waterproof flashlight

-- Last Updated: Aug-17-06 9:59 AM EST --

Are there particular brands of waterproof flashlight that people like for paddling. I'll be doing some moonlight paddling this weekend if the sky cooperates and need to pick one up quick, like at a department store.

I have a bunch of three battery Maglites, but I don't think that will do. Too big and heavy and they say "water resistant." Though I've seen water resistant dive flashlights on the internet. Is "water resistant" better water tightness than "water proof?"

I'm thinking plastic, but open to suggestions. Maybe rubber for flotation?

Paul S.

Pash said…
…it’s all stuff and nonesense.

all you need is a candle and some matches in your boat.

Princeton-Tec headlamp
Get one of the AA-powered LED models, which are highly waterproof.


Princeton Tec Eos
I really like the Priceton Tec Eos. It is waterproof and really bright for an LED. I like the fact that it is a headlamp so I can use it for camping, hiking and all kinds of other stuff.

While paddling, I sometimes put it inside a small sil-nylon bag I use on deck. It is so bright it shines through the fabric and is still bright enough for boats to see. I know it is definitely waterproof because I just leave it on my deck while practicing rescues and the such.

The major drawback in my opinion is the weight. It is kind of heavy for a headlamp, but not enough to have kept me from buying it. The weight was an acceptable trade off for the brightness of the headlamp. Most other lightweight LED headlamps were just not bright enough for me.

Here’s a link to the Princeton Tec Eos webpage:


Hope this helps,


Still keep it dry
My EOS tends to somehow get a bit wet even though it is supposed to be waterproof, and not work for a bit until it seems to have ahd a chance to dry out. The other night I dropped over to cool off before a paddle with it around my neck and found that it wasn’t working again until about half an hour after we got out of the water. I’ve also had dive lights go south after actually getting them wet.

So far the EOS is the best I’ve found though.

Check out Streamlight

Streamlight makes a couple of 4-AA flashlights using Luxeon or conventaional LED bulbs. I have one of each. The are used by firefighters which means they are tough, easy to use, even with gloves and highly water-resistant. They are not dive lights, but are dunkable. There is a website that reviews flashlights and they give these a 5 out of 5 score. Maybe flashlights.com

Anyway, I like mine. The Luxeon bulb is as bright as anything I have seen, and the LED model will shine all week long without a battery change. Stick with anything that uses AA batteries and stock up on NIMH rechargables from Frys. It will save you a ton of money in the long run. Dont give up on headlamps, they can be awfully handy when your hands are not available.

Forget about Department Stores
Paul, what you need is a Dive light. The Princeton brand mentioned above is a good dive light. Department stores will not have what you need. A generic sporting goods store may have dive lights. REI carries waterproof lights, like the Princeton headlamps mentioned above. Dive shops will have larger hand held water proof lights. They usually will have a depth rating in the hundreds of feet, and will suit your needs for water proof kayaking.


Hey Celia
Have you contacted Princeton Tec and told them about the light not working after gettting wet?

I contacted them before about another light I have and they replaced it for free. (Well, I did have to pay to ship them the old one.)

Just something to consider.


Cheap Coleman 6volt Floating Latern
If you have room for it, a cheap coleman 6volt floasting latern is pretty waterproof, and cheap.

A 6volt battery lasts a lot longer than 4 “D” cells, which at 1.5 volts each, also produces 6 volts.

Princeton Tec 40
I have a couple of Princeton Tec 40 4AA (older)models that I use on the water. They are dive rated for continuous submersion to 100m. The website, for the new model Tec 40 should be:


I also agree with the note above to keep Mag-lites away from saltwater. I just tossed a 2AA yesterday with a “frozen” battery cap that probably had gotten some water intrusion past the O-ring.


I like the EOS, too. Bright, small, convenient. Don’t look for much moon this weekend. The new moon is Wednesday the 23rd, meaning this weekend will be getting pretty dark until that last quarter pops out in the wee hours.


Pelican makes some great waterproof boating lights. Not the cheapest, but great proven quality.

I haven’t been able to find anywhere to buy a Pelican except online though, so I’ll point you to my backup paddling/camping flashlight…

My last resort flashlight is a Coleman floating flashlight. It was $9 from a local sports/camping store. It’s listed as “Weather Resistent,” but it floats. It also pulls apart and becomes a lantern (then back to a flashlight when you push it back together). Quite an ingenious little light for the price. Not small, but not too heavy either. And it floats! I have never tried taking it underwater, so I don’t know how “submergible” it actually is. But who cares? It floats! :slight_smile:


I agree with the streamlight NM

pelican is awesome
I’m a firefighter and we almost exclusively use pelicans products, yes they are pricey but reliable with a great light beam, you can get them at almost any dive shop, and they are guaranteed for life all you have to pay is shipping and they either fix your light or send you a new one no questions asked, I’d definately recomend pelican

No, I haven’t done that. Will take the advice and try Princeton direct, but I know that the vendor (EMS) tried to handle a similar issue for my husband with an EOS headlamp and came back saying he’d have to do it himself. Maybe not the best sign.

But we do have a dive shop or two around here, smaller but would probably have the Pelicans. Might take a look.

Pelican gets my vote
I have and old mitylite that’s been very faithful.


Their customer service is the best
I have one of the original Matrix headlamps, and it’s still going strong (And after all these years, maybe on its 4th set of batteries by now).

I had a problem with the contacts rusting out inside the battery case from my not closing it properly, I think, so I emailed them, and said that the contacts had rusted and broken, and how much would it be to buy another set of them. They sent them to me for free.

I recently picked up an LED shaker flashlight from West Marine that’s waterproof, too. Really bright & never needs batteries. I’ve found that shaking it for 30 seconds can give you as much as a half hour of light. Cheap, too, only $19. Just don’t pack it anywhere near your compass or credit cards.


I have had some low end priced rayovac waterproof flash light on most every camping trip i have been on. It isn’t the greatest light, but it ain’t bad. and when it falls overboard it floats. I have dropped it and beat it (acidentally) for oohh these many years. I got it for my first canoe trip so I didn’t ask all these questions, I just bought a water proof flashlight.


Use The One You’ve Got
No need to run out and by a new flashlight. Use your old one for now. Just keep it dry. What I would suggest is a strobe so others can see you. Right now that would be the wisest choice.

strobe ONLY for rescue
when you turn on a strobe you’re saying SAVE ME


or else you’re a very tall tower or airplane.