Camping, Equipment

Flashlights and Lanterns, Brightness LED Guide

A camping flashlight needs 100 lumens. This amount will allow you to see around in the dark. Any less will not be enough. A model with more power will be too bright so be sure it has a low power mode.

First of all, maybe you need an understanding of basically what a lumen is.

So, What Is A Lumen?

Lumens measures light output. The number of lumens your flashlight has will dictate how far the light from your flashlight can travel. So, the more lumens your flashlight has, the further the light from it can travel. Some of you may confuse this with watts. They are not the same. Watts measures the amount of energy your flashlight draws. So, while your flashlight could be having low lumen output, wattage could be higher.

How Dim Is Too Dim?

A 20-lumen flashlight, for instance, could be enough to take you to the latrine, if there are no trip hazards associated with your camping. On the other hand, a beam with between 20 to 60 lumens could be enough for you to monitor your truck and see if something is crawling on it. It can also help you avoid potholes on your way to the latrine.

A low light is perfect for viewing the night sky with telescope to see the planet Mars, the Andromeda Galaxy, and Orion Nebula.

Compared to industrial-grade lights, 60 lumens are considered to be low. You are in the dark, somewhere darker than your usual place; far away from the city!

A flashlight with up to 100 lumens is enough to brighten your tent!

How Bright Is Too Bright?

Some flashlights produce up to 500 lumens. This is too much! You are not going inside a cave. You are camping. So, a flashlight of 100 lumens can work best for you, although some campers work with flashlights with fewer lumens; below 100. Be careful not to shine in your eye.

So, for camping, just use a flashlight with moderate lumen output. Or if your flashlight is too bright, you may reduce the brightness by putting in the low-light option. This also saves your battery! You don’t want to make the wildlife or your campmates think that it is day time already.

This is one of the brightest:

The company has launched Imalent MS12 in the year 2018 with 53000 lumens capacity. However, the recently designed MS18 flashlight has almost double power as compared to this previous version.

Super Bright:

With a solid design and blinding brightness, it has been recognized as the most powerful flashlight in the industry. This rechargeable flashlight is available with 18 pcs Cree XHP70 2nd high lumens LEDs. Its beam distance can be as far as 1350 meters and the output can go up to 100,000 lumens. People find it the best choice for caving, hiking, camping, power outage situations, and for exploring as well. The OLED display can provide you instant updates about electricity levels so that users can be aware of how much power is still left.

Multiple Modes:

This flashlight offers an ultrawide beam that can illuminate the entire backyard and room with ease. Experts reveal that it is almost 50 times brighter as compared to the normal car lights. There are nine different settings for a variable range of illuminance; it includes Strobe, 100000lm, 60000lm, 30000lm, 22000lm, 10000lm, 5000lm, 2000lm, and 700lm. This LED flashlight is loaded with a powerful rechargeable battery that can help you enjoy environmentally-friendly operations while saving more on the cost of the battery. All these features make it a practical household and emergency solution.

Smart and Durable:

This MS18 rechargeable flashlight is designed using a high-performance aluminum alloy that leads to a durable and sturdy finish. It is the first flashlight in the market with a heat pipe cooling system that leads to longer runtime even when the flashlight is serving high output. You can expect enhanced performance from this IP68 waterproof and dustproof model that ensures tough and durable service in the long run.

Friendly Service:

Now you have gone through the amazing features of this Imalent flashlight available at a reasonable price in the market. The package comes with a carry strap and carry case so that you can take it along for all your outdoor trips with ease.

How You Can Get the Most Out of Your Lights

If you are just walking through a narrow path, consider using a narrow beam flashlight instead of a wide one. That is enough to brighten up the narrow path you are passing through.

Another important factor is the light color. You don’t want to bother your campmates, so, why don’t you go for blue or red-colored flashlights that enable you to see things without having to bother them? Avoid bright colors, please!

Use lanterns rather than flashlights. The lantern, unlike flashlight, will produce relatively bright light (averages 40 lumens) in all directions. This will reduce the need for smaller, bright flashlights. So, lanterns make your work easier than flashlights.

If you are much concerned about tripping, use a headlamp. Headlamps naturally provide light in all directions. Why headlamps? Headlamps will help you reduce the risk of dealing with some obstacles like, maybe you carried a rechargeable flashlight, and you cannot access a charger or where to connect your light.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for Camping Lights

  1. The Brightness Level

Chose a light that you can easily change its settings to low light. This is essential for extending battery life, and having the light level that you need, so you don’t have to bother your friends with too-bright lights.

