Best Camping Lanterns To Light Up Your Camping Expeditions in 2021

Though a flashlight or even the flashlight app on your smartphone is great for running off into the woods to relieve yourself in the dark when you go camping, camping lanterns still play a pretty significant role in camping. The hands-free convenience for providing light to perform camping functions in the dark really can’t be replaced. Consequently, camping lanterns are still a widely used and coveted item for nearly all styles of camping.

The problem with camping lanterns is usually not that of trying to find one, but of trying to sort out which lantern of the many available will best serve your needs. Our buyer’s guide can help you narrow down your choice by providing you with some basic reasons, expectations and features for owning and using a camping lantern. In addition, our review of ten camping lanterns will allow you the opportunity to compare various lanterns and come up with the right one for you.

If you’re ready to have some hands-free lighting in order to do various camping tasks in the dark next time you head out to get away from it all, then dive right into our buyer’s guide and camping lantern reviews in order to make a well qualified decision on which one you should buy.

The camping lanterns that we’ve reviewed based on portability, brightness, ease of use, run time – battery life and durability.

 

EDITOR’S CHOICE

AYL Starlight – Water Resistant – Shock Proof Camping Lantern

Robust and reliable. Exactly what you need from a camping lantern. Provides a brighter light while using a very low amount of energy. 

 

 

Buyer’s Guide For Camping Lanterns

 

Why do you need a camping lantern?

After you stop telling ghost stories around the fire, you will probably head out of the light of that fire in order to go to your tent. Though a flashlight, headlamp or torch works well for following at trail to and from the campfire, or even to see when you go to relieve yourself, a lantern works much better for providing hands-free light inside your tent in order to perform other functions.

They are also a God send if you have a power outage in your home. A camping accessory that you have stored in your attic or under the stairs can then double up as a useful emergency power source around the home.

 

What benefits can you expect from a camping lantern?

A lantern not only provides hands-free light, but it also casts light in all directions, something a torch or flashlight doesn’t do. A camping lantern can typically be hung from the ceiling of your tent or from a hook beside your cooking stove to provide light for performing camping tasks in the dark.

 

Gas Fuel vs. Electric Lanterns

A question that probably needs to be answered before we get into what features you should look for in a camping lantern is whether to choose a gas fuel or electric lantern. Most people choose electric lanterns over gas fuel lanterns due to their reusability, simplicity, and safety. Before you completely eliminate the idea of owning a gas fuel lantern, let’s compare their various pros and cons:

 

Gas Camping Lanterns:

• No need for a battery or other electrical source
• Higher light output.
• Fuel is easy to find and they have better longevity.
• Aesthetically pleasing
• Can also be used as a heat source

 

Electric Camping Lantern:

• No flame
• Needs no fuel, but you have to replace or recharge batteries often.
• No smoking or spilling fuel.
• Easily adjustable lighting and light modes.
• Much easier to turn on and off.

 

 

What are some features to look for in a camping lantern?

Besides making a decision to go with gas fuel or an electric lantern, there are a number of features that you need to look for when choosing a camping lantern. An understanding of these features can help make it easier to choose the lantern which best fits your camping needs.

 

Various Modes of Output
Gas camping lanterns are great for putting out greater usable light, but regulating it with shielding and shutters is a little more of a challenge than switching a switch to change modes or directing light on an electric lantern. In addition, electric lanterns can come equipped with emergency strobe or SOS output functions as well.

 

LED Lighting
Incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past. LED lanterns are more efficient, run cooler, and are smaller and lighter. Also, lanterns with LED lighting tend to drain your battery more slowly, because they require fewer watts to produce light and therefore battery life last longer.

 

Lumens
Lumens are the unit of measure for communicating brightness. A higher lumens measurement means that a particular light is brighter than one with lower lumens. This is one measurement that is not effected by whether your lantern is gas fuelled or electric powered.

 

Weight
Depending upon whether you are car camping or backpack camping, you will want to consider weight. A gas fuel lantern really doesn’t work for backpacking because it requires you to take along fuel as well as the lantern. Electric, especially LED lanterns are lighter and tend to be more compact as well. Another consideration when it comes to weight comes when you hang the lantern in your tent. Modern tent designs don’t tend to support the heavier weight of a gas lantern.

