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Best Camping Lantern: Reliable Light Source for Your Outdoor Trips

Best Camping Lantern
Bradley Page
Written by Bradley Page

When you are camping out in the wilderness at night, you want to be able to see your surroundings. Unlike some other creatures with excellent night vision, humans can’t see in the dark. That’s why one thing that should definitely be on every camper, or backpacker’s list would have to be a high quality camping lantern.

While flashlights are certainly useful on camping trips, nothing beats the best camping lantern when it comes to illuminating an entire tent and creating a good ambiance. Camping lanterns are useful for nighttime activities, as they can completely light up the space around you.

The very nature of a camping lantern is that it has to be designed efficiently, with the ability to completely light up your space. It should not matter whether that space is an outside space or the space inside of your tent. There are a lot of camping lanterns on the market, and finding the right one can be an overwhelming task.

Camping Lantern

But, do not fret – we are here to help! In order to guide you to finding a high quality camping lanterns that would be able to fulfill your needs, we will first go over the important factors to consider. Once you know what aspects to look for when shopping, be sure to check out our reviews of some of the top rated camping lanterns that the market can offer.

Our Top Picks

ProductBrightnessPower SourcesLight MdesPrice
WeatherRite Nebo157 lumensSolar, AC, DC, and wind upSingle light modeCheck price on Amazon
Whetstone 36 Camping 150 lumensBattery, solar and hand crank dynamo3 different light modesCheck price on Amazon
Vont Ultra Bright LED60 lumens3 AAA batteriesSingle light modeCheck price on Amazon
Xtreme Bright Solar80 lumensUSB cable charging, batteries, and solar charging3 different light modesCheck price on Amazon
Outlite Collapsible Camping180 lumensSolar power, batteries, and rechargeable batterySingle light modeCheck price on Amazon
Lights4fun Moroccan Candle65 lumensSolar powerSingle light modeCheck price on Amazon
Black Diamond Voyager75 lumens4 AA batteries4 light modesCheck price on Amazon
Goal Zero Lighthouse 250250 lumensSolar panel, hand crank, and USB charger3 light modesCheck price on Amazon
MPOWERD Luci 80 lumensSolar power3 light modesCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

A good camping lantern won’t just have one key feature – it should have several. Most camping lanterns that are available on the market will all have similar base features, and yet some offer functions that make them desirable to the majority of campers. Some of the key features that you should look out for include:

Power Source

When it comes to camping lanterns, you can choose from several power modes. Previously, gas camping lanterns used to be popular. However, over the past few decades, gas camping lanterns have been replaced by camping lanterns that operate with different power sources.

Non gas camping lanterns are overall safer, especially around children. You can also safely operate a non gas camping lantern during a storm if the weather knocks out your electricity. You can save yourself from ending up stuck in the dark for a few hours.

Non Gas Lantern

The most commonly found camping lanterns on the market will be battery powered. But you can also find camping lanterns that are solar powered, electric, and wind up models. Usually, campers will choose their lantern based on the way that it powers up, and based on what they require it for.

For example, if you aren’t going out until later on in the evening, then a solar powered lantern probably won’t have enough time to charge to its full potential. Whereas a hiking backpacker would probably find a solar powered camping lantern to be one of the best options.

Battery Life

One of the most notable things about camping lanterns is that the hours of operation can vary dramatically from model to model. Yet, the power mode that the lantern features will have the biggest effect on this, as well as the settings that you have the camping lantern set to. Settings that use more energy will result in a shorter lifespan.

Lantern Battery Life

It’s impossible to tell you exactly how long the majority of camping lanterns will run for, as most run for between 2 and 300 hours. But one thing’s for sure: one of the benefits of having a battery powered camping lantern is that they feature incredibly long life cycles.

Most of the longest lasting camping lanterns on the market are battery powered, whereas solar powered and wind up lanterns feature shorter life cycles. Wind up lanterns feature notably short time periods of light, as often a minute of cranking the device will result in 20 minutes of light.

Crank Lantern

You can also change the life cycle of light by adjusting the settings on your camping lantern, as lower settings can save dramatic amounts of energy. Although this only affects battery powered models. It makes them run for longer time periods, and some lanterns can come with up to three different power settings.

