12 Best Camping Lanterns of 2017
Because most of us live in cities we’ve lost track of just how dark it can get at night. But if you’ve ever spent any time camping in the great outdoors you know. At 3am in the woods it gets so dark you literally can’t see your hand in front of your face. Because of this the camping lantern you take with you on your outdoor adventures is crucial to a happy outcome. It ensures people aren’t tripping over the tent, that a quick visit to the outhouse doesn’t result in someone getting lost and that meals after sunset don’t end with food on the ground that could attract wildlife.
It can be frustrating shopping for a camping lantern online because you aren’t able to try them out before you buy one. So we’ve done the research for you and below are the results: our choices for the 12 best camping lanterns on the market today.
Best Camping Lanterns (Our Top Picks):
LEDs have revolutionized not only residential and commercial lighting but camping lanterns as well. Today they’re the fastest growing segment of the camping lantern industry and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. The Streamlight 44931 Siege Lantern may have an ominous name but the results it produces are beyond reproach. The Siege uses C4 LED technology to produce brilliant white or red light, has 5 output modes and is powered by alkaline batteries.
The Siege will crank out 340 lumens and there’s a flashing red SOS mode should you need it. If you want to create a softer atmosphere use the polycarbonate cover. The Siege is also truly waterproof and will float with that cover in place. It will even keep working if submerged under a foot of water. The Siege from Streamlight is the kind of camping lantern most outdoor enthusiasts will wonder how they ever lived without.
- Continues to operate when fully submerged.
- Polycarbonate lens is shock resistant.
- Place it on the picnic table, hang it from a branch or take it into the tent.
- The rubber base keeps it stable.
- With those flashlight batteries in place it can be heavy.
Coleman Twin LED
Coleman pretty much invented the camping lantern many years ago and while there is still a case to be made for fuel-driven camping lamps the company has seen the writing on the wall and jumped into the LED camping lantern market with both feet. Their Twin LED Camping Lantern boasts a classic profile and pumps out an impressive 390 lumens when set on high. It’s also weather resistant so you don’t have to worry if it’s hanging out in the rain for a while.
The Coleman Twin LED Camping Lantern provides 300 hours of illumination when set to low which is more than most people would need if they camped for a month straight. The Twin has a rubber base and 7 different settings. On high it will create an effective circle of light nearly 10 meters in diameter. Since the Twin’s LED lamps generate no heat it’s also perfectly safe to bring it into the tent.
- Fully adjustable to numerous brightness settings.
- Won’t overheat and endanger your tent.
- 390 lumens will illuminate a circle more than 60’ in diameter.
- Runs on standard flashlight batteries.
- Using the ‘high’ setting will drain the batteries after 85 hours.
LED Camping Lantern
Sometimes having 1 camping lantern just isn’t enough. You want one in the tent, one on the picnic table, one to take with you to the latrine and a spare one for whatever comes up. Enter the MalloMe LED Camping Lantern 4 pack. Each lamp produces a robust 146 lumens of LED light and it’s likely you’ll find numerous applications for these camping lanterns around the homestead.
These MalloMe LED camping lights are far more than just a curiosity, they’re full bore wilderness illumination units that will also find myriad applications around the house whether you’re working on the car, cleaning out the basement or just keeping the lights on during a power outage. They collapse down quickly and easily for storage and are powered by 3 common AA batteries. Should the rain start to fall don’t worry as the MalloMe camping lamps will stand up to normal precipitation.
- 4 high quality LED camping lamps for use in the wild and around the house.
- Made from durable ABS plastic.
- Weather resistant so they can be used in the rain or snow.
- Collapses down for easy storage.
- Might need to use 2 to light the whole campsite.
Bigfoot Outdoor Products
The Bigfoot Solar Camping Lantern is something of a revelation to environmentally conscious outdoor types. With its ability to take a charge either through the USB hookup or the discreet solar panel it’s perfect for those who don’t like the idea of having to lug heavy, short life alkaline batteries with them into the woods. You’ll get up to 30 minutes of light for every hour you leave the camping lantern exposed to the sun.
What if you could power your outdoor lantern by simply hanging it from the outside of your backpack while you made your way through the wild? The Bigfoot Solar Camping Lantern allows you to do just that. You’ll never again be burdened by having heavy packages of batteries or dangerous lantern fuel in your bag, nor will you have to lug a big heavy standard size lantern around either. Enjoy up to 63 lumens of high quality LED light from a full charge of this rechargeable camping lantern.
- Full 10 hours of battery life when fully charged.
- Use it to power your mobile devices.
- Compact size makes it an ideal deep woods companion.
- High, low and SOS modes available.
- So compact you may misplace it if you don’t keep it tethered to your pack.
