Fun & safety at night camping – flashlights especially for kids
Do you remember playing with flashlights as a kid? They are arguably one of the simplest objects for guaranteed nighttime fun – plus they have plenty of practical purposes too!
Whether it’s reading under your covers, making silhouettes, indoor camping, your first big venture into the backyard at night or even taking your first camping trip, a kids flashlight is an essential part of nighttime fun for kids, guiding their path and keeping them safe.
Far more than just a novelty toy, we’re going to guide you through here what to look for when purchasing a flashlight for your little ones. There are plenty of practical pointers to look out for to make sure you get the most value for money out of a kids flashlight – and most importantly, the right amount of light!
This post is part of our best travel products series – you can read more camping with kids tips over here
What to look for in a good kids flashlight
It really depends on what your purpose is with a torch or flashlight. A fun kids flashlight for indoor camping and reading is quite different to a flashlight you need for late-night bathroom breaks in a campground.
We will look at a range of suitable products from preschoolers through to teen but with a focus on more powerful outdoor flashlights rather than novelty indoor purchases for tots – but equally, your kids can use their camping flashlight however they like for nighttime illumination!
Kids can be tough on their outdoor gear, and the torch is likely to be one of the most mistreated (intentionally or not) by its nature. Cheap plastic torches really designed for indoor use simply will not survive outdoor camping trips with kids. Avoid brittle plastic and look for robust design and materials to withstand drops of at least 1 meter in testing.
We all know electronics and water do not mix but have you really camped if you haven’t had to do an emergency pee stop in the rain!? You need to think of all weather conditions when making any camping gear purchases for kids – most flashlights should be waterproof but check this feature before purchasing for outdoor use.
Pretty much all flashlights are powered by battery (occasionally you’ll get USB rechargeable units), but do check what type! Most are AA or AAA but some flashlights use more obscure sizing, and it can be difficult to replace! You want your torch to last a long time, make sure it has a common and easily replaceable battery option or USB recharge function.
And be conscious that kids will without a doubt leave torches on all night, sigh… always check they’ve turned torches off at bedtime if you’re any hope of the battery lasting. Using on the highest setting for long periods of time will also drain the battery much faster.
Functionality – what type of flashlight?
Hands down, the most functional kids flashlights are the ones they can wear on their heads – headlamps. These leave their hands free to play and undertake other tasks, and it’s far less likely to get lost.
If you are looking at handheld flashlights, look for those with wrist straps, lanyards or D clips to attach to bags or clothing when not in use. You want them to be ready to grab but not go walkabout in the bush.
An alternative choice is a lantern. These are good if you need a larger area to be illuminated around you and want to function hands-free – good for toilet stops or lighting up your meal area. We’d recommend both something handheld and free standing.
Your kids flashlight obviously needs to be the right size and weight for a child’s small hands or small head. For this reason, look for brands that are specifically catering to the children’s market. Some kids headlights especially claim to fit all ages but the head strap doesn’t adjust small enough for toddlers.
Appealing for kids
Although you should always think about functionality first, undoubtedly if the torch is coloured or has something fun about it they’re more likely they’ll look forward to using it and treat it as a treasured item to call their own.
This is probably the most crucial functionality aspect. Flashlight strength is measured in lumen. A small mini light for kids might be 30 lumen or under, whilst an adult flashlight is around 100 lumen. Premium high-end flashlights for hunters can be as high as 2000 lumen!
Always set some ground rules with your kids before giving them a flashlight. No matter how powerful the torch is, nobody wants to be completely eyeballed and temporarily blinded with a kids flashlight.
This is why we recommend limiting the lumen, but making sure it’s powerful enough they can actually see! Around 30 to 100 lumen is normally good enough for a kids flashlight.
Best Kids Flashlights & Camping Torches
These are our top picks for kids camping flashlights, read on for more detail on each and when we’d recommend these are the best fit.
Best Kids Flashlight for Camping: Dorcy 55 Lumen Floating Waterproof LED Flashlight
Our outdoor camping flashlight winner is the heavy-duty Dorcy. Rugged and robust perfect for little kid treatment. It has a built-in carabiner clip so you can attach it when not in use, shock-absorbing rubber around the head and can even survive drops in the water!
There are few flashlights that can compete on ruggedness, brightness and quality for the price and size perfect for kids.
4 LED bulbs – 55 lumen output – 100 feet3 x AA batteries requiredBattery life 8 hours 45 minutesWeighs 6.4ozSize 2.5″ x 4.8″ x 8.88″1-year warranty against manufacturer defectsComes in purple, pink, green, blue & yellow
Runner Up: Everyready LED Flashlight
Seriously, who didn’t grow up with one of these! They are just as tough, durable and long-lasting as ever and despite how plain they might look, forget the novelty extras, they shine a brilliant beam of bright light! End of the day, that’s what a flashlight needs to do, right?
A small downside we see if they take D Batteries – not as common as your regular stash of AA or AAA’s so be prepared. But that long-lasting battery you shouldn’t need to be replaced too often. An ever solid, every ready torch for all occasions.
25 lumen2 x D Batteries60 hours of run timeAvailable in several colour combo pairs.
Best kids camping lantern: Wakeman Flashlight
A 3 in 1 combo that’s great for kids, this gives you the option of using your flashlight as a lantern, torch or side panel light, easy to transition between functions.
Still small so easy for small hands to handle and produces a powerful beam. A little plastic for our liking, but handle with care and it should delvier what you need for a kids camping lantern.
