For centuries, lanterns have been used to light our way at night. Camping lanterns arose hundreds of years ago when individuals first put their flames behind glass, shielding them from being snuffed out by the wind. Modern lanterns have developed from these primitive models. First fueled by animal fat, oils, and eventually kerosene, most lanterns today are powered by electricity. But power source aside, the purpose is the same: to provide comfortable illumination far away from home. Why study camping lantern reviews? Aren’t all lanterns basically the same? Though all lanterns produce light, they are designed for a variety of scenarios and with a variety of differing features. Just as cars are not all the same because they drive, so all rechargeable camping lanterns are not the same either.And for your other camping light needs, we’ve also written about the best camping flashlights and camping headlamps.
Table of Contents
- Our Camping Lantern Picks
- Our Criteria for Choosing Best Camping Lantern
1. Coleman Multi-Panel LED Lantern
Power: 190 Lumens
Run Time: 75 Hours
Warranty: 5 Years
This Coleman multi-panel lantern has 2,3 or 4 take-along panel options connected to one base. All of its smaller square lanterns attach to the charging base. When disconnected from the base, these light panels can function as individual lanterns, each lasting up to 3 hours at 100 lumens or 14 hours at 25 lumens . When continuously attached to the charging base, this lantern will run for 20 hours at 800 lumens or 400 hours at 100 lumens. It can provide light for a range of up to 131 feet at flashlight mode.
This lantern provides you with two/three/four times more usage than any other lantern on our list. Its uncommon ability to split into four separate, smaller lanterns offers great versatility. What’s more, it has a IPX4 water-resistant design and a USB charging port which is very useful for charging your other devices.
2. LuminAID Packlite 2-in-1 Solar Lantern & Phone Charger
Power: 300 Lumens (300 sq. ft. of lighting area)
Run Time: The lifetime battery life of 100,000 hrs. as the battery is rechargeable
Warranty: Not provided
The LuminAID Packlite 2-in-1 is both a phone charger and a lantern. It comes with a built-in 4000mAh battery that powers the light source outputting up to 300 lumens. It is a great lighting option for outdoor camping, and this is made possible by the long battery life and the versatile charging options. In low light mode, this lantern can run for up to 100 hrs. when fully charged. Once the battery runs out, you can charge it either through USB or solar power. Use the LuminAID Packlite 2-in-1 to charge your phone without too much hassle. It is also surprisingly compact for a 2-in-1 lantern.
Among other main features that make this lantern ideal for outdoor camping include waterproof and shatterproof capabilities. Heavy-duty and rugged TPU is the main material from which this lantern is made. This makes it durable in outdoor environments. With its IP67 rating, the LuminAID Packlite 2-in-1 fairs pretty well in both wet and dusty surroundings.
3. Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact Hand Lantern
Power: 540 Lumens
Run Time: 7 Hours
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
The Streamlight is an excellent lantern for those who value compact size and portability, without sacrificing brightness. It produces up to 540 lumens and runs on alkaline batteries. It can also water-resistant and can float when dropped in water, making it a terrific choice for rafters or hikers.
You can hang this lantern right side up or upside down, allowing you to get maximum usage out of it. From one set of batteries, it lasts for 7 hours on its highest setting and it enjoys a simple, versatile design. Its multiple hanging options and its waterproof qualities make this is the best lantern for backpacking and camping adventures.
4. Tough Light, LED Camping Lantern
Power: 400 Lumens
Run Time: 200 Hours
Warranty: 2 Years
This Tough Light is just as it sounds: a strong, durable lantern designed with electrical versatility in mind. It produces a powerful 400 lumens and can shine for up to 200 hours on a single charge, giving it some of the greatest longevity of any lanterns in our reviews.
Not only does it have offer extreme longevity when it’s turned on, but it also has great resilience when it’s turned off. It is capable of holding a charge for 9 months or more, meaning you will only need to charge it once or twice a year. Another convenient feature about the Tough Light is you can charge it from any phone charger. You won’t need to bring separate cords to keep your lantern charged.
