Best camping lantern

A camping lantern would make your day longer and the night brighter. There are different types of camping lanterns which would make your camping trip a bit more comfortable. However, different brands manufacture different quality and not all of them are as reliable. In fact, each one of them has its own advantages and downsides which must be considered before purchase. For this reason, we have made a list of the best camping lanterns on the market that will minimize the risk of getting a lantern that you would only be able to use it once or twice. We have also included a section where we thoroughly explain the criteria used for the evaluation of the camping lanterns. This will allow you to focus on your most suitable feature and it will assist you in choosing the right fit for you!

Nebo Eco Lantern
  • Nebo Eco Lantern
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Wind, solar powered
  • Very bright
  • Price: See Here
Tough Light LED lantern
  • Tough Light LED lantern
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Tough design
  • Long runtime
  • Price: See Here
Coleman 1000 Lumen CPX 6
  • Coleman 1000 Lumen CPX 6
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Great battery life
  • Price: See Here

9 Best Camping Lanterns

 

Nebo WeatherRite Eco Camping Lantern

Purchasing the best camping lantern might not be only about the brightness. It is much more important to get a durable camping lantern that will safe you the trouble of getting a new one in a short period of time. The Nebo lantern is a product which you will buy only once and you will only need the sun in order for it to work. Although this suggests that it is not suitable for colder weather conditions and forest campsites where there is not much sunlight, for warmer climates, it will be the perfect solution.
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Specific features

This is an Eco Lantern which means that it doesn’t use electricity for power, but it can be recharged with solar power or wind power DC or AC power. It is the perfect choice for campers who forget to charge their lanterns. With this choice, even if you do, nature is here to help! It is made out of 24 LED smaller lamps which is making it extremely bright. And since it is a LED power source, it is not heating which makes it ideal for warmer weather conditions. Considering its low weight, it could be also used for backpacking.

Its downsides are that it is not a cheap lantern option. It is not too expensive though. Also, it is not too tough, so if you tend to drop objects, look through our other options. What minds most people about this lantern is its brightness. Since it has many LEds it is too bright without an option of dimming the light. It is also lacking light adjustment modes which means that you only get a bright lantern with this one. If you are looking for a lantern with dimming light, this might not be the best choice for you.

Battery

Almost all camping lanterns come with a battery that is built in. However, the Nebo Eco lantern comes with a replaceable battery. The battery time is decent; it is able to run 5 days straight with only one charge. However, if you want it no last longer, simply charge it through the day and use it all night.

Nebo has NIMH battery which means that if you are not using it, the battery will empty itself. So, it is necessary that you recheck the battery and charge it before every backpacking or camping trip you decide to take. Although this might not be suitable for spontaneous people, the organized ones could give it a try.
Pros
  • Bright
  • Eco
  • Wind powered
  • Solar powered
Cons
  • Lacks a dimming option
  • Not too tough

Coleman 1000 Lumen CPX 6

Coleman 1000 Lumen CPX 6
The Coleman CPX 6 is the camping lantern to purchase if you are camping with kids. It is impact resistant which is a very useful feature. With its sturdiness and 5 LEDs it is able to light 360 degrees of an entire room. It is also able to last you for several days with only one charging, which makes it suitable for backpacking or if you are camping without a vehicle.
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Brightness

Although the maximum that this camping lantern provides is 1000 Lumens, the battery life with this intensity only lasts you for a couple of hours. However, it does come with 4 lighting settings and they all come with a different run time. Luckily, it comes with a car charger so you can use your vehicle to get the job done.

On the downside, there is the weight of this lantern which is 3.4 pounds. This suggests that for longer backpacking distances, it is better to look through our other options.

Additional features

Even though the 20 meters of light reach in all directions make this lantern a great choice, what’s more impressive is its water resistant properties. Now you can fall asleep inside your tent and leave the light outside without having to worry if it would rain.
Pros
  • Not too pricey

  • Great battery life

  • Adjustable brightness

Cons
  • A bit on the heavy side

Tough Light LED lantern

As the name suggests, this camping lantern is indeed a tough one. It is extremely durable and it is able to withstand a drop of few meters height, which is not the case with most competitive models. Even though it is not the brightest one, it gives you many hours of use compared to the charging time.
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Brightness

The Tough Light LED camping lantern, has only 400 Lumens to show for, but its Li-ion battery is the start component in it. It has several light modes and the brightest one will even allow you to sew if you want to. And what’s best is that if you are not able to figure out the light modes, there is an instruction manual that explains everything thoroughly.