Brightness

The number of lumens that a camping lantern features directly tells you how wide the area is that the camping lantern you have will illuminate. The higher the number of lumens, the wider the area the camping lantern will illuminate.

Lantern Brightness

But, you should be aware that a camping lantern with too high a number of lumens might not be as desirable as it initially sounds. You don’t want to be blinded as soon as you set foot in your tent, and you might find it difficult to sleep without a light that dims.

Weight

The weight of your camping lantern might not initially be something that you think of as important. But, if you are carrying around a full pack then ideally you want a camping lantern that is lightweight, otherwise, you will be adding unnecessary weight to your pack.

You don’t want to feel like you are hauling around a giant lantern, and you definitely don’t want to feel like you should abandon it somewhere.

Lantern Weight

A lot of camping lanterns are also collapsible; this makes it easier to pack them directly into your pack. Just remember that if your lantern is solar powered you will want to have it out as much as possible during the day.

Additional Features

Modern camping lanterns also come with a variety of ‘additional’ features. A lot can be used to charge your smartphone via a small USB port, and quite a few double as a flashlight.

Other than that you can find that some features a yellow light opposed to a white light, as a white light can attract insects (so insect repellent may be another thing to remember while you’re camping).

Lantern Charging Phone

Whether the camping lantern comes with a carrying handle or not is also important. Your camping lantern should be efficient, and yet compact. You don’t want it to be bulky, and if it is too heavy you won’t be able to clip it or hang it onto the little nylon ring that most tents feature.

Versatility

While the main use of a camping lantern is for use while camping at night, there are a variety of other uses that you can use a camping lantern for. Even when camping you can use a camping lantern for a variety of reasons, from illuminating the space around your tent, to dimly lighting your own tent so that you can read before you sleep.

Reading Lantern

You can also use the majority of camping lanterns as a flashlight, or an SOS signal in an emergency situation. You should also be able to use camping lanterns for a variety of other reasons. At one point or another, people will usually experience a storm that results in a complete power outage.

In that situation, candles are usually the first point of call for the majority of people. Yet camping lanterns are both brighter and safer. Some also have a lumen rating that will result in the illumination of an entire room. If you are in an area that is susceptible to blackouts, a camping lantern would definitely be a good investment.

Orange Lantern

If you want to go on an evening stroll in winter or a long hike where shorter daylight hours will get in the way, then a camping lantern will be a good option. Especially if you are in an area that could be quite dimly lit. Some people also use camping lanterns for participating in water sports such as kayaking, and dimly lit activities such as caving.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that you have a general idea of which factors determine the overall quality of a camp lantern, it’s time to check out some leading products:

WeatherRite Nebo Eco Lantern

Price: Approx. $38Nebo WeatherRite

Weight: 3.7 pounds

Dimensions: 9.9 x 5.8 x 14 inches

Specific features: LED charge indicator, wired guard, reflectors in LED housing, 157 lumens, 14 white LEDs, 6V 2.5AH rechargeable battery, 4 charging methods (solar, AC, DC, and wind up)

Best use: Camping, emergency use

If you are the type of camper that likes variety, then the WeatherRite Nebo Eco Lantern could be the right option for you. This is because it features a total of four different charging methods. You can charge this lantern via AC power, DC power, solar power, and wind up power.

This means that even in a situation where one charging method isn’t available, there are several other methods that you can use. Consider it to be a type of safety procedure – guaranteeing that you have light when it gets dark.

This particular model also features a handy LED indicator light that will change from red to green when the camping lantern is fully charged. This can be a good way of knowing that your product is fully charged, as a lot of camping lanterns don’t give you an indication when they are fully charged.

This means that you can spend the day hiking, and you will know in advance that your camping lantern is fully charged before nightfall. At 157 lumens, this particular lantern is ideal for lighting your tent, without producing a ‘blinding’ effect.

An option to adjust the intensity of the light would’ve made this lantern perfect, but it’s good enough as it is too.

PROS:

  • 4 different charging methods make this a very versatile product
  • LED indicator makes for easy charging
  • Bright
 CONS:

  • The light output cannot be adjusted

Related: Just because you have a trusty lantern like this one, doesn’t mean you can go without a flashlight. While the lantern is more often used to illuminate the tent, you’ll need a flashlight to guide your way whenever you want to venture outside. This Hybrid Solar Powered Flashlight can give you just the illumination you need.

