Best Camping Lantern [2020]

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This LED lantern by LE is available as a single unit or a value-priced two-pack. Being able to use two at the same time lets you position one light in a key area like the camp’s kitchen while placing another out by the campfire. This configuration can also help minimize shadows.

One of these lanterns runs off 3 standard D Cell alkaline batteries to produce a 360-degree LED light source. At the highest setting, it can produce up to 1,000 lumens. It does have four separate settings for lower reduce lumen output which will also extend the overall battery life. These lanterns also carry an IPX4 waterproof rating to handle modest rain or tent leaks.

These lanterns also have top and bottom both have hooks, which allows you to hang them for the specific characteristics of your camp. For instance, you could hang it upside down in the camp kitchen to fully illuminate the cooking area. Then hang another one from its top hook out by the campfire to prevent light from shining into people’s eyes.

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KYNG Solar Rechargeable LED Lantern

  • The solar lantern that can also recharge USB devices
  • 3 lighting modes with up to 10-hour maximum battery life
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

The KYNG Solar Rechargeable LED Lantern sets itself apart from many of the other battery-powered camping lights in that it can be recharged via a built-in solar cell. It’s connected to an 800 mAh internal battery, and also comes with a micro USB port, which allows you to charge it off standard electricity or use the stored charge to recharge your phone or other USB devices.

This camping lantern has three lighting modes, low, high, and flashing. On its low setting, it produces a modest 25 lumens and produces 65 lumens on high and flashing mode. With a full charge on the low setting, this solar light can last up to 10-hours.

It’s also worth noting that the lantern body is collapsible. This makes it easy to pack and lets it double as a hand-held flashlight. It even comes with a carabiner that lets you hang this lightweight to keep your hands-free.

Coleman arguably made their name selling a wide range of high-quality propane lanterns. Yet, in recent years they have also carried their philosophy and quality design into the battery-powered camping lantern niche. This Multi-Panel LED camping light is perhaps their best unit in this segment.

It has four removable LED panels that allow you to use them as personal flashlights. Each has a magnetic backer that allows you to place them on metal surfaces like the side panel of a vehicle or over the camp stove.

The central base that runs off 8 D Cell batteries and has its own built-in accessory light. It also includes a USB charging port, that you can use to recharge your phone or other USB devices. On its own, the base can produce soft light for up to 20 hours on 8 D Cell batteries.

How We Picked

Perhaps the first place to start differentiating camping lanterns is by fuel or power type. This essentially breaks down into propane, battery-powered, or white gas/kerosene. Each has its own strengths and potential drawbacks which might gear them toward specific niches.

Propane lanterns are usually designed to run off a 1-pound DOT 39 liquid propane cylinder. The small internal flame heats up a fine mesh ceramic mantle, which then emits light. These lanterns only produce a small amount of heat, which isn’t enough to serve as a primary heat source. Still, it can be enough to warm a small ice fishing shanty on a nice winter day.

With these, we tried to look for a stable design. An included carrying case is also nice for preventing damage to glass and other vulnerable components.

Battery-powered lanterns can be broken down into those that run on alkaline AA and D Cells, or those that come with an internal rechargeable battery. Some will even run off both, which lets you take them off the grid for longer. With these, we tried to keep our eye out for units that had USB features for recharging an internal battery or perhaps for maintaining the charge on a smartphone or similar USB device.

White gas and kerosene lanterns are also on the radar. This is a little bit of an older fuel source, yet it has the reliability of real flame, which can be a factor in deep cold weather where batteries and propane sometimes flounder.

Lumen production was something we also kept an eye out for. Certainly, high lumen numbers above 500, or as high as 1,000 give you a confident brightness throughout the campsite. Though there are some smaller battery-powered camping lanterns with LED bulbs that might have a lower lumen rating on paper but are much brighter in the real world.

A camping lantern that has different lighting modes was also something we kept on the radar. Being able to dial the light lower can extend the life of the battery or the run time of the fuel source. In some cases, red light modes were also important for people who need a functional non-white light.

Coleman Two-Mantle Propane Lantern with Case

Coleman Two-Mantle Propane Lantern with Case

Specs:

  • Dual ceramic mantles
  • Runs on a 1-pound propane cylinder
  • 1,000 lumens
  • Up to 14-hours of run time
  • Secure base with feet
  • Carrying case included
  • Lights with matches or a stick lighter
  • 5.2-pounds

Coleman is a giant in the camping products industry, and many would argue that they made their name by producing quality gas lanterns for decades. This particular gas lantern was designed to use two ceramic mantles, which produces a more even light source. The end result is slightly fewer shadows and softer shadows than you get from a propane lantern with a single mantle.

The base was designed to be secure with four sturdy, well-balanced feet. It also includes a custom, hard-sided carrying case to brace it against the knocks and bumps that sometimes occur when you are packing a lot of camping gear into the back of an SUV. It also opens into three sections for convenient unpacking.

This Coleman dual mantle propane lantern only weighs in at 5.2-pounds. This means it’s easy to hang. Yet it isn’t so light that a strong wind can blow it sideways.