9 Best Camping Lantern 2020 Reviews – For Even More Amazing Atmosphere

Tent.net and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

3 Top Picks

3 Reviewers

8 Hours of Research

24 Products Considered

It can be difficult to find the best camping lantern when the available options are so completely different from one another. What light source should you bring for the summer hiking trip? DO backpacking lanterns work for large party trips?

If you’re trying to decide the right lantern for your upcoming trip, you’ll want to read this article. By the end, you will know all the most common features found in lamps, how to determine the right lumen settings for your campsite, and have a review of the 9 best camping lanterns available for 2020 trips.

Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

COLEMAN TWIN LEDCOLEMAN TWIN LED

  • Multiple light settings for any lighting needs.
  • Classic design makes it extremely stable.
  • Lighting lasts a long time.
  • Water-resistant.
[Best for the Money]
MalloMe LED Camping Lantern

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

MALLOME LEDMALLOME LED

  • Compact and extremely lightweight
  • MalloMe has extremely kind and responsive customer service.
  • Durable model makes it great for kids to use

Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

GEARLIGHT LED LANTERN WITH MAGNETIC BASEGEARLIGHT LED LANTERN WITH MAGNETIC BASE

  • The GearLight customer service is extremely helpful and responds quickly
  • Compact design makes it easy to fit
  • Multiple options for stability

Buying the best camping lantern for you

There are tons of different types of camp lanterns on the market, so it can be difficult to know what is best for your camping trip. Is a gas lantern a good idea inside your 10x20 pop up tent? Will an Etekcity lantern provide enough light for your SUV camping tent? Having a list of great lanterns won’t do any good without knowing what your primary use will be.

This section will give you some information about different types of illumination, including emergency lanterns, electric lanterns, and LED camping lanterns.  You will know which features do which things and which design is the best camping lantern for your specific needs.   

How to choose the best camping lantern

To choose the best lantern, you need to know what conditions you’ll be hiking in when you make camp. Winter conditions require different power sources. Backpackers need lighter, more compact options. Large groups may want brighter light so they can all share one power source. Determine your type of trip and that will help you know how bright, durable, and versatile your lantern needs to be. 

Camping Lantern Features

One of the best features for camping lanterns is a dimmer. While most camping lanterns don’t come with a dimmer, this feature allows you to determine how bright you want your light to be, so the same lantern can illuminate the entire campground for dinner but dim down to a reading light for bedtime.

Another important feature is that it is weather resistant and durable. Having a lantern that can withstand falls and water means that you don’t have to end up without any light if you accidentally drop it or get caught in a downpour.

Camping Lanterns: Gas or Electric?

Gas powered lanterns are a great idea for large sites that aren’t too far away. They’re not the best idea for backpackers because they are heavier, but the extra light they offer is expansive.

There are liquid fuel and propane gas lanterns. For some extra convenience, if you’re beginning along a camping stove, match your lantern fuel to your stove fuel to save on carrying multiple fuel types. Most backpacking stoves use propane while most cooking stoves use liquid fuel. 

Propane lanterns won’t be as bright as liquid fuel, but they’re also cheaper and lighter so if weight is a concern it may be worth the trade off. These lanterns are also easy to use. You just screw the canister into the lamp and light it. 

If you use a gas-powered lantern, bring a few spare mantles. This is the fabric bag that surrounds the burner. You will need it for maximum lighting. 

As a safety tip: Do not use these lanterns in enclosed areas. They are not a good idea for illuminating tent interiors because the gas fumes are noxious and unsafe when they don’t get ventilated. These also get very hot so keep them away from kids, pets, and flammable objects. 

If your top priority is having a brightly lit campsite, regardless of weight or expense, then gas lanterns are the right call to make.

Electric lanterns vary greatly in size and weight, as well as power source. These can work on batteries (alkaline or rechargeable) or external power sources. They can be pocket sized or lamp sized. 

The most common type of electric lantern is a battery-powered option. These are cheap, easy to change, and the replacement batteries don’t take much space o weigh a lot. On the down side, you do have to regularly replace batteries or you’ll get left in the dark – literally. 

Rechargeable batteries are less easy to replace. Some of them recharge by plugging into a power source and some require battery swapping. Several rechargeable lanterns work on USB, solar panels, or the old school hand rank system. Using solar powered lanterns is a great idea for open camping and hiking, but in the forest they may not get enough sun to charge up before use. 

