Camping lanterns are very important if you are going to go camping for a few days, or if you are preparing for a blackout or another emergency where you are cut off from electricity but will need a light.
Because of the instances where you would need or want a camping lantern, many of these will feature and promote how long their lights will last, how durable they are, how bright they are, and how portable and easy to hang they are.
Some of the main features of these lanterns are going to be the durability of the lantern, how long the light will last, how dim or bright a light can become, and how water resistant it is. Durability and the longevity of the light within the lantern are probably the most important features.
There are different light modes for a camping lantern, typically ranging from dim to very bright, although a few have red light modes so it is a bit softer on the eyes. These are nice features to have included with your lantern so that you won’t blind yourself the second you turn it on in the darkness, or so you can very easily light up larger areas. Some lanterns can light areas of up to 30 feet pretty well from a single location. Water resistance isn’t as important, but it is very good in case there is unexpected rain while you are out camping.
Top 5 Lanterns for Camping
The AYL Starlight 330 is an LED camping lantern designed to provide you with bright light covering a large expanse of area. This is done by the reflective convex cap within the lantern, which allows up to 360° of light. This cover can be removed if you want more focused light that doesn’t go everywhere. The bulb within the lantern has an output of 600 lumens, which is pretty close to the highest a light bulb can put out. For reference, a light with 300 lumens is already a bright enough light to set out in the middle of your campsite while a 100 lumen light is perfect for inside your tent.
It comes with 3 different lighting modes: low, high, and flashing. These are easily switched between by cycling the switch for the light modes. High mode puts out 600 lumens and is perfect for a communal space. The flashing mode continuously turns on and to signal an emergency and puts out less lumens in order to preserve power.
Thanks to the hook that is on the bottom of the lantern, you can easily set it up almost anywhere you need a lantern to be. The lantern also has a water-resistant body that comes in a rubber and plastic housing to ensure there is minimal chance of water leaking in.
Even when turned off, the AYL Starlight has a green LED indicator light on it so you can always find your lantern. You will need 3 D batteries in order to use this lamp, which should last for 6 full days. It is also lightweight and easy to carry around as it weighs about .9 pounds and stands at 7.2” tall.
The Streamlight Siege Lantern can provide light all the way around the lantern in order to better light up the area in which you place it. This lantern comes with red and white LEDs within the light to be used with its five different output modes. Another handy feature in this lantern is the battery level indicator that is built into the on/off button.
The five modes of this lantern are high, medium, low, red, and red SOS. The high light mode provides 340 lumens, still plenty of light output to cover a larger area. The red light mode provides 10 lumens, which is just enough to illuminate a very small area in front of you when walking or to light up a small space within your tent. The red SOS mode flashes so that you can be found in the case of an emergency or signal to others that there is an emergency.
If you decide to use this lantern with the outer globe cover on, you can have it float in the water and it will operate for up to 1 meter of submersion. If you take it off, you can hang it from the D ring on the bottom of the lantern to provide the best lighting for a large area.
There is also a D ring on top of the lantern so you can hang it upright as well. If you choose to not use the D rings at all, it will still stay pretty stable and balanced on most surfaces thanks to its rubber molded base. The handle on top of the lantern makes it easier to carry around with you and can help stabilize it if you decide to place it on its side for any reason.
This 14-oz. lantern is pretty lightweight but requires 3 “D” batteries in order to run. The handle makes for convenient carrying and its size means it is easily stowed away.
The Goal Zero Lighthouse Lantern can be charged three different ways: with solar power, through a USB port, or using the hand crank on top of the lantern. With the USB port, you can even charge your phones or tablets while the power is out or you are out camping. While charging a device, you can also use the hand crank to make sure power keeps going and that your lantern doesn’t run out of power because you are charging something. The hand crank is very slow to charge the lantern, so don’t solely rely on that to charge your lantern and your device.
The lantern also has collapsible legs that fold up against the lantern and can be used as a stand to make the lantern a little taller. The legs are also helpful if you want to ensure that the lantern is entirely stable on the surface you place it on. It sheds 360° of light for you to use, but you can also use only half of the lantern in order to save power and direct your light in a particular direction. The handle and the magnet on the lantern help increase the number of places you can put your lantern. You could also use the legs of the lantern as a way to hang it if you wanted to use the lantern upside down.
It weighs 1.2 lbs., so it is convenient enough for you to carry around and use as a flashlight, if needed. It stands at 5” tall when the collapsible legs are not in use. Its size and weight makes for much more convenient and easier storage amongst your bags or in your closet space with other emergency supplies. The batteries it takes are excusive Goal Zero batteries that have both polarities on each end and can only be bought through their website.
The UST 7-Day Lantern has a light that gets up to 310 lumens bright. This isn’t bright enough to light up a large communal area well, but comes pretty close. The lantern also comes with 3 light modes: high, low, and SOS mode. It should run fine on the low light mode continuously for 10 days, or a little over 1 day if it is used continuously on the high setting. SOS mode flashes and should last around a week if that is the only mode used on the lantern during that time.
The rubberized housing of the lantern helps prevent the lantern from breaking easily upon impact when it falls. The rubber also glows in the dark so you can find the lantern more easily. The rubber only really glows well after it has been placed in the light for a while, so it may not be as good after it has been stored away for a while. Rubber also surrounds the on/off button and in between removable components of the lantern, like the battery cover and the lantern’s casing. The LED bulbs are advertised as never breaking or burning out.
At 6.8” tall and weighing about 15 oz., it is very lightweight and pretty compact for easy packing in your bag and hanging around camp. It has a recessed hook built into the lantern base so it can be used as a downlight as well as a standing lantern. This small-sized camping lantern also takes 6 AA batteries in order for it to be used. However, it is not meant to be water resistant; it is simply weather resistant; be wary using it around water.
The UST 30-Day Lantern comes with 4 light settings: high, medium, low, and SOS flashing. On the low setting, it is meant to last up to 30 days and puts out about 29 lumens of light. This is enough to light a small space within your tent but may not be enough to read by. On its highest setting, it lasts 32 hours straight with 300 lumens being put out, a perfect amount to light up a larger shared space. The SOS flashing mode will flash the lantern on and off continuously until you switch it off or it runs out of power.
It also comes with a rubberized housing and is water resistant. This means that it can handle a little bit of water but should not be used out in the rain or near a large body of water. The rubber housing makes it much more impact resistant and far less likely it break, even if it is dropped on cement. The rubber also glows in the dark but, like UST’s 10-Day Lantern, it should be in the light for a while before it glows well again.
There is also a green LED indicator that continuously flashes on the lantern that is meant to show you where your lantern is in the darkness. The globe is removable and can be taken off when you are going to use the lantern as a downlight or in order to display the SOS flashing mode better. Removing the globe means that the lantern is no longer water resistant, so be careful when you take it off.
The lantern itself weighs around 1 lb., making it very lightweight and compact for a light that lasts for so long. It takes 3 “D” batteries to use it and also includes a recessed hook on the bottom of the lantern.