Whether you’re camping at a campground, out in the wilderness, or even in your own backyard, solar lights are a must have. These handy sun-charged lanterns can come in use for a night light, in an emergency situation, and more.
Read on for our reviews of the best solar lights for camping on the market, some things to consider before choosing solar lights for camping in your specific situation, and more.
Our Top Solar Light Picks
LuminAID Packlite Solar Lantern
Best Budget Option:
XTAUTO Collapsible Camping Lantern
Fun For Camping Parties:
Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma Lantern
LuminAID Packlite Solar Lantern
The specific qualities that make up the best solar lights for camping will vary based on your individual situation. However, there are some factors that are important in every scenario, and should always be taken into account.
These include a solar light that holds its charge for a long time, one that is easy to pack along but large enough to illuminate a wide area, and one that is waterproof and shatterproof to fit just about any scenario. Preferably, it’s good to have a solar light that doesn’t get too hot, either, so you can use it inside of your tent.
For checking all of these boxes and many more, we recommend the LuminAID PackLite Spectra USB Solar Lantern as one of the best solar lights for camping overall. This color-varying, affordable pick will give you just about everything you need for a worry free solar light addition to your camping repertoire.
- Easy to pack, but large enough to give you all the light you need
- Offers various colors for a calming night light effect
- Holds a charge for up to 12 hours
- Charges fully within 10 hours of sunlight exposure
- Waterproof, dustproof, and shatterproof. Will also float in water
- Heat resistant design makes it safe for using inside of tents
- Some users have reported issues with LuminAID PackLite solar lights not holding a charge. However, this seems to be a defect in individual solar lights and not a product issue overall.
Best on a Budget
XTAUTO Collapsible Camping Lantern
Solar lights are an extremely valuable addition to any camping or survival kit. However, keeping them on hand can rack up a real cost over time, depending on how many people you are outfitting or how large an area you plan to illuminate.
If you are looking for a high quality solar light that won’t break the bank, we recommend the 4 pack XTAUTO Collapsible Portable LED Camping Lantern as one of the best solar lights for camping on a budget.
Although it prices slightly higher than a single solar light, this solar light 4-pack is a great budget option given how much value you get for the cost. It’s a fantastic option for outfitting a whole campsite. It’s also a great pick for groups or families where multiple people need a solar light of their own.
- Comes with 4 solar lights, making each individual solar light less expensive overall than any competitor
- A fantastic option to get more solar lights for less cost if you need to light a larger area or equip more campers with light
- Some customers have reported issues with the illumination from the solar lights.
- These solar lights may not be able to charge all phones.
Best for Camping Parties
Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma Lantern
Solar lights are good for more than just finding your way around your campsite in the dark. They can also add a real flare of fun and enjoyment to your camping experience! Why settle for a plain white solar light when you can do so much more?
For folks on the hunt for solar lights that will add a festive feeling to their campsite, we recommend the Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma Lantern as a great solar light for camping parties.
This multi-hued solar light offers a dazzling array of color that is both practical and fun. It’s multiple color options and easy carriability makes it a great fit for any camping party, anytime, anywhere.
- Has several colors to choose from, so you can fit the mood of any camping party
- Collapsible and easy to transport
- Can be charged via USB port during cloudy or overcast conditions
- Some customers have reported issues with the durability of the solar lights after extended use, with the rubber and silicone becoming compromised over time
- Some customers have reported issues with the light flickering
Mesqool 300 Hand Crank Solar Camping Lantern
In some cases, you may find your hands tied when waiting on your solar light to charge by the power of the sun alone. It can be good to have an alternate method to charge your solar light…or a way to augment the charging if you need to use the solar light or its attributes in a time crunch.
With this in mind, we recommend the Mesqool 3000 Large Capacity Hand Crank Solar Camping Lantern as one of the best hand crank solar lights for camping. The addition of a hand crank charging method gives you the choice of relying on a sunlight charge, or giving your solar light an extra boost of power with the use of the hand crank.
This solar light can also be charged via a USB charger as well! For folks looking to have the extra surety of a solar light that can be charged in any scenario, even on cloudy days, this is truly one of the best solar lights for camping.
- Offers a secondary and even tertiary option for charging your solar lantern, in case you need light in a pinch
- Can be relied on even during cloudy, overcast days
- Does require more manual effort than a simple solar powered light
- Can have issues with charging phones
MPOWERED Luci Inflatable Lantern
No one wants to think of worst case scenarios when camping. However, crises can arise. In these cases, one of the best solar lights for camping you can have in hand is one designed specifically for emergencies.
For these instances of preparedness, we recommend the MPOWERED Luci EMRG Solar Inflatable Lantern as one of the best solar lights for camping emergencies.
This pocket-sized solar light is perfect for emergencies or for lighting up the campsite. It holds a great charge, illuminates a sizeable area, and can be packed in your gear or pocket without hassle. It also has specific settings for sending out an S.O.S in times of need
- Among the most affordable solar lights for camping
- Easy to store and carry
- Comes with four brightness settings, including an emergency S.O.S. mode
- Collapsible, lightweight, and waterproof
- Can be used as a flashlight, solar light, or emergency light as needed
- Customers have reported issues with durability. Primarily, the solar panel may detach when exposed to pressure.
Best Solar Lights for Camping Buyer’s Guide
First and foremost, price is a big factor to consider when choosing solar lights for camping. Higher priced solar lights may have better luminescence and more features, but they can rack through your budget pretty fast.
The key to picking the best solar lights for camping that suit your needs is to be aware of what features you actually need and which ones are just a nice addition. Going with necessity over pleasure will help you stay within budget without sacrificing on the key features that make a solar light worthwhile.