These lanterns are durable and lightweight. They are cheap, safe, and last a really long time. Because of this, they are easily the most popular type of camping lantern on the market.  

LED Lantern

LED lanterns are the most common type of electric lantern available. These are great because their bulbs last for an entire lifetime. They put off very bright light, so you get more bang for your lumens. 

Output Modes

Most lanterns have a couple different output modes. Having ones that will put out high and low beams mean that your lighting is versatile enough to handle any camping job. If your lantern comes with a strobe or SOS function, then you can rest easy knowing that you have a flare in an emergency situation. 

Weight

While there are exceptions it is usually safe to assume that the brightness and light output of a lamp is directly proportional to its size and weight. For this reason, backpackers tend to do well with small lamps and larger groups looking for a festive night in the woods may prefer the larger gas lanterns. Always consider how much your power source weighs as a factor in lamp weight because without that, the lamp itself is useless.

Brightness

The brightness of a lamp is measured in lumens. The higher the lumen count, the brighter the lamp. Brighter lamps consume more energy, so you may want to find a model with multiple brightness modes and carry a lot of backup power sources for bright lanterns. 

Lumens for camping lanterns should not be below 40, which is a dim personal light for finding things in a pack or seeing to eat or use the restroom. While campers rarely need this much light, lanterns can put out 700 lumens. The average lumen count for most campers will be somewhere between 100 to 400 lumens. 

If you just need to light a tent, you can use 100 lumens or less. Lighting a tent site can be done for around 200 lumens. If you want a brightly lit party, then 300 lumens will make it feel almost as bright as daylight without losing the appeal of a night time campsite mood lighting. 

Keep in mind that the brightness perceived would also be affected by the lantern’s design. Some lanterns will only light their immediate area, and other lanterns can cast their light so far into the sky that they can double as emergency beacons. 

Camping Lantern Reviews

Now that you know what to look for in a lantern, you are ready to look at the different products and make an informed decision based on your lighting needs. Is a Coleman lantern really the only trusted choice anymore, or are there other high quality options? 

Here are the 9 lanterns that won the Editor’s Choice award for the best lanterns for camping. Each of these meets a minimum standard of quality and value. Some of them are splurges, and some of them are budget models. Purchasing any of the lanterns on this list will ensure that you have a great camping lantern for your next trip and let you move on to packing the rest of your list. 


Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

Coleman Twin LEDColeman Twin LED

The Coleman Twin LED Lantern is a fantastic option that shows exactly why Coleman is one of the most recognizable and trusted brands when it comes to outdoor gear. 

This lantern has a range from 100 lumens on low to nearly 400 lumens at its max lighting. The brightness is controlled y a rotating dial that makes it easy to control the exact brightness needed. The low setting will reach 19 feet and the higher setting lights up to 32 feet! 

This lantern has between 85 to 300 hours of run time depending on what lighting setting it is primarily used for. It is water resistant, so if it gets splashed or rained on it’s not a big deal. It’s also got a fluorescent tube that is textured so it can make a perfect beam pattern that shoots 6 to 10 meters away. It also comes with a 5-year warranty. 

This is called a 390L model because it runs up to 390 lumens across 4 LED lights. These super bright Cree Xlamp XR-E LED bulbs will never need to be replaced and they are an energy saving light source, so they take less power to do more work. The base unscrews so you can quickly and easily change the batteries no matter where you are. 

Things We Liked

  • Multiple light settings for any lighting needs.
  • Classic design makes it extremely stable.
  • Lighting lasts a long time.
  • Water-resistant.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Dials and settings switches wear out after time.

While the admitted weaknesses to this lantern center around it’s classic design and 8 D batteries, those drawbacks also double as advantages to some. The weight and design add stability to this lantern, so it will stand up pretty much anywhere without falling over or breaking. 


Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

MalloMe LEDMalloMe LED

The MalloMe LED Camping Lantern is an incredibly great value for the money. You will find it hard to believe that such a high quality product will come at such an incredible value. 

These lanterns come in several bright colors to make them easy to find in the dark. They use military grade ABS materials that are built for durability. Their light is cast in a 360-degree circle at 146 lumens to light the entire campsite. 