Battery

The battery life could for 16 nights with only one charge. However, these are the calculations if you use it on a low light mode. If you need a brighter light, the battery lifetime will significantly shorten. There is also an emergency feature which is blinking if you activate it. There are several emergency modes, red flashings and SOS light. Both would last you for over 250 hours.

And if you decide to pause this year, you should simply charge the lantern several times a year and it will be ready for when you decide to go on your next adventure.

Additional features

It is not a 360 degrees illumination lantern, but in this case, it is an advantage. When the user holds it uneven with the surface, a mode is activated that turns off the lights that are directed towards the user. This way, the light does not come directly into your eyes and you are actually able to see what you wanted to in the first place.
Pros
  • Long battery time, reliable

  • 360 degrees illumination

  • Tough design able to withstand dropping accidents

Cons
  • A bit on the heavy side

Black Diamond Apollo

Black Diamond Apollo
The Black Diamond Apollo has conquered many awards on the best camping sites and among the best camping gear reviewers on the market. The main reason for this lies in its practicality and durability. Even though with its 200 Lumens it is not the brightest camping lantern on the market, it provides enough light to assist you in getting around and its light is not at all blinding.
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Brightness

The Black diamond Apollo is specifically designed in order to disperse the light throughout the space instead of directly blinding those around. In order for the lantern to produce a better lighting quality, a clouded plastic is used around the light. The main focus of the Apollo lantern is not being the brightest. Instead, it focuses on creating a pleasant camping atmosphere. You could even dim the lantern light if it pleases you.

Durability

Even though it will not last you forever, it will be your camping buddy for years. However, the surrounding plastic is easily damageable, so this is something that you should be aware of. The other elements are all made from metal which means they will last you a long time.

Battery

It is practical that the Apollo comes with a battery kit which is rechargeable. A car charger is available so that you can use this camping lantern every night when camping.
Pros
  • Battery kit included
  • Dimming option
  • Adjustable brightness
Cons
  • Not too bright

Coleman Quad LED Lantern

Coleman Quad LED Lantern
This Coleman lantern comes from a company which is highly reliable in the camping world. It is known for its bright light and this is certainly not a lantern for atmosphere. Instead, you could use it if you have some work left to do over the night. However, it does come with a battery saving mode, which is a dimming light that could be nice in some situations. Coleman has also focused on saving some space since the lantern could be compacted down. This makes it the perfect addition to backpacking trips.
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Brightness

This Coleman camping lantern is made specifically to be the brightest one out there. It features dual reflectors that are responsible for enhancing the brightness of the light. With its 250 Lumens, it is quite capable of lighting a large tent. You could dim it down to 16 Lumens which is just enough to locate the objects around you.

Additional features

This camping lantern is completely adjusted to camping situations. For instance, if you are looking where you place it, it has a split ring, so that you could hang it on a tree. Or if your campsite is wet from the rain, you could simply place it on the ground without the fear of damaging it. It has a rubber bottom that is ideal for this kind of situations.
Pros
  • Power efficient
  • Very bright light
  • Water resistant
  • Impact resistant
Cons
  • A bit pricier than competitive options with similar features

Streamlight The Siege

Streamlight The Siege
If you are constantly in doubt whether you have turned off the iron or accidentally turned on, your camping lantern, the Streamlight Siege is the right choice for you. It has a recessed button that prevents you from such accidents. Unlike the Titan, this is a lightweight lantern option that you could feel free to carry it backpacking.
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Brightness

Although it comes with a cover in order to prevent it from blinding you, the cover is completely removable. When detached, its light could reach further if needed. The battery system comes with an indicator which will let you know when you need to start the saving mode. The maximum lightness is 340 Lumens and at this intensity, the battery life is no more than 30 hours. There are 5 LED bulbs in total, of which 4 are white. The last one is allowing the user to turn on the night vision illumination which is quite convenient for some situations.

