Proper Prior Planning: A Guide to the Best Camping Lantern

Clunky, unreliable flashlight got you down?

Camping lanterns provide a reliable means for 360-degree illumination. They free up your hands so you can enjoy your night of camping with less stress and more worthwhile activities.

Picking the right lantern can prove a worthwhile investment for campers of all levels. How do you choose?

This guide will help you pick the best camping lantern before you’re stranded in the dark with no fire started.

Types of Camping Lanterns

Camping lanterns come in three types:

  1. Candle
  2. Fuel-powered
  3. Electric

If you’re looking for a lantern to make your life easier, skip a candle lantern. As the name suggests, candle lanterns use a candle to light up an area. These prove unreliable for most camping purposes and provide a small amount heat.

Fuel powered lanterns are durable and last a long time. This type of camping lantern provides a great light output.

The downside? Fuel can prove messy, they’re on the heavier side and cost more than other lantern types.

Last, electric lanterns provide a safe, quiet, and long-lasting alternative. Batteries power these lanterns that use LED bulbs as their light source.

With LED lanterns you don’t need to worry about a potential fire hazard. They’re cool to the touch, light, and durable.

The limitations of an electric lantern lie in the level of light produced. While the amount isn’t dismal, a fuel powered lantern provides the most light to campers.

The best electric lanterns come with the ability to recharge your batteries. Without this option, you create a lot of waste in the form of dead batteries and money spent buying new ones.

What To Consider Before You Buy

As your prepare for your trip, you need to consider some factors before selecting a camping lantern.

  • Price
  • Brightness
  • Size
  • Hours of Operation
  • Ease of Use
  • Durability
  • Features


Selecting a quality lantern does not need to break the bank. Before you begin, set your budget. Stick to it as you make you buying decision.


Most campers consider brightness one of the most important factors involved in choosing a camping lantern. People use lanterns in a number of setting. The light source must deliver despite this variable.

Is the light comfortable? You may find some lanterns emit harsh, almost blinding light. If you want further control, you could opt for a lantern that includes a dimming feature.

Consider whether or not the lantern contains a “lampshade” or globe. These features soften the way the lantern projects light. This means you’ll avoid the nasty repercussions of looking at the light without any kind of barrier.

Overall, your lantern light should prove comfortable for your eyes and give you enough light for any setting you use it in.


Large lanterns prove hard to transport if you operate within a small tent at night. This is due as much to the amount of physical space the lantern takes up as the weight of a large, heavy lantern.

Smaller lanterns offer improved handling. They work better inside tents but might come up short for outside activities like cooking.

Pick a lantern that fits your needs best. If ease of use and portability is the most important to you, a smaller lantern is a good choice.

Hours of Operation

How long will you use your lantern to illuminate your campsite? If you’re hours of operation prove long, you might want to invest in an electric LED lantern that allows you to choose a lightbulb to suit your needs.

Candle or fuel lanterns prove prone to the elements. Campers looking for long-lasting and unfettered light should consider this when choosing a lantern.

Ease of Use

Campsites consist of various terrain that could affect how easy a lantern is to use.

Camping in the wilderness or another remote area with dense tree cover? You want a lantern you can hang for a number of reasons, including saving space. A camper with a heavy lantern will need to spend time searching for a sturdy branch to avoid any mishaps.

Let’s not even begin to discuss getting a heavy lantern onto a high tree branch.

If your campsite is tree free you need to find a steady surface on the ground or a rock to set the lantern on. A lantern with a small base could prove difficult in this situation.

Another factor that you should consider in this category is battery life and accessibility. If your lantern isn’t rechargeable you might find changing out batteries a hassle on a long weekend of camping in any setting.

Of course, rechargeable lanterns take some time to reach a full charge but serve as a cost effective and less annoying option.


There’s a reason we call camping roughing it. If your camping lantern cannot stand up to wear and the elements, it proves useless on your trip.

Look for models tested in different environments. The sturdiest lanterns include rubber or metal in the design. Lanterns that include rubber are shock proof.

Your lantern should also withstand water. Some waterproof models can float on the water’s surface, which can prove handy in sticky situations.

Durability measures also include battery life. Some lanterns last up to a month on their lowest setting.

Not crazy about carrying batteries with you? A solar-powered or USB-charged option could come in handy but they could lack when tested against the elements.


Lanterns come in many shapes and sizes. They include features like the ability to charge smartphones, flexible legs for balance on irregular surfaces, dimming control, sliding globes or improved hooks.

Simple models that contain a single on/off switch also exist on the market.

The number of features is less important the how the features impact your camping trip. Choose a lantern that adds to your experience with useful features.

Choosing The Best Camping Lantern For You

The right camping lantern for you depends on the nature of your activities. The small, portable lantern used by an avid hiker may not serve a camper who spends a lot of time at their campsite as well.

If you’re heading outdoors for an extended stay, you need to plan the right way. With the information in this guide, you’re ready to choose the right lantern for your trip. For more information and outdoor product reviews, visit us today!

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