10 Best Camping Lanterns | March 2017

10 Best Camping Lanterns
Best Mid-Range
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Best High-End
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Best Inexpensive
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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Shine a light on your next outdoor excursion with one of these camping lanterns. Today's models offer reliability, multi-functionality, and all kinds of features, from basic to pretty nifty. Because most people don’t like fire hazards and exploding tents, we’ve omitted gas models in favor of energy-efficient LED options that run on various power sources. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best camping lantern on Amazon.
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Although the Nebo WeatherRite 5949 isn’t showy or packed with features, you shouldn’t discount its effectiveness. It’s water resistant, with a hardy rubber and ABS bottom that impedes sliding, and it gives you three lumen choices: 270, 610, or flashing 610.
  • uses six d-cell batteries
  • cone-shaped reflector
  • glow-in-the-dark on-off button
Brand NEBO
Model 5949
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
9
The Xtreme Bright Hiking and Camping collapses down to a super-compact 2 inches in height, instantly converting from a lantern to a flashlight. Useful for illuminating a trail or tent interior, it weighs in at an impressively portable 3 ounces.
  • comes in bold colors
  • runs on three aa batteries
  • materials feel a little flimsy
Brand Xtreme Bright
Model HL852
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
8
With a lifetime warranty and a rugged construction, the Rayovac SE3DLNACOM Sportsman is a sturdy choice that has a 15-meter beam distance, 3-foot impact resistance, and 4-watt LED. And don’t worry about losing it — it has a blinking green LED that functions in "off" mode.
  • trusted and well-established company
  • fair quality for the price
  • battery changes can be tricky
Brand Rayovac
Model SE3DLND
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
7
Cute and space-saving, the Black Diamond Moji emits a maximum of 100 lumens through its frosted globe. If this is too bright, you can use the dimming switch to adjust the light or the collapsible hanging loop to suspend it. You'll need three AAA batteries to power it.
  • available in a range of colors
  • can handle water immersion
  • dimming function isn't intuitive
Brand Black Diamond
Model BD620711BLYLALL1
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
6
The Etekcity Upgraded LED works as a power bank that’s compatible with most of your go-to devices, including phones and tablets. Since it can run the lantern on three AA batteries while two 18650 batteries juice up your gear, you won’t have to sacrifice one for the other.
  • ipx5 water resistant
  • red mode preserves night vision
  • feet are both rubber and magnetic
Brand Etekcity
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
5
A solid choice for emergency preparedness, the AGPtek Dynamo offers five power options: three AA batteries, solar, hand crank, AC adapter, and car adapter. You’ll be able to choose between two brightness modes, too, and it even has a universal USB charging port.
  • low charge indicated by red light
  • doesn't need much cranking
  • shorter lifespan than similar items
Brand AGPtEK
Model pending
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
Consider the Coleman Quad for family trips. Not only is it extremely bright at 190 lumens, but it also separates into four panels that provide 47.5 lumens each for individual quick treks. When a panel needs recharging, pop it back on the battery-powered base.
  • snaps together easily
  • lifetime leds require no replacing
  • heavier than comparable items
Brand Coleman
Model 2000024041
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
3
Multi-day excursions suit the MPowerd Luci, since it will operate for 12 hours on a single 7-hour solar charge. It’s also highly portable; when deflated, this durable unit is just 1 inch tall. Three settings will ensure that you have the lighting conditions you need.
  • fully waterproof
  • sleek shatterproof design
  • one-year warranty included
Brand MPOWERD
Model 0402
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
If you’re okay with a somewhat subdued 29 lumens, then you’ll be able to use the Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day for, you guessed it, 30 days. At 300 lumens, the high setting, you’ll get 32 hours from the required three D-cell batteries.
  • rubberized housing
  • hanging hook on base
  • comes in silver or orange or black
Brand UST
Model 20-PL20C3D-Parent
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
Also called The Siege, the Streamlight 44931 presents a range of practical details, including integrated D-rings at the top and bottom, a red SOS flashing mode, an ergonomic handle, and, when its outer globe is in place, the ability to float.
  • made to be impact resistant
  • polycarbonate lenses
  • illuminates a large area
Brand Streamlight
Model 44931
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Ideas For Establishing An Ideal Campsite

Whether you are setting up a bivouac to get you through a cold night in the midst of a mountain climbing expedition or you are establishing a campsite for your family to enjoy for a week of relaxation in the woods or by the river, a proper campsite should provide you a few basic creature comforts at the minimum. And it should feel like a home away from home whenever possible.

