Open main menu

Lights

Types of Lights

photo of a headlamp

Headlamps

photo of a flashlight

Flashlights

photo of a battery-powered lantern

Battery-Powered Lanterns

photo of a fuel-burning lantern

Fuel-Burning Lanterns

photo of a solar panel

Solar Panels

photo of a power storage

Power Storage

Top Picks

Top Headlamp

Ledlenser MH10

user rating: 5 of 5 (4 reviews)

I recently went camping at Desoto State Park in North Alabama and got to try out the Ledlenser MH10 in exchange for a review as a member of another site. Overall I was really happy with the headlamp and impressed with how powerful and easy to use it was. At the brightest level it puts out some serious light and when focused can shine long distances even in the darkest conditions. We used the light around the campground and had to actually keep it on a lower setting so it wouldn’t blind anyone. It is very easy to adjust the focus of the beam with a single-handed twist of the lens. The light also has a nice tilt mechanism that makes it easy to change where the beam is pointing whether it is being used for hiking or laying in your tent and reading. Overall, I would highly recommend this light for anyone looking for a powerful and comfortable headlamp with a useful set of features.

Reasons to Buy

  • Bright
  • Comfortable
  • Rechargeable
  • Adjustable focus
  • Durable
  • Low heat generation

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive
  • External filters
  • Heavy

First off, this is an incredibly bright headlamp and in the focused beam position, you can see extremely far. We tried to test it out by shining it at the tops of the trees and could make out every leaf while it was pitch black outside. The headlamp also has the advantage that it can be adjusted to give a focused or diffuse beam with a simple single-handed twist of the lens. They have built in a special mechanism that makes this adjustment without even a full turn so it can be done very quickly.

Read more: Ledlenser MH10 reviews (4)

Top Flashlight

Fenix PD32

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

The PD32 UE is not to be confused with the PD32. The two are the same except the UE model operates at higher lumens throughout the all the settings with a maximum of 740 lumens vs 340 lumens.

Reasons to Buy

  • White light for true color rendition
  • Digitally regulated output for constant brightness
  • Low voltage warning for battery replacement
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Overheat protection
  • Anti-roll, slip resistant body
  • Side switch for fast operation
  • Hard anodized aircraft grade aluminum body

Reasons to Avoid

  • None yet

This is by far the best flashlight I ever owned. I needed a slim compact and powerful flashlight with excellent battery life for backpacking. This flashlight exceeded my expectations. It is a little under 5 1/2 inches in length and less than an inch in diameter and weighs a little over 5 ounces. To many this may be a little big but you'll never find this kind of performance in anything smaller. It operates on 2 CR123 batteries. Included with the light are a lanyard, 2 extra rubber O rings, a pocket clip, and a night diffuser which clips on the flashlights end.

Read more: Fenix PD32 reviews (3)

Top Fuel-Burning Lantern

Primus EasyLight

user rating: 5 of 5 (10 reviews)

This lantern is bright and light and as the name says, easy to use.

Reasons to Buy

  • Nice and bright light
  • Lightweight
  • Robust carrying case

Reasons to Avoid

  • Mantle can be a little tricky to install
  • Only comes with 1 mantle and hard to find in outdoor stores

As members of another website, we’ve been testing out this product for the past couple of weeks in exchange for a review. While preparing for a week-long backcountry adventure in the Shenandoahs last week, we were running behind with our packing and used this lantern to light up our campsite as we stuffed the last few bags of food and gear.What we like about this product: Lightweight and compact. Gives off a great amount of light for its small size. Adjustable light control, from very bright to romantic candle light.

Read more: Primus EasyLight reviews (10)

Fuel-Burning Lantern

UCO Original Candle Lantern

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17 reviews)

I carried one of these (as well as other candle lanterns) for years, then...

Reasons to Buy

  • Light
  • A modicum of warmth
  • Ambience

Reasons to Avoid

  • Weight for the amount of light
  • Glass globe is heavy and breakable
  • Hard to load after dark
  • Like all such, it can drip wax on your gear.
  • Fire hazard.

