No matter whether you are going to the hinterland or illuminating night car camping, we have found the best camping lamps for every application and every budget.
A good camping lantern is a must outdoors. It is a great help when cooking, is ideal for night-time camp games and offers just the right ambience outdoors.
I live off-grid and rely on a lantern every night. After months of testing and thousands of hours of light recorded, these are the top tips that can withstand constant use and abuse.
During testing, we paid particular attention to the light output, the battery life and the user-friendliness. We also kept an eye on durability, packability and overall value. And although there isn't a single best lantern for every camper, we've broken the list down into handy categories so you can find the best lantern for your use.
The 10 best camping lanterns of 2020
Best car camping: UCO Gear Sitka + ($ 97)
This rechargeable camping lantern is the ultimate camp workhorse. The 500 lumen output is sufficient to comfortably illuminate the largest storage room or an entire cabin. And the frosted cover ensures a pleasant light that does not hurt the eyes.
It will take about five hours in height and an impressive 70 hours in depth. We have found that a lower setting is quite sufficient for the general use of the camp. This means that you can use several nights with a single charge.
The rotary knob enables an easily adjustable user-defined light output. In addition to the brightness settings, you can select the Northern Lights mode, which alternates between four colors.
But what really distinguishes this lantern is the versatile extension arm. With the push of a button, you can quickly raise the light source from 12.5 inches to 26 inches. There is a focused, bright light that is infinitely useful for cooking, reading, or doing the tasks of the camp.
At 2.2 pounds, this lantern isn't particularly light or heavy, but it takes up quite a bit of space. If you have limited space or are looking for something more packable, continue with our next selection. But for anyone looking for a rechargeable, hard-working, durable and versatile lantern, the UCO Gear Sitka + is an excellent choice.
Buy UCO Gear Sitka +
Second place: Lander Cairn XL Lantern ($ 80)
This palm-sized light has always surprised and impressed us. It has worked reliably every night for the past six months and pumps out pleasantly bright 350 lumens.
The bungee cord makes it easy to hang up anywhere. Thanks to its small size, you can grab it quickly and use it as a flashlight if necessary. Press and hold the button on the side to brighten or dim the light. You can also switch between a flash setting and a colored light option. It takes a few tries to move through dimming and other settings at first, but it's easy enough once you get the hang of it.
There's an app that lets you control the Cairn XL's settings, but frankly I haven't used it often. I prefer not to make calls when camping and prefer the simple button on the side of the light.
You do not have to worry about rain or dirt as it has IP65 protection and has proven to be very durable when tested. We dropped it repeatedly and found no damage or loss of performance. It also serves as a charging station with a USB port and the ability to charge a phone up to four times.
All in all, this is a feature-rich lantern in a small package that is great for car camping, caravans, or hanging in the garden.
Shop Lander Cairn XL
Best budget: Black Diamond Moji Lantern ($ 20)
This tiny lantern has a big punch and surprisingly saves your wallet. With a weight of only 3 ounces and a size of 3 inches, there is no reason not to take it with you just in case. It is powered by three AAA batteries and you can quickly make settings using the dimmer switch.
With a maximum of 100 lumens, it's not the brightest light on the list, but the Moji lantern does the job. It not only withstands rain, but can also be fully immersed and continues to tick. According to the manufacturer, it takes up to 70 hours at low temperatures. However, do not expect to achieve so much with a single battery as you will certainly want to use a higher setting in the camp.
This little lantern is our first choice to hang in the tent. The lowest 4-lumen setting also ensures good night light. Whether backpacking, car camping or looking for an ultra-packable emergency light – the Moji is a long-lasting and useful bargain.
Buy Black Diamond Moji
Second Best Budget: LE LED Camping Lantern ($ 20)
With over 5,600 reviews, it's clear that this battery-powered lantern is a fan favorite. It is powered by three D batteries and has a maximum output of 1,000 lumens. It also has four lighting settings and you can remove the cap to make it smaller or to emit a directional beam of light.
We splashed water on it without any problems, but we don't recommend leaving it in the rain or completely submerging it. With a height of just over 7 inches and a width of about 3.5 inches, it doesn't take up much space in the car or tent.
The nice thing about a battery powered lantern is that you don't have to worry about charging. The disadvantage is that it burns with batteries when used frequently. It ran between 10 and 14 hours during our tests before a new set of batteries was needed.
If you rarely use it or want to use rechargeable D batteries, this is an excellent option. However, if you plan to use it every weekend, a rechargeable or solar lantern is probably the better choice.
Shop LE LED Camping Lantern
Best Solar Backpacking Lantern: Goal Zero Crush ($ 20)
Are you looking for a packable solar light that doesn't break the bank? Then it's time to hit the Goal Zero Crush Light. At just $ 20, it's a great value. The maximum output of 60 lumens is not particularly bright, but offers a pleasant and useful shine in your camp.
It weighs 3.2 ounces and folds up neatly to take up very little space in your backpack. And you can charge via USB or just put it outside and let the sun shine.
