Lanterns have been with us for hundreds of years. The first few versions of this ancient man-made form of illumination were a simple contraption with a candle flame. But, the lantern has come a long way since then and we now have lanterns that are powered by solar panels and USB ports while some are gas and battery-operated. But, what is the best camping lantern?
Well, that depends on a number of factors, including what you plan to use it for, what your favorite style is and what your priorities are in terms of budget and quality.
As with most things, choosing a lantern is not as simple as it used to be, thanks to the plethora of options available on the market today.
To help simplify the process for you, we’ve put together this guide on how to find a quality lantern at different price points and with various features.
Best Lantern for Camping
A camping lantern is one of the most essential items that you can include in your ourdoor gear.
That’s because it provides much-needed illumination while you’re completing a variety of tasks around the campsite, whether that’s writing in your journal before bedtime or looking for a place to do number two in the middle of the night.
If you’re on the market for a new lantern, then you’ll want to check out the following list of reviews to help narrow down your options:
1. Coleman Powerhouse Dual-Fuel Lantern
This option from Coleman is the best lantern for camping during the winter. That’s because it’s designed for use during all seasons.
It’s powered by unleaded gasoline but you can use liquid fuel as well. This makes it suitable mainly for outdoor use as the gas might cause a safety hazard when utilized indoors.
Otherwise, it has the capacity to run for up to 7 hours straight while emitting 800 lumens of light. As a Coleman product, you can rest assured that it’s well-made from the best materials available and it has the potential to last for decades, granted you use it regularly and gently.
If you come across any hick-ups then you can always take advantage of the company’s generous three-year warranty.
2. AGPTEK Solar Lantern
AGPTEK is a well-known name in the lantern manufacturing industry and for good reason. Their solar lights come in a wide variety of options and they are suitable for all kinds of applications.
This particular model comes with a few features worth mentioning. For one, you can switch between five different modes that derive power from 36 rechargeable LEDs. This feature alone allows you to save a lot of energy so that you don’t need to recharge it all the time.
This is what makes it suitable for applications where you might end up in places that don’t have access to power sockets and the like. Otherwise, when you do need to recharge it, there’s a USB output included as a universal charging power. Alternatively, you can recharge it using the sun.
3. Tough Light LED Rechargeable Lantern
It’s all in the name with the Tough Light LED rechargeable lantern, which is built tough from water-resistant IPX-6 and rugged materials that allow it to function after a 5-foot drop. Not many camping lanterns can do that.
In addition to its rugged construction, it offers 400 lumens which is enough to comfortably illuminate a room or space with more than two people, and the powerful 600mAh Li-ion battery has the ability to provide up to 200 consecutive hours of illumination. Not only that, but it’s rechargeable using a simple USB cable.
While we like how waterproof and durable it is, this lantern takes up a lot of space and it’s not the most lightweight. But that’s the kind of trade-off you should expect to make for a product of this quality. It’s made for the great outdoors.
4. Etekcity Lantern LED Camping Lanterns
The Etekcity lantern is built for the outdoors. It’s powered by twelve AA batteries which provide enough energy to keep the lights on for up to 12 uninterrupted hours.
It only weighs 9 ounces and has dimensions of 7.4 x 5.4 x 7.2 inches. It comes with collapsible ABS handles for convenient portability, and it’ll illuminate your space perfectly because it has 360-degree luminosity. The foldable handles also double as brightness adjusters.
Not only that, but Etekcity is so confident about this lantern that they’ve backed it with a generous 10-year warranty. This makes it an ideal investment for an RV owner, angler, and/or weekend warrior.
It’s worth noting that this lantern uses 60 lumens which is enough for the compact space of a van or a tent.
5. LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Phone Charger Lantern
Do you plan on going backpacking anytime soon? The LuminAID phone charger lantern is here for you! Compact, lightweight and versatile, it’s the ultimate source of illumination for outdoor applications and emergencies alike.
You might be familiar with this lantern from Shark Tank where it was featured. It’s not surprising to see that enterprising founders of this company made their dream come true and have since brought this product to market for consumers like you.
As the name implies, this is a 2-in-1 solar lantern that you can recharge through the sun or with your phone. It’s powered by a 4000 mAh battery with 300 lumens that can easily illuminate a large enough area for you to go from one part of the camp to another.
6. Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact
With features like 200 lumens of LED illumination, an easy to use carrying handle, a glare-reducing cover and rugged construction, the Streamlight 44931 Siege compact lantern is perfect for backpacking.
We were quite impressed by how durable it is, because we found that it’s waterproof and able to handle being left in the sun for hours without breaking down. You’ll be glad to know that it’s resistant to impact which means it most likely won’t develop damaging dings and scratches from falling on a hard surface.
It’s also waterproof enough so that you can immerse it in water and it’ll still work perfectly afterward.
7. Gold Armour 4 Pack Portable LED Lantern
This 500-lumen lantern is powered by three AA batteries which give it the capacity to stay on for up to five hours straight. But you can save energy by putting it on dim mode which enables it to last for up to 12 hours. After that, it’ll start dimming but you can always recharge it overnight or the next day.