Once upon a time I never went into the woods for an overnight without a candle lantern of one kind or another. I probably had five or so different makes and models. They still lurk in my gear storage. This is one of the better ones, maybe the best one. For example, this lantern gives nearly 360 degree light as many do not. Still, all candle lanterns have problems and this is no exception. There is potential for spilled hot wax and, if you are not vigilant, fire. There is also the issue of the glass globe.

Read more: UCO Original Candle Lantern reviews (17)

Headlamp

Princeton Tec Quad

user rating: 4 of 5 (10 reviews)

I have been very happy with this headlamp. It is bright enough for night hiking and the angle can be adjusted depending on what you need to see (or to keep from blinding your hiking partner when you turn toward them). The low-battery warning is a nice feature. I also like that this light is water resistant; this is important for a hiking headlamp because sometimes one ends up hiking in rain and it may happen to be dark out as well. My only complaint is that it is kind of hard to open the battery compartment. Maybe this part of the design is necessary for water resistance, but it does make battery changes a bit of a pain. The good news is that this light doesn't go through batteries very quickly.

Read more: Princeton Tec Quad reviews (10)

Headlamp

Princeton Tec EOS

user rating: 4 of 5 (13 reviews)

I currently have two of these headlamps. One is used for hiking and the other I wear on my hardhat at work. For the price, weight, and size, I am very pleased. The lamp I use for hiking is roughly 3 years old and is as good as new. It throws sufficient light for any task in the woods, and I have used it for many night hikes, especially in the winter. As others have noted, the tilt adjustment for the lamp seems a little weak. For the lamp I use hiking this is not yet an issue, even after 3 years, partly because it is not used heavily.

Read more: Princeton Tec EOS reviews (13)

Top Battery-Powered Lantern

BioLite AlpenGlow 500

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

BioLite's AlpenGlow 500 is a reliable and rechargeable 500-lumen lantern that offers a wide range of color options from bright party colors to a subtle candle-like feeling. The simple one-button design takes a little time to figure out how to access each mode, but once figured out, is easy to operate. A smaller 250 lumen option is also available from the manufacturer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Wide range of color mode options
  • Long battery life
  • Charges other devices with USB output
  • Easy to find single button
  • Durable
  • Integrated hanging hook
  • Easy to replace charging cable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Coveted by small children (good luck getting it back)
  • No focused light option
  • Not exactly small or lightweight

Conditions: What started out as a car-camping lantern quickly turned into a back porch lantern and eventually my daughter’s favorite light that she plays with all the time and permanently resides on her bedside stand. Purely from an hours-used perspective, my daughter has spent far more time with the AlpenGlow 500 than I have, as she regularly plays with it in her bedroom, enjoying the various color modes and finding places to hang it from. Other than being a much-loved toy, I’ve used the lantern for two-and-a-half months, mostly while camping as a family and while sitting on the back porch as the day fades into night.

Read more: BioLite AlpenGlow 500 review (1)

Flashlight

Princeton Tec Alloy-X

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

This small lightweight penlight creates a mighty beam of light! Suitable for use as a household light, as part of a car emergency kit, or as a reliable light for camping, the Alloy-X is a strong-beam flashlight, powered by a rechargeable battery or two AAA alkaline batteries. It is very compact and appears quite durable, and I can recommend it for use in the field or in the home.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight and compact
  • 3 intensity settings
  • Two power source options
  • 5-year warranty
  • Can be used with headband flashlight holder

Reasons to Avoid

  • No lanyard/strap attachment ring
  • Sequencing of beam intensity (Med-Low-High)
  • Gets quite hot if used for long duration
  • No beam size adjustment

Introduction: I always carry a spare headlamp and batteries in my canoeing bag and daypack, and keep a small flashlight in my camping kit. Though our camping season has yet to begin, this light has been used a lot around our home. I keep flashlights in the home for whatever use is necessary, and this small sized light has been perfect for getting into those tight spaces (i.e. checking the dog's ears, looking for small items between seats in the car, searching under the refrigerator). Under the fridge, in the car, and in the ears! I was glad to have the opportunity to test this Princeton Tec penlight, especially since it does not rely only on regular batteries, but also includes a USB rechargeable battery.

