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At the campsite, nothing beats the natural flicker and glow of a well-built fire.
However, before you get that fire up-and-running, it's fairly helpful to bring some light along with you that isn't quite so labor intensive. A trusty camping lantern can light up your progress while you pitch your tent, and also serves as a handy guide if you're up looking for a woodsy bathroom in the middle of the night. Plus, they just look pretty cool. They will also come in handy if you camp with kids! They may be afraid of the dark and ask for some light as they can acquainted with the outdoors. Sleeping in pitch dark can be a bit daunting for young campers, so give them the comfort of a night light from the tent.
So, if you're ready to upgrade your campsite, here are some of the best lights and lanterns for you to consider. Each one is reliable and affordable, so you can keep your site well-lit without breaking the bank. From some great value options to a vintage lantern for those focused on campsite ambience, you should find one that'll work for you.
1. Best Overall
This LE LED lantern sits at the intersection of affordability, portability, and performance. It runs on D alkaline batteries, and it's good for up to 12 continuous hours of light. It also has four different light settings, so you can easily set the vibe or set it to flash in the case of an emergency. The lantern is also water-resistant, so it'll still hold up if you run into some wet weather.
2. Best Value
These Vont LED lanterns might be small, but they pack a punch — just take the word of this recent 5-star Amazon review: "Uh, this thing is bright. Like crazy super bright." With 30 crazy super bright bulbs in each lantern, you can ensure that your entire backpacking party is well-equipped with a bright light for any situation. The collapsible design makes the lanterns easier to transport, and the excellent construction will protect your lantern against water and falls on rocks.
3. Best Rechargeable Lantern
If you'd rather not have to remember to pack batteries, you might want to opt for this rechargeable option from BioLite. It has a sleek yet subtle look, and is designed to mimic natural light. It also has a ton of different modes, so you can easily switch up colors or light patterns when it's time to switch from practical to party-mode. A fully-charged battery lasts an impressive 200 hours on its low setting, and a solid five hours on high.
4. Best Solar-Powered Lantern
While it might not be your most powerful option, this MPOWERD lantern might be the most reliable. This is because you don't need to rely on batteries or a charging cable, as it's entirely solar powered. With just seven hours in direct sunlight, the lantern will store enough energy to light up your camp for 24 hours straight. Plus, it's also super portable and collapses down to one inch of thickness, making it an easy thing to throw in your pack.
5. Best Battery Life
This classic Coleman lantern has a timeless look paired with upgraded features, like the power-saving battery guard system and four different light settings to choose from. The beam distance will cover up to 16 meters, and the LED bulbs come with a lifetime guarantee. According to one reviewer, the lantern is "Compact and sturdy...perfect for outdoors as well as indoors."
6. Most Unique
To round out the list, we love the vintage look of these battery-powered lanterns from Yinuo Candle. While they're definitely more suited for ambience than emergencies, they bring a throwback energy and some great light to any easy going campsite. You can switch the bulbs between normal mode and one that simulates a flickering flame, and you can even power your lantern on and off with a remote control. This two-pack is a great value, and you'll be sure to stand out at the campground.