The 9 Best Camping Lanterns to illuminate your outdoor adventure
A good camping light is an outdoor necessity. It’s a major aid while cooking, is great while playing camp sports, and sets just the perfect outdoor atmosphere. Sure, you can just use a, but an outdoor lamp lights up the whole campsite and makes two handed tasks easier.
There isn’t one perfect camping lantern for everyone, but we’ve broken down the list by category so you can easily identify which lanterns fit your needs best. If you’re completely lost when it comes to choosing a camping lantern, read our buyer guide.
Lanterns are a good alternative when you don’t feel like building a campfire.
What we’re looking for?
Any lantern that produces at least 100 to 200 lumen output will be bright enough for you to use during camping trips. String lamps, which we’ve included here, produce between 60 and 100 lumen outputs and aren’t meant to light up large spaces.
Most modern camping lantern lights are battery-operated, rechargeable, or solar-charged. If you’re using them for cooking, they can be quite energy-efficient, since you can use any extra fuel that would normally go unused.
However, if you want a light source that creates a flame and therefore heats up, then use an electric lamp instead.
If you want to know which type of lamp is best for you, consider its size, shape, and whether it has an internal light source. Lamps that are heavy tend to be good for car camping, whereas lighter lamps are usually better for backpacking.
If one of our models dies during a camping trip, it could be a real bummer. We haven’t actually tested each of them for their maximum runtime, so we’ve listed each of them by their claimed runtime.
Most of these models have internal battery packs that let you recharge other devices like your phone and headlamp.
Best camping lanterns in the market
BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern
All three experts recommend the BioLite AlpenGlow for camping trips because they found it versatile enough to use anywhere.
It’s a complete campfire lighting system that provides a few handy features, including multicolored modes, cool white mode, and the Biolite AlpenGlo is the most versatile portable lighting system I’ve ever used, both outside and inside.
“I use it when camping and on roadtripping, and it’s also my go-to when grilling out at the backyard and having parties.”
“It’s bright when it needs be, but fully dimmable, so it doubles as a reading light before going to sleep. The color changing modes are fun, and its one button operation makes it easy to operate, even for children. I also like that it can charge my phone when the batteries are running low.”
Buy here the BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern
Black Diamond Moji Lantern
This 200-lumens lantern from Black Diamond is an ideal addition to any campout or hike where you’ll be needing a headlamps. “Last year, I went backpacking through the Tetons for a week, and this was by far one of the best purchases I made,” says Strategist editor MaxineBuilder.
It has no built-in handles, but it’s great for lighting up your dinner when you don‘t want to feel like your eyes are going to burn out from having headlamp-induced night blindness. And for just hanging out in your campground shelter.
If you’re looking for a companion to light up your campsite, consider the Moji. It’s “just so small and unobtrusively cute,” Builder adds.
Buy here the Black Diamond Moji Lantern
Coleman Quad Pro 800l LED Lantern
The Coleman Quad Pro Lantern is recommended to us by our Contributor Steven John, who uses it when he camps with his family. It’d be ideal for larger groups, where several people need separate lighting options.
When I go hiking, one of the first items on my campsitesetup list is to hang my Coleman Quad Pro lantern near the middle of the campground.
That way, whenever the sun sets, I can turn on a few dozen square meters of lights at the push of a single button. Each LED lamp can also be removed to function as a small flashlight.
Buy here the Coleman Quad Pro 800l LED Lantern
LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 Power Lantern
It has a 16 square inch solar panel on top of its head, making it perfect for hiking and backpacking; you can either hang it or attach it to the exterior of your backpack when it’s sunny, and then use it at night.
It’s a good thing that this was my primary light for a 10-day backpacking trip last year because it twisted to expand instead of having to be inflated. The outside is made out of a soft, frosted material that doesn’t hurt your eye sight.
We also featured the lesser-powered cousin of the Titan, called the Max, in our round up of the best prepper tools for surviving an EMP attack. It was highly suggested to us by Jason Charles who runs the NYC Preppers Network.
