7 Best Flashlight for Kayak: Top Picks for Night Paddling in 2024

by | Last updated Jul 9, 2024

Best Overall Olight Warrior
Olight Warrior

Blazing 1,750 lumens, IPX8 waterproof, 45-day runtime, and a compact design – the Warrior Mini 2 is the ultimate kayaking flashlight.

Best Value Princeton Tec 40
Princeton Tec 40

Affordable, reliable, and virtually indestructible. The Tec 40’s 40 lumens and 100-hour runtime are perfect for budget-minded paddlers.

Most Featured Nitecore NU25
Nitecore NU25

360 lumens, rechargeable battery, multiple light modes, and a tilting head make the NU25 a versatile headlamp.

Flashlight for Kayak

Paddling under the stars sounds magical. But navigating murky waters in the dark?

Not so much. Keep a lack of light from dampening your kayaking adventures.

Finding the perfect kayak flashlight is crucial, not just for visibility but for safety. It’s your beacon in the night, guiding your way through calm waters and unexpected obstacles.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of your search, testing and reviewing the top 7 flashlights for kayaking in 2024.

What is the Best Flashlight for Kayak?

Let’s cut to the chase. It would be best if you had a reliable, waterproof, and bright flashlight for your kayak adventures. But which one is the best?

Our team has put the top contenders to the test, evaluating their brightness, battery life, durability, and overall performance on the water. So, grab your paddle, and let’s dive into our top picks for the seven best flashlights for kayaking in 2024.

1. Olight Warrior

This pocket rocket is a serious contender for your kayak flashlight needs. It’s tiny but mighty, packing a punch way above its weight class. Imagine holding a mini lighthouse in your palm – that’s the Olight Warrior Mini 2.

Olight Warrior

Our Take

0out of 10

The Olight Warrior Mini 2 is a near-perfect kayak flashlight. It's bright, durable, and compact. While it might be a tad pricey, its performance and features make it worth every penny.

Key Benefits

  • Blinding Brightness: Maxes out at a whopping 1,750 lumens.
  • Dunk-Proof: IPX8 waterproof rating – it can handle a dip in the lake.
  • Built Tough: Aircraft-grade aluminum body shrugs off bumps and drops.
  • Long-Lasting: Up to 45 days of runtime on the lowest setting.
  • Beam Variety: Choose between a wide flood beam or a focused spotlight.
  • Pocket-Sized Powerhouse: Weighs just 3.1 oz (87g).
  • 5-Year Warranty: Olight stands behind its products.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $89.95
Olight Warrior

Pros

  • Blazing brightness for its size
  • Surprisingly long battery life
  • Easy-to-use interface with dual switches
  • It is durable and feels great in hand

Cons

  • Can get warm in the highest setting
  • Proprietary charging cable
  • Not the cheapest option out there

2. Princeton Tec 40

Don't let its retro vibes fool you; the Princeton Tec Tec 40 is a reliable workhorse in the kayak flashlight arena. It's like the trusty old pickup truck of flashlights – not flashy, but it always gets the job done.

Princeton Tec 40

Our Take

0out of 10

The Princeton Tec Tec 40 is a classic for a reason. It's affordable, reliable, and built to withstand anything you throw at it. If you're looking for a no-frills, budget-friendly kayak flashlight, this is a great option.

Key Benefits

  • Bright Enough: 40 lumens of output might not seem like much, but it's surprisingly effective on the water.
  • Waterproof Wonder: Floats and stays lit even when submerged.
  • Built to Last: Rugged and virtually indestructible.
  • Battery Champ: Runs for up to 100 hours on 4 AAA batteries.
  • Beam Versatility: Choose between a wide flood beam or a focused spot beam.
  • Lightweight and Compact: Weighs only 3.2 oz (90g).
  • Lifetime Warranty: Princeton Tec has your back.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $54.89
Princeton Tec 40

Pros

  • Extremely affordable and reliable
  • Simple to use with a single button
  • Virtually indestructible

Cons

  • Not the brightest option
  • Requires 4 AAA batteries
  • Not as versatile as some other models

3. Nitecore NU25

The Nitecore NU25 is like the Swiss Army knife of headlamps. It's packed with features that make it a versatile companion for your kayaking adventures.

Nitecore NU25

Our Take

0out of 10

The Nitecore NU25 is a fantastic choice if you're looking for a versatile and feature-rich headlamp for kayaking. It's perfect for those who want a single light source for both on and off-the-water activities.