  1. Battery Life and Rechargeability

It is important to consider battery life and whether it is rechargeable, considering the conditions of some camping sites. Alkaline batteries, for instance, are likely to lose half of their power when they drop below freezing. That makes them great for camping during summer but you can’t go camping with alkaline batteries during the winter season.

  1. Environmental Conditions

Consider the environmental conditions of the place you will be camping in. If you will camp in rainy areas, carrying water-proof lights will be your best choice.

Once you get away from the city and go camping, your nights become much darker because you are not seeing the lights you were used to. The fact that you are out camping increases your need for lighting. Remember you don’t own anything out there other than your tent and other camping materials. So, coming fully prepared is essential.


Buying guide for a camping Flashlight:

  1. Check brightness:

Your flashlight should be bright enough to cater to your needs. Earlier, incandescent flashlights used to range up to 150 lumens. Now, LED flashlights are available from 100-1000 lumens. 

  1. Check Run time:

Check the amount of time that your flashlight’s battery takes to drain out completely. Former incandescent flashlights used to run for almost 11 hours straight. Presently, LED flashlights run up to 100 hours. You need to look for a battery efficient flashlight to suit your purpose. 

  1. Durability: 

Dropping your flashlight from your hand is a common mistake. Almost all of us make this mistake when in the dark. Therefore, you must pick a durable flashlight that can handle wear & tear. 

  1.  Should be Water resistant: 

You must check before purchasing if your flashlight is water-resistant or not. You might get rains while you are out camping. So, a water-resistant flashlight is always preferred.


  1. Must be easy to carry:

You cannot carry heavy tools while you are out for camping. A flashlight must fit in our pocket or at least have a good grip to make it handy. 

  1. Should have Light Modes: 

If your flashlight comes equipped with light modes, you get to choose the intensity of its brightness according to your needs. This way, you can save the charge of your flashlight. Usually, they come with three modes-high, medium & low. 

  1. Has rechargeable batteries:

No one prefers batteries that aren’t rechargeable any longer. Even flashlights with rechargeable batteries are preferred for camping these days. You can use it for years without having to pay for any extra batteries. 


Best Camping Flashlights:

  • Anker Bolder LC90

It is a really good option for you to go out camping with. It is a 2-cell rechargeable flashlight of 90 Lumens brightness. The flashlight has a full hand grip & isn’t too heavy. The flashlight is water-resistant & rechargeable batteries last longer than a full day. It includes five light modes, high/medium/low/strobe/SOS. 


  • Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight:

This three cell D flashlight is one of the most suited for camping purposes. It has a mentionable run time of almost 80 hours. It comes with a brightness of 165 lumens, but it lasts longer than most other camping flashlights.  

  • J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight:

This little piece of wonder gives out 300 lumens of brightness and is the most pocket-friendly flashlight on this list. You can clip it onto your belt, pocket, or pants. It runs on single AA batteries so you need not carry a lot of those. It is water-resistant and comes with light modes, high/low/strobe. 

  • 5 Stanley Fatmax Spotlight Flashlight:

This one is another rechargeable LED flashlight with 920 Lumens of brightness. It also has a small USB port on it, which allows you to charge your phones or any electronic device from this flashlight directly. It is a major attraction to this product. 

  • GearLight LED Flashlight & Lantern:

This combination of lantern and flashlight is an amazing pick for camping purposes. It comes with a lantern mode that helps you light an entire room or area. It also comes with a built-in magnet on the end of its handle, which allows hands-free use. It is also water-resistant and comes with a 1-year warranty period. 


GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000:

It comes in a set of two, which makes it cost-efficient and also preferable for camping purposes. It can focus on up to 1000 feet. It is also water-resistant and comes equipped with extremely powerful bulbs. They last up to 5 hours with 3 AAA batteries. They come with holsters so that you have no problem carrying them. 



Flashlight Parts

Well, before looking at how it works to give you the light, let us understand the various parts of a flashlight. You have to engage these parts to get the light.


  1. Case

This is the tube that encloses the flashlight parts – the bulb and batteries.

  1. Contacts

Contact is a thin metal strip (usually made of brass or copper) located in the flashlight. It ensures electrical linking between the switch, lamp, and the batteries. These are the parts that complete the circuit to emit the light you see.

  1. Switch

The switch activates the electricity when you push it to the ON position providing you with the light. When you push it to OFF you block the electricity flow turning the light off.

  1. Reflector

The reflector is the plastic part covered with an aluminum layer resting around the light bulb. It ensures a stable light beam by redirecting the rays of light. With this, you have a clear focus on anything you are looking for.