 

Additional Features
Believe it or not, modern lanterns sometimes double as recharging centers for portable electronics like smartphones, tablets, and portable GPS mapping units. These can often be paired with compact-sized solar panels for recharging the main unit as well. If you are the type who can’t leave your electronic gadgets behind when you go camping (insert heavy sigh here), you might want to consider this feature as well.

 

 

Top Ten Best Camping Lanterns Reviews

 

Camping Lantern, USB Rechargeable LED Camp Lights, Multifunctional Camping Lanterns

Light weight and multifunction adaptability are major features of this JingooBon Rechargeable, LED, Multifunctional Camping Lantern. There are six working modes on this lantern, including emergency red and blue SOS strobes. It is also waterproof, recharges from a USB port or can be used as a power bank for recharging your portable electronic devices, is made of high quality impact resistant plastic and comes with a 24 month warranty. If that’s not enough, this lantern can double as a flashlight.

 

The Good
Having greater control over a lighter weight LED camping lantern is certainly a plus, especially for those who do backpack camping. The multi-function features of this lantern are quite impressive and make it very versatile. This lantern will last 8 to 30 hours depending upon which mode is being used. Use the USB charger to charge it up to its full capacity.

 

The Not So Good
The compact version of this lantern only puts out 160 lumens, which is very dim. The magnets don’t really hold this lantern up, so they are an essentially useless feature.

 

A Great Choice If…
You are a backpack camper and want something very light and compact. For campers who want a serious lantern, you might consider the larger version of this same model. Ideal rechargeable lantern for both outdoor and indoor use. One of the best lanterns for camping.

 

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Black Diamond Apollo

A highly portable and durable camping lantern, the Black Diamond Apollo is one of the best selling lanterns around. It gives out 225 lumens of light and runs on internal rechargeable lithium batteries, which means no more changing of batteries. You can even charge it up via a USB device ( desktop computer, laptop etc)

The Good

Fully rechargeable from adapter.
Dimmer control
Lightweight and collapsible.
Great for backpacker and campers.

The not so good

A bit on the small side

 

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Etekcity 4 Pack Portable LED Camping Lantern with 12 AA Batteries (Black, Collapsible)

When it comes to compact lighting for camping and emergency lighting situations in your home, few lanterns are handier than the Etekcity Portable LED Camping Lantern. This lanterns make use of 3 AA batteries to provide up to 12 hours of continuous lighting. These lanterns collapse into a much smaller size when not being used, which makes them handy for backpackers. The pack of 4 lanterns are made of military grade material and carry a 2-year warranty and lifetime manufacturer support.

 

The Good
The collapsibility of these lanterns is impressive, especially for packing light and tight. The low energy consumption is also a major plus to keep in mind. They are priced to fit any budget and come with a pretty solid warranty as well. 3 AA batteries provide the energy source for these lanterns.

 

The Not So Good
These lanterns only put out 60 lumens, consequently, at best, they provide ambient light. There is no on/off switch, they turn on and off by opening them or collapsing them.

 

A Great Choice If…
You are okay with ambient light for whatever tasks you need to perform. You will not be happy with these lanterns for any task that requires more focused light.

 

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AYL StarLight – Water Resistant – Shock Proof – Battery Powered Ultra Long Lasting Up To 6 DAYS Straight – 600 Lumens Ultra Bright LED Lantern

The AYL StarLight lantern provides a brighter light while using a very low amount of energy. The LED bulbs in this lantern provide six days of illumination on full power from a single set of 3 fresh D cell batteries. This lantern is lightweight, shockproof and waterproof and provides three different modes of lighting.

The Good

This lantern puts out an impressive 600 lumens of light on X3 D batteries. If you aren’t impressed with that, you can’t be impressed at all. What is equally impressive is that you can get that much light continuously for six hours. There is a lifetime warranty on this shockproof and waterproof lantern as well. You’re also not shelling out a lot of cash to bring one of these home.

