Flashlights are great tools for camping and many other applications, wherever you need a portable beam of light. Due to technology advancements today's flashlights are brighter, smaller, weigh less and can last longer than every before.
When choosing the right model, there are a few major things to consider: brightness, run time and impact/water resistance.
Light output is measured in lumens and it tells you the maximum brightness with new batteries. The range is usually from around 20 lumens, which should be enough for reading, to a very bright 4000 lumens and more.
Beam distance means how far, in meters, the light can reach until it becomes as weak as the brightness of full moon.
Many flashlights come with a single mode for light output. Others can be adjusted between low, medium and high. This can be very helpful to achieve a desired brightness in any situation, as well as longer battery life.
Run time measures how many hours does it take until the brightness of the flashlight drops to 10% of maximum light output.
Flashlights are usually powered by common size batteries, such as AA or AAA, or rechargeable batteries, such as lithium-ion batteries, with the latter being usually more expansive. Some flashlights can be recharged by a solar pane or a hand crank, which is great for emergency situations.
Impact resistance is measured by the altitude from which it can be safely dropped. Water resistance indicates whether the flashlight can be safely submerged, how deep and for how long.
Traditional lightbulbs are still in use, however LED bulbs have dominated the market for a few years. They offer much higher efficiency than other bulbs, which makes them run longer.
Most flashlights come with a reflector/lens that determines the width of the light beam. A single/fixed beam is good for most applications, however if you want to reach longer distance you will need a flashlight with a spot beam. Finally, many today's flashlights feature an adjustable beam width, which covers the whole beam range from wide to spot focused.
Besides the criteria mentioned above, the obvious thing to look for is the size and weight of the flashlight. This is down to individual preference, but it should be noted that larger flashlights tend to have larger batteries and longer run time.
After doing your own research, you might be interested in checking out the models we've listed below:
Olympia RG850 is a high performance LED flashlight made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It has 5 light settings, including strobe & SOS for emergency situations. It is waterproof, can be submerged up to 2 meters under water (IPX-8), and is impact resistant to 1.5 meters. The light output of 850 Lumens in the highest setting guarantees the beam distance of almost 400 meters. It can be used with two CR123 or one 18650 batterie, which provides up to 65 hours of run time. The flashlight comes with a micro USB cable, wall charger and other accessories.
Goal Zero Torch 250 is not just a flashlight, but also a power bank with a solar panel and even a hand-crank. The torch is powered by a 4400mAh lithium-ion battery and delivers 250 lumens of brightness in the highest mode. The battery besides powering the torch can also be used to charge your mobile devices. (an average cell phone can be charged twice) In good weather you can recharge your flashlight's battery using the integrated panel. If you run out of battery juice, you can also use the hand-crank to have light far away from any charging source. It is water resistant and has an average run time of 48 hours.
This small LED flashlight from eGear provides 25 lumens of brightness with 360 degrees visibility. It is powered by a singles AAA battery and can be used as a flashlight or to provide light in your tent or RV. It is waterproof and can be submerged. It weighs only around 1 oz.