Hiking is a great way to enjoy nature, explore new places, and stay fit. But sometimes, you may find yourself in situations where you need a reliable source of light, such as when it gets dark, when you encounter fog or rain, or when you need to signal for help. That’s why having a waterproof flashlight for hiking is essential.
A waterproof flashlight for hiking is not just any flashlight. It has to be durable, bright, and easy to use. It also has to be able to withstand water exposure, whether it’s from rain, snow, or accidental drops into puddles or streams. In this article, we will help you choose the best waterproof flashlight for hiking by explaining the features you should look for, the types of flashlights available, and some of the best models on the market.
Features to Look for in a Waterproof Flashlight for Hiking
When shopping for a waterproof flashlight for hiking, there are several features you should consider:
- Water resistance rating: This is the most important feature of a waterproof flashlight for hiking. It tells you how well the flashlight can resist water ingress and damage. The most common rating system is the IPX scale, which ranges from 0 to 8. The higher the number, the more water-resistant the flashlight is. For example, IPX0 means no protection at all, while IPX8 means the flashlight can be submerged in water deeper than 1 meter for more than 30 minutes. Ideally, you should look for a flashlight with at least IPX4 rating, which means it can withstand splashing water from any direction. However, if you plan to use your flashlight in wet or rainy conditions frequently, or if you want to be able to submerge it in water without worrying about damage, you should go for a higher rating, such as IPX7 or IPX8.
- Brightness: The brightness of a flashlight is measured in lumens, which is the amount of light emitted by the flashlight. The higher the lumens, the brighter the flashlight is. However, brightness is not everything. You also have to consider the beam type, which is how the light is distributed by the flashlight. There are three main types of beams: spot, flood, and adjustable. Spot beams are narrow and focused, which are good for long-distance illumination and signaling. Flood beams are wide and diffuse, which are good for close-range illumination and peripheral vision. Adjustable beams allow you to switch between spot and flood modes depending on your needs. For hiking purposes, you may want to have a flashlight that has both spot and flood modes, or an adjustable beam that lets you choose the best option for different situations.
- Levels of output: The levels of output refer to the different brightness settings that a flashlight has. Most flashlights have at least two levels of output: high and low. High mode provides maximum brightness and visibility, but it also drains the battery faster. Low mode provides less brightness and visibility, but it also conserves battery life. Some flashlights have more levels of output, such as medium, strobe, SOS, or turbo modes. These modes offer more versatility and functionality for different scenarios. For example, strobe mode can be used to disorient attackers or animals, SOS mode can be used to signal for help in emergencies, and turbo mode can be used to provide extra brightness for short periods of time.
- Battery type: The battery type determines how long your flashlight can run on a single charge or set of batteries. There are two main types of batteries: rechargeable and disposable. Rechargeable batteries are more eco-friendly and cost-effective in the long run, but they also require access to a power source to recharge them. Disposable batteries are more convenient and readily available, but they also generate more waste and cost more in the long run. Some flashlights can use both types of batteries interchangeably, while others can only use one type exclusively. You should choose the battery type that suits your preferences and availability.
- Additional features: Besides the features mentioned above, there are some other features that can make your waterproof flashlight for hiking more user-friendly and functional. For example:
- A tail switch or a side switch that allows you to turn on/off your flashlight easily and adjust the brightness levels quickly.
- A memory mode that remembers your last used brightness level and restores it when you turn on your flashlight again.
- A lockout function that prevents accidental activation of your flashlight when not in use.
- A low battery indicator that warns you when your battery is running low and needs replacement or recharging.
- A clip or a holster that allows you to attach your flashlight to your belt, backpack, or clothing for easy access and portability.
- A lanyard or a wrist strap that allows you to secure your flashlight to your hand or wrist for extra safety and convenience.
Types of Waterproof Flashlights for Hiking
There are many types of waterproof flashlights for hiking, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common types:
- LED flashlights: LED flashlights are the most popular and widely used type of flashlights. They use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as the light source, which are very energy-efficient, durable, and long-lasting. They also produce bright and clear light with minimal heat generation. LED flashlights come in various sizes, shapes, and designs, and they can have different water resistance ratings, brightness levels, beam types, and battery types. Some examples of LED flashlights are Wuben L50 LED, Emisar D4 Flashlight, and Acebeam K70 Flashlight.