The Not So Good

It is a good thing that the batteries last a long time, because changing them is pretty difficult with this lantern. Check out the product dimensions, it is only 4” x 4” x 7.2”, so don’t be surprised at how small it is.

A Great Choice If…

You want a compact LED camping lantern which provides powerful illumination over an extended period of time on not a lot of power. You won’t be impressed with this lantern’s dimensions if you were expecting something more like a traditional lantern. Excellent emergency light also.

 

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LE 1000lm Dimmable Portable LED Camping Lantern 4 Modes Water Resistant Light Battery Powered Lamp

This 4 mode, water resistant LE Dimmable Portable LED camping lantern will surprise you with its brightness. This lantern also makes use of 3 D-sized batteries to power its 300 to 1000 lumens of brightness. On its highest setting, with fresh batteries, this lantern will last for 12 hours of continuous burning. It could probably last even longer on its lowest setting of brightness. This lantern is lightweight for backpacking and can be used in wet conditions as well.

The Good

This is a very bright lantern at its highest setting, but it can be dimmed using the dimmer knob to 300 lumens for more ambient light and to conserve battery power. Backpackers will love its compact size and light weight, coming in at just over 1 pound. The case on this lantern was designed to endure the rough and wet conditions that often come along with camping as well.

The Not So Good

The sequence of turning off the lantern makes you have to cycle through the strobe before going dark. Changing modes is accomplished by holding down a button as the lantern cycles through its various modes.

A Great Choice If…

You want a compact lantern you can carry on the trail when you go backpacking and provides you with more than enough light to work by. You might not be impressed with the functionality of changing modes.

 

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Coleman CPX 6 Classic XL LED Lantern, 700 lumens

The classic Coleman lantern design is still present in the CPX 6 XL LED Lantern. This lantern features a low mode at 100 lumens and a high mode at 700 lumens of brightness. It makes use of either 4 D-sized batteries or a CPX 6 rechargeable battery cartridge. It is lightweight and made of high quality plastic which is waterproof and shockproof.

 

The Good
The classic swivel carry handle design has survived with this lantern. Its range of lumens is pretty broad for a working light or to use like a nightlight. It is designed to handle the various elements of the camping environment.

 

The Not So Good
It’s not as lightweight and compact as other lanterns in this review, so not as good for backpack camping. It requires more batteries to power this unit than it does for many other electric lanterns.

 

A Great Choice If…
You want that traditional Coleman lantern look in an electric LED lantern. You won’t be impressed with this lantern for backpack camping.

 

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Black Diamond 2015 Apollo Lantern

A more modern looking design has gone into the Black Diamond 2015 Apollo Lantern. Fashioned to look like an Apollo moon lander, this LED lantern runs on an internally rechargeable lithium ion battery to provide 225 lumens of glare-free light. It is well balance to sit on a table, but can be folded up to hang as well. It can be utilized as a power center to charge your phone as well.

 

The Good

The tripod style foldable legs provide good balance for this lantern to sit on a table or uneven ground. It can be set up in various configurations making it versatile. The fact that it can also be used as a charging center for your smartphone is a plus for you electronic crazed campers as well. It is compact and weights less than a pound, so it works well for backpack camping.

 

The Not So Good

225 lumens is not a lot of light for performing tasks where you need brighter light on the subject. This light also requires you to press and hold a button to cycle through its various modes.

 

A Great Choice If…

You are a backpack camper or just want something that is lightweight and compact for tasks you can perform with the assistance of ambient light. You won’t be impressed if you need brighter and more focused light to do camping tasks by.

 

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Coleman Quad LED Lantern Special Edition Ultra Bright 190 Lumens, Red

This Coleman Quad LED Special Edition lantern harkens back to the old coachlights of days gone by in design, but it has some modern features you’re going to love. The four panels of this lantern can be taken off and used as individual light panels or assembled together into a single lantern. Each panel provides 47.5 lumens individually and together they provide 190 lumens. Each panel is water and shock resistant as well.