Key Benefits

  • Bright and Efficient: Maxes out at 360 lumens with multiple brightness levels.
  • Rechargeable: Built-in battery charges via USB.
  • Multiple Light Modes: Red light, white light, flood, and spotlight options.
  • Lightweight and Comfortable: Weighs only 1.9 oz (53g).
  • Tilting Head: Direct the beam where you need it most.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $36.95
Nitecore NU25

Pros

  • Versatile lighting options for different situations
  • Rechargeable battery for convenience
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear

Cons

  • Not as bright as some dedicated flashlights
  • It can be tricky to operate with multiple buttons
  • Not ideal for extended use on the highest setting

4. BioLite HeadLamp 330

The BioLite HeadLamp 330 is all about comfort and convenience. It's lightweight, easy to wear, and packs a surprising punch of light for its size.

BioLite HeadLamp 330

Our Take

0out of 10

The BioLite HeadLamp 330 is the ultimate in comfort and convenience. It's perfect for kayakers who prioritize a lightweight and hassle-free headlamp.

Key Benefits

  • Bright and Even: 330 lumens of balanced light output.
  • Rechargeable: Built-in battery charges via USB.
  • Moisture-Wicking Headband: Stays comfortable even on sweaty paddles.
  • Multiple Light Modes: Spot, flood, red light, and strobe options.
  • Lightweight and Low-Profile: Weighs only 2.4 oz (68g).

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $54
BioLite HeadLamp 330

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable to wear for long periods
  • A moisture-wicking headband is a game-changer
  • Easy-to-use single-button interface

Cons

  • Not the brightest headlamp on the market
  • Battery life could be better in the highest setting
  • Not waterproof, so be careful around splashes

5. Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Storm 400 is a rugged and reliable headlamp built to withstand the elements. It's like the off-road vehicle of headlamps – ready for any adventure.

Black Diamond

Our Take

0out of 10

The Black Diamond Storm 400 is a top choice for kayakers who need a durable and weatherproof headlamp. It's perfect for those who demand reliability and performance in any condition.

Key Benefits

  • Powerful Beam: 400 lumens of brightness for clear visibility.
  • Waterproof and Dustproof: IP67 rating – it can handle rain, splashes, and even a dunk in the water.
  • Multiple Light Modes: Spot, flood, red light, and strobe options.
  • Memory Mode: Remembers your last-used brightness setting.
  • Comfortable Headband: Adjustable and stays put even during bumpy rides.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $48.99
Black Diamond

Pros

  • Powerful and versatile lighting options
  • Waterproof and dustproof for all-weather use
  • Durable and built to last

Cons

  • Can be bulky compared to other headlamps
  • Not rechargeable
  • requires 4 AAA batteries

6. Fenix LD15R

The Fenix LD15R is a sleek and stylish flashlight that packs a surprising amount of power into its compact frame.

Fenix LD15R

Our Take

0out of 10

The Fenix LD15R is a stylish and functional flashlight that's perfect for kayakers who value portability and convenience. Its magnetic base and two-way clip make it a versatile lighting solution for both on and off the water.

Key Benefits

  • Dual Output: 500 lumens on high, 30 lumens on low.
  • Rechargeable: Built-in battery charges via USB-C.
  • Magnetic Base: Attaches to metal surfaces for hands-free use.
  • Two-Way Clip: Easily attach to a pocket or hat brim.
  • Waterproof and Dustproof: IP68 rating – it can withstand submersion in water.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $55.45
Fenix LD15R

Pros

  • Bright and compact design
  • Rechargeable for convenience
  • Magnetic base and two-way clip offer versatile mounting options

Cons

  • Only two brightness settings
  • Not the longest battery life on high mode
  • Can be a bit fiddly to operate with the single button

7. Streamlight ProTac HL

The Streamlight ProTac HL is a no-nonsense flashlight that delivers a powerful beam and impressive durability. It's like the trusty hammer of your toolbox – simple, reliable, and gets the job done every time.

Streamlight ProTac HL

Our Take

0out of 10

The Streamlight ProTac HL is a workhorse flashlight that's built to last. If you need a powerful and reliable light source for your kayak adventures, this is a top contender.

Key Benefits

  • Intense Brightness: Blasts out 1,000 lumens for maximum visibility.
  • Waterproof and Shockproof: IPX7 rating and can withstand drops and impacts.
  • Multiple Modes: High, medium, low, strobe, and SOS modes.
  • Durable Construction: Aircraft-grade aluminum body.
  • Anti-Roll Design: Won't roll away on uneven surfaces.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $77.87
Streamlight ProTac HL

Pros

  • Extremely bright and powerful beam
  • Durable and weather-resistant
  • Simple to use with a single button

Cons

  • Not the most compact or lightweight option
  • It runs on 2 CR123A batteries
  • Not rechargeable

What to Look for When Buying a Kayak Flashlight?

