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Light your camp: Flashlights

Versatile flashlights for multipurpose use on camping trips.

Light Your Camp is a series of reviews by Alan Kesselheim about lighting solutions for paddlers.

5.11 Tactical TMT Penlight
Weight: 3 oz. with batteries; 5" long; 4 hours battery life; LED light; water resistant; $26.99; www.511tactical.com

Ignore what I just said about lanterns for the moment. If you still like the standard flashlight, the TMT 'Pen' is your baby. It's stout, it's compact, it clips to a shirt pocket, and it casts a dazzling, 40-meter cone of light in a small package. No fuss, no muss. Depress the button halfway for momentary light, click it hard for a continuous beam. It uses 2 AAA batteries and slides into a dry box like an extra pen. When you're rummaging around at midnight looking for that warm hat, this is the simplest solution.

5.11 Tactical Penlight.

Princeton Tec Amp 1L Kayak Deck Light/Flashlight
Weight: 2 oz. with batteries; 2 AAA batteries; waterproof; 72-hour life; fixed or track mounts; $14.99; www.princetontec.com (mount kit sold separately)

A bit of an outlier, the Amp 1L serves as a flashlight in a pinch, but its best application is as a mounted lantern on the deck of a kayak, where it sheds a 90-lumen, 360 degree light and can be swiveled to illuminate a map, serve as a beacon in the darkness or light the way. A loop at the tail of the light allows for hanging from a carabiner (like a lantern) and a spiffy bottle opener handles Happy Hour.

Princeton Tec Amp 1L Kayak Deck Light/Flashlight

Princeton Tec Amp 1L Kayak Deck Light/Flashlight

Gear Aid Spark
Weight: 3 oz.; 3.5"x2.5"x1"; rechargeable battery; $49.95; www.gearaid.com

Another slightly out-of-the box piece of equipment. The Spark is the size of a thin deck of cards and puts out a brilliant panel of 15 LED lights, up to 160 lumens that can last 25 hours; plenty to patch a sleeping pad or rig a tarp in the dark. Simple on/off switch with three brightness settings. The swivel kickstand allows for multiple adjustment, along with a detachable rubber hook for overhead hanging and a threaded mount for tripods. If you like the thought of having a shop light for camp in a really compact size, this is it. Comes with a translucent fabric bag for more diffused hung lighting.

Gear Aid Spark

Click the links below to read about more camp lighting solutions:

The Headlamps

No-frills headlamps that get the job done.


The Lanterns

Diffuse lighting solutions to brighten up your campsite.


Light Your Camp: Home Page

Alan Kesselheim reviews nine lighting solutions for camping adventures.


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