The Best Survival Flashlights 2017

When a big disaster strikes society, you will most likely not be able to call 911 to help you out. I’m talking about disasters like typhoons, flash floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and much more. Nature is a powerful beast and while she’s a beauty, she can also be fierce. A survival flashlight might not seem much in case of an emergency, but it can actually help you out a lot in a survival situation.

In a hurry? Here's what I recommend:

The Best Survival Flashlight

The J5 Tactical V1-Pro

I always recommend people to have some kind of emergency kit in case of a disaster or emergency. No, I’m not saying to go all in like all those dooms day preppers, but having a small but smart kit might save your life in the future. There are some essential tools that play an important part at the time of a stressful event, and having these might be the difference between life and death. You probably guessed it already, but one of these important tools is the survival flashlight. Or should I say flashlights, because having just one might not be enough.

I usually recommend to have at least three or more flashlights, storing them in places that are easy to access. Only you know which parts of your house are easy to access, so I’ll let you handle that. While you’re at it, put one in your car and make sure to have a backup in your workplace.

The sole purpose of having a survival kit flashlight is to keep yourself safe, if the electricity goes out at night during a storm, walking around in the dark can be fatal. The benefit of having a survival flashlight kit is that they’re cheap, easy to store and won’t get in the way in case of an emergency.

These are the best survival flashlights

There are indeed many available flashlights out there, but having so many choices easily numbs your mind. Since I’m the flashlight expert, I’ve decided to help you guys out by creating this top list. They are not listed in any specific order.

Description:

This is a heavy duty flashlight that is both very tough and very compact. Not only is good as a emergency back up light, the V1-Pro is also perfect for camping and hunting as well.

This survival torch comes with high, low and intelligent strobe modes, which is guaranteed to come in handy. The V1-Pro has a rechargeable battery but can also be used with normal AA-batteries. I would suggest stocking up on non-rechargeable batteries, because if the power grid goes out you won’t have much luck charging them.

Gives an intense 300 lumen beam that can reach up to 600 feet. Since this is one of my favorite flashlights, I’ve written a review for it, you can find my J5 Tactical Review here.

Description:

The J5 is as you’ve might have guessed, the predecessor of the V1-Pro. This is as well considered to be one of the best survival tactical flashlights out there. Even though it doesn’t pack as many lumens (250 instead of 300) I still find it to be a neat little survival light. The beam can reach the same distance, about 600 feet.

Just like the V1-Pro it can use a standard AA-battery or a rechargeable one. Some people also claim that switching from alkaline batteries to lithium will increase the brightness, I haven’t tried it myself personally but found it worth pointing out.

It’s been an Amazon best seller for many years and over 1,000 people have rated it 5 stars. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t think anything will. Don’t forget to read our review about it here.

Description:

I know, I know. This is not the prettiest survival flashlight out there, but I can assure you, looks won’t matter when you need to fight for your life.

The iRonsnow IS-088 is easy to carry around and also rather compact. It has several features which makes it pretty attractive for survival situations, some of these features are solar charging, a radio and the ability to charge external devices from the USB port.

Fancy or not, this is definitely something I would like to have in my survival kit, especially since it can practically never run out of batteries thanks to the crank. Sure, it might not look like something one would carry to the post apocalypse, but all the features makes it a great choice for those of you who rather survive than look good.

Description:

Even though the name suggests that this light somehow a mix between two things (a hybrid), this is purely a solar charged light. This means it doesn’t run on batteries but rather solar energy.  The most interesting thing about these lights is their ability hold a charge for long periods of time.

Now I haven’t personally tested this (for obvious reasons) but they claim you can charge it once, leave it in a drawer for 3 years and use it as normal 3 years later. If this really is the case then this could be a great way for survivalists to prepare for future disasters. Just charge all of them once and store them away safely.

And yes, two are included for the price. That means you can give one of these nifty survival flashlights to a beloved one, keeping them safe when disaster strikes!

Description:

Another rather ugly looking survival flashlight, but once again, looks won’t matter in a life or death situation.

This interesting flashlight features a handle with built-in solar panels, a dynamo crank handle, battery charger, radio, and of course a flashlight. It’s really neat that they’ve used both a dynamo generator and a solar panel, I think the placement for the panel could be better though.

Since it’s located on the actual handle, I won’t be able to charge when I’m holding it. It would be nice to have it charging passively when I am walking somewhere but at this price I cannot complain at all. Like iRonsnow it looks hideous but the features makes it a reliable choice for survival situations.

Description:

A survival flashlight that is packed with nifty features that will make surviving any disaster a breeze. Just like any other flashlight that is created for survival, the looks on this one aren’t all that great. It’s undoubtedly the best looking one on my list though, with the exception of the J5’s.

What I like about this light is the fact that it has several handy features packed into it. The most important feature being the hand crank, which allows you to charge the survival flashlight without any batteries. This is a must-have if you’re out in the wild and need to survive, because carrying batteries or relying on the sun all the time might not be an option.

Some other features I like on this flashlight is the window breaker and seatbelt cutter. This is obviously a survival flashlight designed for many situations, having this in your car is a great idea as it might save your or someone else life one day. It also comes with a compass and a USB charger port, meaning you can charge your smartphone and other gadgets. Thanks to the hand crank you will never run out of batteries as well.

Description:

This has a built in rechargeable battery so there’s no need for an external battery. Works just as great for survival as it does for hiking and camping adventures. The hand crank makes it a breeze to charge and best of all, the charge can be stored for quite a while.

It’s very basic, meaning it doesn’t have any fancy features such as a glass breaker or a USB charger. It does however have a solar panel on the backside, which should make it easy for you to charge it on the go. Just clip it to your backpack and let the solar panel face the sun.