Etekcity 2 Pack Portable Outdoor LED
The Etekcity Outdoor LED Camping Lantern brings the lumens where you need them at the campsite on the trail or around the house when you’re engaged in car or home repairs or maintenance. They’re also great to have on the deck or on the patio after dark during your big holiday celebrations. They can be set securely on just about any surface or hung via the collapsible handles from branches or rope.
The Etekcity Outdoor LED Camping Lantern comes as a 2-pack which is a good thing because they’re not very bright individually. What they are however is convenient as all get-out, lightweight even with the batteries installed, and genuinely weatherproof so you don’t have to panic if it starts to rain. With a full complement of batteries you’ll get about 12 hours of clear LED light. They’re perfect to take inside the tent to read a good book while the coyotes bay at the moon from the ridge.
- Activated by unfolding the handles.
- Can be used for a variety of outdoor and residential applications.
- Make an ideal addition to your car’s emergency kit.
- Powered by 6 AA batteries.
- “Military Grade” durability may be a questionable claim.
Coleman Quad LED
The Quad LED Lantern from Coleman is less camping lantern than it is serious illumination tool. Nothing about it says ‘backwoods’ and yet when you take it there you’ll have all the high quality LED light you need to perform your after dark chores, secure the camp for the night or make trips to the latrine. The Quad is broken up into 4 panels that can be popped off and carried away to illuminate tasks like setting up the inside of the tent while others clean the pots and pans.
This is the real deal when it comes to versatile, effective, safe outdoor illumination. Because the LED lights produce no heat it’s perfectly safe to bring the unit into the tent. If there are multiple tents in your party each can take an individual panel and everyone is happy. The unit as a whole is weatherproof so you’ll be safe in the rain. One of the many great aspects of the Quad camping lantern is that once the individual panels are snapped back into place they automatically recharge.
- Use all 4 panels together or pop them off and have 4 separate lights.
- Panels recharge when snapped back into the base.
- 190 lumens of total light.
- Effective range of 8 meters.
- With 8 flashlight batteries on board this thing gets hea-vy.
Among LED lights the AYL StarLight Camping Lantern may be the brightest camping lantern on the market and will provide up to 600 lumens of LED light for your outdoor activities. Unlike some outdoor lanterns that are little more than big night lights the AYL StarLight Camping Lantern is made to be used outdoors. Also, if you’re in the woods for a long weekend and only have a single set of batteries with you don’t worry; you’ll get up to 6 nights of LED light from those batteries.
The designers of this lamp understood that when you’re in the deep woods light is your most important resource. As such you can use it to illuminate your whole site or bring it into the tent so you can read while in your sleeping bag. If your car breaks down the StarLight will provide a no-nonsense emergency light that will make sure you’re safe until help arrives. All in all a versatile, high energy camping lamp.
- Rock solid, stable and sturdy.
- Water resistant and shockproof.
- High, low and SOS modes.
- An incredible 600 lumens of light.
- The lens looks a bit plasticky.
Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow
The next item on our list is a true classic. The Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow Lantern. The PerfectFlow is propane powered and extremely bright at nearly 1000 lumens. A single 16 oz propane tank will provide 7 hours of flat out operation. If flat out isn’t required you have the option of dimming the light level to your heart’s content. The whole apparatus sits firmly atop the customized 4-footed base and can be transported from location to location via the top handle.
This is an updated version of the classic Coleman propane camping lantern and one that is bound to occupy pride of place in your campground. The control knob works as a defacto dimmer switch providing you with optimal control over light levels. If you run it on low you’ll get as many as 14 hours of use from a single propane canister. It’s hard to argue with either the very stable, extremely effective design or the fact that the PerfectFlow will light the bejeezus out of your campsite.
- Output is completely adjustable.
- PerfectFlow regulation means you have a nice even light all night.
- Highly durable construction.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- No denying it’s bulkier than most LED camping lanterns.
Hillmax Camping Lantern
The general consensus here was that the Hillmax Camping Lantern could use a bit of work in the design department but there was also a consensus that it’s an outstanding camping lamp no matter what it looks like. On the whole the HillMax LED camping lantern is extremely portable and very efficient. Whether you’re a hunter, camper, climber or even auto repair technician you’ll appreciate the compact size and bright light the HillMax brings to the table.
This is a very reliable, lightweight, easily to carry piece of camping kit. It sports the classic barrel design of most camping lamps and can be either hung or set flat. The fact that you can power the HillMax with either AA or AAA batteries is a major plus from a convenience standpoint and the ability to adjust it to either cool light or warm light settings also gives it a leg up on the competition.
- The HillMax utilizes innovative LED strips.
- Powered by either AA or AAA batteries.
- Can emit either cool or warm light.
- Can emit either cool or warm light.
- 100 lumens is good but not great.
