There are few more frightening and inconvenient things than being caught in the dark on a camping trip. Whether the setup process takes longer than expected or you awaken in the middle of the night for a bathroom break, you must have lanterns and flashlights ready.
Having an excellent lantern or flashlight at your disposal will go a long way toward ensuring that you and your camping companions stay safe and secure.
This article will lay out what you should look for when choosing the best camping lantern for your needs and some of the best options.
Our Top Camping Lantern Picks
Goal Zero Lighthouse 600
Ultimate Survival Dura Glo
Black Diamond ReMoji Lantern
Goal Zero Lighthouse 600
If you’re tight on space and only have room for a single lantern or flashlight on your travels, the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 is the best camping lantern on the market. The Goal Zero 600 is lightweight, durable, and long-lasting for prolonged use. You can optionally switch between high and low brightness, with the battery lasting two hours on high and up to 48 hours on low.
It has a maximum brightness of 600 lumens and dual options for recharging. If you have access to a USB port, it’s the easiest way to recharge the battery, but the lantern also comes equipped with a hand-crank option. As a bonus, this lantern has a stable base of two feet so that you can alternate between a freestanding lantern and an easy-to-carry one.
All-in-all, the Goal Zero Lighthouse is, without a doubt, the best camping lantern of 2022. It’s small and light enough to take hiking with you, but it’s also bright enough to be your standalone camping lantern.
- Multiple charging methods to help you out in a pinch
- Very lightweight at around one and a half pounds in weight
- Up to 600 lumens of brightness
- It can last up to forty-eight hours when it’s on its lowest setting
- Stable base for playing table games or preparing food
- At $70, it’s slightly on the pricy end
- The handle isn’t the greatest for one-handed carrying
If you think the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 is the right lantern for you, visit REI to purchase it for your next camping trip.
Best for Extended Use
Ultimate Survival Dura Glo
If you know that you’re going to be without power or a way to charge your lantern for a while, the Ultimate Survival Dura Glo is the best camping lantern for you. This dual-purpose lantern can get used for both extremes of blinding brightness or long-term glow. It features a maximum of 1,000 lumens, far and away the brightest on this list.
However, keeping it at 1,000 lumens will take away from the main purpose of purchasing this lantern. When used on its lowest setting, the batteries can last for up to thirty-three days, more than enough for most power outages or camping trips. The base of the lantern is made of solid and sturdy rubber material, ensuring a sound base for the lantern to sit on.
Thanks partly to the stout materials and the massive D batteries used in this lantern, it weighs around two pounds. This lantern is also splash-resistant if you’re thinking of camping near a body of water or getting caught in the rain at night. Despite all this lantern can do, the sheer weight doesn’t make it a great option for portability or hiking.
- A maximum of 1,000 lumens is blindingly bright
- In Candle mode, the battery can last for up to thirty days or more
- The rubber housing and base add stability and durability
- The best camping lantern for long-term camping, hiking, or RVing where you don’t have the chance to recharge batteries
- At two pounds, it’s definitely on the heavy side
- Despite being splash-proof, it isn’t totally waterproof
- The handle is also made of plastic and could be stronger
Best on a Budget
Black Diamond ReMoji Lantern
If you need a top-notch, bright, and long-lasting camping lantern but don’t have a massive budget, the Black Diamond ReMoji Lantern is available. At less than $30 and extremely lightweight, this is undoubtedly the best camping lantern for a tight budget. It’s also one of the best lanterns for portability and frequent hiking trips.
While the maximum lumens is only 100, it’s bright enough to get you from point A to B in style and plenty of light, thanks partly to the frosted top that amplifies the light. Because of the lack of brightness, the battery also lasts much longer than other lanterns when it’s in the highest setting.
If that isn’t enough, this little lantern is also waterproof, splashproof, and rechargeable via a USB port. The Black Diamond Remoji is roughly the size of an apple and has freestanding or hanging abilities.
