From lighting up the campsite to finding your way inside the tent, a camping lantern is irreplaceable when spending time outdoors. In this article, you’re going to read about the best camping lanterns for various uses and situations, and find out how they can improve your camping experience.
Choosing a lantern isn’t just about getting one that looks best. Several factors play important roles in this decision – size, weight, power source, battery life, and, of course, brightness.
We paid close attention to all of these when reviewing our products, making sure that they can provide bright and reliable light. Additionally, if you’re interested in how to recognize a well-made lantern, don’t miss out on the buying guide below.
How To Choose A Camping Lantern – Buying Guide
When choosing a lantern, you have two power options – electricity and fuel. While each has its upsides, electric (battery-powered) lanterns are more common among the best lanterns for camping because they are much cleaner and easier to use.
Batteries: Depending on the model, lanterns can use either rechargeable or disposable batteries. Rechargeables are convenient (no replacing), but you can charge them in the middle of the forest. This is why campers that go on multi-day camping trips often choose models that use replaceable batteries.
Fuel: Much more common in the past, gas lanterns have slowly been abandoned. While they are bright and very reliable (work in cold conditions), they require a lot of preparation when lighting and emit fumes that can be harmful if used inside a tent.
Size and Weight
For the sake of packing and transportation, the lantern shouldn’t be too large or heavy. With all the other gear you’re bringing, the lantern is the last thing you want taking up too much space.
From this aspect, best camp lanterns weigh less than a pound and aren’t longer or wider than 5 inches. Unfortunately, a smaller lantern also usually means a weaker light source, so you’ll have to find a balance between acceptable size and performance.
Lumens And Light Output
When browsing through lanterns, you’ll always see their light output represented in lumens. Depending on how you’ll use the camping lamp, a higher number of lumens isn’t always better.
For reference, a normal house bulb has around 800 lumens. While this might be nice for the campsite, it might be too bright for using inside the tent. Luckily, most modern lanterns allow you to adjust the light intensity. Also, keep in mind that the battery will drain much faster if you crank it to the highest setting.
Going from one model to the other, the light duration they provide varies significantly. This mostly depends on the power source that a particular campsite light is using.
With all the benefits they give you, lanterns with rechargeable batteries have the shortest light duration. LEDs can draw a lot of power if used on high, so most of these can’t last a full day on a single charge.
As for models that use disposable batteries, this depends on the type of batteries and the light output. Based on the model, these tend to last between 30 and 90 hours.
Ease Of Use
Most camping lanterns are generally very easy to use, especially if you get an electric model. If you get a gas light for camping, it will take some time to light it up, but it’s still fairly easy once you get the hang of it. Another important aspect to consider is how easy the lantern is to carry, as well as how easily you can replace the batteries or refill the fuel.
While they are not packed with features as some other camping gear, lanterns can still have some very useful additions. From the functionality standpoint, we really like it if the lantern has a handle, a hanging hook, and a stable base.
Another great feature is the USB charging option that is available on many models that use rechargeable batteries. They come equipped with a standard 1.5V USB port in which you can plug a cable and charge your smartphone in emergencies.
Cost Of Operation
Depending on the type of lantern you pick, it’s going to be more or less budget-friendly to use. The cheapest option you can get is an electric lantern with a rechargeable battery. It doesn’t use much power when charging, and you won’t have big running costs.
On the other side of the spectrum are electric LED lanterns with disposable batteries. Even with the improved technology, stronger lanterns will chew through them very quickly, so you’ll probably spend a lot on batteries. Somewhere in the middle are gas-powered lanterns, whose costs depend on the type of fuel and lamp power.
Q: How To Maintain Camping Lanterns?
One of the biggest benefits of electric lanterns is that they don’t require a lot of maintenance. If you have a model with disposable batteries, you’ll have to change them from time to time.
Additionally, if the light bulb dies, you might need to replace it (happens very rarely with LED lights). Other than that, you should only wipe the lantern down after use.
Q: How Often Should I Clean My Lantern?
Ideally, you should clean your lantern after every trip, before you store it away. This way, it will be ready to use the next time. However, if you use a moist cloth, always let the lantern completely dry before you pack it.
Q: What Are Lumens?
Lumens are units that represent the quantity of visible light emitted by a light source (a lantern in this case). In other words, it’s a reflection of the amount of light you’ll be able to see. The more lumens a lantern has, the brighter it’s going to be.
Q: How Many Lumens Do I Need?
This depends on how you plan to use the lantern. If you need the light up a whole campsite, you should look for a powerful lantern with at least 600 lumens. On the other hand, if you need a tent light, you can go with something less powerful. In either case, it’s best if the lantern is adjustable (has several light levels).
Q: Are Camping Lanterns Safe?
Yes, camping lanterns are extremely safe these days, especially the electric ones that use LED bulbs (no danger of burning anything). Even the fuel-powered models come with many safety features that prevent any accidents from happening.
Q: How To Light A Lantern For Camping?
If you have an electric lantern, all you need to do is flip the switch (obviously). If you have a gas lantern, there are a few extra steps to the process. After you’ve poured the fuel inside, you need to pressurize the lantern (pump the small lever about 20-30 times).
Then, light up a lighter or a match and put it in the little hole until the lantern catches fire inside. Use the knob on the side to adjust the intensity or to put it out.
Globo Surf Overview
Unless you enjoy stumbling in the dark around the campsite, a camping lantern needs to be on your gear list. Like we’ve said, camping lights can make things a lot more enjoyable both in and out of the tent.
We hope that our list has helped you find what you were looking for, so that you can extend your evenings and shine a new light on your adventures.