The Best Camping Lanterns of 2022

The best camping lantern is a must-have for any escape to the woods. We shed some light on several of the top products on the market.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated May 2, 2022 12:07 PM

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The Best Camping Lantern Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

Although a campfire crackling is the classic camping symbol, those embers alone may not be enough to light the night. For both seasoned campers and newbies, the best camping lanterns are an outdoor gear necessity.

The best camping lantern not only helps you avoid tripping over rocks or roots, but it also allows you to sort through your camping gear after sundown or curl up with a book in your sleeping bag. A portable, bright, long-lasting camping lantern makes a wilderness getaway safer and more enjoyable. We performed extensive product research to put together a list of the best models on the market for easy shopping.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Coleman LED Lantern | 390 Lumens Twin LED Lantern
  4. BEST SOLAR CAMPING LANTERN: HISVISION Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern
  5. BEST GAS CAMPING LANTERN: Coleman NorthStar Propane Lantern
  6. BEST LED CAMPING LANTERN: LE LED Camping Lantern Rechargeable, 600LM
  7. BEST STRING LIGHT: Brightech Ambience Pro Waterproof String
  8. BEST WATERPROOF LANTERN: LE LED Camping Lantern Rechargeable, 310LM
  9. BEST BACKPACKING LANTERN: MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0
The Best Camping Lantern Options

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Camping Lanterns

Camping lanterns differ in their fuel source. Moreover, the best lantern for camping for a campsite depends on the remoteness of the site, the other gear in tow, and how much light is required.

Electric

Camping lanterns that use electricity directly from an outlet are the easiest to use and the most reliable. Plug them into the electric outlet at the campsite or to a generator, and they’ll produce light quickly and easily for as long as power is available.

However, electric lanterns only work near an outlet, which means they can’t be used while hiking through a park or wandering the woods. Packing one also can present a challenge.

Fuel Burning

Fuel-burning camping lanterns are the old standbys. These lanterns use propane, butane, kerosene, or a blended fuel called “white gas” to produce a bright light that can last. They work well to light a stable picnic table or when suspended from a hook to light the campsite. They don’t need an electrical outlet, batteries, or solar power to work, making them ideal for car or RV camping in a remote or shady area.

However, fuel-burning lanterns can be messy and potentially dangerous. Users must keep tanks of fuel on hand to run the lantern. And since falling while carrying a lit lantern through the woods can result in catastrophe, they’re best for stable campsites.

Candle

Candle-powered lanterns house a candle inside a glass surround or other DIY shroud and produce enough light to read by. They won’t light up an entire site, but if the candle is citronella, the scent also will drive away insects.

When an open flame is used for light, it must be used with extreme care. Dropping a candle in the woods can cause a disaster.

Solar

By far, solar-powered battery lanterns are the most convenient power source for a lantern. These lanterns are topped with photovoltaic panels to absorb the sun’s rays and turn them into stored power. They typically start charging as soon as they’re out of the bag.

To make solar lanterns’ stored energy last as long as possible, manufacturers use LEDs to power them. Since they produce little heat, they’re very safe, making them an excellent choice for camping. But if the stored power doesn’t last through the night, the lantern can’t recharge until morning.

Battery

Battery-operated camping lanterns are an ideal choice for campsites in various locations, from large RV parks to wilderness spots. These lanterns produce hours of light on a fresh set of batteries or a single charge. Like solar-powered lanterns, battery-powered lanterns typically use LEDs to produce plenty of light with less energy. They’re safe to use in the woods, inside a tent, or anywhere a camper might need light.

Note that not all camping lanterns use disposable batteries; instead, some charge via USB adapters. USB charging means they charge like a phone—in the vehicle.

What to Consider When Choosing a Camping Lantern

Choosing a camping lantern isn’t complicated. Simply knowing the desired fuel source helps narrow the field. Keep a few other considerations in mind when exploring the best camping lanterns on the market, including size and weight, brightness, adjustability, runtime, and water resistance.

Size and Weight 

Size and weight are important when hiking. Hikers need a lantern that fits in their pack and won’t weigh them down on the trails.