- Extremely small and lightweight
- Fits into almost any compartment of your backpack
- 10 hours of battery life on the highest setting and around 100 hours on the lowest
- Variable light color and brightness settings
- Very affordable at less than $30
- Because of how small it is, this lantern isn’t ideal as your sole source of light on extended hiking or camping trips.
Black Diamond Apollo Lantern
The Black Diamond Apollo lantern is a close second to the Goal Zero Lighthouse and easily takes the number two spot for best camping lantern. In addition to having a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 150 hours on the lowest setting, this lantern is one of the most durable and versatile on this list. It even includes a charger port that you can plug your phone into!
Despite having a charging feature and a powerful battery, this lantern only weighs around ten ounces, equivalent to a decent steak at a restaurant. It’s also relatively small so you can pack it easily into your backpack for hiking trips. Be advised, however, that the battery won’t last as long if you implement the phone charging feature.
The Black Diamond Apollo has a maximum brightness of 250 lumens and features smart technology that automatically dims the light after a while to save the battery. It’s also waterproof, which means you can take it on the river if you’re planning to change terrains on your hiking trip.
This lantern comes in black, blue, or red colors.
- The built-in charger is a nice touch
- 250 lumens of brightness is enough to meet most needs
- While the recommended recharge time is after 24 hours, the battery can optionally last up to 150
- Uses AA batteries, so you can take extras with you in case the originals die
- Lightweight, versatile, and durable as heck
- The stable base of three legs for tabletop use
- The handle is very small and not ideal for carrying around.
EJ Case X Torch Lantern
While the lantern we just listed would also make for a great hiking lantern, it doesn’t beat out the EJ Case X Torch Lantern. This bad boy toes the line between being a flashlight and a lantern and is essentially a combination of the two. For that reason, it’s invaluable during a hiking trip because you can easily hold it in one hand while hiking, hang it from a tree, or free-stand it during a late-night setup.
The X Torch also has a dual charging system where you can use a USB charger or the built-in solar panel for free and renewable recharging. As long as you have the lantern in the daylight during your day hiking, the battery will be refueling for evening use. This lantern will stay illuminated for up to two days with a full charge.
As a bonus, the maximum of 400 lumens is one of the brightest on this list and will definitely light your way during a night hike. The materials used and the overall composition make this lantern highly durable and heavy-duty if it takes a beating. Whether you’re using this flashlight/lantern combo for hiking or around the house, you’re bound to love it.
- Doubles as a handheld flashlight or a hanging or freestanding lantern
- 400 lumens is bright enough to fulfill most needs
- You can charge it in just over one hour with a USB cord or in around one day with solar energy
- You can also use the USB port on the lantern as a phone charger
- Very lightweight, durable, and versatile camping lantern
- Although durable, the charging methods tend to give out without warning if you’re not careful.
Primus EasyLight Lantern
If you know you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, then you can’t rely on charging ports or solar energy. The Primus EasyLight is the best camping lantern that operates on fuel. The Primus EasyLight gets its power from isobutane, which is the same form of fuel used by camping stoves and other portable gas-powered devices.
Despite having a tiny fuel tank on the bottom, this little lantern is lightweight and portable. It will fit easily onto the side or even in the pockets of most backpacks. You can optionally detach the isobutane tank or leave it connected during travels. While the light running time is only 10 hours which is less than most of the other lanterns on this list, you can overcome this by carrying extra tanks.
The run-time is higher in warm weather but slightly lower when temperatures get chilly. Although this lantern does fairly well in the rain and snow, it’s liable to extinguish with enough moisture. You also want to be careful of breaking, as the lantern’s body is made of glass.
- As long as you don’t drop it and break the glass body, this lantern is very durable
- Run-time of up to 10 hours
- The gas tank is easily attachable and detachable
- Doesn’t rely on the sun or external charging methods to operate
- Very lightweight and compact size
- The glass body is prone to shattering if you drop it just right
- Rain might extinguish your gas flame
- The gas will get used up faster during cold weather than in the warm weather
Lumin-Aid PackLite Lantern
If you still want a very high-quality camping lantern but don’t want to spend over $50, the Lumin-Aid PackLite is the lantern for you. This lantern is super lightweight, has a long-lasting battery, and is bright enough to do almost anything. However, the maximum brightness is only 150 lumens, which means it’s nowhere near as bright as the first lantern on this list.
