5 Best Camping Lanterns (2022)
A good, reliable camping lantern is one of the most essential pieces of camping equipment you should include in your list. Yes, doing everything by the light of the moon or the illumination you get from your campfire might sound romantic and very “survivalist,” but it isn’t very practical.
Another wonderful option would be to use a flashlight which is also very essential when you are out there in the wild. The only problem is that the illumination from your flashlight is very area-specific, making it quite narrow. Also, how easy is it to get two-handed tasks completed when you are constantly holding a flashlight in one hand?
The best camping lantern will not only provide you with light, but it will do so in a generous way. Not only are they easy to position as the best of them can simply be hung from a tree branch or placed on a tabletop, but they are also fairly safe.
Reviewed below are some of the best camping lanterns the market has to offer today. While there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution here, the options presented are specifically chosen to match the needs of a wide variety of campers and backpackers.
Read on to get the full review and recommendations.
Best Camping Lanterns – Winners
Check out our quick recommendations here, or keep scrolling for detailed reviews:
- Best Overall Camping Lantern: Lander Cairn XL Lantern
- Runner Up: Ledlenser ML6 Lantern
- Best Budget-Friendly Lantern: Black Diamond Moji Lantern
- Best Solar Lantern: Goal Zero Crush
- Best Backpacking Lantern: Wsky Led Camping Lantern
Best Overall Camping Lantern
- Max Lumens: 350 lumens
- Max Burn Time: 250 hours
- Power Source: Rechargeable battery
- Weight: 14.1 ounces
- Acts as a power bank to recharge your devices
- Can be App operated
- iOS and Android compatible
- 10,000 mAh of power
- Rugged and durable
- 350 lumens aren’t that much
The Lander Cairn XL Lantern is more than just a typical camping lamp. It’s a sophisticated device that doubles up as a power bank to keep your devices charged while you are out there in the wild. There are so many wonderful features that make this our top choice for the best overall camping lantern.
However, the most impressive of them all is the fact that it’s app operated. The app, called Lander, has a host of unique features that makes this one of the best camping lanterns on the market today. For example, the app offers you exemplary features such as a proximity setting.
With this setting on, the lamp will sense when your phone is out of range and automatically turn itself off to save power. It also has a “sleep timer” feature that allows you to set the lamp to go off after a specific period of time so that you don’t have to worry about running out of juice should accidentally doze off during the night.
Another outstanding feature of this lamp is that it has 10,000 mAh of power. Fitted with USB ports that allow for power out and power in, this lamp can fast charge your phone and a host of other handheld devices about twice or even four times as fast as normal, depending on their sizes.
In addition, because the battery pack is 10,000 mAh, the lamp offers about 250 hours of light and has five LED lights indicating battery levels to keep you informed.
- Max Lumens: 750 lumens
- Max Burn Time: 180 hours
- Power Source: Rechargeable battery
- Weight: 4.90 ounces
- 7-year guarantee
- 750 lumens
- 180 hours of light at minimum power
- Rugged and durable
- Multipurpose functionality as a power bank
- The charging cable is highly specific
With 750 lumens to offer, this Ledlenser ML6 Lantern is an excellent option for people who want a rechargeable camping lantern that is not only ultralight but also quite practical and efficient. Like most excellent camping equipment and accessories, this lantern is multipurpose.
It doubles as a portable power bank that can charge most of your handheld devices such as phones and cameras via a USB port when you are out in the wild. Easily rechargeable, this lantern is as long-lasting as it is convenient.
Even though it takes about 5 hours to fully recharge its batteries, it can give you up to 70 hours of light at below 20 lumens and about 4 hours of light at above 550 lumens. This means that you can get an astounding run time of 180 hours of light if you run the light at minimum power. This is an all-purpose outdoor camping lantern that uses Micro Prism Lens technology to offer you optimal light distribution that is glare-free and quite energy efficient.
Like most camping lanterns, this option is easily rechargeable through a USB port. The only problem here is that the charging cable is highly specific to this model. It’s a proprietary magnetic connector/USB cable. This means that you can’t charge it using any other micro or modern USB-C connector.
That is probably the biggest disadvantage with this lantern because if you lose or forget to bring this cable, you are stuck with nothing more than the number of light hours you have left in the battery.
Best Budget-Friendly Lantern
- Max Lumens: 100 lumens
- Max Burn Time: 70 hours
- Power Source: 3 AAA Battery
- Weight: 3 ounces
- 70 hours of ambient light
- Adjustable brightness
- TriplePower LED emits light with even distribution
- Rugged and durable
- Uses affordable AAA batteries
- Extremely affordable
- Not rechargeable
The Black Diamond Moji Lantern is a waterproof camping lantern that is all about portability. This lantern is both ultralight and efficient at only 3 ounces, including the 3 AAA batteries that power it. Yes, at 100 lumens of light, it might not be the brightest camping lantern on this list, but it’s certainly one of the most effective for people who love solo camping or even car camping trips.
