Gear Guy

Q:

What's the Best Rechargeable Flashlight for a Backpack?

I’m looking for something long-lasting and bright that won’t let me down in the backwoods. What do you recommend?

What's the Best Rechargeable Flashlight for a Backpack?

Photo: Sukharevskyy Dmytro via Shutterstock

A:

USB isn’t just for office computers anymore; it’s the favored connection for backwoods recharging units including solar panels, portable power packs, and thermoelectric cook stoves. If you have a way to recharge on the trail, any of the following flashlights connect using this standard.

Our favorite lights all have efficient LED bulbs, and a brightness range from 150 to 550 lumens (a halogen car headlight is around 700 lumens). The best news—the new rechargeables are also incredibly light and compact. You won’t even notice them in your pack until it’s time for a late night run to the privy.

Nitecore Multitask Hybrid MH1A Flashlight
Goal Zero Bolt Focus Flashlight
LED Lenser P5R Rechargeable Flashlight

Best Rechargeable Flashlights: Nitecore Multitask Hybrid MH1A Flashlight

Nitecore Multitask Hybrid MH1A
Nitecore Multitask Hybrid MH1A Flashlight

The Nitecore casts an incredible 550 lumens (just shy of a car headlight) in a mere 2.6 ounce aluminum alloy package. It’s both one of the brightest and smallest lights around. We also like that that it can be dunked in 6 feet of water, and that its lithium battery can be replaced with a common AA in a pinch. When you’re ready to recharge, use the Micro USB port on the side, just like on many cell phones and GPS units.

Top Output: 550 lumens
Battery Runtime
: 11.5 hours (18 lumens), 45 minutes (550 lumens)
Recharge Time
: 2 hours
Length
: 127 mm
Weight
: 2.6 ounces
$70

Best Rechargeable Flashlights: Goal Zero Bolt Focus Flashlight

Goal Zero Bolt Focus Flashlight
Goal Zero Bolt Focus Flashlight

Price is really the Bolt’s virtue. It costs half as much as its peers, but it's also nearly twice as heavy with a much longer recharge time. And it’s only splash-resistant, not waterproof. On the bright side, to recharge it, you simply plug into the Micro USB port on the side.

Top Output: 160 lumens
Battery Runtime
: 10.5 hours low, 5 hours (160 lumens)
Recharge Time
: 5 hours
Length
: 6.5 inches
Weight
: 6.0 ounces
$40

Best Rechargeable Flashlights: LED Lenser P5R Rechargeable Flashlight

LED Lenser P5R Rechargeable Fla
LED Lenser P5R Rechargeable Flashlight

The splash resistant P5R weighs almost nothing but has a bright 200-lumen beam. You can charge it through the included USB cord or clip it magnetically to the wall adapter. We liked the atached lanyard because it kept us from losing the flashlight around camp.

Top Output: 200 lumens
Battery Runtime
: 7 hours (15 lumens), 3 hours (200 lumens)
Recharge Time
: 3.5 hours
Length
: 4.6 inches
Weight
: 2.8 ounces
$80

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