Check the price on Amazon

Whetstone 36 Camping Lantern

Price: Approx. $40Solar Lantern

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Dimensions: 4.4 x 4.4 x 10 inches

Specific features: 3 different power sources (battery, solar and hand crank dynamo), efficient power rates, 6 hours solar charging time, 36 LED lights, 3 different light modes, 3 AAA batteries power source, carrying handle

Best use: Hiking and camping

The Whetstone 36 Camping Lantern is a fantastic option for any camper thanks to the way it can recharge on different power sources. It features two different, completely environmentally friendly, power modes. Both solar power, and wind up power. There’s also the option to use batteries on it if it comes down to that. It will power up with 3 AAA batteries.

Just a single minute of cranking this camping lantern will result in at least 20 minutes of light, which is only a small time frame, but it is a small time frame with completely guaranteed, man powered, light.

This product also features a fantastic hanging/carrying handle that can be hooked directly to almost anything. Including both tree branches, and the small nylon hoop inside of most tents. The 36 super bright energy efficient white LEDs can produce large amounts of light, so it can illuminate the majority of spaces.

Unfortunately, the lumens rating for this lantern is not clearly specified by the manufacturer. But you can rest assured that this lantern is very bright. If it gets too bright for you, the light can also be turned down easily thanks to the available 3 different light modes.

PROS:

  • 3 brightness intensity options
  • 3 power sources
  • Bright
  • Easy to carry and hang anywhere you need
 CONS:

  • Its lumens rating is unclear

Related: At full capacity, this lantern is bright enough to fully illuminate even a large 3 person tent like the Kelty Trail Ridge Tent. If it gets too bright for you or when it’s time to go to sleep, all you have to do is flick a switch to turn down the light. This is a very convenient product for campers.

Check the price on Amazon

Vont Ultra Bright LED Lantern

Price: Approx. $25Ultra Bright LED

Weight: 0.1 pound

Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.5 x 3.6 inches

Specific features: 1 power mode, a versatile design, 10 year warranty for damage or defect, 100% money back guarantee, 30 LED lights, collapsible, water resistant plastic, powered by 3 AA batteries, 60 lumens

Best use: Camping, water activities, and hikes that may involve the product getting wet and/or damaged

When it comes to camping with families, you can almost guarantee that something is going to end up broken, or damaged. A lot of families love this product because one thing that you don’t want is your light source getting damaged, and the Vont Ultra Bright LED Lantern is the option that protects you against that. It has been made out of a military grade, water resistant plastic.

That very water resistance also makes it perfect for water activities, like kayaking and boating. It is also super lightweight and easily collapses with just a single push. There is no on and off switch. Set it up, and the light will turn on. Collapse it, and the light will switch off. Simple as that.

Add all of that to the super long battery life that is present in this camping lantern and you have a light source that will last all the way through the night.

This is a very versatile lantern. Unfortunately, the light intensity cannot be adjusted and it has only one power source option. Still, despite everything, most users agree that this lantern fulfills their needs nicely just the way it is without giving them any significant trouble.

PROS:

  • Bright
  • Easy to switch on and off
  • Easy to carry around because it’s collapsible
  • Durable thanks to the water resistant plastic
  • Money back guarantee
 CONS:

  • The brightness cannot be adjusted
  • Only powers up on batteries

Related: This lantern is perfect for illuminating a 3 person tent because of how bright it is. Consider purchasing this ALPS Mountaineering Chaos Tent too while you’re at it. With a dependable tent and a dependable lantern, your next camping or hiking trip will surely be an experience worth remembering.

Check the price on Amazon

Xtreme Bright Solar Lantern

Price: Approx. $22Xtreme Bright

Weight: 0.09 pound

Dimensions: 3.7 x 3.6 x 3.6 inches

Specific features: 3 power modes (USB cable charging, batteries, and solar charging), a storage option, lifetime warranty, collapsible, waterproof, floats in water, 3 light modes (low, high, and strobe), carrying handle, white light

Best use: For camping and hiking

When you are hiking, sometimes it can be difficult to find enough space for everything that you need to take with you. Especially if you are hiking with children and carrying all of their things in your pack too.