Size 3.25″ x 4″ x 8″0.4 lbs30 lumen3 x AA BatteriesAvailable in purple, pink, blue, orange & black
Best Kids Headlamp Flashlight: BLITZU LED Headlamp Flashlight
A great super-lightweight and practical flashlight for children, this head-mounted flashlight is incredibly powerful for its size. It has several different light modes up to an incredibly powerful 165 lumen.
7 different light modes165 lumen (300 feet visibility)45 degree tiltable3 x AAA Batteries required45-hour battery life on low, 3 hours on highIPX-5 certified waterproofWeighs 2.2 ozWide range of colours to choose fromMoney-back guarantee and lifetime warranty
Runner Up: Ruicland i2 Headlmap Flashlight
A bright and colourful option to appeal to kids, this headlamp flashlight is ideal for kids camping trips. It has a powerful light beam with adjustable light modes, an adjustable head strap and the important tilt function so they can see what they’re doing and you won’t get blinded!
120 Lumen – 180 feet visibilityWaterproof4 lighting modes45-degree tilt functionMoney-back guarantee and lifetime warranty
Best for younger kids: Owl LED flashlight
We were steering away from including any of the novelty flashlights, but this cute Owl headlamp actually delivers a seriously strong beam! With several different adjustable settings – even the ability to make an owl sound this is definitely one to keep junior campers keen – suitable for 3 years+.
The only downside we see as many items needs batteries that are screwed in – make sure you check battery power before setting out, or pack the screwdriver!
260 LumenRequires 3 x AAA batteries (includes screwdriver)Adjustable head strapWeight 3.7 oz4 illumination modesOne year money-back guarantee
You can find more toddler novelty toys and camping ideas over here.
Also consider: Energizer LED Headlamp
A good solid performer for kids who love hands-free outdoor adventures. The headband is comfortable and the flashlight casing strong and durable to withstand accident dropping.
Note it does not have a top strap so you’ll need to check fit in your child’s head, and there’s no tilt function. It’s a good, cheap, functional model with a very powerful light, but nothing extra special for kids.
Up to 150 lumen – 120 feet visibility3 light modesComes with 2x AAA batteries!Up to 8 hours on low light mode
NB – they also offer a kids version which is more brightly colored and adjustable to smaller heads but the beam it’s just not as bright and comes with a hard to replace CR2032 battery. We’d stick with the adult version and adjust the strap.
Best Mini Kids Flashlights: WdtPro Mini LED Flashlights
If you want something small but powerful these are super practical for the kid’s pockets without being overly expensive. Coming in a 6 pack, they are not overly powerful at only 30 lumen so would recommend it as a back up rather than a primary source of light.
9 small LED bulbsPowered by 3 x AAA Batteries30 LumenWeigh 1.44 oz each30 hours average battery life
Best kids multi flashlight set: Coleman Kids Adventure Light Set
Why stop with one light when you can get 3! This adventure set is perfect for your little outdoor adventures offering a kids camping lantern, flashlight and head torch option in 4 bright colors easy to spot outside.
Whilst it’s great to have it all neatly packaged up, our complaint would be the head torch and flashlight really aren’t strong enough for the proper darkness of night time camping, unusual for the outdoor camping experts at Coleman. (We use Coleman products for pretty much all our other camping needs!) It would still make a practical and well-received kids gift set.
Mini lantern has 55 LEDs’ – 44 lumenSize 6″ x 3″ 16 hours – runs on 4 x AA BatteriesMini adjustable headlamp – 8 lumen4″ Aluminimum Flashlight – 20 lumen
More light options when you camp
As you can see, there’s a huge range of designs and prices when it comes to kids flashlights.
If you are only camping as a one-off treat, then something relatively cheap and fun will probably do what you need. But serious campers and outdoor adventurers, invest in something strong and sturdy that can withstand treatment on camping trips and last for years.
We’ve found that you really need more than one set of lighting when it comes to camping with kids. In our camping set up we will have:
A powerful central lantern (1000 lumen) in our cooking and prep area, which can be dimmed later in the evening but stays illuminated overnight for safety (we camp out in the open and don’t want late night dune buggies or the like missing our tent!) In a shared campground, your fellow campers won’t appreciate this!
Around our tent we illuminate it with a simple string of LED‘s, this is in place of their usual nightlight at home. We’ll turn it off once we’re all snug in bed together.
We each wear a headlamp around the camp, easy for popping for a quick pee, looking in boxes or getting into the tent.
A couple of larger handheld flashlights are kept around camp. More helpful for night time exploring and looking for items. We also keep pocket flashlights clipped on too.
When the kids are playing at night, we also bring a few novelty light-up items. It helps if your kids can be wearing some reflective materials, and glow sticks or glow gloves can be a great fun addition for keeping them within eyesight but letting them enjoy the darkness of night.
Flashlights are a classic childhood gift that may be small but can bring hours of indoor and outdoor fun for years to come!
Want more camping advice and reviews?
We have been camping with our kids since they were tots and have a great selection of camping articles to get you underway for your own outdoor family adventures. Why not also read:
The Ultimate Guide to Sand Camping – desert & beach camping is our speciality (we live in the Middle East!) so loads of handy advice on how to keep sand out of everything and a super detailed camping prep list to print out.Camping with a toddler – once your little ones are active, how do you keep them safe, clean & fed around camp? Best Kids Sleeping Bags – getting a good night’s sleep, the warmest and cosiest kids sleeping bags for outdoor adventuresTents For Kids Camping – your independent campers will love sleeping in their own tent, these are our favorites for size and ease of construction
Coming soon! We have great guides coming up for sleeping mats, largest family tents and more! Keep this page bookmarked for later.
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