  1. Lamp

This is the source of light in your flashlight. In most cases, the lamp will be a diode emitting light (bulb) or an incandescent bulb (tungsten filament). Also referred to as LED, it glows upon the flow of electricity providing you with the visible light. Tungsten filament is usually a thin wire that glows as well to produce light when electricity passes through it. You have to ensure the filament is in good condition and do a replacement whenever it breaks. An LED has a diode that produces light when electric current flows. The advantage of LED lights is that they are considered unbreakable thus you will not have to deal with replacements. If you want something that will serve you for long, try them.

  1. Lens

This is the plastic and clear part located at the front of your flashlight. It encloses the lamp to prevent the lamp’s glass from breaking.

  1. Batteries

The batteries are the source of the light you see. Once activated, the circuit completes to give you the light.

You cannot underestimate the convenience guaranteed by a portable light. Whether for nighttime adventure or using it in case of blackouts, a flashlight is a must-have tool. With a simple press on the ON button, you instantly see what you want. But what is that process involved in emitting that light?


Everything You Need To Know About Flashlights

Flashlights are portable and battery-operated devices. A typical hand-held device has one or more dry-cell batteries providing power to the flashlight for illumination.

The batteries are arranged in the inside compartment of the device. There is a switch between the bulb and the batteries to control electricity flow from batteries to the bulb.

There are many uses of flashlights, such as illumination during emergencies, power outages, or when your car breaks down, etc. You can also use a flashlight to search for something in the attic, dark closet, or basement.

Many people use flashlights on their camping trips. The point is that everyone uses flashlights from time to time. In today’s article, we will talk about flashlights in detail. Read on!

History of Flashlights

Human beings have been using portable lighting devices for centuries. People have been using candles, oil lamps, and kerosene lamps for thousands of years. However, these products are dangerous because their source of light is flame. The invention of dry battery and the incandescent light bulbs at the end of the 19th century helped people to get rid of this issue.

The first dry cell battery was made in 1896, which became a good power source for portable lighting. The first flashlight was invented by David Misell in 1899. The device had three D-batteries installed in a tube, which was the handle of the flashlight. The device followed a simple mechanism of batteries powering a small incandescent light bulb.

People used to call them “flash” lights because these devices were unable to throw light for too long. Besides, early flashlights required turning them off from time to time because they contained zinc-carbon batteries. Such batteries could not provide constant current for longer periods.

Early manufactured flashlights did not sell well due to the poor performance of the batteries. The primary reason was that carbon-filament bulbs were not efficient. That’s why scientists started working on replacing zinc-carbon batteries with something that would make the flashlight device more useful. In this regard, tungsten was used to replace carbon filaments in batteries.

By 1922, there were available different designs of flashlights, such as class cylindrical, lantern-shaped, reflector type, and pocket versions. Contemporary flashlights, in general, have similar parts and following the same working principle. However, modern flashlights use LEDs or incandescent light bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs have tungsten filament in a glass that contains a vacuum, argon gas, xenon gas, or krypton gas. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are semiconductors, which can emit light. Powerful flashlights of the modern era use LED lights.

How Does a Flashlight Work?

A flashlight is a portable device in which the source of light is connected to batteries by a thin wire. As mentioned above, flashlights are powered by batteries that create an electrical current flowing through metal contacts and supply electric power to the lamp in the device.

A thin wire connects batteries to the light bulb. It is easy to use a flashlight as you only need to turn “ON” the switch when you need light and “OFF” the switch when don’t need it. The switch is usually located at the center of the device’s frame. Next, we will talk about parts of a flashlight device so that you can understand how it works. Continue reading!

Components of the Flashlight Device

There are several parts or components of a flashlight device, such as the case, contacts, switch, reflector, lamp, lens, and batteries. In this section, we will talk about these components in detail.


The case is the tube, which provides housing to other parts of the device, such as the batteries and light bulb.


Contacts are thin metal strips made of brass or copper located throughout the device. Contacts play a key role in establishing electrical connections between different components of the flashlight, which include the switch, the light bulb, and the batteries. These components conduct electricity and work collaboratively to complete the circuit.


A switch is a button located on the outside of the device or frame that allows the user to turn “ON” or “OFF” the device. When you turn “ON” the device, the flow of electricity starts to illuminate the bulb. In contrast, the light bulb does not illuminate when you push the switch into the “OFF” position.


The reflector is the plastic component of the flashlight device. In general, there is a shiny aluminum layer that coats the reflector. Keep in mind that the reflector rests around the light bulb or lamp. The basic function of the reflector is redirecting the light rays from the bulb so that there is a steady beam of light. In simple words, it is the light that the user sees emitting from the device.

