Are you thinking of buying a camping lantern but aren’t sure which one is best? Camping lanterns keep your campsite illuminated for nighttime activities, provide light inside your tent or RV, and help keep you visible and safe while walking around the campground after dark.
Camping lanterns come in many styles, shapes, and sizes. So, to help you save time, we took it upon ourselves to review the models with the top ratings and highlight our top picks right here.
So, if you’re ready to upgrade your camping experience, stay right here to learn which are the five best camping lanterns and see why they stand out for making camping adventures safer and more enjoyable.
Important Camping Lantern Features
the 5 best camping lanterns are not all the same. Models vary drastically in terms of brightness, price, weight, function, and what type of power source they require.
Here are some different features to look for in a camping lantern, so you can choose a model that fits your camping needs:
Camping lanterns will state how bright their model is by lumens. Lumens are the amount of light visible by the human eye. The higher the lumen rating, the more light a lantern will emit.
For gentle lighting inside a tent or RV or ambient campsite lighting, a lantern with lumens in the 25-100 range is ideal.
For general camp lighting or to be able to read at night, you’ll want a camping lantern with 200-500 lumens.
For intense lighting to clearly see while cooking outside or performing detailed tasks after dark, a lantern with 600-1000 lumens is what you need.
Another feature to look for is the type of light LED lanterns emit. Some LED bulbs emit a warm glow, while others can be a harsh blueish color that is hard on the eyes. Look for “daylight,” “soft,” or “warm” in the lantern light description if you want the light to be more soothing.
Type of Power the Lantern Needs to Operate
It would be best to consider what power source your camping lantern requires before you buy, as it impacts how easy you’ll find it to use over time.
Most portable camping lanterns run off rechargeable or disposable batteries, while some use liquid fuel like lamp oil or kerosene.
For lanterns that take disposable batteries, you don’t have to worry about being near a 110-volt outlet or carrying a power bank to keep it charged. On the downside, you need to continually purchase and dispose of expensive batteries and carry enough along on camping trips to ensure your light works the entire time.
Rechargeable camping lanterns are more convenient to use as long as you have a way to charge the batteries as they run down, which may mean you can’t take them along on a hiking trip without bringing a small power station or enough power banks, which are heavy.
There are some lanterns you can charge using a compact solar panel, which is ideal for off-grid camping as long as you are confident there’s going to be enough sunshine to do the job each day.
Liquid fuel camping lanterns are best for colder conditions, as batteries do not perform well in cooler temperatures. This type of lantern also emits a strong and steady light.
Liquid fuel is less expensive than batteries, but it does require more care to ensure the lantern doesn’t tip over, and a full tank makes the unit heavier to carry.
A great camping lantern will start by having a broad, flat base, so the unit sits on surfaces without tipping over.
However, the must-have feature on any camping lantern is a hook or handle of some sort so that you can hang it inside on a tent hook or from a tree branch or other support. Mounting a portable camping lantern up off the ground allows you to keep it safely out of the way, and it will illuminate a wider area.
A lantern that has legs is another nice feature that allows you to set it down while keeping the bottom of the unit clean and away from wet surfaces. Legs also provide more secure footing in sand or other loose soil because you can wiggle them down to grip the ground.
Adjustable Light Level
When possible, look for a lantern that offers adjustable light levels, so you can use it for general lighting and as a soft night light.
Many LED lanterns have other cool lighting features, such as various color options, which can enhance the vibe around the campsite. Other lantern models may offer a flashing or strobing function that you can use in emergency situations.
More light-adjusting options will make a camping lantern extra functional, which is always a good thing.
You’ll want to ensure the lantern will operate as long as you need it to before it runs out of power, so look for how many hours the manufacturer states it will work on each “fill.”
Please read the fine print about run time, as we found many models highlight a large number on the box but then indicate that it is only when run on the lowest brightness setting.
Whether fuel or battery-operated, most lanterns will work on the highest setting for 4-20 hours, with much longer run times if you lower the brightness level.
It’s always a smart move to test out the lantern at home before a camping trip, so you know precisely what run time to expect from the unit. The last thing you want to worry about is fumbling about in the dark to replace or charge batteries or refill a fuel tank.