 

The Good

This quad lantern with its removable panels is pretty useful for camping because it allows someone to take off one part of the lantern to wander off into the woods to relieve themselves without hunting for a flashlight. Each panel last for 1.5 hours separated from the lantern and the lantern run times are impressive at 75 hours. A 5 year limited warranty comes with this lantern and is backed by a quality brand name in camping.

 

The Not So Good

190 lumens is not very bright and the 47.5 lumens of each panel is little more than a nightlight. There are no high or low light options with this unit, it is either on or off. It is too bulky and heavy for backpack camping.

 

A Great Choice If…

You like the convenience of being able to remove the panels and spread the light around to various areas, but still have a lantern when you put it back together. You won’t be impressed with the low lumens and lack of brightness variation of this lantern.

 

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Rechargeable LED Lantern Bright Light for Camping, Emergency Use, Outdoors, and Home- Lasts for 250 Hours on a Single Charge

Long lasting illumination on a single charge is the standout feature of this Rechargeable LED lantern. This lantern is built to stand up to the elements of the camping environment and still produce up to 250 hours of illumination on a single charge. It charges using a USB cable and wall plug and emits 400 lumens of brightness. High, medium, low and SOS are all functions available on this lantern with a lifetime warranty.

 

The Good
This lantern has the best power usage of all of the lanterns in this review, lasting more than ten days on a single charge. You don’t have to change out batteries on this unit and it is made of durable ABS plastic with a drop rating of six feet, so it is built to handle rugged conditions. A lifetime warranty is a pretty solid benefit to keep in mind as well.

 

The Not So Good
400 lumens is just a little bit better than ambient light. The price tag on this lantern will cause a lump in your throat as well.

 

A Great Choice If…
You want long-lasting illumination at a moderate level. If you are on a budget and an infrequent camper, you will have a hard time justifying this purchase.

 

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Tough Light LED Rechargeable Lantern – 200 Hours of Light from a Single Charge

Another rechargeable lantern which lasts a long time is the Tough Light LED Rechargeable Lantern. This lantern provides 200 hours of light at 400 lumens from a single charge. This unit can also be used as a charging center for your portable electronic devices. It holds a charge for up to 9 months when it isn’t being used, making it a pretty dependable emergency lighting option in your home as well.

 

The Good

Getting sixteen and a half days out of a single charge is pretty impressive for any lantern. The waterproofing and drop resistance ratings on this lantern are impressive as well. Those who take their portable electronic devices along when they go camping will appreciate that this lantern can serve as a charging center. The 2 year warranty is another plus to keep in mind.

 

The Not So Good

This light provides just a little bit more than ambient light at 400 lumens and isn’t really suited for tasks that require brighter illumination. It is pretty small and only lights a very small area.

 

A Great Choice If…

You need a compact lighter weight lantern with plenty of staying power. You might not like the low level brightness of this light for tasks that need a little more light on the subject.

 

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Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact, Rugged 7.25″ Hand Lantern 540 Lumen Uses 3D Cell Alkaline Batteries

This little Streamlight Siege Compact puts out a lot of light for a handheld lantern. It features a compact design which is waterproof and shockproof and provides 540 lumens of LED light on 3 D-sized batteries. The low level on this lantern will provide you with 295 hours of continuous light if necessary. This lantern has 5 modes to choose from, including an emergency strobe. It can be hung upright or inverted and can also be used on a table top.

 

The Good

You get a lot of light from this lantern at 540 lumens. It does not waste a lot of power, making it a good choice for longer camping trips. Changing batteries in this unit is easier than with some of the units included in this review. Its multiple lighting modes is also handy for various camping needs. Its removable globe is handy for providing more focused light when you need it as well. It is water resistant enough to float on water.

 

The Not So Good

The cool white light of this lantern doesn’t give you the same sense of proper lighting as a warmer light. This lantern cycles past its high level first when changing modes, making you have a flash of bright light before turning it off.

 

A Great Choice If…

You are in the market for a lightweight camping lantern that is water and shockproof and provides a decent level of brightness. You might not like the cool white light of this lantern if you’re expecting a warmer glow.

 

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