Best Camping Lantern

Camping is all about getting the joys of nature. Most people prefer to keep their camping equipment simple, just bringing the necessities such as a tent, sleeping bag, food and water, and, of course, a camping lantern. While not as essential to bring as, say, a tent, camping lanterns can dramatically change the quality of your camping trip.

How to Choose the Best Camping Lantern

If you plan on staying awake past sundown or rising before the sun, a camping lantern is crucial for maintaining safety.

Some campsites are user friendly, meaning there’s a flat, designated area for campers to put their tent down and explore. This can look like an open area that had its trees and other natural barriers removed, allowing campers to move about with relative ease.

Other campsites aren’t as user friendly, so there can be tree roots, rocks, and other obstacles that you can trip on in the dark. If you only have light first aid, a bad trip and fall in a remote area could be hazardous, perhaps even fatal.

Therefore, the best camping lanterns let you see your surroundings brightly enough to let you move around with and see where you’re going. They also help you see fellow campers and enjoy a conversation in the light instead of in the dark. You can also have an easier time cooking, setting up camp, or taking down camp with the help of a camping light.

You can camp without a camping lantern, but you won’t enjoy it as much. You also won’t enjoy a poorly built or low-quality camping lantern either. Here’s what to keep in mind when picking a camping lantern

Fuel Source

Lots of newer camping lanterns will use an electricity-powered battery to fuel the light. This is helpful for people who are spending at most a few days at the campsite and will be able to get electricity easily should the battery run low.

Battery-powered camping lanterns are also more affordable and cost less to use over time than lanterns that constantly require fuel. They’re also lightweight and typically made from a plastic material.

Other camping lanterns run on some sort of gas or oil. This means that you’ll not only have to carry around the camping lantern but its fuel source as well, meaning your fuel source will take up extra space.

But gas-powered camping lanterns are better for people who are spending lots of time away from the grid so that you can power your light without having to stop into civilization to hook up to a power outlet. The extra weight of carrying fuel allows you to spend more time at the campground.

Lumens

A lumen is how much light is emitted by something, so it’s essentially how bright something is. The more lumens a light has, the brighter it will be.

Camping lanterns will typically include the lumens it has so you can gauge how bright it will be. If you want to have a big camping range, it’s best to buy a camping lantern with more lumens. If you want to stick around your tent and gear, a lower lumen lantern would be for you.

Best Camping Lanterns Under $25

Vont 2-Pack LED Camping Lantern

For the price, you get two camping lanterns that are equipped with 30 bright LEDs. These lanterns also cast light in 360 degrees, so you get maximum light coverage from one lantern.

The batteries last over 90 hours, but they’re not rechargeable. You have to pack extra double-A batteries. However, these lanterns are compact and lightweight, and they even collapse into a smaller version so you can fit them into your gear.

Waterproof and capable of surviving a 10-foot drop, these lanterns are suitable for casual and serious hikers.

Pros:

  • Collapsable
  • Waterproof
  • Batteries last 90 hours
  • Can withstand fall from 10 feet
  • Get light in 360 degrees.

Cons:

  • Require carrying around double-A batteries
  • Might be a little too bright for sensitive eyes

HeroBeam LED Lantern V2.0 with Flashlight/Lantern Combo

These lanterns also double as flashlights, so they’re not only good stationary but have handles so you can easily carry them with you. The LEDs light up in a 360-degree direction, acting as a lantern. To make it into a flashlight, push down the lantern portion and lock it into place, and you now have a flashlight.

The HeroBeam flashlight/lantern combo is waterproof and rugged, so they can withstand whatever the outdoors throws at them. There’s no glass, it’s shock-resistant, and it has a durable ABS body. This flashlight also collapses into itself, which allows you to store it more efficiently in a backpack.