It comes with a collapsible double-hook hang loop that can be attached to pretty much anything to provide you with a wide area of bright light. Speaking of brightness, the lamp comes with a dimming switch that allows you to easily adjust the lamp’s brightness and get more run time out of the batteries.
This compact travel lantern features 1 TriplePower LED that emits 100 lumens of ambient light with even distribution. Protected against accidental water immersion, this single-piece construction lamp is both rugged and waterproof. It’s ideal for campsites, car camping, and even tabletop use.
Best Solar Lantern
- Max Lumens: 60 lumens
- Max Burn Time: 35 hours
- Power Source: Solar
- Weight: 3.2 ounces
- 60 lumens
- Solar-powered and USB chargeable
- 35 hours of light on minimum power
- Six different color modes
- Doesn’t double as a power bank
If you have been looking to go green on your camping trips, then you might be interested in this solar-powered Goal Zero Crush. This is a highly collapsible solar camping lantern that offers you up to 35 hours of run time on low or minimum power and 60 lumens of illuminating light.
It’s a beautifully designed lamp that features a unique “candle flicker” mode, which is perfect for setting the right kind of ambiance when you are out in the woods. There’s more to this lamp than just illumination; it has a fun side too. Designed with six different color modes as well as a multi-color fade, this lamp can easily turn your campsite into a rave or a party.
As a solar-powered lantern, it’s extremely convenient to charge this lamp. All you have to do is crush it (collapsible) and leave it out in the sun for the built-in solar panel to charge. However, you can also charge it through a USB port via a micro USB cable included in the package.
Because it’s collapsible and weighs only 3.2 ounces, this lamp is quite portable and can be used in almost any camping environment.
Best Backpacking Lantern
- Max Lumens: 500 lumens
- Max Burn Time: 2.5 hours on batteries
- Power Source: Rechargeable battery and 3 AA batteries
- Weight: 49.4 ounces
- 360-degree illumination
- Rugged and durable built
- Magnetic base
- Two power sources
- It’s heavier than the other options here
The Wsky Led Camping Lantern has to be one of the best backpacking lanterns available in the market today. Upgraded with new LED bulbs, this lantern provides extremely bright light giving you 360-degree coverage whenever you turn it on.
Additionally, it comes with red strobe and red SOS flashlight modes that are ideal for emergencies. Designed with a rugged exterior and portability in mind, this rechargeable lantern is perfect for camping, dog walking, and night riding.
Made out of military-grade materials, this lamp is water-resistant and extremely durable. It comes with extra hooks and handles for convenient placement around the camp. You can hang it on branches, place on tabletops or even leave it on the ground.
Furthermore, it has a strong magnetic base that allows it to stick to any metal surface, making it perfect for almost any situation. Finally, t has two power sources: it comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that can easily be charged via the USB port (you get the USB charging cable with the package).
It can also run on 3 AA batteries (these aren’t included in the package). So in case, you can’t charge the lamp, you can extend its run time by bringing two AA batteries with you on your camping trip.
Camping Lantern Benefits
You might be asking yourself why you might need to buy a camping lantern? After all, you can use the light of the moon, the light from the campfire, or even the flashlight from your phone or an actual flashlight.
Yes, these are all viable illumination sources when you are out in the backcountry – some more reliable than others. However, having the best camping lantern by your side has a host of advantages.
Here are some reasons why you might want to double up on your sources of light by buying a rechargeable camping lantern.
Depending on the lantern you choose, you could have a light source that offers you a run time of more than 200 hours per charge. In many cases, when running on the lowest setting, these lamps can last even longer. This gives you the confidence that you will also have a light source whenever you are out there in the dark. That level of reliability can make your camping trips a lot more fun.
While flashlights are excellent for concentrated light, they don’t do a very good job as far as lighting a large space is concerned. Another thing, unless you have a headlamp, a flashlight will be rather inconvenient, especially when you want to do camping chores that require both hands.
LED lanterns are often bright, and the best of them can illuminate 360 degrees of any camping space. Couple that with the fact that they can also be placed on tabletops, on the ground, or even stuck on metal surfaces if they have a magnetic bottom and you have an extremely bright and convenient source of light.
Most lanterns are designed and built for tough. For the most part, they are waterproof, which makes them weatherproof. In any camping or backcountry setting, whenever you have a piece of equipment that can take anything the wilderness can throw at it and keep functioning, you have something that can help you get through the worst of it.
There are many other advantages, including affordability, portability, and the fact that some are solar-powered, making them effective, cheap to run, and good for the environment.
Types of Camping Lanterns
Just as there are different types of campers, hikers, and backpackers, there are different types of camping lanterns too. In this category, there are three main types:
These types of lanterns are all very similar in that they are powered by one type of electric source or another to power an LED bulb that acts as the light source. There are, however, some major differences between electric lanterns. These differences include:
- The electric power source
- How heavy they are
- How is the power source replenished?