If planning to hike, choose a lightweight lantern that collapses into a compact case and weighs less than a pound. Most of these lanterns are solar, though battery-powered options often pack well.

Even if not hiking, some campers still appreciate a light, compact lantern. Some gas-powered lanterns pack into carrying cases, but they’re far bigger than most options on this list. They also require extra fuel, which means more to carry.

Brightness

Brightness is measured in lumens, a measure of the total amount of visible light from a lamp or light source. More lumens mean brighter light.

Since campers don’t have walls or ceilings to reflect the light at a campsite, a lantern must be bright enough to illuminate the site by itself. However, most campers want to avoid bathing their neighbors’ campsites in unwanted light. Although campers don’t need the brightest camping lantern, a lantern that produces between 400 and 600 lumens works best.

Adjustability

On some lanterns, particularly battery-powered models, users can adjust the lumens to lower the output to save energy.

Fuel-burning lanterns contain valves to control the fuel output, allowing campers to dim the lantern until it’s barely lit or crank it up high. Some of these lanterns produce up to 1,500 lumens—more than enough for playing a game of cards after dark. Adjustability makes a big difference in comfort and fuel consumption.

Power Source 

Carrying a fuel-powered lantern and extra fuel can quickly wear out hikers and backpackers. But for an off-grid cabin, a propane or kerosene lantern may work well.

Battery- and solar-powered lanterns are an ideal choice for most campsites. Considered general-purpose lights, they produce enough lumens to light most sites sufficiently, and they usually pack small.

Runtime 

The best camping lanterns have a long runtime. Unexpected adventures can occur on camping trips, so campers need a lantern that can stay lit all night if necessary.

Thanks to LED technology, some lanterns can last 50 hours, or 4 or 5 nights, on a single charge or fresh set of batteries. Solar-powered options don’t last as long, but most can get through the night until the sun rises.

Regardless of power source, always keep backup supplies on hand, such as an extra propane tank, spare batteries, or a battery bank.

Water Resistance 

Getting wet on a camping trip can be miserable, and many campers sprint to their tents during sudden storms without their lantern. Leaving a non-waterproof lantern outside could leave campers in the dark for the rest of the trip. Waterproof or water-resistant backpacking lanterns prevent this dilemma.

Our Top Picks

Now it’s time to shop for the best camping lantern for the next camping trip. The following list contains the best camping lanterns in their respective categories. From waterproof to budget friendly, an option for any campsite is on this list.

Best Overall

The Best Camping Lantern Option: Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact
Photo: amazon.com

For a good all-around rugged camp lantern, the Streamlight Siege, which is a battery-powered lantern, uses three D-cell batteries to produce up to 295 hours of light. This lantern is waterproof up to 1 meter of submersion, and it resists impact up to 2 meters. Its five LEDs produce up to 540 lumens.

Users can stretch their batteries as long as possible by switching between the three lumen levels: 540, 275, and 55. The red-light mode creates less strain on the eyes, and the SOS mode alerts others of trouble. The Streamlight Siege can hang inside a tent from the handle or its built-in D-rings. Moreover, our personal experience with the Streamlight brand has always been positive, from the products themselves to the company’s excellent customer service. However, this lantern does use D-cell batteries, which can be heavy.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery
  • Brightness: 540 lumens
  • Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Impact-resistant and waterproof
  • 3 adjustable output settings
  • Up to 295 hours of light

Cons

  • Uses large D-cell batteries

Get the Streamlight Siege lantern on Amazon and Walmart.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Camping Lantern Option: Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern
Photo: amazon.com

Light an entire campsite without breaking the bank with this four-pack of LED camping lanterns from Vont. Each of the lanterns contains 30 LED bulbs, which produce up to 140 lumens. They each use three AA batteries to provide up to 90 hours of light. These waterproof and shock-resistant lanterns weigh less than 11 ounces without batteries and collapse to less than 5 inches high for easy packing and storage.

When campers partially collapse the lantern, the shell partially blocks some light to provide just enough light to read by in a sleeping bag. It won’t throttle energy usage.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery
  • Brightness: 140 lumens
  • Adjustable: No

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact design
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Can’t truly adjust light

Get the Vont LED camping lantern on Amazon and Walmart.