- Incandescent bulb flashlights: Incandescent bulb flashlights are the oldest and most traditional type of flashlights. They use incandescent bulbs as the light source, which are filled with a filament that glows when electricity passes through it. They produce warm and soft light with a yellowish tint. However, they are also very inefficient, fragile, and short-lived. They consume a lot of power, generate a lot of heat, and burn out easily. Incandescent bulb flashlights are becoming less common and less preferred by hikers, but they can still be found in some models. Some examples of incandescent bulb flashlights are Magpul Flashlight and AA Battery Flashlight.
- High-intensity discharge (HID) flashlights: HID flashlights are a type of flashlights that use high-intensity discharge lamps as the light source, which are filled with gas that emits light when an electric arc passes through it. They produce very bright and intense light with a bluish-white color. They are also very efficient, durable, and long-lasting. However, they are also very expensive, bulky, and heavy. They require a lot of power, take time to warm up, and need a ballast to regulate the current. HID flashlights are usually used for professional or industrial purposes, such as search and rescue or security. Some examples of HID flashlights are P70 LED Flashlights.
- Pressurized gas flashlights: Pressurized gas flashlights are a type of flashlights that use pressurized gas as the light source, such as xenon or krypton. They produce bright and steady light with a white or yellow color. They are also very reliable, durable, and long-lasting. However, they are also very expensive, rare, and hard to find. They require special gas cartridges or cylinders to operate, which can be difficult to obtain or replace. Pressurized gas flashlights are usually used for military or tactical purposes, such as night vision or infrared illumination. Some examples of pressurized gas flashlights are found here.
- Shake flashlights: Shake flashlights are a type of flashlights that use kinetic energy as the power source, which is generated by shaking the flashlight back and forth. They have a magnet inside that moves through a coil of wire, creating an electric current that powers the LED or bulb. They produce dim and flickering light with a white or blue color. They are also very eco-friendly, cost-effective, and convenient. However, they are also very weak, unreliable, and short-lived. They require constant shaking to maintain the light output, which can be tiring and annoying. Shake flashlights are usually used for emergency or backup purposes, such as survival kits or car trunks. Some examples of shake flashlights are found here
- Solar-powered flashlights: Solar-powered flashlights are a type of flashlights that use solar energy as the power source, which is collected by a solar panel attached to the flashlight. They have a rechargeable battery inside that stores the solar energy and powers the LED or bulb. They produce bright and clear light with a white or green color. They are also very eco-friendly, cost-effective, and convenient. However, they are also very dependent on sunlight availability and weather conditions. They require direct exposure to sunlight to charge the battery, which can take hours or days depending on the intensity of the sun. Solar-powered flashlights are usually used for outdoor or recreational purposes, such as camping or hiking.
The Best Waterproof Flashlight for Hiking: Our Top Pick
After reviewing dozens of waterproof flashlights for hiking based on their features, types, performance, and customer feedbacks we have selected our top pick:
The Fenix PD35 TAC is our top pick for the best waterproof flashlight for hiking. Here are some of the reasons why we think this flashlight is the best choice for you:
- It has a high water resistance rating of IPX8, which means it can be submerged in water up to 2 meters deep for 30 minutes without any damage.
- It has a high brightness level of 1000 lumens, which can illuminate up to 200 meters of distance. It also has six levels of output, including a turbo mode, a strobe mode, and an SOS mode, which can provide you with different options for different situations.
- It has an adjustable beam type, which allows you to switch between a spot beam and a flood beam by twisting the head of the flashlight. This way, you can choose the best beam type for your needs, whether you want to see far or wide.
- It has a rechargeable battery type, which can be charged via a micro USB port on the flashlight. It also comes with a battery indicator that shows you the remaining battery level and warns you when it is low. You can also use disposable CR123A batteries as a backup power source if needed.
- It has a tail switch and a side switch that make it easy to turn on/off and adjust the brightness levels. It also has a memory mode that remembers your last used brightness level and restores it when you turn on the flashlight again. It also has a lockout function that prevents accidental activation of the flashlight when not in use.
- It has a clip and a holster that allow you to attach it to your belt, backpack, or clothing for easy access and portability. It also has a lanyard and a wrist strap that allow you to secure it to your hand or wrist for extra safety and convenience.
The Fenix PD35 TAC is a versatile, powerful, and reliable waterproof flashlight for hiking that can handle any weather condition and terrain. It is also lightweight, compact, and easy to use. It has received many positive reviews from customers who have used it for hiking and other outdoor activities. You can check out some of these reviews on Flashlight Reviews. If you are looking for a waterproof flashlight for hiking that can meet all your needs and expectations, we highly recommend the Fenix PD35 TAC. You can check online from Glowylights, where you can also find other types of flashlights, such as Headlamp Flashlights, LED Flashlights, and Solar Powered Flashlights.