what really set this torch apart. A battery indicator guarantees you won’t be caught by surprise while in the dark, and the easily twisting front lens allows you to focus your beam on the life in front of you. These special features make their way across the handheld flashlight and even dictate your charging methods.

    You can power this flashlight with an included rechargeable battery or with three AAA batteries, whatever best suits your lifestyle. 

    +Pros
    • Charge it with a USB-C connection or AAA batteries
    • The adjustable front lens goes from 75-2,100 lumens in a hurry
    • 37 hours of runtime at low output
    -Cons
    • Slightly heavy for a travel flashlight

    #2 Best Head Lamp – Black Diamond Spot 350

    Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp
    Meet the best head lamp: Black Diamond Spot 350

    Anyone who travels without a hands-free head-lamp has never had to wash the dishes after dark. I love cooking outside, but it’s all fun and games until it’s time to clean up while holding your iPhone in one hand. 

    This affordable headlamp is here to change that. Snugly secure your flashlight directly to your cranium with the adjustable strap and find the perfect brightness level to shine a light on the task at hand, all while keeping your hands involved in the action. This headlamp pumps in a high max light output all the way out to 85 meters, proving that a hands-free lantern can accomplish everything your typical torch could.

    My favourite feature on this budget headlamp is the red light mode, which allows you to see what’s in front of you without attracting bugs, or read in bed without straining your eyes.

    +Pros
    • Cheaper than a steak dinner
    • Adjustable brightness levels
    • Black Diamond brand is known for build quality
    -Cons
    • Relatively low max light output at 350 lumens
    • Burns through 3 AAA batteries in less than 4 hours of use on high output

    #3 Best Budget Flashlight – Coast G22 Flashlight

    Coast G22 Flashlight
    For best budget flashlight, checkout Coast G22 Flashlight

    This bad boy is an emergency situation special. Travellers who don’t plan on roaming around in the darkness may never need to break out their flashlight, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry while on the road.

    It may be affordable, but it’s certainly not cheaply made. An entirely aluminium housing means your flashlight can spend years bouncing around the bottom of your bag and still shine. The Coast G22 weighs less than two ounces and only requires one battery, so you can slip it into your purse, keychain, or pocket to make sure you’ve always got a torch on hand. When it’s time to call upon your flashlight, a simple yet bright spot beam lights up to 50 meters ahead.

    +Pros
    • Several different light output settings
    • Lightweight enough to fit on every packing list
    • Durable as many more expensive models
    -Cons
    • Devoid of any special features
    • Not suitable for night adventures outside

    #4 Best Rechargeable Flashlight – Fenix PD36R

    Fenix PD36R
    Our pick for best rechargeable flashlight is Fenix PD36R

    Bulky single-use batteries are slowly becoming a thing of the past, and the lithium-ion USB-C battery in this powerful torch say good riddance. Some rechargeable batteries lose their lustre after a few cycles, but the lifetime Fenix guarantee ensures this flashlight will keep the lights on for years to come.

    The body of the flashlight comes with a battery indicator and low charge warning that will keep you on top of the PD36R recharge cycle, and the powerful beam sure doesn’t seem to miss the extra maximum capability of disposable batteries.

    At over 1500 Lumens, this flashlight truly shines, and the impressive charge cycle will keep the lights on through any emergency situation or freedom camping adventure. 

    +Pros
    • Flashlight ships with the complete kit; holster, lanyard, and charging cable
    • The battery promises to work for 115 hours on eco mode
    • The flashlight comes with a lifetime guarantee
    -Cons
    • The tail is not free-standing
    • Most expensive flashlight on our list
    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    #5 Best 3 in 1 Flashlight – Nitze Ize Radiant 3 in 1

    Nitze Ize Radiant 3 in 1

    What exactly is a 3 in 1 flashlight you ask? Nitze Ize defines 3 in 1 as a flashlight, a lantern, and a safety light, all compacted into a twelve dollar light that’s small enough to fit into every suitcase. 