5 Best Camping Lanterns
1. UST 60-Day Duro
Max Run Time: 41 hours on high/60 days on low (20 lumens)
Power Source: D alkaline batteries
Size: 5.1 x 9.5 x 4.8 inches
Weight: 3.1 lbs
If you want plenty of light with a conveniently long runtime, then you need the UST 60-Day Duro camping lantern.
We love the abundant light this LED lantern puts out on the max setting, but it’s easily adjustable to create wonderful ambient lighting around the campsite. The bottom features an integrated hook so you can hang it, and you can remove the globe for more compact and direct lighting.
- Extremely long runtime
- Super bright on high setting
- Integrated carry handle and hanging hook
- Adjustable light levels and emergency SOS strobing
- Impact and weather-resistant (IPX4) housing
UST 60-Day Duro (Video)
2. Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern with USB Power Hub
Max Run Time: 2.5 hours on high/320 hours on low
Power Source: Rechargeable batteries
Size: 4.49 x 5 x 6.5 inches
Weight: 1.1 lbs
The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern is one of the 5 best camping lanterns to choose from if you’re looking for a one-and-done LED camping lantern.
The lantern can recharge via a 110-volt power source or optional solar panel through the included USB cord in about six hours, or you can use the hand crank to generate ten minutes of light output for every minute of cranking.
We love how you can use the USB port to charge your phone or other devices in a pinch. We also like the overall size and features, such as the handle/hook and the flip-down legs that keep the lantern stable and off dirty or wet surfaces.
- Lightweight and compact
- Battery life indicator
- Three ways to recharge the battery
- Multidirectional and adjustable light
- Water/weather resistant
- Various mounting options
Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern with USB Power Hub (Video)
3. Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern
Lumens: 861 on high
Max Run Time: 7 hours on high/ 14 hours on low
Power Source: Coleman liquid fuel or unleaded gasoline
Size: 16 x 14 x 7 inches
Weight: 1 pound
The Coleman Premium Dual Fuel camping lantern is a classic that emits adjustable soft lighting with plenty of lumens to illuminate large areas on the highest setting.
We love the seven-hour runtime on a single tank of fuel, and this model comes with a hard carry case to protect it during storage and transport. The build is rock-solid, but be aware this is a larger, heavier, and less portable camping lantern than others.
- Dual fuel options
- Excellent cold-weather performance
- Carry handle/hanging hook
- Adjustable light levels
- Weather resistant
Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern (Video)
4. Ledlenser ML6 Lantern
Max Run Time: 4 hours on high/70 hours on low
Power Source: Rechargeable batteries
Size: 3.39 x 2.56 x 7.87 inches
Weight: 9.9 ounces
The Ledlenser ML6 Lantern is ultra-reliable and delivers incredible light coverage with its LED Micro Prism Technology. that’s why it’s one of The 5 Best Camping Lanterns available.
We love the glare-free light and impressive amount of run time on the highest setting. We also appreciate the streamlined design that makes it easy to set on small surfaces or hang indoors or out and that you can use it to charge your cell phone or other electronic devices.
- Works to charge small electronic devices/phone
- Integrated magnet for metal surfaces
- Five-hour recharge
- Adjustable light level and settings (SOS, etc.)
- Water/weather resistant
Ledlenser ML6 Lantern (Video)
5. Black Diamond Moji
Max Run Time: 70 hours on low
Power Source: AAA alkaline batteries
Weight: 3 ounces
The Black Diamond Moji is a compact and lightweight and one of The 5 best camping lanterns ideal for tenters and hikers. The soft glow is sufficiently bright enough to illuminate a tent, RV, or bathhouse interior and works well to light up a picnic table for eating or games after dark.
We all agree one lantern won’t provide enough light to cover an entire campsite, but we love that it easily fits in a backpack and can withstand total immersion in water without damage. The brightness is also ideal for reading.
At this price, we think buying several is the best solution to gain entire camp lighting and give individual tents a unit to take inside when it’s time for bed.
- Ultra-lightweight and compact
- Waterproof (IPX4 rating)
- Adjustable brightness
- A frosted globe emits a soft light
- Fold-down hanging loops
Black Diamond Moji (Video)
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Camping Lantern Wrap Up
Camping and RVing are more fun when you can enjoy activities after dark. With the right camping lantern, you’ll have the perfect lighting for all your nighttime camping tasks so you can perform them safely.
We hope you check out our top five camping lanterns above. Each model offers convenient features like adjustable brightness, long run time, ease of use, and durable construction that make them an excellent value!
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