The great thing about this survival light is that it’s so small, it will easily fit pretty much anywhere, your pocket, your backpack, a bag, your car, wherever really!

The features of a survival flashlight

Down below we will take a more in-depth look at the features of a survival flashlight. It’s the features that makes a flashlight worth buying after all. It’s important to keep in mind that not all survival lights are made equal, some will work better for others, some will not. The best advice I can give you, is to really think what kind of features you will need. Is a radio really necessary? Maybe you’re more interested in portability and durability? I also recommend you to the read all the survival flashlights reviews above before you decide what to purchase.

And one more thing, just remember that buying a flashlight for survival and emergencies is all about compromises. Most likely you will not find a torch that has all the features, so try to decide beforehand what’s more important to you.

The light output

One of the most important things (to me at least) is the amount of light a flashlight can emit. I know people like use lumen as a way to tell if a torch is bright or not, but the fact is most companies exaggerate these numbers. I don’t know how many times I’ve read people complaining about how their 10,000 lumen survival torch is not as strong as they expected.

Usually you will do just fine with having a flashlight with around 200-300 lumen, for survival situations it’ll do more than enough. It’s actually enough to illuminate all kinds of environments, rooms, long roads, forest trails, just about anything really. Also make sure to check to check how far the beam can reach, I always prefer high beam flashlights over flood lights.

Batteries

I know that rechargeable batteries sound like something that would fit a survival scenario, but you have to remember that you will most likely not have access to electricity. Without any outlet it’s going to be hard to charge your batteries… Just saying.

For survival situations I would either go with normal batteries and buy these in bulk, cheaper and will last you longer, or go with a flashlight that uses a hand crank (also known as dynamo flashlights). These things will literally never run out of power, they’re pretty much ideal for survival and emergency scenarios

Materials

Most survival flashlights are made from various kinds of plastic, which is both good and bad, I’ll start with good news first. Since plastic is cheap, it’s easy for manufacturers to mass produce their lights and thus lowering their price. And when it comes to survival, I personally prefer quantity over quality. You see, I personally prefer to have plenty of cheap flashlights instead of just an expensive one. You could also go for flashlights that are made out of metal, while these are more durable (though there are plenty of durable plastics out there) they aren’t that much better in a survival scenario. They do however usually have stronger light output, this is because the metal can handle the heat a lot of better than plastic.

You’re of course free to make up your own mind, if you’re the type of guy that prefer expensive quality lights, I won’t stop you. Just remember that if it somehow fails, you’re stuck out in the dark.

Weather condition

Weather is one of those factors you need to factor in, because if you’re using a flashlight that isn’t waterproof and the rain comes in, you know you’re going to have a bad time. Luckily most survival flashlights have some kind of waterproofing on them, so rain will not damage them. Bare in mind that just because a survival flashlight can handle some rain, it doesn’t mean the light can be submerged in water. Being submerged and getting wet are two different things, be sure you know the differences before making your purchase!

The pros and cons

As I stated in the beginning, choosing the correct light for survival, camping or emergencies is all about compromising. I’ve yet to find a torch that can deliver on all aspects, if you know, please tell me! In this section I’ll cover what I consider to be the pros and cons of flashlights made for survival.

Pros

  • Affordable – Most torches that are meant for survival are made out of plastic or cheap aluminum, which means they pretty cheap to produce. This is great news for us, because it means we can buy plenty of lights for a lower price. Luckily I have listed plenty of cheap emergency flashlights in my list.
  • Lightweight – Plastic and aluminum are also very light in weight, last thing a survivor wants is to have is a clunky flashlight that weighs him down.
  • Portable – The majority of flashlights that are made for emergencies are very portable, meaning they are either small in size or have clever solutions that make it easy to hook them onto a backpack or other objects.
  • More than just illumination – If you read my top list above, you probably notice a trait most flashlights had in common, gadgets and extra features! Having a radio on your flashlight for example, could potentially save your life, as you can hear emergency broadcasts, or maybe even other survivors talking over AM/FM frequencies.
  • Smart charging – When you’re out in the dessert, forest, or the urban jungle it’s not easy to find batteries or a source of electricity. That’s why most emergency flashlights come with smart solutions, like solar charging or a hand crank to manually charge them up.

Cons

  • Holster compatibility – Not all flashlights can fit to a holster since most of the new survival flashlights come in kits and are a little bulkier than the usual slim flashlight.
  • Lots of garbage – Sadly there’s tons of garbage lights on Amazon that make big claims, but will just let you down instead.
  • Subpar solar charging – Many of the lights that brag about having solar charging are actually pretty bad, it either takes super long or they barely charge the light at all. If you’re fighting for your life you don’t want to rely on the sun.
  • Too many gadgets – While this is also a pro, some manufactures just take it too far and install basically anything they can think of. I don’t really need a bubble level when I’m running for my life. Too many features also bring the quality down, since it raises production cost, thus sourcing cheaper components.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, how to survive in a world that has become a wilderness after a big storm or attack is never easy. Just the bare thought of it makes make uncomfortable. But let’s face it, it’s a threat that is increasing with each day. Global warming isn’t going to stop any time soon and terrorists are executing new attacks every day. It’s just a matter of when disaster will strike you.

Being prepared for the worst isn’t bad, I can assure you will thank yourself when the sh*t finally hits the fan. I mean, is a $50 survival flashlight really that much when it can potentially save your life later on? Having it in your survival kits is one of the best things you can do actually.

While I am not a dooms day prepper, I have stored away 5 flashlights for me and my family. I have bought plenty of batteries to last us years, but also got myself some of those dynamo flashlights as well. You should too.