    This is one of the cheapest flashlights on our list, and be prepared to get what you paid for. If you ordered it tomorrow and used it frequently, I wouldn’t expect it to be working next year. This budget flashlight’s lantern feature lets me look past that and slide it onto our list. 

    It’s not perfect, but the Radiant is uniquely capable of lighting up the cookstove, playing host to card games, and working as an emergency beacon.  This one in particular makes an excellent gift for campers.

    +Pros
    • Comes with an SOS beacon
    • Also functions as a lamp with enough oomph to light up a card game
    • You can use it to communicate in Morse Code
    -Cons
    • Not built to last
    • Three in one just means three different lightbulbs

    #6 Best Hand Torch – Nathan Zephyr Trail 200

    Nathan Zephyr Trail 200
    Nathan Zephyr Trail 200 is our top pick for best hand torch

    I know what you’re thinking. No, A hand torch is not just a fancy way to say flashlight, its a functional blend of a flashlight and a headlamp. Nathan latched on an ergonomic elastic strap to this tilted flashlight to provide a new perspective. Anyone planning on logging some miles after dark or being active with their torch can use this extra strap as a safety net and loosen their grip for the long haul. 

    The Zephyr Trail doesn’t just hold on tight, it also looks ahead. A 45-degree angle keeps the lantern’s eye on the ground without having to point your wrist downwards. This is one of the best flashlights in the business for lighting up life in motion. 

    +Pros
    • The strobe light feature makes for a great bike light
    • 2 AA batteries last for 9 hours even on high output
    • Packs the special features that make the flashlight easy to hold on to
    -Cons
    • Low maximum light output
    • The entire flashlight is built around preventing the need to twist your wrist

    #7 Best Camping Lantern – MPOWERD Luci Base

    MPOWERD Luci Base Inflatable Solar Lantern
    For best camping lantern, checkout MPOWERD Luci Base

    Solar energy is here to stay, and it’s more affordable than ever. Thanks to Mpowerd, it can now fit in the palm of your hand, light up our tent and charge your devices. This camping lantern puts out some serious lumens, all fueled by the power of the sun.

     It doesn’t get any simpler than the Luci Base. The solar lantern packs down small, and a few breathes will quickly expand the lantern and illuminate a backcountry kitchen. You can leave your lantern out in the sun to charge, or quickly recharge the lithium-ion battery with the wall charger.

    The Luci Base is the closest thing we’ve got to artificial sunlight on the go, and it’s a great hands-free option totally capable of lighting up your campsite. 

    You can read our full Mpowered Luci Base review here.

    +Pros
    • Battery lasts for up to 50 hours of lighting
    • Provides a USB charging port for small electronic devices
    • Convenient clip hooks onto tent ceilings
    -Cons
    • Takes 28 hours of direct sunlight to fully recharge
    • Can only fully charge your phone once per battery cycle

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      Final Thoughts on The Best Flashlights For Travel

      No matter which path you choose to follow, these lanterns will light your way. From headlamps to hand torches, we’ve dissected the contenders and tossed away the pretenders to present our favourite flashlights of all styles. Any flashlight can merely adopt the dark, but the best flashlights for travel were born in the darkness, moulded in it.  

      Now it’s up to you to put the right light in your hands. Each one of the torches on our lists will do something better than anyone else, but remember, each flashlight also has its faults. 

      A classic handheld torch pumps out a powerful beam that generally works at a longer range and higher maximum output than most other styles, perfect for nocturnal exploration. If portability is your number one concern, you won’t find anything more efficient than the hands-free illumination of a headlamp, guaranteed to shine wherever you’re eyes are focused.

      Maybe you don’t need much motion out of your torch. In that case, a lantern light will brighten up the largest area of any flashlight style, and you’ll easily be able to leave it on a picnic table or tent ceiling to light up enough space for activities. No one style is perfect, but there is no bad choice of the three!

      The bottom line is this: regardless of your reason for travelling, leaving for your adventure without a quality light source is tiptoeing towards stupidity.

      The best flashlights for your travel will help take you’re adventure further on good days and brighten up a tough situation on the bad ones, so make sure you pick a flashlight that will be ready to go when you need it the most.


      Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀

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