If you’ve ever had a flashlight die out on you when you needed it the most, you understand the importance of having only the best survival flashlights for your EDC, GHB, and BOB.
There’s nothing worse than needing light and not having it or not having a bright enough one. And if it’s a survival situation, having a mediocre quality flashlight could even mean you don’t make it home alive. When choosing the best survival flashlights, there are several factors to consider to make sure you get the light that is best for your needs.
The Best Survival Flashlights Money can Buy
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Fenix PD35 Tactical makes the list as one of our best survival flashlights. Brightness is a whopping 1000 lumens and it operates on a 3500 mah rechargeable battery or two CR123’s. The Fenix PD35 Tactical flashlight is durable, long lasting and comfortable to hold. With an IPX-8 waterproof rating, it makes the perfect security or tactical flashlight. Be prepared to replace the batteries.
Olight S10 is a great survival flashlight. A 400-lumen light, it includes a strobe light mode and can run up to an hour and a half on high and more than 300 hours on its moonlight setting. Just under 3 inches long with a magnetic tail that attaches upright to magnetic surfaces, the Olight S10 is a great addition to your EDC or GHB.
Fenix E12 is an LED flashlight with up to 50,000 hours run time. Uses one AA Alkaline battery. Includes a tail tap switch with multiple beam options for versatility.
Coast HP17TAC with a respectable 615 Lumen LED and optional strobe makes our list of best survival flashlights. Just over 13 inches in length, with an impact and water-resistant casing, the Coast HP 17 makes a decent tactical flashlight when needed. It’s powerful beam illuminates well in the wilderness. The unbreakable water-resistant LED runs on 3-D batteries for over 15 hours on high and over 50 hours on high.
PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight has a brightness of 800 lumens. With a water-resistant casing made of aircraft aluminum alloy, it’s durable and reliable. 5 different output modes puts it on the list of the best survival flashlights because it’s versatile enough for any regular outdoor activity. Operates using common AAA batteries or 18650 lithium ion battery.
Surefire P2X Fury dual output LED Flashlight is just under 6 inches and makes a good pocket flashlight. With a casing made of aerospace aluminum to military specifications, it’s resistant to corrosion and scratching. The nearly fail-proof LED delivers 15 lumens for more than 40 hours or 500 lumens for over an hour. Includes a limited lifetime warranty.
Streamlight Survivor 90541 is a right-angle flashlight just under 7 inches long. The LED is shock proof and has a lifetime of 50,000 hours. It’s made for durability with an unbreakable Lexan lens with anti-scratch silicone coating, and a heavy-duty bezel. Run time is 6 hours on low and up to 3 hours on high.
The high impact nylon casing is O-ring sealed.
Energizer Weatherready Hand Crank Light makes the list of best survival flashlights because it’s just about the perfect EDC light and it’s a great option for kids of all ages. The built-in carabiner clip attaches quickly and easily to a belt loop, backpack, or purse strap. The LED is lifetime and the system is completely rechargeable via the hand crank. No need for batteries–ever. The casing is a durable plastic that can hold up to everyday use.
NITECORE P12 2015 has a max output of 1,000 lumens. With more than 500 hours runtime, 13,500cd peak beam intensity, and waterproof rating of IPX8, the Nitecore P12 2015 easily makes our list of best survival flashlights. The memory feature remembers your preferred brightness. One-handed operation made possible using the side switch interface.
Streamlight 88062 Protac Tactical is impact resistant and waterproof and weighs just under 5 ounces. It’s a great small flashlight with 500 lumens. It’s water resistant to IPX-7, which makes it perfect as an EDC or GHB light.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Flashlight
Brightness is definitely something to consider when choosing from the best survival flashlights. The key to comparing the brightness of the best survival flashlights is to understand lumens. Flashlights with higher lumens will be brighter. Your standard flashlight for general use in the home or outdoors runs between 20 to 100 lumens. High end flashlights used for caving, or by search and rescue can be over 1000 lumens. LED bulbs are better for EDC flashlights because of they are durable and energy efficient.
Alkaline batteries are great for flashlights that will be used often for short periods of time. These batteries are more commonly available and cheaper to buy than lithium ion batteries which means the best survival flashlights will likely use alkaline batteries.
But lithium ion batteries perform better and are lighter for those times when it matters. The switch type can also play a factor in the run time of your light. Make sure the flashlight you buy has a button or twist collar that can’t accidentally turn itself on while it is stored in your BOB or in your pocket.
Even better, you can opt for a hand-crank battery, and you’ll never have to worry about dead and leaky batteries.
The weight of your flashlight may not seem like much of a big deal until you have to carry it for several hours on a nighttime bug out trip or attach it to your belt. Some plastic flashlights can be very lightweight, whereas flashlights made of metal can be heavier.
For flashlights that you intend to carry for several hours at a time, you’ll want something made of lightweight plastic that won’t get too hot or too cold to the touch in extreme weather. Make sure to consider the weight of your flashlight when planning your purchase.
For a survival flashlight, you also want to consider a weatherproof flashlight that will hold up in wet weather. Flashlights with a weatherproof rating of IPX-4 are water resistant to splashing or sporadic showers, whereas a flashlight rated at IPX-8 could still operate if accidentally submerged in water. Generally, the higher the weatherproof rating the more likely the flashlight will be operable if it’s inadvertently exposed to water.
More than one light setting is important on a survival flashlight, so you can signal to other group members or even potentially blind an intruder. The best survival flashlights also include an adjustable beam, which means you can illuminate a wide area for searching and navigating or narrow the beam for signaling.
Attachment features on your flashlight are a nice to have feature. Some flashlights include a clip to attach to your belt or even transform your flashlight into a headlamp for hands free use. Others may have a lanyard, pocket clip, keyring, or carabiner
Did we miss one of your favorite flashlights? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to give us the reasons why you feel it’s one of the best survival flashlights and we’ll update our list.