One of the essential tools you would need in preparation for a long hike would be a solar flashlight. It can help you maneuver your way through dark areas especially during nighttime and for veteran hikers it would be a big problem if this was to be left out of your list, especially when it can save your life in a lot of ways, like signaling for rescue, navigating in the dark, following a trail and any type of survival situations.
However, a lot of hikers still find themselves unequipped with the right and sensible solar flashlight, so here we are going to go over the things that you should look out for when choosing a navigation aide.
Lightweight and Handheld Size. Most hikers would prefer a smaller and lighter flashlight for easier use and lighter carry. This occupies less space and the sizes can go from a handheld size or even as small as a keychain.
Waterproof. During the hike, there will be high chances that your flashlight will get wet along the way, so getting one that malfunctions after getting wet will not be of much use to you.
For flashlight water-resistant levels, here are the 3 most common ones:
- IPX4 – can get dripped on but not submerged in water
- IPX7 – can survive being under 1 meter of water for 30 minutes maximum
- IPX8 – highest level and can survive being submerged in water for up to 4 hours
Long Lifespan Batteries. Usually, long-lasting batteries are found in larger flashlights, so for smaller ones you have to make sure that the lifespan is balanced with its size. The batteries used in flashlights are most of the time the usual batteries you can buy at a not so high expense (AAA, AA, etc.) or you can have rechargeable battery packs which can be heavier than the usual.
Always make sure to have spare batteries in hand in case of complications.
Material. There are two materials you can choose from based on your own preferences. Choose whichever one would best benefit you on your hike:
- Titanium – strongest and lightest material, but also the most expensive
- Stainless Steel – durable, does not rust and inexpensive but is quite heavy
Cost. Invest in something worth it and can be used multiple times. Higher cost doesn’t particularly mean better performance, however, investing in cheaper ones would mean spending money on fragile material. Try out different flashlights, seek reviews, and settle on the one that is durable and high-performing.
Types of Flashlights
Handheld Flashlights. These are your usual flashlights you hold and maneuver with your hand. Although it can be of no problem in short-distance and well-lit hikes, this can be quite a handful during a long exhausting hike or when you’re bringing a lot of stuff with you.
Headlamps. These are lights attached like a headband and gives you the luxury of roaming around hands-free. These are convenient for long hikes but do expect that over time, sweat and any type of motion will eventually wear out the elastics no matter how well-secured they are.
Lantern-Style Flashlights. These are created to provide light over a broad area and is suitable for camping, but not hiking.
Backpack Clip-on Lights. These are lights clipped onto your backpack, making it hands-free and convenient like the headlamps, however, is a lot more heavyweight.
With that, everything you need to know about choosing the right flashlight for your night hikes is covered. To further help you out and guarantee a fun and worthwhile hiking session, down below is a list of flashlight brands that are known to be the best for hiking:
- Hiking: Bengoo Zoomable Waterproof Flashlight
- Camping: HeroBeam LED Lantern
- Long Distance Hikes: Xtreme Bright Pro Series X55
- Backpacking: Lifemounts Backpack Light