Light Bulb or Lamp:

The light bulb is the main light source in the device. Some flashlights use an incandescent bulb that contains a tungsten filament to produce illumination. Modern flashlights use LED lights that glow when they receive electricity.

Research shows that tungsten filament is a thin wire that passes electricity to the tungsten filament. On the other hand, an LED contains a tiny diode or semiconductor enclosed in epoxy, which emits light when it receives electricity. Typically, LED flashlights are more powerful and durable than tungsten flashlights.

Lens and Batteries:

The lens is an important part of the flashlight device. Typically, it is made of plastic material and allows the user to see the front of the device. The basic function of the lens is to protect the light bulb because it is made of glass material, which is prone to breaking. Batteries are the power source of the flashlight that provides electric current to the light bulb for illumination.

How do these components work to produce illumination?

When you turn the switch of the flashlight, it establishes contact between the two contact strips to start the flow of current from the battery. The battery of the device is connected uniquely to allow the flow of electrons between the battery electrodes (positive and negative).

A small spring connects the battery and the contact strip. The strip makes a connection between the battery and the switch. On one side of the switch, there is a flat contact strip, which runs to the light bulb and provides electricity to it. Another part of the strip connects the light bulb with the positive electrode of the battery to complete the circuit.

The LED or tungsten filament in the lamp produces illumination when it receives electricity. It glows the lamp to produce visible light. The light goes through the reflector – an essential component that is positioned around the light bulb.

The function of the reflector is to redirect the rays of light from the bulb to create a steady light beam. The lens covers the light bulb of the device and protects it from breaking. When you turn “OFF” the switch, the two contact strips move apart physically to destabilize the electricity.

In simple words, it breaks the electricity connection and ends the generation of light. It is essential to know that all these components must work collaboratively to produce illumination and make the flashlight work optimally.

How to Choose a Flashlight?

Choosing a flashlight is not an easy task. Some people end up choosing a low-quality product that does not perform well – that is waste of time and money. If you want to purchase a quality flashlight, consider the following factors.

Light Output

The output of the flashlight is usually measured in lumens. It is about measuring the intensity of light produced by the flashlight. Light output ranges from 20 lumens to 3,500 lumens. A good flashlight for everyday household tasks has an output value of 1,500 to 17,000 lumens.

Beam Distance and Type

Another factor you should consider while choosing a flashlight is the beam distance. It is measured in meters and refers to how far the light will reach. Make sure you choose a flashlight that has full-moon illumination because people consider it safe for both indoor and outdoor tasks.

The lens reflectors surround the bulb and influence the dispersion of the light. In general, there are three common options, such as fixed, spot, and adjustable. The first one uses a single beamwidth, which is ideal for camping and walking.

The second one (spot) is also a single beam light condensed into a spotlight. It is useful for penetrating a long distance. This type of beam is good for route finding. Moreover, an adjustable beam is good for activities like climbing, studying a map, etc.

Run Time (Battery Power)

Run Time is all about the lifespan of the batteries. The output of the flashlight decreases over time due to deteriorating batteries. Some flashlights come with rechargeable batteries, which are a more convenient and affordable option for users. If you want to avoid buying batteries, again and again, you should choose a product that accepts rechargeable batteries.

You can easily recharge built-in lithium batteries via a USB connection from your PC, AC, and DC outlets. Avoid using disposable batteries because they cost you more money and also produce a lot of waste, which is harmful to the environment.

Bulb Type

As mentioned above, different types of flashlights use different mechanisms and bulb types. Traditional flashlights use incandescent light bulbs whereas modern ones use LED and HID bulbs. If you want to higher run time, improved energy efficiency, brightness, and impact resistance go for LED flashlights. Other factors to consider are controls, size, weight, material, and shape.



The Types of Camping Lanterns

Well, you basically have two different types. There’s the gas-powered variety, and there’s the electric type. No, the latter does not require electricity from an extension cord. And the former does not require paying at the pump. Let’s look a bit closer at each…


1 – Gas-Powered Camping Lanterns

You basically turn to these if you want maximum light and weight isn’t an issue. There are two sub-categories to gas-powered lanterns, and they are based solely on the juice they use to produce light. They are Liquid fuel and Propane.


1A – Liquid Fuel

You may know this better as white gas. It’s the same stuff you probably already packed for use with your cook stove. The brightest lanterns on the market are those that are using liquid fuel, but that also comes with a couple of disadvantages.

These are not only the brightest, but they are the heaviest and the most expensive lanterns out there. Aside from that, if you are okay with the mess that can be produced during refilling and the need to pressurize the gas with a built-in pumping system, then look no further.