5. Coleman Premium, Gas Lantern for Camping
Power: 700 Lumens
Run Time: 7 Hours
Warranty: 3 Years
Coleman is well known for its lanterns, and its dual-fuel lantern is no exception. As the name implies, it can run either on either Coleman liquid fuel or standard unleaded gasoline. As a result, it is an excellent emergency lantern, because gas is generally easy acquire, even in an emergency. Multiple fuel options ensures that this lantern will continue to provide light regardless of circumstances.
This lantern also offers significant longevity, capable of running up to 7 hours on the highest setting and hours longer on a dimmer one. It also comes with a hard, carrying case, making it easy to pack and stow, without fear of breaking the lamp or spilling fuel on it. Dual fuel source flexibility, high longevity, and a protective carrying case make this is an excellent gas camping lantern.
6. Goal Zero Lighthouse, Rechargeable Camping Lantern
Power: 400 Lumens
Run Time: 48 Hours
Warranty: 3 Years
The Goal Zero Lighthouse is a great camping or backpacking lantern. Its multiple settings and versatility enable it to serve a wide range of scenarios. Its two most defining features are a built-in USB port and a charging crank.
The USB port can help you keep your phone or other small electronic devices recharged. The crank-charge battery is a tremendous alternative to a traditional battery. As you know, fuel can run out. But a crank-charge battery ensures constant power, as long as yo have an arm to turn the crank with. Besides these distinguishing features, this lantern functions in a traditional way, producing up to 400 lumens. It is a splendid addition to any survival gear or campsite. You can also keep one in your car as an emergency rechargeable lantern.
7. Coleman Twin, LED Lantern
Power: 390 Lumens
Run Time: 299 Hours
Warranty: 5 Years
This Coleman lantern is simplicity at its finest. A double-light lantern that resembles traditional, older gas lanterns, this electric LED alternative emits a minimum of 100 lumens, even on its lowest setting. So even when you are conserving energy, it will still provide ample lighting for your campsite or tent.
At its highest, brightest setting, this lantern runs continuously for up to 85 hours. This is an impressive feat for a lantern, allowing you to use it on its highest setting non-stop for more than 3 days. If you choose to use it on its lowest setting instead, it will run for nearly 300 hours. This lantern features a water-resistant design, protected against rain and splashes. Coleman backs this lamp with a 5 year limited warranty, giving you peace of mind about your purchase.
8. Internova, Backpacking Lantern
Power: 1000 Lumens
Run Time: 5 Hours
Warranty: 5 Years
The Internova 1,000 LED Backpacking Lantern emits a brilliant 1000 lumens on its maximum setting, making it one of the brightest lanterns available on the market today. At this highest setting, it lasts up to 5 hours. This short time-span is due to its exceptionally powerful light, but on lower, dimmer settings, it will last much longer.
This lantern provides 360-degrees of light, providing maximum light over a broad area. It also offers a red light setting f stargazing at night without ruining your night vision. It also features built-in SOS functionality, making it perfect for flashing signals in an emergency when backpacking trip, hiking or camping.
Weight is an important factor, especially if you intend to use your lantern for hiking. Unnecessary weight proves to be burdensome throughout your hike. Though a lantern is durable and has great battery life, it may still be a poor choice if it weighs an extra five pounds. Increased weight can also be a problem if you intend to hang your lantern in your tent. Most tent poles are not designed to hold heavy weight, so you may want to choose a lightweight lantern, while conceding some other features. If you usually need a powerful light source with additional features, you can make yourself a lantern holder with some simple materials or you can use your trekking pole to carry strong and heavy lanterns.
Durability is an important factor for all camping gear, including lanterns. After all, a broken lantern will be nothing more than useless weight to carry around. Did you know that most damage to lanterns occurs during the packing process, especially when people put a lantern in the car and throw other luggage on top of it. Having a lantern that can survive accidents, oversights, occasional drops, and tipping over is valuable for sure.
