They've come a long way since summer camp. In this age of specialization, there are flashlights that brighten a mile-long path while others have small, intense beams focused enough to read a theater program without disturbing your neighbor.
On a dark and stormy night, it's helpful to have a flashlight with more than one function. The Sharper Image offers a lantern with a headlight, a swiveling fluorescent bulb, an AM/FM radio and an emergency siren and flashing light. Think of this one for a night beach picnic when the stars are not cooperating; $28, 1-800-344-4444.The Hawklight illuminates a small area and attaches to a finger with a Velcro strap; $24.95 at Mxyplyzyk, 125 Greenwich Ave.
Garrity's Rugged Light is an improvement on the standard flashlight you kept under your pillow at camp. With the handle up, it becomes a table lantern; $19.99 at S. Feldman Housewares, 1304 Madison Ave.
Stand in the driveway and light up your house with the Cordless spotlight. Its beam goes as far as you can see. It is rechargeable at home or in a car. A handle lock keeps the light on even when you put the flashlight down; $42 at Mxyplyzyk.
The Hubbellite Toolbox has a 41/2-inch body, a red-light tip, a white light and a right-angled head for looking sideways; $14.97 at Home Depot, 1-770-433-8211 for locations.
Black & Decker Leashlight's light is on the handle of an 18-foot retractable dog leash; $49.99 at S. Feldman Housewares.
Brookstone's Emergency Radiolight is another workhorse: a fluorescent lantern, spotlight, flashing red (or red and yellow) beacon and AM/FM radio; $25 at Brookstone, 1-800-351-7222.