The Best Camping Lanterns for Your Next Outdoor Getaway

September 5, 2022

It’s crucial to take a lantern on every camping trip. A powerful light source is important for preparing meals after sundown and any other time you want to have your hands free in the dark or light the way on a nighttime excursion. Many camping lanterns also offer other helpful functionalities like power banks or mood-setting color options. 

There are many different kinds of camping lanterns to choose from. Some are battery-operated, while others are solar rechargeable or run on kerosene. They range in size from lightweight, miniscule models that are perfect for backpacking to stylish vintage designs that are powerful enough to illuminate entire campsites. Our all-around favorite camping lantern, the BioLite AlpenGlow, is splashproof, has five unique light modes, and adds another power source to your camping supply via a USB output. If you need other functionalities or are searching for a different aesthetic, check out more of our favorite lanterns.

These are the best lanterns to take camping.

Available in two sizes, BioLite’s AlpenGlow USB Lanterns are fun to use, practical, and versatile. The lantern utilizes high-efficiency ChromaReal LED tech and has five settings, including dimmable cool and warm light, cycling color, and even one mode that mimics the flickering of a candle. Since it can charge other devices via a USB port, it’s extra handy to have around while enjoying the greatoutdoors. It features other thoughtful conveniences like a built-in loop to hang the lantern and an accelerometer that allows you to change modes with an up-and-down shaking motion. The splashproof construction means it can handle any rainstorms, and you can choose to use single-sided light when you need to conserve battery power. 

Power Source: 3200 mAh and 6400 mAh rechargeable batteries | Max Lumens: 250 and 500 | Runtime: 5 hours high and 200 hours low | Weight: 7.4 ounces and 13.4 ounces

Don’t let the price fool you into thinking this is a cheap product. Vont designed a water-resistant, durable lantern in the size of a flashlight that emits up to 400 lumens. In lantern mode, you can adjust the brightness by collapsing the device to your desired light level. There are top hooks for hanging the lantern from your tent as well as side handles for carrying it like a flashlight. A magnetic base that allows you to mount the light on metal makes it even more versatile. The straightforward design includes a single button that toggles between lantern mode, flashlight mode, red night vision, and an SOS strobe.

Power Source: 3 AA or alkaline batteries | Max Lumens: 400 | Runtime: 100 hours on Alkaline batteries | Weight: 9.6 ounces

Snow Peak designed a beautiful spotlight that is easy to hang and bright enough for reading at night. They’re great for hanging in your tent as well as using at office desks when you’re not off the grid. You can also hang it on Snow Peak’s Pile Driver, a chrome-plated stainless steel pole that is staked into the ground. The brand also sells a rechargeable battery that’s compatible with its lanterns. Some cool features include a candle mode which flickers when the lantern senses wind or sound and an energy-saving sleep mode which turns the lantern off if there’s no surrounding sound.

Power Source: AA batteries or Hozuki 2.0 rechargeable battery | Max Lumens: 100 | Runtime: 8 hours high and 80 hours low  | Weight: 5.8 ounces

LuminAID’s inflatable solar lanterns make perfect trail companions. The brand’s origin story begins in an architecture school in New York City, where founders Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were inspired to design sustainable, off-grid light and power after a devastating earthquake in Haiti. The PackLite Titan 2-in-1 Power Lantern can charge two to three cell phones or one phone two to three times with its built-in 4000 mAh internal power bank. Waterproof, dustproof, and collapsible, it’s a wise addition to an emergency kit because it can hold a charge for up to two years in storage. LuminAID made its latest model easier to inflate with a twist instead of requiring air from your lungs. The Titan’s red light mode is great for stargazing and night vision or reading in the dark.

Power Source: Built-in rechargeable 4000 mAH battery and solar | Max Lumens: 300 | Runtime: 5 hours on high and 100 hours on low | Weight: 12.5 ounces

With two buttons, the Black Diamond Moji R+ can power 200 lumens of white light, strobing, rainbow spectrum, dim, and a campfire setting. It has four magnets and a collapsible double-hook loop that make it easy to hang in your tent or attach to metal. The splashproof, lightweight lantern isn’t just great for camping — I keep one in the car, one in my backpack, one in my garage, and one in the kitchen. It comes in four colors, including dark laurel and azurite.

Power Source: Built-in 1500 mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable battery | Max Lumens: 200 | Runtime: 5 hours high and 100 hours low | Weight: 2.75 ounces

Goal Zero’s Lighthouse 600 is lightweight at 1.1 pounds and has a built-in handle for easy carrying. You can take advantage of its 360-degree illumination or use only half of the light to save power. There are three ways to recharge a Goal Zero Lighthouse: with a USB source in six hours, using a solar panel like the brand’s Nomad 10, which also takes about six hours, and via the hand crank, which gives you 10 minutes of light for every one minute of cranking. 

Once charged, the lantern can power your phone, tablet, or other devices via a USB output.

Power Source: Batteries and solar | Max Lumens: 600 | Runtime: 10 minutes per one minute of hand cranking to 320 hours if one side is lit at low power | Weight: 1.1 pounds

Available in three colors (blue/green, red, and white), the mtnGLO Tent and Camp Lights are each 100 inches long. They are made of LED lights encased in a nylon tubing that can either be hung or zipped up inside a 5.5-inch, pyramid-shaped bag and set on a table like a lantern. The lights aren’t powerful enough to read with, but they are great as a nightlight or mood-setter to string up inside your cabin or tent. There are three light modes: off, white, and disco. 

Power Source: 3 AAA batteries | Max Lumens: Not specified | Runtime: Not specified Weight: 2 ounces

If you’re looking for something that can easily light up a large campsite, the ML6 is a great pick. Ledlenser specializes in LED flashlights, headlamps, area lights, and power banks. The ML6 utilizes micro prism technology to ensure glare-free lighting. There are three settings: solid white light, solid red light, and blinking red or white, including a dimmer. It’s lightweight and has a detachable magnetic base and a hook for easy hanging.

Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion 18650  | Max Lumens: 750 | Runtime: 4 hours high and 70 hours low | Weight: 9.88 ounces

With six different light modes (red, white, purple, blue, yellow, and green) and low (60 lumens) and high (90 lumens) brightness levels, this ultralight solar-powered lantern is perfect for camping and backyard lighting. The durable, waterproof lantern has an attractive cube-shaped design and can even float to add some pizzazz to your pool. The SolarPuff is also an environmentally friendly choice since it’s made of recyclable materials. 

Power Source: Solar and 1000 mAh battery | Max Lumens: 90 | Runtime: 10 hours | Weight: 2.6 ounces 

A replica of those nautical, metal-caged lanterns that used to protect delicate glass globes, the Barebones Antique Bronze Forest Lantern was one of those rare purchases where I fell in love with the product before reviewing its specs. Made of stamped steel, plastic, and rubber, the lantern is quite durable and has survived many years in our playroom and tent as an important prop to aid our kids’ imagination. The lantern recharges within four to six hours and is lightweight and easy to use. It also has an integrated USB cable built into the bottom of the base for recharging. There is a USB port for charging other devices as well.

Power Source: Rechargeable 4400mAh battery | Max Lumens: 220 | Runtime: 3 hours high and 80+ hours low | Weight: 1.5 pounds

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