This Xtreme Bright Solar Lantern also doubles as a storage bottle, and it can be used to charge your smartphone via a small USB port. There is also a battery port, so if you want a power source that will last longer than solar power will then you can add batteries for a full night of illumination.

This particular model also floats in water, so if you do want to participate in any water activities then you can. It can also be used as a storage bottle for things like your smartphone, medication, or your keys. If storage is an issue, then you can collapse the solar lantern down to a size that is ½ of the full size.

Unfortunately, it is unclear how many lumens of light this little lantern is capable of putting out, but it’s definitely bright enough to be satisfying, especially when you set it to high. There’s also the low and strobe light settings.

PROS:

  • Floats in water
  • Can be used as storage for little things
  • Collapsible to half its full size
  • 3 different power sources
  • 3 different light modes
  • Lifetime warranty
 CONS:

  • Its lumens rating is unclear

Related: This is the perfect lantern for a solo traveler considering its light weight and small size. If you travel alone, you might not want to be burdened by the weight of carrying a full tent in your backpack. If that’s the case, this Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest Hammock may be just what you need. It provides a different sleeping surface option.

Check the price on Amazon

Outlite Collapsible Camping Lantern

Price: Approx. $22Outlite 180

Weight: 0.6 pound

Dimensions: 7.5 x 3 inches

Specific features: 3 different power modes (solar power, batteries, and rechargeable battery), a convenient, lightweight design, 100% satisfaction guarantee, 180 lumens, collapsible, 2 “S” hooks included, water resistant plastic, 4800 mAh rechargeable built in battery, 3 AA batteries, 8 LED light bulbs, omnidirectional 360 light

Best use: Camping, hiking, and emergency situations

The Outlite Collapsible Camping Lantern is one of the most popular options that are currently available on the market. That is most likely because of the versatility that the camping lantern offers to both campers and hikers.

Firstly, it offers three different power options, including solar power, a rechargeable function, and battery power. The small solar cell is situated directly on top of the lantern, and takes around 8 – 10 hours to fully charge the lantern.

On the other hand, batteries are a fantastic option for this model of a camping lantern. They can be used to produce over 12 hours of continuous operation, meaning that your camping lantern could be used to keep your campsite light all through the night.

The versatility also goes further than that, as the two ‘S’ hooks that this lantern features can be used to hang the lantern from everything from tree limbs to the nylon loop on the center of the ceiling of most tents.

We would just like to take a moment to gripe about the lack of light modes in this lantern. You can’t adjust the brightness, but this shouldn’t be a deal breaker because the light output is basically just right. It’s neither too bright nor not bright enough. Better yet, the light is cast in an omnidirectional way. Meaning it covers all 360 degrees evenly without focusing its glare on one specific area.

PROS:

  • 3 different power sources
  • The light is distributed evenly
  • Versatile thanks to the two S hooks
  • Durable thanks to the water resistant plastic
 CONS:

  • The light output cannot be adjusted

Related: With this versatile little lantern by your side, you’ll have no problem handling any kind of activities at night as if you were doing it during the day. You can even cook using this FOHOZ Camp Stove if you are suddenly tortured by a bad case of the munchies at night.

Check the price on Amazon

Lights4fun Moroccan Candle Lantern

Price: Approx. $30Moroccan Solar Powered

Weight: 2.5 pounds

Dimensions: 18.1 x 7.6 x 7.4 inches

Specific features: 1 power mode (solar), a simplistic design, on/off switch inside the lantern, 1 light mode (flickering)

Best use: Camping and ambient settings

If you are looking for a camping lantern that can produce a little bit more of an ambient setting than most camping lanterns, then the Lights4fun Moroccan Candle Lantern could be the best option for you.

It has been designed to feature a flickering, white bulb that imitates an actual flame – making it look like an authentic lantern. The light also produces a beautiful shadow pattern from the intricate metalwork detailing on the frame of the lantern.

Yet, as beautiful as the lantern is, it is also practical. It is completely solar powered, and yet it provides up to 8 hours’ worth of illumination, enough to stay light all night.