It’s backed by a 15-year warranty, which is pretty impressive considering the fact that it’s made from water-resistant and military-grade plastic. Not only is it made to handle the elements, but this lantern folds at the handles so that you can easily fit it into your drawstring pack when going from one camp to another.
It also comes with a handy magnetic base which allows you to stick it onto any compatible surface such as your refrigerator. This makes it the perfect addition to your doomsday prepper gear because you can use it as a form of emergency illumination during power cuts and such. Alternatively, you can hang it from the coat hook or tree using the handle.
8. Coleman LED Lantern
This Coleman LED lantern is one of the best out there, if only it wasn’t so tall. Standing a whole foot above ground, it’s not the most portable.
Judging by its stature, it’s no surprise that it needs 8 D batteries to operate. We were quite surprised to learn that it only provides 390 lumens because it’s so big, and it’s not as bright as one would expect. Also, we didn’t expect the light to be this harsh at this price range.
But, as with most Coleman products, this lantern is built to last. It has an impressive battery life of up to 85 hours, and this is while it’s running on its highest setting. However, if you don’t mind a more ambient and/or dim light then you can keep it on a lower setting so it can run for up to 299 hours straight on a single charge.
Just don’t expect to lug it around the camp. Instead, you’ll have to find it a spot where you’ll keep it for the duration of the trip, preferably in the middle of a large tent.
How to Find the Best Camping Lantern
The key to finding the best camping lantern same as with the best camping multi tool is to know what to look for. Now that we’ve explored a list of the top options on the market, it’s time to check out the features we included in our criteria when compiling this list.
Perhaps it’ll help you to narrow down your options if you’re having a hard time trying to decide.
If you plan on taking your lantern outdoors, then you should consider what kind of power sources it uses. For best results, look for a lantern with a strong battery life of more than just a few hours.
You should be able to replace the batteries or recharge it using solar panels or USB port if needed. The point is that it shouldn’t be difficult to recharge your lantern.
Adjustable brightness can really come in handy because it allows you to extend battery life in some instances and enjoy the level of brightness in your CORE tent that works for you.
The thing about camping is that you can easily find yourself in an unexpected situation at the flip of a switch. One moment it could be warm and the next it could be cold.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that your lantern is made from rugged materials and can withstand the elements such as water, sand, and being dropped.
Next you have light radius, which should at least be at 360 degrees. That’s because this indicates that the lantern is going to illuminate the space a little more than just your average flashlight.
Be sure to check this feature when looking for the best LED camping lantern specifically.
Consider the fact that you’re going to travel with this lantern to different spots while picnicking under the stars and maybe even throughout the house during power cuts, you need to make sure that your lantern is lightweight and easy to carry.
Make sure that your lantern is easy to switch on and off, because you’ll most likely need it at the most unexpected time, especially if you’re camping alone.
Imagine looking for something in the middle of the night and you can’t find the ON switch for your lantern. You don’t need that in your life.
This should go without saying, but you need to ensure that your lantern is well made from durable materials that can stand up to unexpected wear and tear. The last thing you need is a poorly made lantern that’s going to break when you accidentally drop it or leave it in the sun.
As a reference, it’s helpful to use your rugged camping chair as an example of the beating your lantern should be able to take.
Types of Camping Lanterns
Camping lanterns come in three main varieties. There’s the candle lantern, fuel-burning lantern, and electric lanterns. Every one of these comes with subtypes as well as unique pros and cons.
Here’s how each one of them works.
Fuel-burning lanterns are the old-school versions that are powered by butane, propane, kerosene, and other types of traditional fuel sources.
As such, they are incredibly bright and can even surpass LED camp lanterns when it comes to the level of illumination that they provide.
However, fuel lanterns are no longer as popular as they once were due to safety issues. They produce harmful fumes and can be problematic when children and pets are around.
But, you have to keep in mind that they’re great for cold weather conditions because they double as a heat source.
A lot of campers prefer electric lanterns because they’re just easy to use and they often come with a long battery life. They also come in a wide variety of options including rechargeable units, battery-operated options, LED lanterns, and solar-powered lanterns.
Electric lanterns are also endearing because they’re lightweight, durable, and ultra-bright. Some even come with built-in solar panels so that all you have to do is leave it in the sun and allow it to power up passively. It’s super convenient, especially if you have kids around.
The only caveat with electric lanterns is that you have to keep replacing the batteries, which costs money.
Lastly, you have candle lanterns which are the ancient cousins of kerosene lanterns. As the name implies, you have to insert a candle inside this lantern and that’s how you generate light.
However, you shouldn’t expect a large light radius from candles, even though they last longer than some battery-operated options.
You’re probably wondering what our verdict is on the best camping lantern?
Hands down the Coleman Powerhouse Dual-Fuel Lantern takes the cake because it’s powered by eco-friendly unleaded gasoline, it’s suitable for use during all seasons, it has 800 lumens of light and can work for 7 hours straight on bright mode.
Plus, it’s backed by a three-year warranty and it’s super easy to use. In our opinion, it’s the best rechargeable camping lantern.