Premium lanterns set themselves apart in the Lumens category. Lumens is a measurement for light brightness in which one lumen equals about one lit candle light. This measurement rating tell you know how bright you can expect your lantern to be. Some lanterns measure light in radial distance instead, as in a light that visible from 200 feet away. This measurement will also give you a helpful perspective on how useful a lantern will be. Will one powerful lantern be enough to illuminate your entire campsite after dark? Or will it be too dim and require you to get another one?
Many camping lanterns offer a variety of built-in settings that expand their usefulness. Almost all lanterns come with a carrying handle, which equips them to be carried or hung up. Still others feature articulated handles, which equips them to be propped up at a specific angle, enabling you to use the lantern as a stationary, focused light, instead of as a diffused, radial light. Other lanterns are designed to double as flashlights, through setting adjustments or collapsing into themselves. Many lanterns even fold down to a smaller size.
Longevity can be how long the batteries last before needing replaced or recharged or how long the fuel will last with a gas lantern. Regardless of its fuel type, knowing how long your lantern will last and provide light is an important consideration. Having to try and mess with batteries or fill up a lantern’s gas tank in the dark can always be fraught with hazard. Knowing how long your light will last is an important part of being able to enjoy your lantern comfortably and making sure that you have light available for you the moment you need it.
The two main types of lanterns available today are rechargeable electric camping lanterns and the classic gas or kerosene lanterns. Whether it’s powered by propane, kerosene, or electricity, these lamps do have several unique pros and cons to each of the designs. So what are some of the differences and benefits of gas and electric lanterns?
While there are exceptions to every rule, in general, gas powered lanterns are brighter than electric ones. If producing significantly more light is your goal, then gas lanterns will usually win this prize. However, the quality of the light is also another important facet. LED lights, although they have extreme longevity, cast a pale white light which many individuals do not enjoy as much as the feel and color of the more organic gas-lit light. Gas light is orange and has more of a natural light feel as opposed to the artificial feel that come as a part of LED light.
It should come as little surprise that electric lanterns are far safer than their gas counterparts. Although there are many features to help gas lanterns be safe and all lanterns sold for camping meet rigorous safety standards, when it comes down to it, a cold LED light bulb is just far less a threat for an accidental fire than a gas lantern which is using combustion to produce light. Gas lanterns also can put out significant amounts of heat. That can be especially dangerous if it gets too close to flammable materials as often happens when used for indoor lighting inside a tent or cabin.
LED lanterns, on the other hand, although they do not cast as comforting a light, are safe both on and off. Once turned off, they are instantly able to be packed away and can even be used under covers and without fear of catching fire to anything around them.
Length of Service
Longevity of light is another important facet to consider when thinking about your ideal camp lantern. The fact is, both gas and electric lantern longevity will vary depending on the brightness setting you choose to use. That being said, in general, battery-operated lanterns will likely last longer simply by virtue of the fact that their entire technology is based around low watt usage to produce light.
A fully charged rechargeable lantern could stay on for hundreds of hours whereas a gas lantern will need to be refueled after a dozen or so. This is not much of a problem as most individuals do not utilize their lanterns for 10 or 12 hours in a row. If, however, long lasting light is important, then an electric camping lantern is likely to last far longer. It also comes with the additional benefit of not having to take extra fuel with you on the trip.
Finding the best camping lantern has never been easier thanks to our convenient reviews. Featuring notable styles and brands from a variety of manufacturers, we provide you with is a helpful intro to the world of camping lanterns. We’ve surveyed from classic gas lanterns to the powerful 1000-lumen lanterns – and everything in between. Ultimately, finding the right kind of camping lantern depends on the kind of camping you will do. Some lanterns are great for the campsite, while others function well as additional survival lights. Identifying the features you need depends on the kind of camping or backpacking adventures you intend to go on. Do you need a lantern that can recharge your electronics or one that floats in water? Your lantern should correspond with your adventures. So what kind of camping lantern are you going to pick up for your next expedition?