8 Best Camping Lanterns of 2022, Tested by Experts

It’s easy to go broke buying all the camping gear and hiking essentials you think you’ll need to enjoy your time in the wilderness. There are hiking backpacks and cooking utensils and hiking boots and bug sprays and—the list goes on. But why overcomplicate things? Keep it simple: Lightweight clothing for layering, plenty of water, a well-stocked first aid kit, and a few other essentials are all you really need.

We would add a proper camping lantern to that list too. If you’re planning anything beyond a simple day hike—any trip where you could find yourself outdoors after dark—a reliable light source is key. A flashlight or headlamp is great for campsite tasks like cooking, pitching a tent, and midnight bathroom runs. But a good camp lantern or two can transform your campsite into a warm, inviting, livable outdoor space that feels more like home. Over the years, we’ve researched more lanterns than we can count. Here are our field-tested picks for the best camping lanterns to shop in 2022.



Best Overall Camping Lantern

Alpenglow 500 Lantern
BioLite

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Best Multipurpose Camping Lantern

Lighthouse Micro Charge Lantern/Flashlight
Goal Zero

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Best Gas-Powered Camping Lantern

Premium Powerhouse Dual Fuel Lantern
Coleman

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Best Collapsible Camping Lantern

Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern
MPOWERD

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Most Compact Camping Lantern

MoonLit LED Micro Lantern
Nite Ize

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Read More: Best Camping Essentials

Best Overall Camping Lantern

Alpenglow 500 Lantern

  • Versatile design hangs upside-down or sits flat
  • Bright
  • Cool candlelight “flicker” effect
  • Multiple color modes
  • 6400mAh rechargeable battery doubles as a power bank
  • ChromaReal LEDs create more natural tones
  • 200-hour run time (low mode)
  • Confusing “lock” position
  • Not waterproof (only IPX4 rated)

We’ve long been fans of BioLite’s clever and innovative portable outdoor gear (honestly, you haven’t camped until you’ve camped with a FirePit+). The brand’s new Alpenglow 500 might be our favorite camping lantern ever. The simple, orb-like design is handsome enough for home use, yet rugged and versatile enough to take on almost any camping expedition. The 500-lumen model delivers just the right brightness for most campsites. Plus, we especially love the multiple lighting modes, including cool white, warm white, candle flicker, and even a multicolor “party mode.” Our only minor quibble is that the power button is a bit too easy to access, making accidental presses a real possibility when stashed in a backpack. The Alpenglow can be locked to avoid this, but the method for doing this isn’t immediately obvious if you haven’t read the instructions. This model is a bit too large for backcountry trips, but the lighter and more portable Alpenglow 250 is perfect.

  • Brightness: 500 lumens
  • Size: ‎6.69 x 4.21 x 4.17 inches
  • Weight: 13.7 ounces

Read More: Best Camping Gifts

Best Multipurpose Camping Lantern

Lighthouse Micro Charge Lantern/Flashlight

  • Runs for more than 100 hours (on low)
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Built-in backup battery
  • Recharges from solar panels
  • Weatherproof IPX6 rating
  • Affordable

The best outdoor products perform more than one task—ideally two, even three. Goal Zero’s Lighthouse Micro Charge Lantern is a combination camping lantern, flashlight, and backup battery, so you no longer need to pack one of each. It’s a modest solution for front-country or car camping and, at less than a quarter of a pound, it’s compact enough to toss into a hiking backpack for wilder pursuits. The built-in 2600mAh battery recharges from USB or solar and is capable of powering the light for more than 100 hours (on low). That same battery also doubles as a backup power bank for your mobile gear. At just 150 lumens (for the lantern) or 120 lumens (flashlight), it’s not the brightest on this list. But, given its clever, compact, multipurpose design, we’re willing to overlook that shortcoming, especially when it’s priced at less than $30.

  • Brightness: 150 lumens (lantern) / 120 lumens (flashlight)
  • Size: 4.4 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 3 ounces

Best Gas-Powered Camping Lantern

Premium Powerhouse Dual Fuel Lantern

  • Reliable, tried-and-true design
  • Very bright
  • Runs on white gas or unleaded gasoline
  • Large handle makes carrying and hanging easy
  • Not as convenient as battery-powered alternatives
  • Requires carrying fuel
  • Big and heavy

From the school of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” comes the Coleman Powerhouse Dual Fuel Lantern. It’s a field-tested camping lantern that relies on readily available white gas or traditional unleaded gasoline. Just 2.5 pints of ether will keep the bright, 800-lumen lantern shining for up to five hours on high or 20 hours on low. The weatherproof construction ensures easy, reliable lighting in even the worst conditions. On the downside, it’s significantly bigger and heavier than any other option on this list. Still, it’s a tried-and-true option for front-country camping and home emergencies when you just don’t want to rely on batteries to light the way.

  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Size: 16.3 x 7.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds

Best Collapsible Camping Lantern

Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern

  • Collapsible design is backpack-friendly
  • Built-in solar panel
  • Durable design
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Inexpensive

MPOWERD’s Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern features a compact, inflatable design that collapses down to just 4.25 inches x 1 inch, making it perfect for tossing into a backpack. When you’re ready to make camp, it inflates to five inches tall in seconds. We especially like the built-in strap that works well for hanging and for latching onto a backpack on the trail to recharge while the sun’s up. Under ideal conditions, it recharges to full in just seven hours. It’s among the dimmest options on this list with only 65 lumens of brightness, but that’s plenty for ordinary camp tasks. Beyond the backcountry, the warm ambient glow is soft and inviting enough to work as a centerpiece for backyard patio entertaining. Best of all: It’s one of the cheapest camping lanterns on this list at under $25.

