Camping lanterns are a rite of passage for everyone that likes to pitch a tent. Here are a few good choices.
Mostly gone are the days when we had to unscrew the cap, pour in the fuel, and then put flame in our lanterns to light up the night. While you can still get these traditional camping lanterns, many folks now opt for the smaller, cleaner, and more economical battery-powered versions that today's manufacturers now offer.
With multi-color light options, USB recharging, collapsibility, and even Bluetooth compatibility, lanterns are now seemingly a part of the space age. They are lightweight and have plenty of power to give for every coming need.
Today's camping lanterns can be hung, set on the picnic table, or the floor of the tent while remaining safe for both children's hands and for the tent itself since they give off virtually no heat. They run for hours at a time and the rechargeable versions can be charged right at the campground in multiple ways.
What To Look For In a Good Camping Lantern
Camping lanterns aren't always the best choice for replacing a good headlamp or a flashlight, especially if you're backpacking. But they have their place in our camping gear bag just the same. Certainly brightness (measured in lumens) is generally the first consideration for campers, but there is also the stated battery life for units that don't burn fossil fuels.
Look for a brand that offers multiple light modes and functions. The best camping lanterns may also have hooks, legs, or other hanging/mounting options. Many of today's lanterns feature solar panel charging, and USB ports. Some solar lanterns can be simply left out in the sun to charge.
Other things to look for are weight, collapsibility, water resistance, and battery type. Some batteries will offer longer run times than others.
Coleman Premium Powerhouse Dual Fuel Lantern
This one comes in as the lantern that we all grew up with in a better, more modern design. It is a fuel-driven lantern taking either traditional lantern fuel or even unleaded gas for up to five hours and giving off 800 lumens of light.
BioLite Alpenglow 500
It gives off a ton of light at 500 lumens and has some great functions including a "fireworks" setting that the kids will love. The battery life is a whopping 200 hours. This is good one to keep around in case of power outages too, giving it versatility beyond just use in a camping tent.
Black Diamond Apollo
It's not the brightest lantern, but it can run on either three AAA batteries or a rechargeable lithium ion battery. It is more than light enough to be hung in the tent or set on its legs.
Goal Zero Lighthouse 600
This interesting lantern can be charged by USB, solar panel, or it even has an emergency hand crank to get the job done. It has plenty of light with a 600-lumen output.
Streamlight Siege Compact
Gives out a great amount of light and lasts extremely long for a unit that only takes three D batteries. It's also waterproof to three feet.
UST 60-DAY Duro 1200
This lantern not only has a good amount of optional settings, but the battery life is massive for a lantern that takes six D batteries. It can also be plugged in to an outlet.
Not Your Father's Camping Lantern
Other than the Coleman Duel Fuel, (one of the most trusted names in camping) these lanterns have come into the future of car camping and outdoor recreation, and that's a good thing. Even though we can still have the same lantern that our dad had, they lack the convenience of those that are rechargeable or even powered by disposable batteries.
The best options have both good brightness and adjustability which is great for a variety of tasks such as cleaning up after dinner or reading in the tent later in the evening. Some of the rechargeable versions can use a solar charger to keep it ready during the day while having enough leftover charge to light things up and keep your mobile device running as well.
Many folks carry other alternate power sources while camping like a good camping generator or the Athena Power Bank which will not only jump start a car but charge virtually anything you can carry. The point is that it's not inconvenient anymore to have many of the comforts of home on your camping trip.
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