With innovate COB (chip on board) LED technology a compact size and light weight this 2-pack of Raniaco LED camping lanterns will keep your campsite safe through the darkest night and fulfill a multitude of other functions ranging from auto repair to home security during blackouts as well. The COB technology means the lights will actually last longer than standard LED bulbs and they’ll be easier on the batteries as well.
The fact that you get 2 outstanding leading-edge camping lanterns for basically the price of one makes this a value proposition no dedicated outdoor enthusiast can afford to ignore. These are tough, light, effective portable lanterns that will do just as good a job lighting up the deck or patio on those lazy summer nights as they’ll do keeping you company in your tent.
- Fabricated using tough ABS plastic.
- Collapses down into a very manageable size.
- A pair of these is all you need to keep your campsite, patio or deck well lit.
- Handles fold away discreetly until needed.
- No rubber footing.
E-TRENDS Portable LED
E-Trends takes a different approach to LED camping lights with their Portable LED Lantern & Tent Light. While the inverted light bulb design may look a bit gimmicky they’re actually well-constructed and bright as can be. They’re also energy efficient, water resistant and light so you can bring 2 in your backpack and hardly know they’re there. These handy LED camping lanterns can be hooked just about anywhere and use 3 AAA batteries.
Well built, bright and easy to take with you the E-Trends Portable LED Lantern & Tent Light is the kind of kit that can make a real difference on your next camping trip. The kids are going to love having these hanging in their tent and you’re going to love how easy they are to carry around. You’ll also love the ability to dim them as you see fit.
- Each lamp generates 150 lumens of clean LED light.
- Water resistant so they won’t fail when the weather turns foul.
- Bright 360 degree light can be dimmed to your liking.
- Bright 360 degree light can be dimmed to your liking.
Suaoki LED Camping Lantern
Bringing up the rear on this best lantern list is the Suaoki LED Camping Lantern. Like the Bigfoot Solar Camping Lantern reviewed above the Suaoki can be effectively recharged by leaving it out in the sun and by doing so, it frees you from having to tote around propane or a mass of alkaline batteries. A unique feature of this solar camping lantern is the smart chip that protects against overcharging or excessive discharging.
Charge the Suaoki rechargeable camping lantern either via the USB port or using the built in solar panel. Hook it to the MOLLE straps of your backpack alongside your tomahawk and you’re ready for whatever comes down the trail. The solar power system at work here is compact and effective and represents a real breakthrough in everyday camping technology.
- 1 hour of solar charging provides up to 30 minutes of light.
- Can generate up to 65 lumens.
- 3 lighting modes: high, low and SOS.
- Can be used to recharge your mobile devices.
- It’s inexpensive and looks like it.
Camping Lantern Buying Guide:
There are all types of things to consider when buying a camping lantern. Here are some of the most common.
Gas or battery – There are those who swear by gas powered camping lanterns and others who gladly gave theirs to their brother in law when LED lanterns came along. The case against gas powered is that the camping lanterns can be cumbersome and you’re carrying volatile gas in your backpack. The case against batteries is that they’re batteries.
Type of batteries required – Flashlight batteries are more expensive and heavy than AA or AAA batteries which is something to consider if you’re hiking a long way.
Brightness – If you want the outdoor lantern to illuminate your entire campground you’re going to want a propane camping lantern or one of the more powerful (600 lumens and up) LED lamps.
Light duration – How long the camping lantern will operate on a full charge, full tank of fuel or new set of batteries is crucial. Obviously the longer the better.
Size – Generally the larger the camping lantern the less appropriate it will be on long treks.
Types of Camping Lanterns
Battery powered – The battery operated lantern has been around a while but has become increasingly popular following the advent of affordable LED technology. Today they’re the fastest growing segment of the outdoor lantern market.
Fuel powered camping lanterns – There are a number of different types of fuel powered camping lanterns including:
- Propane – Propane powered camping lanterns enjoyed widespread popularity in the past and are still very popular mainly because you have more precise control over the amount of light and they shine like the sun if that’s what you want.
- Butane – Butane powered lanterns are not huge sellers because they don’t always perform well in cold weather. They do have the advantage of lighter fuel canisters than propane and they’re typically self-igniting.
- Kerosene – Kerosene lanterns are old-school at its best. Typically made of metal with a heavy glass lens they can weigh quite a bit. On the other hand you have a lot of control and they’re very dependable.
Wind ups – Wind up lanterns use a crank system to charge a battery that powers what are typically LED lights. They’re great because they never run out of power.
Solar – The solar powered rechargeable lantern is a favorite of environmentalists seeking a more sustainable way. The only drawback is the obvious one: cloudy days.
We hope you found the above camping lantern reviews helpful in determining which is the best camping lantern for you. Be sure to stop by on a regular basis for informative product reviews from the experts at GearHungry.