You will find that electric lanterns are powered by:
- AA or AAA batteries
- Rechargeable batteries
- Direct connection to a third-party power source
As far as size is concerned, these lanterns can be small enough to fit in the palm of your hands or big enough to need their own space in your rucksack.
In many cases, you will find that alkaline batteries are the most popular power source for electric lanterns. This is mostly because these batteries are often very cheap, easy to find, and don’t weigh that much.
Also, depending on how you use the lantern, these batteries can give you a pretty decent run time. The biggest problem with this is that the overall cost can add up since you have to buy new batteries every time they run out.
When it comes to rechargeable camping lanterns, the batteries come as a power pack rather than individual rechargeable batteries. In many cases, you will find that these power packs are integrated into the lantern itself and are inaccessible to the customers. The biggest disadvantage with this is that once the power pack reaches its end of life, so does your lantern.
The best in this category is the type that has an accessible power pack. This means that you can simply swap out the rechargeable batteries for new ones. You could also buy additional rechargeable battery packs, that way, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice when you are out in the wild.
Finally, some camping lanterns have rechargeable batteries that can run on alternative power sources such as solar panels, USB power packs, and hand cranks.
The second types of lantern are fuel-burning lanterns. These are perfect for people who don’t want to worry about not having access to an electric power source to recharge their lamps. These types of lanterns typically use a lot of different fuel types, including:
- Butane lanterns
- Kerosene lanterns
- Propane lanterns
Typically, these types of lanterns burn a bit brighter than LED lanterns. However, the biggest issue is that they are more dangerous to use, especially in a tent, since some tend to emit fumes that can be toxic when in an enclosed space.
These lanterns also burn very hot and generate quite a bit of heat, making them a hazard around small children and pets. That being said, the fact that they generate a bit of heat makes them perfect for cold weather camping.
Candle lanterns are quite simply enclosed spaces within which you can keep a candle. These lanterns have glass or transparent walls and a small outlet through which the candle’s heat can dissipate.
They are typically very easy and safe to use, provided you follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. The biggest problem is that they present a fire hazard, especially when used within a tent. Also, they aren’t the best type of lanterns to have in extreme weather camping.
Camping Lantern Buyer’s Guide
As you can tell, there are many different types of camping lanterns available on the market today. While choosing the right one for you is really a matter of personal choice and your kind of camping, the truth is that some factors must come into play. Here are some of the key factors you need to consider when buying a camping lantern for your next camping trip.
Whenever you are talking about “brightness” in reference to camping lanterns, you are really talking about “lumens.” This is how much a camping lantern can light up your campsite. For the most part, you want a camping lamp that is bright enough to make your life in the dark much easier but not too bright to blind your eyes should you accidentally look directly at it.
For this, you need something that falls within the 100 to 500 lumens range. If you want a subtler glow, then one that has 60 to 100 lumens will do just fine. This is particularly true if you want to use it inside your tent.
Size & Weight
Of course, the size and weight of your camping lantern come into play depending on what kind of camping you intend to be doing. If you are a big car camping enthusiast, then maybe this doesn’t factor in that much. However, if you are into backpacking or bike camping, the weight of every piece of equipment and accessory counts. The best part is that many of the camping lanterns on this list are pretty ultralight.
How long your lantern will last you on a single charge has to be one of the most important factors to consider. Of course, this also depends on what kind of camping you intend to do and the duration. If you are a weekend camping person, maybe having a lantern with a run time of 200 hours isn’t necessary.
However, you also need to consider that you might not recharge your lantern after every camping trip, and those hours accumulate. Therefore, the best option is to buy a lantern that is both rechargeable and can be run by alkaline batteries as a backup. This way, if you ever forget to recharge the lamp when you get home and accidentally take it out on the next camping trip, you can just use the backup batteries to keep your campsite illuminated.
The type of fuel that your lantern uses matters for a number of reasons. Some fuel sources are simply more convenient and easier to use, such as solar, rechargeable batteries, and alkaline batteries.
That isn’t to say that the other fuel sources aren’t ideal. For example, a propane-powered lantern typically burns brighter than most LED lamps and emits a bit of heat. This makes them ideal for cold weather camping. However, they come with the inherent risk that you are using propane. In addition, these tanks aren’t that easy to dispose of, and they are a fire hazard.
There are also other factors to consider, such as light adjustability, which determines your run time and viewing convenience, durability, which quite literally determines where you can take your camping lantern and for how long you will have it.
You also need to factor in the price of both buying the lantern and running it. While alkaline battery-powered lanterns may be ideal, the cost of running them can add up since you have to keep spending money to replenish the batteries.
There is no question about it; the best camping lanterns have an inherent convenience from which every camping enthusiast can benefit. The question now remains, which camping lantern on this list is the right one for you to buy?