1B – Propane Camping Lanterns

These babies are basically just a notch or two down the scale in brightness. However, this variety of camping lantern is also lighter in weight and cost less. There is another upside as well. Getting one of these guys lit is essentially a breeze.

All you need to do is screw on a fuel canister, create a spark to ignite the fuel, and you will have a light that may not be as bright as the Northern Lights, but at least it will be far better than that crappy little flashlight you’ve been using. Once the fuel canister is empty, and it may take a while, you just dispose of it at your landfill site.


2 – Electric Camping Lanterns

There are several different types of electric camping lanterns which are the politically correct term used to describe battery-powered lanterns. Why are they not called battery-powered? Don’t get us started. So, essentially you’ve got lanterns in this category that run on alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries and then there’s rechargeables that run on alternate power sources such as USB power packs, hand cranks, and solar panels. Alkalines, in case you need to be reminded, are the types of batteries that provide one use only and fill up the landfill when dead.


Stuff To Consider About Camping Lanterns

There are a few other things you should keep in mind as you shop for your camping lantern. Such things as size, weight, water resistance, design features and lumens all play a part in the overall construction of a good or better camping lantern. Lumens, by the way, are one of the most important factors.


1 – Lumens

Without getting far more technical than you need at this point, trust us when we say that the output of light from your camping lantern is measured in something called lumens. So, with this in mind, it is safe to say that the more lumens, the brighter the light.

With camping lanterns, they come in sizes ranging from 40 to about 700 lumens. Typically, you should be able to easily find lanterns in the range of 150 to 350 lumens. How bright are we talking about? Well, if you only want to be able to light up your tent you know, for reading, anything under 100 lumens should do the job. If you want to light up your campsite, around 200 lumens will cover that. If you are hosting a party at a couple of adjoining campsites, 300 or more lumens will be plenty.


2 – Weight

We’ve mentioned this briefly. While it isn’t exactly a hard and fast rule, essentially, the bigger the lantern, the brighter the light. Think of it in terms of a campfire. The larger the pile of wood you are burning, the greater the heat and light. The only real exception to this is those sleek little gas-powered lanterns. The big ones don’t normally weigh all that much but can give you enough light to freely wander around your campsite and the next one over without tripping on things.


3 – Water Resistance

There are a few lantern styles out there that will survive full immersion but why would you be tossing one in the lake in the first place? All you really need is a camping lantern that is water and splash resistant. That sort of covers you if suddenly the sky above you opens up and starts to pour rain.

You could also get around that by setting up your camp under a large tarp, but that’s likely going to be a future blog on ‘How To Set Up Your Camp To Survive All Kinds Of Weather Except for Hurricanes.’


4 – Handy Do-Dads

One of the most useful extras you will appreciate when you get the ‘perfect’ camping lantern is one that comes complete with a means to hang it. That can be in the format of a hook, clip or loop of some kind because you don’t always have access to a tabletop to set a lantern on. Besides, if you are one of those adventurous campers who prefer to set up camp in the wilderness far and away from other people, hanging a lantern off a tree branch may be your best bet.


5 – Buttons, Fun, And Easy To Use Buttons

Try flicking on a camping lantern in complete darkness, and you’ll get what we mean when we say the easy and simple operation is pretty significant with this type of product. You will want to lean towards the lanterns that are not complicated or have some small knobs and dials you have to fiddle around with in order to get some light. It may be something you never consider when shopping for one, so we have added it to this list to give you some kind of advantage. You can thank us later for this valuable tip.


6 – The Base

So, how does this thing actually sit, if you end up putting it on a tabletop or flat rock or just on the ground in front of your tent? If it has a wide base that keeps it firmly in place, it’ll be a good choice. Legs are fine as long as they are adjustable and don’t create a potential tipping hazard.


7 – Portability

How many pieces does this lantern break down to? If it collapses to a size that makes it easy to pack and not take up a ton of space, then you are on the right track. Naturally, this also depends on your style of camping. If you consider a 29-foot RV as your tent, you likely have room for a lantern that doesn’t break down to a smaller size. If you backpack into a campsite, you will want something collapsible.


8 – Other Extra Stuff

Again, depending on your style of camping, you may or may not find that a lantern with a flashlight mode is good or bad. The same goes for camping lanterns that can be used to power or charge other devices. Yes, there are lanterns that do these sorts of things.


Final Words

Flashlights are essential tools used in everyday tasks and emergencies. The main purpose of flashlights is the generation of light in the darkness. For instance, you can use such a product to find the right keys, look for an object under the sofa, bed, car, as well as hike at night or a light source during an outage during the storm or hurricane.


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