You love the great outdoors, and you can’t wait for your next adventure. The only problem is that your gear breaks down after a while. You’ve probably gone through lanterns more than reusable water bottles, so what can you do? We can help. Let’s talk about the best camping lanterns available online.
What To Look For
When it comes to camping lanterns or headlamps, there are some important criteria for picking out the best ones.
With energy, you want to look for two things: what kind of energy the lantern uses, and how long it will run.
There are a few options for the types of energy:
- Disposable batteries – These are great if you remember to keep plenty of spare batteries for your trip. Disposable batteries can be replaced at any time. The only downside is, you may have to carry a lot of them, depending on the length of your trip.
- Rechargeable batteries and solar – These are excellent if you have a place to charge them. If not, there are lanterns that recharge with solar power. Rechargeable batteries can be great if you have an outlet to charge them in your car, or if you are staying at a campground with available outlets.
- Gas – The old-school lantern, often using propane or butane. It’s great for disconnecting from electronics completely, and you can control the brightness. The downside is that they are heavier and take up more space.
Why It Matters: Safety First
How much energy it uses is important to know. Running out of light can put you in uncomfortable or even dangerous situations during your trip, depending on where you go.
Solar-powered lanterns are great for keeping it charging during the day, and it should last you through the night unless it’s too cloudy to charge.
This can be important in areas with a lot of wildlife. A feature of your lantern that you should never go without is the ability to adjust the brightness.
If you are going on hikes at night (which isn’t always advised) you need to be able to see. LED lanterns typically offer the most brightness, while consuming less energy than others.
While the best propane lanterns for camping can get very bright, the brightness can actually decrease over time, the more that you use it. The best camping lantern that uses propane should be easy to light without burning yourself, and dim without the flame going out entirely.
Nobody wants to be hiking up a mountain all day with a huge lantern hanging off their backpack. Especially with your tent and other gear taking up space. Also, check out the best backpacking tents if you need more room.
Finding the right balance between size and brightness can avoid this.
Find out how many lumens your lantern offers before purchasing. 35-60 lumens should suffice for camping, while some even offer over 5000.
With all the equipment you purchase, you want it to last. The best lanterns for camping should not compromise quality for a discount.
Always check reviews to see how long people have been using their lanterns, and it may be a “buy once, cry once” deal, which brings us to the next part.
It’s a lantern, and most of us take light for granted these days. Nobody wants to spend a quarter of their gear budget on a lantern. It’s hard to imagine how much backpackers spend on gear, as it is.
The good news is that there are plenty of affordable options that will fit all of your needs.
6 Best Camping Lanterns of 2019
If you know what you are looking for in a camping lantern, here are some of the best options available online.
We all know that Coleman is a trusted brand for camping gear. It’s one of the best rechargeable camping lanterns on the market. Here are the pros of this product:
- Power options – These lanterns can run on 4D batteries or its own rechargeable battery.
- Adjustable brightness – Something most campers won’t go without. Topping at 1000 lumens, this lantern can be bright.
- Durable – These lanterns are resistant to water and most impact, making your risk of damaging it minimal.
These are also very compatible with for tent-camping.
Here are the cons:
- Weight – It is on the heavier side for a smaller lantern.
- Expensive – This is one of the best LED camping lanterns available, but it comes at a price.
This is a propane lantern, so it is great if you are strictly avoiding electricity for your trip, or if you were already bringing fuel for a camping stove.
Here are the pros:
- Affordable – This is a cheap and long-lasting product.
- Classic – If you don’t want an LED lantern, this may be the best option for old-school performance.
- Easy to use – Easily adjustable, and quick to turn on.
- Very bright – While some LED lanterns may offer a lot, this propane lantern is adjustable up to 1540 lumens. Your campground will be as bright as you want it.
Here are the cons:
- Heavy – The glass and equipment can add up in weight, making it a bit of a hassle.
- Takes up space – Not only is it a big lantern, but the propane you need to bring along can take valuable space in your bag.
These are excellent if you can afford the extra space, and protect the glass.
This may be the best solar camping lantern on the market. Here’s why:
- Affordable – For the price, this is the best that it gets. A 2 pack on Amazon will cost less than $20.
- Small – This is the most compact product listed. It scrunches like an accordion and can easily fit in your pocket. It weighs a total of 6.4 ounces, making it extremely light.
- Easy to charge – This product can be charged by the sun or by a USB charger. It can run for 30 minutes of brightness for every hour of sunlight it receives, making it perfect for night time.
- Fairly bright – Scrunching it is the way to dim the light, and extending is for brightening. It offers 64 lumens, which is not the brightest, but it can get the job done for a camping trip.
Here are the cons:
- Low brightness range – While 64 lumens will be fine if you are in a safe area, it may not be enough for certain circumstances. Also, it is still 64 lumens when you scrunch it, just with a smaller surface area for light to escape.
- Not always useable – As we mentioned earlier, you can be caught in a pickle with a solar lantern and no sunlight. Fortunately, the versatile charging options can save you, if you have access to electricity.
Overall, the lantern is tent-compatible, easy to carry, and environmentally-friendly.
These take on the new style of camping lanterns with the pull-to-adjust feature, and they use 3 common AA batteries. Here are the pros:
- Easy to use – To turn them on or adjust, you just pull the top up and down, giving out at 146 lumens.
- Convenient to hang – They make a great reading light with the handles that you can easily hang inside your tent, or clip onto your belt for hiking.
- Durable – These use plastic instead of glass, and can take an impact. The bulbs are known to last for 100,000 hours of use.
- Affordable – You can buy these in packs for very affordable prices.
Here are the cons:
- Accidentally turning on – One downside is that if they are laying in the tent, they can be opened unintentionally, which can drain the battery.
- Doesn’t always stay dim – If you are hanging it for a dim reading light, the weight from the bottom can pull down the base, making it brighter than intended.
These are excellent lanterns for beginners and are an affordable purchase for the longevity they offer.
This is a rechargeable lantern with a different style. Here are the pros:
- Durable – Hard plastic will keep it safe from impact.
- Bright – Offering 225 lumens, this lantern will keep your tent as bright as you want it.
- Versatile – This lantern has legs to stand on, avoiding dirt, as well as a loop to hang from.
- Size – It can be easily compacted to fit in a backpack by collapsing the legs.
Here are the cons:
- Must be recharged – If you don’t have access to electricity, this can be a drag. If you don’t like only having the one option, check out the benefits of solar chargers. Keeping one handy will give you more options for recharging, even for your phone.
- Expensive – This is a pricier one on the list, but if it fits your needs, it may be worth it.
The rechargeable battery won’t need charging too often, at least. The battery can last for up to 60 hours, depending on the brightness.
While this lantern runs on butane, you may be surprised at how easy it is to carry. Here are the pros:
- Small – You will not find a gas lantern more conveniently-sized than this. It’s a small attachment that can go on a butane container of any size.
- Affordable – For the convenience and brightness of a gas lantern, the price is very reasonable.
- Bright – These lanterns are adjustable up to 360 lumens, which is very high for its size.
The main downside is buying the butane separately, or even a propane-to-butane adapter to save space.