Hey there campers and welcome to my post where I will share my three best lanterns for camping to light your way this year. Portable lanterns are handy for any type of camping and are a significant improvement to your outdoor experience at a campground – especially when it comes to cooking meals and getting the campsite sorted for bed. A good lantern should provide adequate illumination without being harsh, have enough battery life to last the duration of a trip, and be tough enough to withstand rough handling.
Camping lanterns come in different shapes and sizes. Aside from providing visibility, portable lanterns also possess some features to help you with your camping needs. To help you choose a good option, I have shortlisted my recommended lighting gear below:
My three recommended lanterns for camping
I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience:
|Camping Lantern||Price||Get it|
|Vont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern||$||CURRENT PRICE|
|LE LED Camping Lantern||$$||CURRENT PRICE|
|IODOO Portable LED Camping Lantern||$$$||CURRENT PRICE|
What are camping lanterns?
Camping lanterns are an outdoor essential that cast light to help you navigate through the night as you camp. Flashlights and headlamps can indeed brighten up your grounds, but nothing beats lanterns for hands-free illumination. They typically provide 360° of floodlighting and can either stand-alone or be hung. Lanterns come in various sizes, with larger units ideal for car camping and smaller units suitable for backpacking.
What should you be looking for?
Below are some of the main factors you should take into account as you shop for a good portable camping lantern:
- Type of camping lanterns
- Light modes
- Source of energy
- Size and weight
- Base and handle
Type of Camping Lanterns
Lanterns that are market-available today are classified as fuel-powered or electric-powered. Each has its downside and upside.
- Electric lanterns are lightweight, quiet, and safe to use inside a tent. They rely on batteries to illuminate your area. However, alkaline batteries lose about half their capacity when temperatures fall below freezing, and rechargeable batteries may not last on multi-day trips without being recharged. These are the type we will be focusing on here.
- Gas-powered lanterns are known for their brightness and longer burn time. They even perform well in subzero temperatures (the run time drops, but not as much as alkaline batteries). The downside for these lanterns is that they are hot to the touch because they use a live flame. These must also be used away from flammable materials and require ventilation.
Flashback – who remembers those gaslight mantles and trying to get the lid back on and them lit without breaking?… haha
Lumens are units of measurement for brightness. The higher the number, the brighter the light emitted. Most lanterns use LED bright light bulbs without overheating. Most backpackers and campers will require 100-200 lumens (lm) of light per lantern to aid them on their journey. If you are traveling with a large group of campers, you may need lanterns that emit 200-400 lumens.
This feature refers to the capability of adjusting the lantern’s lighting. To control the brightness of the light, different lanterns have different light settings. Lower settings can be used during the day, at dusk, or dawn, and higher settings can be used when they get incredibly dark out.
Switching between different light modes can also help you save battery life for longer camping trips and some lanterns have an SOS button and can be used as a safety device.
Source of Energy
Obviously, electric-powered lanterns use batteries (either rechargeable or non-rechargeable) for their source of energy. These types of lanterns are what most campers prefer because they are lightweight, and their sources can be easily replaced.
The source of energy for fuel-powered lanterns could be butane, propane, gasoline, and kerosene. Although you can bring these fuel supplies to your camping sites, you must practice extra precautions because they are flammable and hazardous.
Size and Weight
In camping, especially if you are backpacking, it is critical to invest in compact and lightweight items. This makes the things easier to transport as well as use. For example, lighter lanterns may be hung inside your tents and are also ideal for backpacks because they can easily fit in with the rest of the equipment and tools. Car campers however need not worry about weight or space constraints because heavy and large camp lanterns are appropriate for this type of camping.
Base and handle
How you handle and set the lantern should be dictated by your camping style. If you intend to spend most of your time at your campground, a solid base is what you are looking for. If you prefer to move around, a lightweight model with an easy-grip handle suits you. Some products are intended to be attached to belt loops and backpacks. Others have handles that are also equipped with hooks, allowing them to be hung inside your tent for overhead lighting.