Read more: Princeton Tec Alloy-X review (1)

Battery-Powered Lantern

Black Diamond Apollo

user rating: 5 of 5 (6 reviews)

It does weigh a bit for backpacking, but I like to car camp too. The light can be very bright, but is almost infinitely adjustable. It is built well and has a split ring mounting hook on top.

Reasons to Buy

  • Adjustable light output
  • Compact, Lumens-per-size ratio is high
  • Good light dispertion, very diffuse
  • Great battery life
  • Super easy to use. No secret codes on the buttons
  • It has cool battery level lights

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit heavy for ultra light backpacking (but maybe worth it)

I got this as a Christmas present from my daughter. I did hint just a bit. I love this light. I have replaced the florescent light on my desk with it. I am writing this review by Apollo light. If you want to be green buy this light, get 4 rechargeable AA batteries and a solar charger. With this setup you can replace a light in your house with a sustainable light (Very Eco friendly). This light can easily replace a reading light or a desk light. Outdoors the light gives out very even light cast. Walking about I can see a good 20'(7m) around the light. I will add to the review after spring camping. 

Read more: Black Diamond Apollo reviews (6)

Battery-Powered Lantern

BioLite TravelLight 135

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

Conclusions: The BioLite Powerlight Mini provides reasonable light for use around camp, with the additional benefit of recharge capacity for a cell phone, inReach, handheld GPSR, or small camera, and at a reasonable price. It is readily recharged with a small solar panel, making a total of just over a pound, which is reasonable for a backpacking trip. Heavy use as a night or hiking light or as a recharging source for frequent cell phone or inReach tracking use may require extra backup battery storage.

Reasons to Buy

  • Flexible lighting combined with electric storage.
  • Storage capacity enough to accommodate a 3 or 4 day trek (52 hours on reading level white light)
  • Red and white emergency strobe beacons
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Beamspread is wide enough for night-time trail hiking

Reasons to Avoid

  • Switching from one of the 5 modes to another can be complex
  • No true spotlight mode – not very good for pre-dawn approaches to climbs
  • Storage capacity is skimpy for someone making heavy use of recharging the cell phone or inReach
  • May require auxiliary recharge sources (solar panel, large battery storage) for long trips

Background: Whether you spend a long day hiking, months on a through hike, or a multi-day hike, sooner or later you run into a situation where a dependable source of illumination is needed. Over the years, I have used candles, a candle or kerosene lantern, carbide headlamps, butane-powered lanterns, solar-charged lights, and a variety of electrically-powered devices, along with cozy (and not-so-cozy) wood campfires. All have their strong points, and all have their flaws. Major steps forward over the last couple of decades include halogen lamps and LEDs.

Read more: BioLite TravelLight 135 reviews (2)

More Lights

Trailspace reviewers have shared 2430 reviews of 455 different lights. Narrow your search and view more specific light recommendations in these categories:

Headlamps

Flashlights

Battery-Powered Lanterns

Fuel-Burning Lanterns

Solar Panels

Power Storage

All Hiking and Camping Gear

Other Types of Hiking and Camping Gear

Find more hiking and camping gear reviewed in these related categories:

Backpacks

Tents and Shelters

Sleeping Bags and Pads

+18 more types

Review Your Outdoor Gear

If you've found this site helpful — or if we've missed something important — please consider paying it forward by some of your favorite (or least-favorite) outdoor gear.

Why? From professional gearheads to outdoor novices, everyone has an important point of view to contribute. will support the outdoor community and help others find the best gear.

Trailspace reviewers are outdoor enthusiasts like you: hikers, climbers, paddlers, backcountry skiers, and trail runners who share our experiences with the gear and clothing we rely on to get outside. Learn more about Trailspace