Batteries are included, and you even get a five-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee upon purchase.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Durable — no glass, tough ABS body, shock-resistant
  • Lantern as well as a flashlight
  • Collapsable
  • 360 degrees of light

Cons:

  • So bright it may harm eyes if looked at directly
  • No way to narrow or control light when in flashlight mode

Best Camping Lanterns Under $100

Coleman Powerhouse Dual-Fuel Lantern

If you’re looking to get away from electricity-powered lanterns, the Coleman lantern uses liquid fuel or unleaded gasoline to keep a flame burning, which is good for those who don’t want to rely on the grid while camping.

The All Seasons Strong technology allows you to use this lantern in all sorts of weather conditions, so you don’t have to worry about rain dousing the flame. The handle allows you to carry the handle even when the flame is burning safely.

The lantern’s adjustable knob lets you control how bright you want the flame to be so that you can have the desired amount of light in a variety of settings.

Pros:

  • Uses unleaded gasoline or other liquid fuels to keep the light burning
  • Flame protected from elements
  • Handle allows safe carrying even when the lantern is lit
  • Adjustable knob lets you control flame brightness
  • Long-lasting and durable lantern

Cons:

  • Can’t be used in a tent due to carbon monoxide released when flame burns
  • Flame continues to burn even when fuel has been turned off
  • Top gets very hot

Blazin' Sun 1500 Lumen LED Lanterns Battery Operated 

This lantern not only works well on camping trips but during blackouts and hurricanes as well, so it’s a multi-situation investment. It can light up a tent or whole room with ease.

If you want to lower the brightness, there are four power options: 1500, 900, 500, or 200 lumen. The lantern is also water-resistant, rugged, and durable thanks to its professional-grade equipment. You could abuse the lantern pretty badly, such as dropping it from a small cliff, and it should still work. 

The lantern runs up to 200 hours, though the 4 D batteries are not included. The bulbs provide 360 degrees of illumination in a diffused soft white light that won’t hurt your eyes.

Pros:

  • Good for camping as well as blackouts or natural disasters
  • Four power settings to control light brightness
  • Rugged, water-resistant, durable
  • Get up to 200 hours of light.
  • Light is diffused so it won’t hurt eyes

Cons:

  • Battery compartment is hard to access
  • Flickers sometimes

Best Camping Lanterns Overall

Streamlight 44931 Siege CompactHand Lantern 

This Streamlight lantern is simple, durable, and effective for camping. It has multiple light modes and even includes a white LED and a red LED for light-sensitive areas. This lantern also includes a night vision preservation mode to help extend battery life.

The lantern runs on three D batteries, which are not included upon purchase. The battery door is keyed so that you can change batteries even in the dark. The lantern is waterproof up to one meter of submersion and can withstand a fall from two meters (about six feet).

Pros:

  • Multiple power levels
  • Includes both white and red LEDs
  • Night vision mode extends battery life
  • Textured battery door allows you to change the battery in the dark
  • Waterproof and impact-resistant

Cons:

  • Uses batteries that aren’t rechargeable
  • Brightest setting is still a little dim

LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Phone Charger Lanterns

Not only is this lantern solar-powered, but you have the option to charge your phone too. It’s collapsable, super-bright without being a pain to look at, and even has USB charging capabilities in case you can’t use the sun as a fuel source.

The battery provides up to 100 hours of light on low mode, making this solar-powered lantern one of the most impressive ones on the list. The company also gives a lantern to a family in need whenever you buy one.

Pros:

  • USB chargeable and solar-powered 
  • Collapsable and super bright
  • Battery lasts over 100 hours
  • Waterproof, shatterproof, and durable
  • Acts as a battery to charge phones as well

Cons:

  • Velcro handle sometimes fails
  • Only offers a weak charge to phones

In Summary

While all the camping lanterns on the list are effective, we recommend the LuminAID. It’s solar-powered and USB chargeable, collapsible, durable, and supports a good cause. It will fulfill all your camping needs at an affordable price.

Although, the LuminAID won’t be suited for more intense hikes off the grid or for more serious campers. Refer to the other best camping lanterns on this list, and you should find a product to suit your needs.