The 7 Best Camping Lanterns

Whether you're hiking deep in the wilderness or just having a slumber party in the backyard, a good camping lantern will make your experience outside more enjoyable, not to mention make things easier to see. The best camping lanterns can be broken down into four main fuel types, and each one has its perks and pitfalls.

Camping lantern fuel types

  • Single-use battery: These are your standard camping lanterns that run on regular batteries. The upside is you don't have to deal with finding electricity to charge them, and they usually last longer than rechargeable batteries. The downside is that if the batteries die while you're mid-excursion and you don't have replacements on-hand, you're out of luck.
  • Rechargeable battery: These lanterns are great because you never have to worry about replacing the batteries. However, they usually only burn for 6 to 12 hours at a time, so if you're on an extended trip, they may not be a good option.
  • Solar-powered: The perk of solar-powered lanterns is that you don't have to worry about finding batteries or an electrical outlet. They make excellent picks for longer backpacking trips, thru-hikes, or survival scenarios. The disadvantage is that they take longer and can be more of a hassle to charge.
  • Propane: The biggest advantage to propane is you typically get stronger light intensity — so if you want it extra bright, they're the way to go. The cons are that you have to carry fuel around, the surfaces can get hot, they're heavier, and they need ventilation (so no hanging them inside your tent).

Once you've decided on the fuel type, you'll want to consider some additional features, too.

Best features for camping lanterns

  • Brightness: This is typically measured in lumens — the higher the lumens, the brighter it will be, so look for something with at least 500 lumens of shining power.
  • Durability: Camping lanterns see a lot of wear and tear, so you want them to be durable enough that they won't break if they get knocked around or dropped. A non-glass shell with a strong casing made of polycarbonate or other tough plastics is typically your best bet.
  • Wide range: The best camping lanterns are not only bright but offer a wide range of light settings so you can dim them down or turn them up, according to your preference. I made sure my picks below offer plenty of variety.

It's also nice if your lantern offers things like collapsibility, water-resistance, or bonus features like fans or removable components. Now that you know what to look for, take a peek at the best camping lanterns below.

1. The Best Overall: An LED Lantern With More Than 1,300 Reviews

Fuel type: Single-use battery

Brightness: 600 lumens

This rugged, water-resistant lamp, which has more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon, is one of the best LED lanterns for camping. It's super durable and shock-resistant, so you can drop it or bang it around without it cracking. It offers bright, consistent light with three different modes and power that can burn for six days straight with the help of three D batteries. Best of all, it comes at a reasonable, affordable price.

2. The Best Rechargeable Camping Lantern

Fuel type: Rechargeable battery

Brightness: 1,100 lumens

Constructed with tough polycarbonate and ultra-strong metal D-rings, this durable outdoor light is among the best rechargeable camping lanterns you can find. It's not just water-resistant but fully waterproof — submergible up to a full meter underwater — and tested to withstand high impacts without breaking. It has three lighting modes and comes with a USB charger you can use to juice up its 10,400 mAh lithium ion battery overnight.

3. The Best Propane Camping Lantern

Fuel type: Propane

Brightness: 1,540 lumens

Equipped with 1,540 lumens of shining power, this propane camping lantern is the brightest option on this list. On top of providing excellent light quality, reviewers say it's super steady and doesn't wobble when you set it down on the table, or flicker all the time like some propane options do. It's easy to light and the brightness can be turned up or down by simply rotating the dial. On top of that, it's collapsible for extra portability. However, the lantern's shell is made of glass, so you'll need to handle it with extra care.

4. The Best Solar-Powered Camping Lantern

Fuel type: Solar-powered and rechargeable battery

Brightness: 140 lumens

As far as solar powered camping lanterns go, this ultra-compact choice is high-quality and versatile, too. You have the option of solar-charging it when you're on a thru-hike, and it can also be charged via USB when you're closer to civilization. The entire length of the device collapses (unlike the propane option, which is only partially collapsible), so it's extremely compact. On top of that, it's lightweight, weighing just 4.9 ounces, which makes it a great choice for backpacking as well. One thing to note: It only offers 140 lumens max, so it's the least bright out of all the options on this list.

5. The Best For Your Tent: A Lantern & Ceiling Fan In One

Fuel type: Rechargeable battery

Brightness: Not specified

If you're looking for something to brighten up your sleeping quarters, this is one of the best tent lanterns you can buy, largely due to its impressive versatility. In addition to a light, it offers a fan and a unique aroma diffuser (aka no more "mildew mixed with bug spray" smell). The three-in-one choice, which has more than 600 reviews, even has a special hook to hang it up in your tent, along with USB-rechargeable 2,200 mAh batteries that feature 40 hours of run time on each charge. The fan boasts three different speed settings. Meanwhile, the light has multiple brightness modes, and though the number of lumens aren't specified, fans found that it offers plenty of brightness for inside a tent.

6. The Best Lantern And Flashlight In One

Fuel type: Rechargeable battery

Brightness: 600 lumens

With two built-in flashlights you can detach to use as regular handhelds, this 600-lumen option is one of the best lantern flashlights out there. There are four lights in total, so even when you're using the flashlights separately, you can still place the lantern on a picnic table or hang it from a tree to get a little extra illumination. It's water-resistant, with a rechargeable 1,800 mAh battery that fans say is long-lasting. As a bonus, it has an integrated compass, too.

7. The Best Budget Option

Fuel type: Single-use battery

Brightness: 500 lumens

This affordable choice isn't fancy, but it's a great option if you're looking for an inexpensive camping lantern that does the job without breaking the bank. The battery-operated device, which takes three AA batteries (not included), isn't quite as durable as some of the other options, but it features an easy-turn dial and a smooth, compact design. Plus, reviewers say that it seems bright despite having fewer lumens than some other options. "Don’t let the size of this lantern fool you," wrote one reviewer. "It’s small but mighty. We used it this weekend and were amazed how bright the LED lights are."

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