Currently I own what I would call the most basic flashlight. It's a small cylinder with a single bulb within a reflective cone. It seems to do a very poor job at helping me follow the dirt path from my cabin to the main road. The path is winding, sloped, uneven, muddy and has holes and rocks, so it is easy to trip.

What type of light would be more effective in helping illuminate my way?

Obviously it has to be portable, not too heavy and powered by commonly available batteries.

  • 2
    Any LED flashlight with a high enough lumens rating will do the trick. May I suggest a Fenix PD35?
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 11:56
  • 2
    Free your hands up and get a head lamp woooo! Take a look at the flashlight JoErNano posted and you can compare headlamps on their site. fenixlighting.com/product/hl50-fenix-headlamp
    – AM_Hawk
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 12:22
  • 1
    The original title and capitalization of this post made me think this was a question about "The Wheel of Time" books. I was very confused when, upon clicking the link, it took me to this stack. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


I would recommend any LED headlamp, it's a huge difference to old school flashlights (much brighter and batteries last much longer). Headlamp because you want to have your hands free if you got to carry something or if the path is slippy after rain. I would make sure it has at least two light modes (dimmed and full) to be flexible and use it for reading too. Almost all of them take AA/AAA batteries, if you just plan to use it for short walks between cabin and car only the batteries probably will last for months.

Personally I have good experiences with Petzl but any other brand probably will do too (just look into reviews if the promised brightness and battery life is real).

  • Bright headlamps used for night orienteering tend to use 18650 batteries. That said, I use cheapo 5-10€ headlamps that take 2-3 AAA batteries myself. I haven't done any actual trekking in complete darkness though.
    – JollyJoker
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:10
  • Now that I looked up some examples, I had no idea they could be so powerful and wide.
    – Itai
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:16
  • @JollyJoker at that price you can get something that's adequate for even running or slow cycling in otherwise complete darkness (direct from china or shopping around on eBay).
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 8:11

I would recommend a tactical military-grade flashlight. I personally use one and will not go back to any other style now. Not only do they have the option of going from a strong beam light to a wide surface light, but they are small and can fit in your pocket.

Here is an example image of the one I use and keep in my vehicle at all time can be seen here.

G700-Tactical-LED-Flashlight-LumitaDetails about  G700 Tactical LED Flashlight Lumitact Military Zoom ShadowHawk X800 Super Bright

  • Interesting. I didn't really know what tactical flashlights were but those I saw always have a narrow beem.
    – Itai
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:15
  • 4
    @Itai, 'Tactical' is just marketing, it associates tools with the perception of hardiness and grit that you otherwise associate with people in the military. While it is true that most military gear in a well equipped military will often be of a high standard and/or enhanced for 'special' purposes (which are then restricted for sale to the public) - in essence they're still just a flashlight, boot, helmet or whatever.. Often it's the case nowadays that tactical branding simply means 'comes in black'. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 20:25
  • For torches/flashlights, 'tactical' often seems to mean 'with a front edge designed to hurt if you're hit with it, and to protect the lens.'
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 8:13

I can see the appeal of headlamps, but personally I think they are best suited to activities where you need to have your hands free. That doesn't seem to be the case here, since you don't mention that you have to carry things to or from your cabin.

The downside of a headlamp is that although it points in the direction you are facing, you don't really have the same control over it that you do over a hand-held torch. You can't alter the elevation of it, for example. The other aspect is that you'll probably find the beam bobs a lot while you're walking, which can be wearying. A few years ago I did a long-distance walk overnight wearing a headlamp, and after a few miles I had to stop because I was feeling nauseous - I'm pretty sure that was from constantly watching the bobbing circle of light in front of me.

I don't have a particular brand of torch to recommend, but it seems to me you want something with a wide cone of illumination - you shouldn't need to see all that far ahead of you, especially on a route you know well.

  • Most head torches allow you to set the up-down angle. Then you can tilt your whole head to adjust where the light points in an instant. This is why I use one on the bike, as well as a handlebar-mounted light.
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 8:15
  • I could have expressed that better, Chris - obviously you can tilt your head to direct the beam of a headlamp, but I mean the elevation of the source of the light, i.e. the lamp itself. Having a lamp fixed to your head gives you less flexibility than being able to hold it in your hand, although it probably doesn't make enough difference for it to be an issue. Of course it's a no-brainer to use a head-mounted torch for cycling, because your hands are occupied.
    – MikeD
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 12:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.