It has a claimed maximum runtime (at the lowest setting) of 35 hours, but the longest we've got is 28 hours. However, camping was never a problem as we set out to fill the fee every day. The Crush Light is a solid solar light and a good choice for backpacking.
Shop Goal Zero Crush
Best Lantern Flashlight Crossover: EJ Case XTorch ($ 60)
With humanitarian roots and a useful design, the XTorch is a unique lighting option for use at home or at a campsite. We have been testing it for about two years and are pleased to inform you that the product is subject to use and misuse. It is a handy light that doubles as a lantern and phone charger.
The Minnesota-based company calls the product a "sturdy, reliable, solar-powered flashlight, lantern and a replacement charger for mobile phones for off-grid use and for emergencies." This is a bit of a mouthful, but it summarizes the functions of the hybrid product.
The design is clean despite the bells and whistles. The manufacture is of high quality, with smooth lines and strong materials such as silicone USB covers and a polycarbonate case.
XTorch lights are used worldwide by non-profit organizations and other organizations dealing with disaster relief, refugee aid and humanitarian aid. The company donates 25% of its annual profit to fund donations to international partners.
The LED flashlight has multiple modes, including a 400-lumen high beam that cuts a path into the night. Put the light on the end and you can use the side lantern, a small 100-lumen LED that brightens up a room.
The device is sturdy and waterproof, 8.5 inches tall and weighs about 9 ounces. With a solar panel on the side, you can charge it in the sun.
Check out the XTorch for a decent hybrid option. It is a quality product that also works for a good cause.
Buy EJ Case XTorch
Best emergency candle lantern: UCO Original Candle Lantern Kit ($ 27)
This small candle powered candle is a must for your emergency equipment, bugout bag or camp equipment. It's extremely easy to use – just slide the glass down and light the candle for instant light. The included reflector clip directs the light where you need it most.
A single candle burns for almost 9 hours, and the spring-loaded system keeps the flame at a constant height. It gets hot, so be careful when deleting or moving. It packs up to 4.25 cm long and weighs only 7.2 ounces.
The neoprene cover protects everything during transport and makes it a practical addition to your camp kit. We used one exclusively in the camp if we want a classic, soft fire light. And it's always in our chuck kit just in case.
It is also a top choice for emergency preparedness. Regardless of whether you live in a hurricane zone or have frequent blackouts caused by snowstorms, it is a good idea to have a backup light available. The UCO Candle Lantern is an affordable, user-friendly and reliable option for camping and emergencies.
Buy UCO Original Candle Kit
Best String Lights: MPOWERD Luci String Lights ($ 45)
This has quickly become one of our favorite camping lights. Ten individual light capsules are distributed over 18 feet of braided nylon cord so you can illuminate a large area. It will be fully charged in about 8 hours via USB or 16 hours via solar. We recommend charging it before camping and then using solar to replenish it throughout the process.
We particularly like how these lights are stored in themselves. Simply wrap the fairy lights in the solar base and turn them off. Pro tip: Avoid too many overlapping lamps, otherwise they will be too bulky to be closed.
We have used these fairy lights almost daily for 6 months and they are still strong. The color is pleasantly pleasant warm yellow and we were impressed by how bright it gets at the highest setting. A popular option to create a little camp ambience or to lighten the garden.
Buy MPOWERD Luci fairy lights
Portable gas lantern: Primus EasyLight Camping Lantern ($ 60)
This handy little lantern runs on isobutane (just like your favorite backpack oven) and doesn't take up much space. It weighs only 7.4 ounces and measures around 4.5 inches around.
We found the light output to be particularly pleasant, yet bright enough to do all of our camp tasks. It has a maximum output of 490 lumens and runs in warm conditions for about 10 hours. Similar to stoves, the running time decreases in colder weather.
It started to rain while we were using this lantern, but it never went out or had any problems. Since it is made of glass, it can easily fall if dropped. However, the supplied hard shell carries it securely when it is packed.
We used it for a week while renting camping gear and appreciated the simple piezo ignition, warm light output and simple packaging design.
Buy Primus EasyLight
Classic choice: Coleman Gas Lantern ($ 30)
Without this classic Coleman lantern, no lantern evaluation would be complete. If you've never used a gas lantern before, it's important to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, instead of light bulbs, coats are used that fill with fuel and burn brightly. The glass can get extremely hot and caution is required when handling it.
That said, it's a solid lantern that will last for years. And it only costs $ 30. The double jacket design pumps out 1,000 lumens in height. It runs up almost 7 hours before a new fuel tank is needed. The green propane bottles cost $ 38 for a pack of four. While this is not outrageously expensive, it does add up and should be taken into account when buying lanterns.
We found it easy to direct the light onto the propane bottle and appreciated the base of the foot that prevented it from tipping over. It is worth noting that you need a matchstick to light this lantern.
If you don't mind paying a little more for a version with a carry case and auto-start piezo igniter, check out the Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow with carry case ($ 48).
Shop Coleman gas lantern
Do you have a favorite camping lantern? Let us know in the comments and we will check it for future updates to this article.
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