Your campsite helps you to meet one of the most important basic needs for survival, which are generally described as water, food, and -- the operative in this case -- shelter. A campsite offers you a place to take refuge from the rain or to stay warm when the temperature drops or cold winds blow. It is a place to rest in relative comfort and it is a place you and your traveling companions share, so that a sense of security is developed.

And of course a campsite is the spot where those who love being outdoors in nature have some of the most enjoyable times of their lives. It's a good idea to minimize the amount of work you need to do other than enjoying your campsite and your camping companions by taking the time to establish a good campsite as early as possible. The first order of business is always establishing your shelter, so set up your tent (or scope out your cabin) as soon as you arrive; there's no telling when the weather may change.

Next, establish a reliable source of water; whether that means taking stock of the water you brought along or identifying a stream, lake, or spring from which you can draw and then purify water. Then you should figure out where you will do your cooking and, if need be, set up your camp stove, and organize your food stores, which often means tucking them into an animal proof canister and placing the food a good distance away from your camp.

Finally you should make sure you have at least two reliable sources of light. Once the sun has set, you will be dependent on yourself for any illumination beyond the pale light of the moon and stars, so make sure you have good devices at the ready, complete with backup batteries charged. One of the best combinations of light to use at a campsite is a headlamp that offers both a flood and beam option and a camping lantern that can fill a tent or an outdoor area with a plethora of light.

And remember, a great campsite is one where all your needs can be met as easily as possible, yet that is free of most of the clutter of our normal everyday lives. When possible, it's a good idea to leave behind (or at least leave switched off) the phones, computers, and other devices that dominate life on a daily basis and simply enjoy the great outdoors.

Camping Lanterns For The Static Campsite

If you are setting up a campsite that will base your base of operations -- as opposed to a site you will use for one night then break down and continue on your way -- then you have a wide latitude when it comes to choosing the right camping lantern. Especially if you are reaching your campsite by car, canoe, or after only a short overland hike, weight is not much of an issue, so go ahead and consider a large, bright lantern. Even one requiring a separate power source, such as liquid fuel or batteries, is a fine option when you don't have to worry about weight.

And in fact though solar lanterns tend to be lighter in weight and require no energy source other than sunlight, these benefits might not outweigh the drawbacks such options face in a fixed camping location. While many solar charged lanterns glow brightly for a few hours, few will last throughout a night, while many gasoline or battery powered lanterns can burn for hours on end without the need for refueling or new batteries. Camping lanterns that use liquid fuel or batteries also tend to be brighter than solar powered lanterns, making them good for illuminating larger areas.

If you are looking for a camping lantern that you will use in your tent, consider one that can hang from the top of the tent illuminating the whole "indoor" area. And do take note that fuel burning options are not viable for use in a tent. These lanterns are safe and put out minimal fumes and almost zero smoke, but are still not safe for the close confines of a tent. Using them in a larger cabin with decent ventilation should be fine, as of course is outdoor use.

A Camping Lantern For The Hiker

When you are carrying your gear on your back, every ounce matters. Fortunately, there are many camping lanterns out there that weigh only a few ounces. Some of the lightest weight lanterns available are solar charged options with LED bulbs. These lanterns tend to provide many hours of light, provided they have been able to charge for many hours in direct sunlight. If you can clip your lantern to the exterior of your pack during the day's hike, then they may be viable.

Some of the most compact but bright camping lanterns available run off of AAA batteries, which add minimal weight as long as you are only going for a two or three day trek. Add many more days to your journey, and the weight of the batteries will start to add up, though.

Your and your team are establishing campsites simply as places to eat, sleep, and shelter along the way of a longer journey, then ultimately a lightweight solar camping lantern is your best bet. Chances are that you won't be spending long hours sitting around reading or chatting anyway, as sleep will be imperative for a successful journey the next day, so even if your lantern only provides a few hours of light, you'll be turning it off before that long each night anyway.



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Last updated on March 16, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.


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