Best Upgrade

The Best Camping Lantern Option: Coleman LED Lantern | 390 Lumens Twin LED Lantern
Photo: amazon.com

The Coleman LED Lantern looks like the classic fuel-powered lanterns of old, yet it offers energy efficiency and safety. Since it runs on LEDs, it’s easy on batteries and doesn’t pose a forest fire threat.

This lantern produces up to 390 lumens of light from its battery-powered LEDs, lasting up to 85 hours. On low, it produces 100 lumens for up to 299 hours. However, this model uses eight D-cell batteries, which means it’s heavy and doesn’t pack easily.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery
  • Brightness: 390 lumens
  • Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Classic looks with modern features
  • Very long runtime

Cons

  • Uses eight heavy D-cell batteries

Get the Coleman LED lantern on Amazon and Tractor Supply.

Best Solar Camping Lantern

The Best Camping Lantern Option: HISVISION Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern
Photo: amazon.com

The Hisvision Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern weighs just under 6 ounces and collapses to pack small and light. Choose from four modes: high, low, flashlight, and SOS. On high, the lantern produces 400 lumens of light for about 3 hours.

Weather-resistant and waterproof, the Hisvision can stand up to rain. It recharges in the sun or with the included USB cable. The fully charged lantern also can charge mobile devices. However, its 3-hour runtime means users must throttle the light output to get it through the night.

Product Specs

  • Type: Rechargeable battery
  • Brightness: 400 lumens
  • Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Collapsible design
  • 4 lighting modes
  • Charges mobile devices

Cons

  • Relatively short runtime

Get the Hisvision solar lantern on Amazon.

Best Gas Camping Lantern

The Best Camping Lantern Option: Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow Propane Lantern
Photo: amazon.com

The Coleman NorthStar Propane Lantern is a good choice for stable lodging, such as an off-grid cabin, fishing shanty, or RV campsite. It produces up to 1,500 lumens of light, which is more than enough for most camping scenarios. One green Coleman propane bottle powers it for up to 4 hours on high and 9 hours on low.

The lantern lights with a push-button ignition, and the pressure regulator controls gas flow and light output. Its glass globe has a metal guard to protect it from everyday impacts. This lantern is best for stationary camping because of its volatile fuel source.

Product Specs

  • Type: Propane
  • Brightness: 1,500 lumens
  • Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • High light output
  • Push-button ignition
  • Impact-resistant

Con

  • Not ideal for backpacking and hiking

Get the Coleman NorthStar propane lantern on Amazon.

Best LED Camping Lantern

The Best Camping Lantern Option: LE LED 600 Lumens Camping Lantern
Photo: amazon.com

Part lantern, part flashlight, the LE LED Camping Lantern emits up to 600 lumens of light from its several lighting modes.

At over 8 inches high and weighing 1.25 pounds without batteries, the LE LED is not the lightest or smallest lantern on this list, but it earns its keep. It’s water-resistant, so campers can use it on a rainy or night. Its detachable flashlights can be used with or without the main lantern.

The LE LED has multiple power sources. The core lantern can run on the built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery or three replaceable D-cell batteries. Each flashlight also can run alone on three AA batteries. When the flashlights are attached to the lantern, they pull power from the lithium-ion or D-cell batteries to conserve their own batteries.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery
  • Brightness: 600 lumens
  • Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • 2 built-in flashlights
  • Flexible power sources
  • Long potential runtime

Cons

  • Large and heavy

Get the LE LED lantern on Amazon.

Best String Light

The Best Camping Lantern Option: Brightech Ambience Pro
Photo: amazon.com

Each of the 10 LED bulbs on the Brightech Ambience Pro string lights produces plenty of soft white light. The string is lightweight and over 24 feet long, so it can be positioned across an RV awning, from tree to tree, or between tents.

Though these lights are portable, they require a power source. They plug into a 110-volt electrical outlet or a 5-volt USB charger on a portable power bank. Runtime depends on the power source, and the actual lumen output isn’t readily available from the manufacturer.

