Gear Review: 5 Modern Flashlights, Headlamps and Mini Lanterns to Light Your Way this Fall
No more fumbling in the dark for the tent zipper. These light options will keep your campsite glowing and the trail illuminated.
As summer comes to an end, and so do the long hours of warm daylight, we need to pack along a little extra gear to continue enjoying our favorite front- and backcountry camps into the autumn season.
This is the time when camp lighting becomes a necessity for setting up tents, cooking meals and scouting for bear bag-hanging trees when the sun has finished its day’s work, perhaps before we hikers have. Well, you don’t need to lug around that giant propane-powered lantern any more. Here’s a selection of compact and efficient lighting accessories for any, and every, camper.
Black Diamond Ember
There’s nothing quite as handy as a good old-fashioned flashlight. Well, today’s flashlights are anything but old-fashioned. The Black Diamond Ember ($50) is a 150-lumen powerhouse that’s small enough to be carried in any pack, anywhere. But that’s just the half of it. The rechargeable Li-Ion battery also serves a mobile USB charger for juicing up your smartphone or other device.
Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro
Want more out of your flashlight? The Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro ($80) features a miniature speaker for playing tunes from your smartphone via a wireless bluetooth connection. Designed for the rugged outdoors, it can be attached to your pack for hiking, or mounted to your handlebars as a headlight for biking.
Pro tip: when playing music or an adventure podcast (maybe the Dirtbag Diaries or the JoyTripProject) from speakers on trail or in the backcountry, it's best to keep the volume low enough you are 100% sure no one else can hear it. Otherwise, just use your earbuds.
When setting up tents in the dark, or perhaps scouting for a private moment in the bushes, you need some hands-free lighting—and that’s where a head lamp becomes a true asset. For a simple, reliable head lamp, the Princeton Tec Sync ($30) will light your way with 90 lumens of lighting power. It features an innovative power dial for selecting the lighting mode you want—especially handy while wearing gloves.
Petzl Tikka Plus
For more power and versatility, the redesigned Petzl Tikka Plus ($40) emits up to 140 lumens of lighting energy in several modes, including spot, flood and red night vision options. The Tikka Plus has been a long-time favorite of WT’s editor.
Black Diamond Moji Lamp
You don’t need a lot of light in your tent—just enough to read by. That’s what makes these little portables so sweet. Comparable to similar lamps 2x and 3x the price, the Black Diamond Moji (only $20!) is a durable little dome lamp that puts out 100 lumens of light to help you get situated in your tent, then curl up and read a few pages before bedtime.