The lanterns collapse on themselves to save space, so you just pop them up when you are ready to use them.

You can control the brightness by choosing to only lift them slightly open or to open them all the way. These run on AA batteries. 

Their LED bulbs have over 100,000 hours in their life span, and the lantern can be used as a work light, reading light, hurricane lantern, bug out bag lamp, or outdoor lighting at a camp. 

The batteries last a really long time. These lanterns will stay lit for at least 5 days with the right set f new batteries and only dim slightly. They are also pretty compact, only running 5 to 8 inches. 

Things We Liked

  • Compact and extremely lightweight and portable so even kids can use and carry with ease.
  • MalloMe has extremely kind and responsive customer service.
  • Lantern gives off a much softer, less harsh light beam than other models thanks to a smoked lens.
  • Durable model makes it great for kids to use – survive being swung around, dropped, and dragged.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not weatherproof – Do not leave these out in the rain.

While there are several cases of lanterns seeming to be broken right out of the box, the company is highly responsive. They will replace or refund your lamp immediately. There are also some tricks you can use to make your lantern function. If you bend one of the negative tabs for better contact, you can get these lanterns working. Several other users have recommended soldering and tweaking the panels to make them reliable. 


Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

GearLight LED Lantern with Magnetic BaseGearLight LED Lantern with Magnetic Base

The GearLight LED Lantern has a magnetic base, which makes it an extremely useful and stable camping lantern. 

This lantern was specifically designed to be both portable and safe when camping. It is extremely versatile. You can hang it to illuminate the inside of your tent or stick it outside to light up your whole campsite. 

The COB LED lights are more powerful than the classic 30 LED lanterns and just 3 AA batteries will provide 12 hours of continuous brightness. One major advantage: Batteries ARE included!! 

You can adjust the amount of light you want based on the sliding, collapsible design. That design also allows it to be folded easily into storage. It is great for backpackers, too, because it weighs less than a can of Coke! 

It’s built for tough terrain ad able to take more than a few tumbles. It’s able to survive being dropped and can perform reliably in wind, rain, or snow. You can use it for camping, fishing, and hiking. 

The magnetic base and hook make it really convenient to place the light wherever you most need illumination. It will attach to canopies, poles, branches, BBQs, and more. The fold away hooks let you hang it at any angle. 

GearLight is a US company with world-class customer service. All of their lanterns come with a one-year return policy, so if you don’t like this light then you get your money back with no questions asked. 

Things We Liked

  • The GearLight customer service is extremely helpful and responds quickly regarding any questions or issues about their products. They genuinely care about customer satisfaction.
  • Extremely bright light makes illuminating an entire campsite efficient – no need for multiple lanterns.
  • Multiple options for stability makes for an extremely versatile light – use the base on a magnetic object, use hooks to hang in tree, carry it with the handle, or set it on the ground or a table.
  • Compact design makes it easy to fit this in a backpack or camping gear pack.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Construction issues – flimsy materials break easily, magnetic feet are spread apart instead of one placed at the center of the base, and the hooks are difficult to pull apart. Some issues with stability as well.

While the construction issues leave something to be desired, the magnets are quite strong. This makes it a more stable light then many others, especially given the strength of the hooks. The blindingly bright light many people complain about is also strength because it means that this light is a high output source that will illuminate the whole camp with ease. 


Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

Vont Original Collapsible LEDVont Original Collapsible LED

The Vont LED Lantern is the original collapsible lantern. It holds a patented design that ensures maximum efficiency.  It’s a really great choice for backpackers and casual hikers alike. 

This lamp uses 30 LEDs to offer extremely bright lighting. Light is cast in a 360-degree circle so you can see in any direction. It lasts over 30 hours on a single set of batteries.

Their patented design collapses gradually to act as a dimmer. Once it collapses, it is as small as most phones. It is made with aircraft grade materials, so it will survive large drops and being submerged in water. 

Each lantern is hand crafted to ensure accurate quality control. They also back each lantern up with a lifetime warranty. If you’re displeased for any reason at any time you get your money back with o questions asked.

Their button free opening makes it easy to use on winter trips, too, when hands may be covered with mittens. The construction allows it to withstand heavy downpours and tough climbing. 