Unfortunately, this chic little lantern comes with its fair share of caveats. Despite claiming to be fully weatherproof, it is not rust proof. If it gets exposed to too much rain, you might start to see signs of rusting around the top.

Also, this is not the most versatile lantern because it only has 1 power and 1 light mode. It’s perfect when it comes to building up a calm and soothing atmosphere around the camp but it’s not the most practical product.

PROS:

  • Beautiful design
  • The flickering effect makes you feel like you are sitting next to a real flame
  • Can last for many hours after a brief solar charging session
 CONS:

  • Not rust proof
  • Not very versatile due to the limited power sources and light modes

Related: Nothing beats relaxing in this Best ChoiceProducts Steel Hammock with a flickering light next to you. It creates the perfect atmosphere for a camping trip but you can also place these items on your patio too if you fancy yourself a bit of a soothing “me time” while you’re at home.

Check the price on Amazon

Black Diamond Voyager Lantern

Price: Approx. $28Black Diamond Voyager

Weight: 0.6 pound

Dimensions: 4.2 x 6.25 x 6.25 inches

Specific features: 1 power mode (4 AA batteries), collapsible, 4 light modes (dimming, flashlight, lantern, and a dual light of flashlight and lantern), dual reflector system, 75 lumens, 2 double powered LED bulbs

Best use: Camping

The Black Diamond Voyager Lantern is quite unique, as it features both a flashlight and lantern modes, as well as a dimming option. The dimming option is fantastic for use inside of tents at night, as it stops the lantern from producing a blinding effect. You can also combine the flashlight and lantern lighting in a dual mode if you need a brighter light.

All of these options can be operated via just one switch, so you don’t have to worry about numerous switches.

There are also two different LED lights in this camping lantern, one that is enclosed in a frosted globe for a bright, 75 lumen light. As well as one that is enclosed in the bottom of the camping lantern, to provide a 50 lumen flashlight mode.

The collapsible double hook hand loop is perfect for hanging up in your tent, and most campers have found that they can use theirs over and over again.

It is unfortunate that it only runs on battery power without the option to charge it using solar power or USB cable. However, this lantern is still a solid purchase for campers.

PROS:

  • Many different light modes
  • Collapsible handle makes it versatile
  • Bright
  • Energy efficient. The batteries last for a long time
 CONS:

  • Only runs on batteries

Related: Good campers know how to keep themselves hydrated. With this HydroBlu Versa Flow Water Filter System, you’ll never have to worry about running out of clean water again no matter where your adventure takes you to. If you find yourself in need of more water at night, you can go get it if you’ve got the Voyager lantern with you.

Check the price on Amazon

Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Power Hub and Lantern

Price: Approx. $80Goal Zero Lighthouse

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Dimensions: 6 x 15 x 3 inches

Specific features: 3 different power modes (solar panel, hand crank, and USB charger), legs to stand on, 250 lumens, can become a power source for small devices, 3 light modes (high, low, emergency flashing red light)

Best use: Night hiking / camping

Most of the camping lanterns that you can find on the market will feature either a hook or a handle. The Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Power Hub and Lantern offers campers something different, it has legs that it can stand upon. Even on rough terrain. You could stand this little lantern up on rocks, or in the middle of a field and be absolutely fine. Once you’re done using the legs, you can simply collapse them for easy carrying.

The lantern can be powered up using Goal Zero solar panels, USB cables, or using a hand crank power charge. With a USB cable, it takes 7 hours for this lantern to be fully charged. With the hand crank, 1 minute of work will give you ten minutes of bright light. Once this lantern is fully charged up, you can even use it as a power source for other smaller devices.

It runs for between 2.5 and 28 hours on average, depending on the settings that you have it set to. It can run for a maximum of 48 hours on the lowest setting, and most people find that the lowest setting is all that they need for use inside of tents. This lantern can also flash red to put out an emergency warning sign.

Unfortunately, most people would agree that 48 hours of light on the lowest setting equals an inadequate battery life. That makes this lantern unsuitable for long distance hiking trips where power sources might not be available for days or even weeks on end. Of course, there’s the solar power option, but note that you’ll have to buy the panel separately.