  • Brightness: Opt for at least 200 lumens for visibility.
  • Waterproofness: IPX7 rating or higher is a must.
  • Durability: Choose shockproof and impact-resistant materials.
  • Battery life: Consider rechargeable or long-lasting batteries.
  • Beam type: Flood beams offer wide coverage, while spot beams provide long-distance visibility.
  • Mounting options: Look for flashlights compatible with kayak mounts or headlamps for hands-free use.
  • Size and weight: Choose a compact, lightweight flashlight that's easy to carry and store.

How Can Lights Benefit You?

Kayak lights are more than just a convenience for night owls; they're essential for safe and enjoyable paddling after sunset.

A man is kayaking

A reliable electric torch or boat lighting system illuminates your surroundings, revealing obstacles and potential hazards in your path. This enhanced night vision not only prevents accidents but also lets you fully appreciate the beauty of a moonlit paddle.

Whether you opt for a lightweight headlamp or a powerful spotlight, having a dedicated kayak light ensures you remain visible to other boaters.

This is crucial for avoiding collisions and providing a safe return to shore. Plus, a good light can even double as a signaling device in case of emergencies.

Investing in a quality kayak light is investing in your safety and peace of mind. So, don't let darkness hold you back – light up your night and explore the waterways with confidence!

Buyers Guide

When doing our research to find the best kayak lights, we determined our picks using these factors:

A lady is standing in front of a lake with a kayak

Brightness: We tested each kayak light's brightness in various conditions, from moonlit nights to pitch-black darkness. We looked for lights that offered a clear and wide field of vision without being blinding.

Battery Life: We timed how long each electric torch lasted on its highest and lowest settings. We also considered whether the light was rechargeable or used disposable batteries.

Durability: We subjected each light to a series of tests, including drops, splashes, and even submersion in water. We wanted to find lights that could withstand the rigors of night fishing and other outdoor adventures.

Mounting System: We looked at the different mounting systems available, including headlamps, handheld lights, and lights with suction cup mounts. We considered the ease of use and versatility of each option.

Features: We evaluated additional features like different light modes (e.g., red light for nightvision), strobe functions, and adjustable beam patterns. We also considered how light weight each model was.

Price: We compared the prices of different kayak lights to find the best value for money. We looked for lights that offered a good balance of features, performance, and affordability.

Support or Refund: We checked whether the manufacturer offered a warranty or satisfaction guarantee in case you encountered any issues with your boat lighting.

Wrapping Up

Navigating the waters after dark doesn't have to be a guessing game.

kayak paddle and flashlight

Armed with the right kayak light, you can confidently explore waterways under the stars, enjoying the tranquility of night paddling without sacrificing safety.

Whether you're drawn to the blazing brightness of the Olight Warrior Mini 2, the budget-friendly reliability of the Princeton Tec Tec 40, or the feature-packed versatility of the Nitecore NU25, our top picks offer a beacon for every paddler.

Remember, a good kayak light is an investment in your safety and enjoyment on the water. So, don't let darkness hold you back.

Choose a light that meets your needs and embark on your next nighttime kayaking adventure with confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all kayak flashlights waterproof?

Not all flashlights are created equal. Please look for an IPX7 rating or higher to make sure your light can handle splashes and even brief submersion. Some models, like the Princeton Tec Tec 40, even float!

How bright should my kayak flashlight be?

For most kayaking, 200 lumens is a good starting point. But if you plan on night fishing or navigating in very dark conditions, consider a brighter light like the Olight Warrior Mini 2 or Streamlight ProTac HL.

Do you know if I can use a headlamp as a kayak light?

Absolutely! Headlamps are great for kayaking because they free up your hands for paddling. Could you make sure it's bright enough and has a wide beam angle?

How can I prevent collisions with other boats at night?

In addition to a bright white light, consider using a red light for navigation and a strobe light to signal your presence to other boaters. The Visicarbon Pro is a great option for added visibility to prevent collision.

How long will the battery last on my kayak light?

Battery life varies depending on the model and brightness setting. Some lights offer multiple brightness levels to conserve power, while others are rechargeable for convenience. Could you make sure to choose a light with sufficient time of battery life for your planned kayaking time?

Fahim Joharder

Fahim Joharder

Author

An avid kayaker & fisherman, explores waterways globally, sharing his passion for water sports and conservation through captivating stories and tips.

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