Things We Liked

  • Extremely portable and light weight lamp – collapses for easy carrying and storage ad the hooks allow for flexible usage inside or outside of tents, by hanging or standing up on the table or ground.
  • Uses AA batteries so the power source is lightweight, cheap to replace, and allows for a long illumination time before running out of energy.
  • Easy to use and versatile – simply slide up to turn on and close it back up to turn off!
  • Waterproof and indestructible – uses aircraft grade materials that can survive 10 foot drops!

Things We Didn't Like

  • Extremely bright light can’t be set on your level or it will blind you; must be hung so light can diffuse before reaching people.

The bright light that people complain about can be a major strength when you hang it the right way in camp. If you are still unsure, you can easily fix the problem by sanding the plastic cover with a sanding block. This will help to diffuse and soften the light. 


Editor's Rating:

4.3/5

d.light S30 Solar Rechargeabled.light S30 Solar Rechargeable

The d.light S30 Lantern is a great option if you carry it on the outside of your pack when hiking through areas that see sunlight. It can recharge using solar power to increase the battery life. 

This lantern offers 360 degree lighting with 3 brightness settings. The integrated solar panel is a high efficiency design that can charge despite overcast skies. One charge will last up to 12 hours and the battery capacity is 450 mAh. It includes a Smart Solar Indicator to let you know when it is gaining charge so you aren’t left in the dark – figuratively or literally.  The AC charging port uses a Nokia standard charger and lets you charge up before hitting the woods. 

The handle allows it to be carried or hung. It is fully adjustable, so the light can use it to stabilize at any angle along the spectrum. The product also comes with a 2 year hassle free warranty that guards against normal use and insures the batteries along with the lantern. 

It is a softer, dimmer light than many other lanterns, so it is a great option for reading, fishing, and mood lighting when you don’t want to make the entire campsite feel like daylight. 

This lantern is extremely rugged, and it was made to survive rough conditions. This can handle being dropped anywhere, even onto rocks. It will also withstand rain, hail, and extreme heat and dust. 

Things We Liked

  • Construction makes them extremely versatile – can be aimed in various different ways!
  • Versatile recharging – if you don’t have time to let it recharge in sunlight you can plug it into a charging port instead.
  • One charge lasts a really long time.
  • Extremely durable design can withstand bumps, drops, and extreme weather conditions.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Several knock off sellers online – be sure to buy this directly from d.light and not third party sellers to avoid getting an off brand knock off that claims to be d.light quality.

While the light is too dim to light a campsite, it makes a great portable light. You can carry it with you for personal lighting and the adjustable handle means that it can be hung inside a tent to illuminate it, or set down at any angle you choose to cast light in a specific space or direction. It makes a great personal reading light that won’t be too bright when others in your party have gone to sleep.

Another thing that stands out as exceptional is the d.light company values. This company was founded by a Peace Corps volunteer who realized that kerosene and gas lanterns were unsafe and wanted to find a safer, better way to provide light – especially in the developing world. They have brought light to 22 million school children, empowered over 80 million lives in developing countries, and generated over 110 GWH from renewable sources. Supporting this company means getting a great product and doing some good in the world through their charitable contributions. 


Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

Coleman Quad LEDColeman Quad LED

The Coleman Quad LED Lantern is an ultra bright special edition lantern. It offers a ton of brightness in an easy to access container, with each side having separate access points. 

One of the unique and amazing features of this lantern is that it combines 4 separate panels into one bright lantern. This means that if one of the family wants to go off by themselves somewhere, they can disconnect one of the lantern panels and take it with them to use as a light. It avoids the necessity of buying multiple lanterns for one campsite. 

The lights recharge through connection to the base, which contains 8 D batteries. The lantern’s runtime is around 75 hours and each panel will run for about 90 minutes before needing to recharge. The total brightness of the lantern is 190 extra bright lumens. The range of both the lantern and the individual panels is 26 feet, offering a great light for distance travel. 

The lantern has an on/off switch for each panel, as well as one for the base. The LED bulbs will never need to be replaced, and because they run cool they are also safe to touch. Diffused lenses prevent users from going blind when looking directly at them. 