However, the battery on the Lumin-Aid lasts for up to fifty hours on its lowest setting, which is two hours longer than the Goal Zero. For that reason, it’s important to decide if battery longevity or overall brightness means more to you. Another advantage that the Lumin-Aid has over other camping lanterns is that it weighs just half a pound.
One of the best parts about this lantern is that it doubles as a phone charger. This means that as long as you have a USB cable, you can plug it into the lantern, and it will charge your phone. The Lumen-Aid has a handle where you can easily carry it around or hang it from a tree branch based on your needs. It’s roughly the size of a roll of toilet paper and takes up minimal space in your pack.
- The fact that it doubles as a phone charger is excellent
- The battery lasts up to fifty hours when it’s on the lowest setting
- Rechargeable with a USB port or through the built-in solar panel
- Features a snappable handle that you can open and close like a baseball cap
- Very lightweight at half a pound, and freestanding
- The maximum brightness is only 150 lumens which is only a quarter as bright as the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600
Camping Lantern Buyer’s Guide
Each of the best camping lanterns on this list is judged based on the following criteria. To be considered for the best camping lantern, a lantern needs to check off as many of these boxes as possible.
Our buyer’s guide is also helpful if you go off-list and purchase a camping lantern not included in this article.
As with most things in life, your budget and the price of the lantern will play a major role. While the best camping lantern for your needs isn’t going to be dirt-cheap, it also shouldn’t break the bank.
Remember, you’re likely going to have lots of other hiking materials and tools that you need to purchase aside from the lantern.
Simply put, if your lantern isn’t bright enough to light your way and make your life easier, there’s no point in carrying one. Ideally, your lantern should be able to switch between extremely high levels of brightness or low levels for prolonged battery life.
Additional features, such as a built-in phone charger in case of emergency, are always a welcome sight. It’s also a plus if your lantern has a sturdy base and handle for carrying or hanging from something.
Your lantern’s size and weight are extremely important if you’re low on space or planning to do extensive hiking. None of the lanterns in this article are more than two pounds heavy, but some are collapsible and much lighter than others.
Durability is another extremely important factor, especially if you’re planning to put your lantern through heavy-duty use.
The best camping lantern isn’t one you’ll have to replace every time you drop or bump it. Instead, it should be made of light but stout material that will stand up to the elements and rough use.
Having multiple power sources is also a huge benefit. Most modern camping lanterns utilize both USB charging ports and solar panels to ensure charging in all conditions. Other lanterns, however, use non-rechargeable batteries, fuel, or even electricity as the power source.
Different Types of Camping Lanterns
Electric camping lanterns receive their power by plugging into a wall or car outlet with a USB port. USB lanterns are usually the fastest-charging lanterns on the market, and many of them feature a secondary charging source such as solar panels or a hand crank.
Nearly all camping lanterns use LED bulbs for their light source, except for fuel-powered lanterns.
While some camping lanterns use only solar energy as their charging source, most have secondary charging methods if you’re in a pinch. A lantern that recharges using solar energy is a great plus, but you rarely want to depend on the sun as your sole source of energy.
Battery-powered camping lanterns still have a very significant place in the outdoor world. While the AAA, AA, C, and D batteries used to power these lanterns aren’t rechargeable, they last longer on a single charge than USB or solar-powered lanterns.
You also have the option of carrying replacement batteries with you in case they’re needed.
These camping lanterns aren’t as popular as electric, battery, or solar lanterns, but they’re still very useful. Propane and isobutane are the two most common types of fuel used to power these lanterns.
Wrapping Up the Best Camping Lantern
Using the information and ideas in this article, you should have no trouble choosing the best camping lantern to serve your needs.
A lantern is just one part of an enjoyable and safe camping trip. Visit the Camping Gear page on our website for more recommendations. The quality and durability of your survival tools will determine your success in the wilderness.