Other potential additions include:
- USB port – This additional feature lets you use the lantern to charge your small gadgets such as mobile phones or tablets. For emergency situations where you need to power your handheld devices, this add-on would become a life-saver.
- Quick charging – When you get the chance to recharge your portable lantern, you would want it to be as fast as possible. In this situation, quick charging products are ideal.
- Compass – Some lanterns have a built-in compass, which helps you find the right direction as you traverse forest or mountain trails.
- Water-resistant – Accidental splashes of water or any liquid are unavoidable in any camping activity. This reality is enough reason to purchase lanterns that effectively deal with getting wet during your outdoor adventure. Moreover, this feature helps your item to last for a long time.
- Warranty – Manufacturers who offer warranties for their products assure us that what they are selling is free from any form of defects. Some lanterns have warranties that could tell you about their quality.
What do I use?
We have tried quite a few lanterns in our time and to be honest, we have a Coleman battery powered lantern that works a treat. It runs on 4 x D sized batteries which can be a bit cumbersome however it is portable and can be set on a table or hung from a hook.
It is versatile and can handle being knocked off the table onto the ground (which happens) as well as being rained on (which also has happened). This lantern can be viewed in the video above.
My three recommendations broken down
So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:
1. Vont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern
My first product recommendation is affordable, durable, and dependable. Its 30 LED light design provide 360 degrees of light whilst being able to handle anything that camping can throw at it. Its 90 hour battery life means is a plus as well. See its specifications below:
- Brand: Vont
- Light source: LED
- Lumens: 140 lm
- Power source: 6x AA Battery
- Dimensions: 3.4 x 3.4 x 4.8 inches
- Weight: 7.6 ounces
- Adjustable lantern height
- Foldable handle
- Button-free opening
Why have I chosen it?
This camping lantern is the perfect option for family camping due to its durability and all round lighting ability. As you adjust its height, you are also adjusting its brightness, which leads to lighting efficiency and the long battery life means it can run all night. The product was made using military-grade materials and can withstand the demanding environments typical to camping.
2. LE LED Camping Lantern
This next portable lantern is a favorite among backpackers due to its easy-to-carry feature, rechargeable battery and multi use capabilities. It also comes with a built-in power bank for phone charging etc. as well. See its specifications below:
- Brand: LE
- Light source: LED
- Lumens: 500 lm
- Power source: Built-in rechargeable 2600mAh 18650 battery
- Dimensions: 6.61 x 3.23 x 3.54 inches
- Weight: 5.74 ounces
- Built-in USB charging cable
- Comfortable handle
- 6 light modes and dimming capabilities
- 360° and 180° of range
Why have I chosen this?
Whether you are traveling light, or just want a decent light for camping, then you could do worse than this one. It is compact and lightweight that it will fit into your backpack’s bottle holder. It also has multiple lighting modes with a maximum brightness of 500 lm and can work as a torch when is handy when searching for lost things in your campsite or lighting a dark trail.
3. IODOO Portable LED Camping Lantern
The final product I recommend has high lumens and long battery life running for up to 32 hours straight. It is durable, dust proof, shockproof, and waterproof making it perfect for camping of all types. See its specifications below:
- Brand: Iodoo
- Light source: LED
- Lumens: 3000 lm
- Power source: 3 x lithium-ion batteries 20000mAh rechargeable batteries
- Dimensions: 2.52 x 7.76 x 6.93 inches
- Weight: 17.6 ounces
- IPX4 Waterproof
- Adjustable suspension rope
- Two magnets or hook for hanging
- Inbuilt power bank
- 2 light modes and dimming feature
Why have I chosen this?
The last portable lantern provides you with extravagant lighting thanks to its 3000 lumens maximum brightness. It is highly waterproof with an adjustable suspension rope that enables the lantern to be hung indoors or out. Alternatively, you can use the two magnets to attach it to any metal, such as to a tent pole or the side of your car or van. The product is a solid portable light and an excellent choice for night camping.
There you have it my 3 best lanterns for camping to light your way this year. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences with them.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time