Things We Liked

  • Extremely bright light can illuminate large areas – even when a panel has been removed and taken away!
  • Batteries last a really long time – 5-day camping trips can be made with 1 set of batteries if light isn’t running all night.
  • Excellent option for campers who want lighting to come from more than 1 source – the removable panels can all be placed on different levels.
  • Lantern uses 4 separate panels that can each be removed and used on their own once disconnected or stored together for an ultra bright lantern.

Things We Didn't Like

  • There is only one brightness setting. The only way to make this light dimmer is to remove one of the panels and turn it off, and that sacrifices the 360-degree illumination by making one side of the lantern blacked out.

While the large construction and heavy weight make this a bad idea for backpackers, it is a fantastic option for car campers or larger campsites. It will easily light up a large space and provide a way for bathroom trips and tent lighting to happen without needing additional light sources. 


Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

MalloMe LEDMalloMe LED

The MalloMe LED Camping Lantern is an extremely bright option, offering 350 lumens of portable illumination. It’s currently the brightest collapsible lantern on the market.  

This lantern uses Chip on Board LED technology to maximize illumination per lumen. The lantern uses military grade ABS materials, so it makes it a very good camping lantern that can collapse into a small bundle for packing purposes. It runs on AA batteries, and the light set comes with 4 extra bright LED lanterns. 

This lantern comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee so if you’re unhappy then simply talk to MalloMe and they will make it right.  It is a water and weather resistant design that can be hung anywhere in the campsite for complete lighting. 

Things We Liked

  • Extremely great lighting – able to illuminate entire campsites without blinding campers.
  • Brightness can be adjusted by sliding top up and down along the glass.
  • Batteries last a really long time – 12 hours at full power!

Things We Didn't Like

  • Construction issues make this lamp less durable, less versatile, and more prone to accidentally turning itself on while user is hiking.

Although one of the major concerns seems to be the quality of the lanterns, everyone agrees that MalloMe is extremely efficient when it comes to customer service. They respond very quickly and immediately remedy the situation with a refund and/or replacement product. 


Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

AYL StarlightAYL Starlight

The AYL Starlight Lantern mimics gas lanterns in terms of stability and brightness. It is the most reliable lantern on the market. 

This lantern uses LED bulbs that have an output of 600 lumens, making it extremely bright and easily able to light up even large campsites. The lantern runs on 3 D batteries, and one set will last 6 entire days straight! 

This lantern comes with 3 lighting modes for any lighting needs, and even has a strobe light to signal rescuers in an emergency situation. The removable reflector cap is convex, so it can provide 360 degree lighting and allow for ambient light or a focused beam.

The bottom hook allows it to be set up anywhere in camp. It’s got a watertight body with rubber and plastic molding to maximize resistance to water and rain. The LED indicator makes your lantern easy to find in the dark. 

Things We Liked

  • 3 settings: low, high, and flashing strobe in case of emergency.
  • Extremely durable – shockproof and water resistant.
  • 6 full days of power per set of fresh D batteries!

Things We Didn't Like

  • Very small lantern – not compact enough for backpacking but not large enough for families and casual hikers.

Although this lantern is small, it does pack a huge punch. While many consumers are shocked by the unexpectedly small size, they quickly find that it offers significantly more power and brightness than many larger lanterns!


Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

UST 30 Day Duro LEDUST 30 Day Duro LED

This UST 30 Day Duro LED lantern is a fantastic option for any outdoor needs. It offers 700 lumens of lighting and toggles between high, medium, low, and SOS lighting modes. ​

This lantern is extremely durable. It comes with an impact and weather resistant rubberized ABS plastic casing. The bright orange color makes it easy to find in the dark. It runs on 3 D batteries and can last for 22 hours of run time on the high setting.

It also includes a removable globe so you can use it like a flashlight to illuminate your path. The hook and handle also allow it to be hung anywhere.

Things We Liked

  • Comes with an SOS setting in case of emergencies.
  • Cover is removable if you don’t want to diffuse the light so you can have extra brightness in a smaller area.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Does not last as long as advertised – on average, it will last 3 to 10 days depending on lighting setting.

While it is true that this isn’t strictly a 30-day light, the lantern is still an excellent option for most campers. If you’re just looking for a lantern that will last you in a night in the woods or a weekend getaway, this light will work just fine. 

Reading Time: 18 minutes