The Swiss Army Knife and Leatherman have earned iconic status in and out of the outdoors because they're useful for all kinds of tasks. The typical flashlight or headlamp will never reach the same level of adulation because all it does is flash a beam in one direction or another. These multi-functional lights, on the other hand, give you multiple lighting options, allowing you more flexibility at your campsite. One or two of them may even go on to earn legend status all their own.
We discovered the Bosavi headlamp a little too late for our Kickstarter showcase, but it would have fit in perfectly. The headlamp earned more than double its goal on Kickstarter, which is good news for light junkies. The Bosavi starts out as a rechargeable headlamp. A bike mount allows it to double as a bike lamp. And coolest of all, the lamp's box folds to create a shade that turns it into a lantern - three types of lights in a package that will cost around $80.
Light and Motion Solite 150
Like the Bosavi, the tiny, lightweight Solite 150 gives you both a headlamp and a bike light in one package. While it doesn't have a lantern, it does give you a flashlight. The headlamp can mount to the battery pack to provide a torch with adjustable, multi-position head. As a bike light, it mounts to either the handlebars or helmet. Light and Motion gives it a 150-lumen rating, 135-gram weight and $179 price tag.
Coleman CPX 6 Double Edge Flashlight Lantern
Many flashlight-lantern combos give you a dubious package of weak, fat flashlight and/or small, dim lantern. The Coleman CPX 6 does things a little differently. It's a full-sized lantern with three settings and up to 300 lumens of output. Tucked in the middle is a small flashlight with up to 315 feet of range and 1.5 hours of run time. The flashlight recharges when docked in the lantern. The minute you turn on your lantern, you'll know where the flashlight is - a fact that should help during a late night pee session. REI has it for $70.
Kelty Lumaspot Rhythm
The Kelty Lumaspot Rhythm has an integrated speaker and MP3 connection, so it serves as a campsite entertainment system, as well as a lantern. It also has a rotating spotlight that gives you a more direct beam when you need it. We're not sold on the multi-colored "disco light," but it's there if you want a little party ambiance. Find it at Amazon for $64.
Eton American Red Cross Axis
The Eton Axis is more like a multi-functional weather radio with built-in flashlight, but we'll include it for those looking to get more out of their lights. The package includes a 4-LED flashlight, weatherband radio, AM/FM radio, alarm clock and USB/cell charger with dump charging capabilities. Oh yeah, and the audio line input transforms the Axis into a speaker. $54 at Amazon.