Additional features

The Siege is also impact-resistant and it is able to withstand a fall of 6 feet without a significant damage. What’s even more impressive is its ability to “swim”. If you accidentally drop it while fishing, it will float and you will be able to easily locate it. You could even try drowning it, but it can withstand being submerged under water and still come out without any damage.
Pros
  • Recessed button

  • Long run time

Cons
  • Not too bright

Goal Zero Lighthouse 400

Goal Zero Lighthouse 400
Although the Goal Zero Lighthouse is a bit pricier option than other lanters suggested in this list, it is certainly worth the price. It is the perfect addition to your backpacking gear and it is especially convenient if you are not camping with your car next to you. The specific feature of this lantern is its multiple options for battery charging.
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Brightness

Instead of having few brightness levels, this lantern features a dial that is allowing you to adjust the illumination to your own preferences. Although it is not too bright, it does have a long runtime and an emergency switch. This switch is placed on the top of the lantern and it is allowing you an easy access and a flashing light. Even though the flashings are not too long reaching or too bright, they will get the job done in a case of an emergency since it is able to flash both horizontally and vertically.

Additional features

It is interesting to mention that you could hang this lantern upside down as well and it will still work.
The only downside is that if you want to preserve and even prolong the battery life of the lantern, you have to charge it once in a while, even though you are not using it.
Pros
  • Great for emergency situations
  • Adjustable brightness level
Cons
  • Short run time

UST Duro Glow

The UST Duro Glow is one of the top competitors for the longest runtime camping lanterns. The manufacturer claims that it is able to run for 30 days on a low light, but still. However, if you are focusing on the brightness as your main feature, look through our other suggestion in order to find your perfect fit.
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Brightness

The lowest settings for the Duro Glow is 30 lumens which are enough for you to move around without hitting in objects. On high settings, it features 700 Lumens which is not too impressive, but it is definitely not too low. If you wish to illuminate a larger space, it is recommended that you hang it upside down. However, you should first remove the cover in order to use it this way.

Additional features

The lantern comes in 4 illuminating modes and only 3 LED bulbs. The base of the lantern is quite sturdy and heavy which make it more stable and resistant to wind.

The weight is not its most impressive feature as it weighs around 1.13 lbs. However, it is light compared to many other models on the list. The lantern is able to be powered with a solar charger which is certainly on the plus side.
Pros
  • Water resistant
  • Bright
  • Impact resistant
Cons
  • Short battery time

Etekcity 4 Pack LED Lantern

The Etekcity Camping Lantern might not have an appealing name, but it sure is a tough one. It has a short and wide design which is making it even more stable on an uneven surface and in a case of windy weather conditions. Its design reminds of a thermos with a black base and top. The middle part is covered with an aluminum material with the logo on it. It has a pretty minimalist design and some great features. It is currently on sale, which with a discount of 75%, which makes it the cheapest model in the suggestion list.
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Battery life

The batteries are located at the bottom part of the lantern and since it is waterproof, in order to change the batteries, you should detach the bottom by unscrewing it. The power bank is also located at the bottom part. The battery can be charged with your smartphone, a car charger or a regular one. The brightness time, however, is a bit lower than competitive models and it could only provide you about 4 hours of brightness and 12 when the light mode is set to low.

Ease of use

Even though the lantern is pretty short, you are able to change the size of the illuminated part by turning it on one side and setting it up to the height that you prefer. It is interesting to mention that once you turn it off, the light’s intensity is resetting to the highest possible level. If you want to turn it off a bit, you must readjust the lighting mode.

Additional features

Its water resistant properties are IPX5 certified and this allows you to forget it out on the rain. It will remain undamaged the morning after.
Pros
  • Great deal currently on sale
  • It can be resized 
Cons
  • Battery does not last for too long

 

Criteria for Evaluation

 

Type of usage

As with every other product on the market, you should start with your own preferences. Are you a camper or do you prefer backpacking trips? Or you need a camping lantern that is universal for every use, even for using it in your back yard? Once you are able to answer this question, you have the most important feature you should focus on. For instance, backpacking trips require lanterns that are not too heavy and they don’t take too much space. There are even lanterns that can be packed in smaller sizes when you are not using them. And if you are going camping, the choices don’t end up there. Are you planning a camping trip that includes your vehicle or not? If you are going camping with your vehicle, a camping lantern that is electric, with a car charger will be the best choice for you. On the other side, if you are camping with your bike, you should probably avoid the bulky lantern designs. That said, there are also those products that satisfy more of your needs, so if you prefer multiple activities, don’t despair, there is still a great choice for you on the market.

Do you even need a lantern?

Sometimes, a headlamp might be much more suitable than a camping lantern. If you only need the lantern to work around the tent or set it up, a headlamp is the better choice since, with it, you will be able to direct the lighting in one direction. With a camping lantern, someone would need to follow you around and act as a tree. Or if you are a lone camper, you would need to hold the lantern with one hand and cook, for instance, with the other. Even though this is manageable, it is not as satisfying as a hands-free cooking experience.