Buy here the LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 Power Lantern
Mpowerd Luci Outdoor 2.0 Pro Lantern
If you’re looking for an inexpensive (and lightweight) alternative to the LuminAid, consider the Outdoor 2.0 from Mpowerd. It was recommended by writer and outdoor enthusiast Miyo McGinn when she drove through the west coast states.
It’s great for our car because it flattens out when we aren’t driving it and can be thrown around a lot. We once dropped our entire bed onto the solar-powered part and it still worked fine. Our solar battery charges up quickly without any cables.
Buy here the Mpowerd Luci Outdoor 2.0 Pro Lantern
Barebones Forest Lantern
One of those rare purchases where the product itself made me fall in lust with it before looking at its specifications.
It’s made of stamped steel, plastic and rubber, so it’s quite durable and has lasted for many years in our play room and tents as an important part of our children’s imaginations.
The lantern charges within four to six hours, is light weight and easy to carry, and has an integral USB cord built into its base for charging. There is a USB outlet for charging other devices aswell.
Romantic and a reminder of the times gone by, this lamp is both functional and stylish. but the only inconvenience It is not compact.
Buy here the Barebones Forest Lantern
Solight SolarPuff Collapsible Solar Lantern
With six different light colors (red, white, violet, blue, yellow, green), low (60 lumen) and high (90 lumen) brightness settings, this ultra-lightweight lantern is perfect for backpacking and outdoor lighting.
It comes in a nice, attractive shape and can float in pools. It’ll be good for the environment too because it’ll be made from recycled materials.
What we love about it: Weighing only 2.6 ounces, this lantern can be collapsed down into a size that can fit easily into your back-pack or jacket pockets.
Consideration: It doesn’t provide enough light and it requires too long to recharge.
Buy here the Solight SolarPuff Collapsible Solar Lantern
Ledlenser ML6 Lantern
If you’re searching for something that can easily illuminate a big campground, the ML6 is an excellent choice. Ledlenser specializes primarily in LED flashlights, lanterns, spotlights, and battery packs. The ML6 uses microprism technology to guarantee glare-free lighting.
There are three settings—solid white light, solid red lights, and flashing red or white lights, which include a dimmer. It is lightweight and has a detatchable magnetic base and a hang hole for easy hanging.
It looks small and light, yet it packs a punch! It fits easily into the palm of your hand, but it still delivers 750 lumens the only disadvantage it takes five hours to recharge.
Buy here the Ledlenser ML6 Lantern
Big Agnes mtnGLO Tent and Camp Lights
Available in blue/green, red, or white, the mtnGLO tent and camp light are each 100 inches long and made from LED lights encased in nylon tubing that can either hang or zip up inside a 5.4-inch, pyramidal-shaped backpack and set on a table.
They’re not bright enough for reading, but they’re great as a nightlight, or as a way to set the tone for your campsite. You can choose between three different lighting modes: off, white and disco.
Big Agnes designed a light string that can either hang from a tent pole or be stored inside a small backpack-like container and used as a portable lantern.
You need to consider whether it gets bright enough for reading.
Buy here the Big Agnes mtnGLO Tent and Camp Lights
How Many Lumens Do I Need for a Camping Lantern?
Most camper tents need at least 100 lumenses to adequately illuminate them. If you want a softer glow, 50-75 lumen lights are ideal for inside tent use. Lanterns below 50 lumens are good for in-bed use.
What About Emergency Lanterns?
A benefit of purchasing a lantern for camping is you can also utilize it at home for emergency situations.
If you’re looking for an emergency lantern, both fuel-powered and battery-operated ones are good choices.
If you’re living in an area where there could be natural disasters like earthquakes or storms that might knock out power for several hours at a time, then a flashlight with a long battery life would be useful.
How bright of a lantern do I need to have for camping?
If you’re going camping, you’ll want a lantern with a brightness between 250 and 600 lumens. It needs to be bright enough to illuminate your campsite without blinding others nearby.
If you want to be able to adjust the brightness level of your lantern, consider getting one with multiple brightness settings.
It should be bright enough to help you see when you are cooking in your camping kitchen.