PROS:

  • High to low power modes and even an emergency red flashing light
  • Can be used as a charging device
  • 3 different power modes
  • Bright
  • Versatile thanks to the collapsible legs
 CONS:

  • Short battery life

Related: As mentioned previously, you need to buy the Goal Zero Solar Panel separately if you plan to use that power source—which you probably will have to, considering the lantern’s relatively short battery life.

Check the price on Amazon

MPOWERD Luci Outdoor Solar Light

Price: Approx. $20MPOWERD Luci

Weight: 0.55 pounds

Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 5.2 inches

Specific features: 1 power mode (solar), 1 year warranty, straps on the top and the bottom, 10 LED bulbs, 3 light modes (1 second flashing, super bright, bright), collapsible, waterproof up to a depth of 1 m for 30 minutes, battery level indicator, ON/OFF switch, 80 lumens

Best use: General outdoor activities

If you are looking for a lantern that can handle a number of rugged, outdoor activities, then the MPOWERD Luci Outdoor Solar Light lantern has your name written all over it.

It has been designed to be suitable for everything from camping and hiking to kayaking and fishing. It is inflatable, collapsible, and lightweight. It is also fully waterproof and submersible, so you won’t have to worry about getting it wet.

It also features both top and bottom straps that can be used to conveniently clip it directly onto a backpack. The unique, cylindrical design means that it won’t be bulky or uncomfortable.

If you set this lantern up in direct sunlight for around 7 hours, then you will have a camping lantern that gives you around 12 hours of light on a single charge. It is unfortunate that it does not support any other charging methods.

PROS:

  • Bright
  • Versatile thanks to the hanging straps
  • Durable and waterproof
 CONS:

  • Only one power source option

Related: Although this isn’t exclusively a camping lantern, it can definitely serve that purpose too. Just imagine drinking coffee or tea from this TOAKS Titanium Cup with the elegant lantern sitting right beside of you. Classy.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

That ends our review. So, when it comes to camping lanterns you now know exactly what you are looking for. You can find a power mode that suits your lifestyle, whether you like the environmentally friendly idea of solar power or the lifespan of battery power. You can decide whether you need your camping lantern to last for several hours, or all the way through the night.

Goal Zero Camp Lantern

Just remember that weight is important, and you don’t want to buy anything that weighs more than it should. The last thing you need it that little hook on your tent giving way, and a lantern hitting you on the head while you are out having adventures.

So, do you take a camping lantern with you when you go camping or hiking? Or do you use a camping lantern for other activities? Did any of the camping lanterns we’ve reviewed has managed to catch your fancy? Or perhaps, do you have a better option you’d like to suggest to us? Let us know in the comments below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bradley Page
Bradley Page

With several decades of experience as a backpacker and outdoor adventurer, Bradley is an open encyclopedia when it comes to gear, clothes, and other items that matter on the trail. He tested hundreds of shoes, pants, jackets, and backpacks in his long career and is always up to date with the new appearances in the niche. His experience makes him one of the authority figures in backpacking and he can help anyone to get prepared for a great adventure!

  • Amanda Bringman

    I like the Xtreme Bright Hiking Lantern and bring it with me on pretty much every trip now. One of the best things about it is how light it is. And, not to mention, compact and gives off a really good light. Think I’ll be using this for a long time!

  • Bradley Page

    Hi Amanda and thanks for your feedback on the Xtreme Bright Hiking Lantern. From experience reviewing the product, it is indeed light and compact. I should mention that it is a Solar Lantern and you can even charge your smartphones thru a USB port – how cool is that? And the price is a steal, too.

  • Michelle Decker

    I love being able to stand up the Goal Zero 32001 Power Hub And Lantern, as is mentioned in this article. You don’t really realize how convenient that can be until you’ve used it! Also like the pass through power, that means as the internal battery is being charged by a solar panel, you can still power the USB to charge your phone.

  • Bradley Page

    Quite amazing, isn’t it? I love technology especially those that were developed for the outdoors. The Goal Zero 32001 Power Hub And Lantern is a beauty. It has combined aesthetic and function so well. Can’t say I blame you for loving this camping lantern.
    Thanks for dropping by Michelle. 🙂

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