Lanterns are mostly required for group camping. They usually provide illumination in all directions, so they are the perfect choice for when you are camping with the entire family or friends. A headlight in this situation would be unbearable since it would provide illumination for only one person.

Type or brand of camping lantern

Each brand on the market is focused on creating a product for a specific outdoor activity. Some of them are focused on backpacking gear and other value camping practicality. If you haven’t already planned your next trip and you have many outdoor interests, you should probably go a for a more versatile lantern that will prove as useful in every situation. Amongst our suggestions, there are lanterns that have a combination of features, therefore they are suitable for multiple outdoor activities.

Brightness

Many campers believe that if the lantern illuminates more space, it is somehow better than competitive options. However, this is not entirely true. Having the brightest camping lantern that will cause you a headache won’t do you much good. In order to avoid this, look for lanterns that have the dimming effect. This type of lanterns does not make you feel uncomfortable and in the same time, they illuminate a large area. Nevertheless, if you are convinced that you want a bright camping lantern, then look for the one with the highest Lumens. Lumen is the unit that signifies how bright a lamp is. It is used for every type of lamp, not just the camping lanterns. It is important to mention that a lantern could have many lumens and still not be the brightest among lanterns. In order to measure the brightness effect, you must also consider the design of the lantern. Some lantern models, have a cap on the top in order to cause the light to spread at 360 degrees instead of spreading in height where you don’t even need it.

Just for orientation, if you are only two people, 100 Lumens would be more than enough. If you are with a larger group of people, more Lumens would be required. However, this level of brightness would be enough for you to locate your objects and see your faces when you talk to each other. But it will not provide enough brightness for reading for instance. Also, if you are in a closed space, such as a tent, fewer Lumens are required. On the other side, if you are using the lantern out on the open, you could not go wrong with more Lumens.

How important is the durability?

A camping lantern should be able to withstand a couple of crashes and droppings. After all, camping is an outside activity that is everything but a gentle one. For this reason, you will need one that is manufactured with high-quality materials that are durable and if possible, corrosion resistant. You should also consider that moisture will be present on your camping trip. For this reason, it is also convenient if your camping lantern is waterproof as well. If you are camping near a lake or a river you will need a waterproof lantern with a high waterproof coefficient. On the other side, if you are going on a backpacking trip in the mountains you would only need a water-resistant lantern. This type of lantern will be able to withstand a light rain, or even a heavy rain, but it will get damaged if it gets submerged under water. What’s even more impressive is that there are lanterns that are able to float if you accidentally drop them in the water. And since they are still active once they are floating, you are easily able to locate them in the water.

The hardest feature to figure out is the battery’s lifespan. Manufacturers always claim the starting life of the battery. However, in time, it tends to wear off and the battery’s life shortens. For instance, if you have purchased a camping lantern that will last you for a week, over time, it might only be useful for a 24h before having to charge it again.

Easy to use lanterns

Even though we are not reviewing emergency lamps, when it is dark outside, you need a reliable lantern that will work every time you need it to. Campsites usually have toilets at a certain distance from your tent, so carrying a lantern with you doesn’t require any waste of time. Or when cooking, for instance, you will need to see how your dinner is going without having to charge the battery for a while before using it.

Another thing to look at is their stability. A camping lantern is a practical item which means you are going to use it around the camp for various activities that require the use of both of your hands. For this reason, you will need to set it up somewhere or hang it on a branch. Either way, it should be stable and not fall if a light breeze appears. Some camping lanterns have rubberized legs that will help in keeping the lantern stable. This will improve its stability even if the surface is not flat. Other camping lantern models are able to be hanged upside down. This feature, however, is connected with the brightness instead of the stability of the lantern.

However, when it comes to the ease of use, the crucial factor to consider are the modes. While some lanterns have one button for all modes, others have multiple ones. If you get a lantern whose modes you find frustrating this could really spoil your whole camping experience. For this reason, it is better to inform yourself before making the purchase.

 

FAQs

Q:How to light a camping lantern?

Different types of camping lanterns have different ways of lighting. The fuel lanterns, for instance, have the most complicated method of lighting. However, those are the ones that create the most natural atmosphere. Coleman is the well-known brand that sells and promotes this type of camping lanterns. In order to light a Coleman camping lantern, the first thing you need to do is to fill it up to the recommended level. However, when doing so, make sure you get the right kind of fuel, which is recommended by the manufacturer.

