Hiking is one of the best ways to exercise outdoors. Spending time in nature helps reduce stress, while walking on unpaved surfaces or incline trails improves your cardiovascular health… and hiking with other people can be a fun way to connect and build relationships.
Whether you’re alone or in a group, safety should be your priority. Anytime you’re participating in outdoor activities, always bring the proper equipment and pay attention to safety precautions.
Today, we’re going to discuss why having a flashlight is important in hiking (even on sunny days). We will also help you find the right flashlight for your next hike.
Why are hiking flashlights important?
There are many reasons why carrying a flashlight when you’re hiking is important. The main reason to carry a flashlight on a hike (even on sunny days) is emergency preparedness. Hiking outdoors is unpredictable.
Even if you are walking along the flattest, smoothest trail, you should always expect the unexpected. There are several things you need to bring when you’re hiking for this very reason. Among them is a flashlight. This lightweight, efficient tool is one you can carry with you with little effort that can help navigate a variety of conditions and unplanned events.
Today we’ll cover 5 scenarios where flashlights will be useful during a hike.
Scenario #1. Insect bites or stings
Spending time outdoors means you’ll probably encounter insects. Although wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants can help protect against bites and stings, occasionally an insect will get past your repellent or protective gear.
A flashlight or head lamp with a focused beam is helpful for treating an insect bite or sting because shining the light on the injured area can help identify the source of the problem. Then you can decide how to use first aid tools to treat the insect bite.
Scenario #2. Inclement weather
You might set out on your hike under beautiful sunny skies, but storms can roll in and the weather can change abruptly. Trails, especially shaded areas, can become dark and difficult to navigate during a storm. A flashlight or headlamp lights the path and helps hikers find their way to safety.
Scenario #3. Avoiding obstacles and preventing falls
Wearing a headlamp and carrying a flashlight when hiking in wooded areas is especially helpful because shade from mature trees can prevent you from seeing exposed tree roots, holes, snakes and other obstacles on the trail. Avoiding obstacles will prevent falls, which helps everyone have a safe, enjoyable hike.
Scenario #4. Unexpected delays
Getting caught in a storm, taking the wrong turn on a trail, or stopping to help an injured hiker are all common scenarios that might keep you hiking longer than you’d originally planned. If the sun sets and you’re on the trail after dark, or you are hiking with someone who is injured and can’t keep going, you may have to find shelter and wait for help.
Flashlights make navigating these challenging situations much easier. An LED light illuminates your path and prevents further injuries or more serious incidents from occurring.
Scenario #5. Signaling help
Exploring the outdoors is enjoyable, but you still have to be prepared for any scenario. In an emergency situation, you might have to signal for help. A flashlight is the perfect tool. Not only does it light your path and help you navigate your way to safety, but you can also use it to signal first responders or other emergency services professionals who are trying to find you if you or someone in your party is lost or injured. If your headlamp or flashlight has a strobe function, this is the ideal time to use it to give directions and signal for help.
Some Highly Rated Hiking Flashlights
Here are 5 highly rated, affordable flashlights and headlamps that are designed for hiking and emergency situations.
GearLight LED Flashlight 2-Pack
This 2-pack of flashlights provides bright light for hiking or using every day. These zoomable flashlights are extremely durable and water resistant. They’re also compact, work well in an emergency situation and provide great value for the price. These affordable, rechargeable flashlights can be viewed here:
Rechargeable LED Waterproof Flashlight
This flashlight has a built-in port for conveniently recharging. It can last 8-12 hours on a single charge. This durable flashlight performs well in an emergency and it’s super bright with the ability to illuminate your path up to 1650 feet. Learn more about this powerful, waterproof flashlight here:
GT HITGX LED Tactical Flashlight
This super bright, compact flashlight illuminates up to 1,000 feet, offers 5 different modes (so you only need one flashlight) and its compact enough to fit in your pocket or backpack. More details about this waterproof, emergency flashlight are available here:
GearLight LED Headlamp 2-Pack
These hands-free headlamps are bright and versatile. Adjustable headbands make these bright lights suitable for kids and adults. The light pivots 45 degrees to illuminate your path. On the lowest setting, the batteries can last up to 10 hours. These efficient, battery-operated headlamps are available here:
Nitecore NU25 360 Lumen Triple Output Headlamp
This headlamp provides both a natural looking LED and red LED light for night vision. The micro-USB port makes charging on the go convenient. This headlamp weighs less than an ounce, which means it’s super comfortable to wear on longer hikes. Find out more about this rechargeable headlamp here:
Final Thoughts on Hiking Flashlights
A flashlight is an essential tool for hiking, even on sunny days. If you have a headlamp or flashlight with you, you’ll always be prepared. You never know when your flashlight or headlamp will be just the thing you need to help yourself, a partner or a fellow hiker that you encounter on the trail in need of assistance.
For more tips on how to prepare for a hike, check out our hiking guide for beginners. And to make sure you’re definitely “covered”, check out our tips for the best lightweight long sleeve shirts and some recommendations for proper hiking shoes.
Be safe out there!