Product Specs

  • Type: Electric
  • Brightness: Not specified
  • Adjustable: No

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • 135 lumens of soft white light
  • Can run off a power bank

Cons

  • No independent power source

Get the Brightech string lights on Amazon and The Home Depot.

Best Waterproof Lantern

The Best Camping Lantern Option: LE LED 280 Lumens Camping Lantern
Photo: amazon.com

The LE LED 310 LM camping lantern is about the size of a coffee mug and weighs less than ½ pound. Sit it on a table or hang it in a tent from the built-in hooks or magnets. It produces up to 310 lumens of light and features five lighting modes for energy savings and safety.

This waterproof lantern has a USB port that doubles as a charger for mobile devices. The built-in USB cord for charging the light stores onboard the lantern. Its battery level indicator lets campers know how much battery life remains. However, a full charge takes up to 6 hours.

Product Specs

  • Type: Rechargeable
  • Brightness: 310 lumens
  • Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Built-in power indicator
  • Charging cord stores onboard
  • Charges mobile devices

Cons

  • Takes 3 hours to charge

Get the LE LED camping lantern on Amazon.

Best Backpacking Lantern

The Best Camping Lantern Option MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0
Photo: amazon.com

The Mpowerd Luci Outdoor 2.0 is powered by solar energy, so it charges during the day and doesn’t need batteries. On a full charge, it can run for up to 24 hours. When not in use, it collapses to roughly 1 inch thick. When inflated, it’s around the size of a coffee can.

The Luci Outdoor 2.0 has four lighting modes: high, medium, low, and flashing. On high, it produces 75 lumens of light—enough to light the way on a dark trail or campsite, but maybe not enough to serve as the sole light source. This tough lantern is waterproof and withstands up to 150 pounds of pressure.

Product Specs

  • Type: Solar battery
  • Brightness: 75 lumens
  • Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Collapses to 1-inch thick
  • Withstands 150 pounds of pressure
  • Lasts 24 hours on a charge

Cons

  • Probably not bright enough to be the sole light source

Get the Mpowerd lantern on Amazon.

Our Verdict

Campers searching for a durable, impact- and water-resistant camping lantern with plenty of output may want to check out the Streamlight Siege Compact camping lantern. For those who want to save money when going off the grid, the Vont LED Camping Lantern’s multiple lights and collapsible design make it a worthwhile set.

How We Chose the Best Camping Lanterns

We tried to cover all the bases when choosing the best camping lanterns. First, we called upon our experiences as campers and adventurers to select the most important features campers need in a lantern.

Next, we performed extensive product research, comparing features like runtime, output, battery source, and weather resistance, which helped us narrow the field. We then assigned awards based on each lantern’s strengths to help streamline the shopping process.

The Advantages of Owning a Camping Lantern

Proper lighting on a campsite helps keep everyone safe. Campsites are rarely perfectly flat, and most have roots and rocks that create serious tripping risks. The best camping lanterns illuminate these hazards in the dark.

The best camping lanterns can extend the day for friends and loved ones even after the sun goes down and the fire goes out. Lanterns light the way to prepare food, play games, or relax and swap stories. They’re even useful in the backyard at home.

A camping lantern can also make a great emergency lantern. Since these lanterns are rugged enough for the great outdoors, they can serve as backup lights and power sources during major storms and other natural disasters.

  • Camping lanterns illuminate rocks and roots on a dark path.
  • Lanterns extend the day on a camping trip.
  • A camping lantern can act as a backup energy and light source during a power outage or storm.

FAQs 

The following list contains the most commonly asked questions and answers about the best camping lanterns. If questions remain after reading through this section, check with your lantern’s manufacturer.

Q: How many lumens do I need for a camping lantern?

Lanterns that produce between 400 and 600 lumens are ideal, though even a 75-lumen light can help you avoid falling on a trail at night.

Q: How many lanterns should I bring camping?

If heading into a remote section of the woods, it’s a good idea to bring two lanterns in case one fails. If that’s not possible, pack a backup flashlight.

Q: How long do batteries last with LED camp lights?

In LED camp lanterns, the batteries can last more than 50 to 60 hours. Most lanterns have lighting modes that help reduce their output, significantly extending the amount of time the lantern can run.