Brightness and Lumens
When choosing the best solar lanterns for camping, it’s important to bear in mind how different solar lights vary in brightness. Some have more bulbs, some have less. The lumens differ, and this will affect how wide a range of brightness and how much brightness you get out of your solar light.
In general, you want to look for solar lights that offer at least 200 lumens. But you may want to go above that, depending on where you are camping, in what scenarios you plan to use your solar lights, etc.
Be sure to check the amount of lumens each solar light offers when you are picking a solar camping light.
Battery life is another huge variable factor among solar lights for camping. Typically, you will want a solar lantern that can last for 10 to 12 hours. But bear in mind that this lifespan can be affected by outside factors.
For example, if you plan to use a USB charging port on your solar lantern to charge your phone or other devices while using the solar light, this will more rapidly deplete its lifespan. Even a solar light with a battery life graded at up to 12 hours can dip below that if the power is being diverted elsewhere.
The sustained amount of time you plan to have the solar light in use may also affect its overall lifespan.You should also be mindful of whether you will have adequate opportunities to set your solar lantern out in the sun to recharge while camping.
Also, bear in mind that some solar lanterns can be dimmed–which can help preserve the battery life–while others only offer a single, sustained illumination during use. These are all important factors to keep in mind when choosing the best solar lights for camping.
Durability and Weather Resistance
Camping trips come with all sorts of existing and often unpredictable weather occurrences. These scenarios are usually the time when having the best solar camping lights becomes the most crucial…so be sure to factor them in when choosing your solar lights!
As a general rule, you definitely want to select a weather resistant solar light. Look for one that is waterproof, shatterproof, and also dust and sandproof. If you plan to camp in conditions where weather may be rough, you want to pay special care to the solar light’s durability as well.
A solar light that tends to be more easily damaged or that is not weatherproof will ultimately prove to be a detriment in scenarios like this. Always keep that in mind when choosing solar lights for camping.
Ease of Use
A camping trip is rarely a good time to introduce excessive complications into your life. This is also true of the solar camping lights you bring on your trip. You will typically want a solar light that is easy and straightforward to use.
Make sure you choose a solar light that doesn’t complicate things. A single on/off switch, a hand crank, and possible a USB charging port or dimming function are usually about all you will need. Anything beyond that may be more headache than the process is worth.
When choosing the best solar lights for camping, a crucial thing to consider is their charging time. Unless you are purchasing a solar light with an additional hand crank, or if you will have access to a USB port or wall adaptor, you will truly be at the mercy of the sunlight to charge your solar light.
This can become tricky if you’re not sure of your solar light’s charging time. Be sure to assess how long your solar light of choice will take to charge, and factor in whether the charging time fits your needs.
In addition to the solar power for which they are best known, solar lights usually come with one or two additional charging options. These can be crucial for augmenting the process on cloudy days or in the event of an emergency where you need a speedy or additional charge.
Keep these scenarios and charging options in mind when choosing solar lights for camping. Convenience of charging as well as varying options in an emergency can be crucial.
With all the necessities considered, there may be some additional features you want with your solar lights. These can be things like a USB charging port for devices, color-changing lights, size and collapsibility, and more.
Be sure you take time to consider what you want as well as what you need from a solar lantern. Then, see if you can fit these additional features in when choosing solar camping lights.
Best Solar Lights for Camping FAQ
How many solar lights should I purchase?
The number of lights you need depends on how many people are in your group and how much light you want on hand. In many cases, a single solar light offers enough illumination. However, if folks are spreading out in a campsite, or if a campsite is particularly large, you may want to invest in multiple solar lights.
You should also consider having a backup solar light on hand, so that one can be charging while the other is in use.
What are the benefits of using solar camping lights?
Solar lights tend to be one of the easiest ways to light up your campsite. They are often collapsible, easy to use, and do not rely on electricity–which can be in short supply when indulging in some backpacking or wilderness camping.
Can I use solar camping lights for other outdoor activities, such as hiking or fishing?
Many solar lights are great for multiple purposes. They can be brought along for hiking, fishing, to a camping party or a nighttime backyard barbecue, and so much more.
As long as you purchase a solar light that is durable and weatherproof, you can typically use them for all sorts of outdoor activities.
Can I charge other devices with a solar camping light?
Many solar lights have USB charging stations you can use to power your phone or other USB compatible devices. Just bear in mind this will drain the solar lights battery stores, too.
If a solar light’s ability to charge your phone is a big buying point for you when choosing the best solar light for camping, it is also wise to read reviews before making your purchase. Some solar lights fare much better than others when it comes to charging your devices.
What is the warranty on a solar camping light, and what does it cover?
Different solar light brands offer different warranties. Typically, a warranty will cover manufacturing defects, such as a light not holding a charge despite following manufacturer instructions, etc.
Some solar light warranties will cover a nominal amount of wear and tear. But it’s always wise to treat your solar light with care, as not every scenario that renders your solar light unusable will be covered under warranty.
Wrapping Up The Best Solar Lights for Camping
Feeling confident about choosing the best solar lights for camping in your specific scenario? That’s just one piece of the puzzle!
Be sure to check out our Camping Gear page to ensure you’re equipped with all the gear you need for a camping adventure that’s memorable in all the right ways.
- About the Author
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Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of the great outdoors.
A Midwest girl born and raised, Renee has always enjoyed the deep, life-giving inspiration that connection with nature brings.
In addition to channeling the awe of outdoor life into her prolific novel-writing career, she currently enjoys sharing it with her son and spreading knowledge of safe, fun outdoor life with Beyond the Tent readers and anyone she can help face-to-face.
Renee can be reached at email@example.com