After this, you should pressurize it. In order to do so, you should turn the knob for a certain amount of time which is different in every camping lantern. Once you turn the camping lantern on, the pressure will be forced out and it will cause it to light.

Note: If you have used the camping lantern and you want to refuel, make sure you wait for a while before removing the fuel cap or use heat proof gloves in order to avoid burning yourself. It is also important not to make this process very quickly since the lantern could be pressurized.

The electric lanterns on the other side, are much easier to handle. They are usually battery powered and the only thing you have to do in order to use such lantern is to make sure that the battery is full. This is not too difficult since some models also offer car chargers and most electric lantern batteries could last you for days with one charge.

There are also candle lanterns that are not too bright but they also don’t attract mosquitoes. Candle lanterns are not the best choice if you are looking for a lantern that will help you work around the camp. However, if you are only looking for a lantern that will create a pleasant atmosphere while, this is the choice to go for. It is also the perfect type of lantern for campsites that are located near a river with less aeration. These locations tent to attract mosquitoes and other bugs and candle lanterns might be the perfect solution for this kind of situation.

Q: How to make a camping lantern?

Even though this might seem like an impossible mission, making a camping lantern is easier than you think. However, it requires a lot of time and effort for supplying yourself with all the parts that are necessary for making one. In fact, it is cheaper and more time effective to purchase one, than to make one. Nevertheless, if you are a capable craftsman, you could attempt building a camping lantern.

The easiest way to do so is to make a LED lantern. For the process, you would require two jars, preferably plastic, because glass could easily break and it weighs more, therefore it is not the favorite camping material. You would also require power circuit that will be connected with a switch. The switch should be placed outside the jar, the power circuit inside the inner jar and the LED bulbs should be stuck between the jars. You could use how many LEDs you want and their brightness is also optional. However, this is not a solid construction and it could be easily broken or separated into parts if you are not careful. A homemade camping lantern is also not too reliable since it usually does not contain metal parts which are much more durable.

In addition to this, you could add a wire that will act as a half ring and you could hang the lantern on a tree.

Q: How to make camping candle lantern?

If you have chosen to keep those mosquitoes away and you need a camping lantern that will light up the tent, a candle camping lantern is a perfect choice. Even though we agree that a purchased one will look better inside the tent, a homemade one will do the job. It will create a cozy and warm atmosphere, especially if the weather outside is cold.

In order to make a candle camping lantern, you are going to need a bit of more complicated construction. The best materials for this purpose are aluminum base combined with a glass jar. The glass jar should be placed inside the aluminum jar and it should be removable in order for you to be able to replace the candle every once in a while. However, in order for the candle to burn, oxygen is needed, so you should leave the cap of the jar open in order for this to happen. The other option is to make holes in the aluminum base as well as the glass jar. This alternative is better if you plan on using the candle camping lantern outside where there is a possibility for rain.

Q: What is the best camping lantern?

Camping lanterns like every other product, have many features that characterize them. Even though most camping beginners are looking for the brightest camping lantern, this might not be the most appreciated feature. A high level of brightness attracts a lot of bugs, and if you use such product inside the tent, make sure that all windows are fully covered with a net. If used outside, we recommend combining it with a candle that will take care of this issue.

A candle camping lantern on the other side will not cause such problem, but it will be the less bright form of light. It is more recommended for inside use, than outside. Candle camping lanterns are also not waterproof which might be an issue.

Fuel powered camping lanterns are the best choice according to our camping experts. They provide enough illumination so that you can even work around the tent and they don’t attract unwanted company. However, using a fuel camping lantern might be a challenge, especially if you haven’t used one before. The process is explained in the questions above!

Final thoughts

There are various choices on the market and each one of them offers some quality. They come in different price ranges and types. Even though you should focus on choosing a camping lantern that matches your preferences, the safety comes first! Make sure you avoid fuel powered lanterns for inside the tent. If you decide to do so, make sure someone is always present inside the tent while it works. Also, place it on an even surface, so there is no possibility of it falling. Even so, if you are looking for an inside the tent lantern, we recommend that you pick a LED camping lantern choice since they are not a heat source and there are no safety risks when using them inside.

That said, we are always here to help with additional questions about the suggested products or camping lantern in general. So, if you have anything to add or you have any doubts, leave us a comment in the comment section bellow! Happy camping everyone!