  • Brightness: 65 lumens
  • Size: 4.25 x 5 inches (inflated) / 4.25 x 1 inches (collapsed)
  • Weight: 4.4 ounces

Most Compact Camping Lantern

MoonLit LED Micro Lantern

  • Extremely small and lightweight
  • Can be set to flash or glow
  • Swivels 360 degrees
  • 60-hour run time
  • Built-in carabiner
  • Requires non-rechargeable batteries
  • Not waterproof

For gram-counting backpackers and weight-obsessed campers, Nite Ize’s MoonLit LED Micro Lantern is the most compact camping lantern we’ve ever tested. The 2.3-inch tall design clips neatly to a belt loop, backpack strap, or tent via the built-in carabiner. Plus, at only 0.65 ounces, it’s so lightweight, you’ll forget it’s there. The 360-degree design swivels in any direction to deliver light wherever you need it. In our experience, it’s best to buy two or three to hang together for maximum brightness and versatility. On the downside, it’s the dimmest light on this list and requires non-rechargeable (though readily available CR2032) batteries. But, at around $11, it’s hard to complain.

  • Brightness: 60 lumens
  • Size: 2.3 x 1.6 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 0.65 ounces

Best Solar Camping Lantern

PackLite Max 2-in-1 Camping Lantern

  • Solar rechargeable
  • Doubles as a backup battery
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Up to 50-hour run time
  • Inexpensive
  • Floating design
  • IP67 rated (waterproof and dustproof)

LuminAID’s PackLite Max is one of the best camping lanterns we’ve ever tested. The award-winning design collapses down to just an inch high but inflates to a six-inch cube when you need it. At a little over half a pound, it’s lightweight enough to take on just about any camping outing, from the cabin to the car to the backcountry. The built-in 2,000mAh battery recharges in direct sunlight in as little as 12 hours and doubles as an emergency power bank for smartphones and other small gadgets. Plus, with an IP67 rating, it’s both waterproof and dustproof, ensuring it’s durable enough to survive the great outdoors. The 150-lumen rating is bright enough for just about any typical campsite task, and it’ll run for almost 50 hours on low.

  • Brightness: 150 lumens
  • Size: 6 x 6 x 6 inches (inflated) / 6 x 6 x 1 (folded)
  • Weight: 8.6 ounces

Best Full-Coverage Camping Lantern

Lightranger

  • Bright, 1,200-lumen output
  • Adjustable height
  • Illuminates an entire campsite
  • 16-hour run time
  • Keeps bugs away
  • Dimmable down to 30 lumens

Most camping lanterns are designed for close-quarters use—placed on a prep table near your outdoor kitchen, on a side table for use as a reading light, or on a dining table so you can see what you’re eating. Devos upends that idea with the Lightranger. The unique design features a lantern that sits atop a height-adjustable pole that telescopes from 39 inches to 104 inches (almost nine feet!) in the air. Coupled with a whopping 1,200-lumen output, you can think of it more like a “streetlight” for your campsite. It runs for more than 16 hours on low and recharges via any standard USB outlet. One bonus of the design that we love is that it acts as a bug light of sorts, helping attract insects up and away from your campsite. At almost $140, it’s the priciest model on this list, but it’s also unlike anything else on the market.

  • Brightness: 1,200 lumens
  • Size: 5.25 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches (lantern) / 39 – 104 inches (pole)
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds

Most Stylish Camping Lantern

Forest Lantern

  • Classic vintage aesthetic
  • Warm ambient glow
  • More than 80-hour run time (on low)
  • USB rechargeable
  • Oversized handle makes carrying and hanging easy
  • Not meant for hardcore camping

Even the best camping lanterns are heavy on functionality, but light on style. Barebones Living adds a bit of vintage panache to its Forest Lantern with a durable, stamped steel exterior, traditional wire cage, and soft ambient lantern glow. It looks great as the centerpiece for backyard patio dining but also works well as a basic camping lantern when you’re ready to head into the wilderness. The push-button design activates the 200-lumen light—enough brightness for most outdoor tasks. We also love that it’s available in a handful of handsome colors like Antique Bronze, Dusty Yellow, and a beach-inspired Teal. At almost $80, it’s pricey for a lantern that’s meant for more casual use. But, for our money, it’s also the sleekest option on this list.

  • Brightness: 200 lumens
  • Size: 6 x 9.5 x 6 inches
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds

Brightness isn’t the only metric to measure a lantern’s worth, but it’s certainly one of the most important. The best way to compare “apples to apples” is to check the official lumen rating. Knowing the number of lumens that’s right for your camping needs can be tricky. But, as a starting point, a camping lantern with 50-100 lumens is adequate for a typical four-person tent. For a small, two-person campsite, look for a lantern with at least 500 lumens, while 1000 lumens (about as bright as a 60-watt incandescent bulb) is enough to illuminate the entire site. Larger camps may want to consider a lantern with an even higher capacity. No matter your setup, look for a lantern that’s dimmable so you can power things down and not feel like you’re sleeping on the 50-yard line of a Monday Night Football game at bedtime.

What Makes a Camping Lantern “the Best”?

Not long ago, brightness was the only thing that mattered when buying a camping lantern. But, many of today’s battery-powered models offer a lot more features than their predecessors. Consider what you’ll be using your lantern for. Backcountry campers will likely value battery life and portability over sheer brightness. Front-country campers, on the other hand, can sacrifice smaller size for a larger battery and higher lumen output. Other features to look for include solar rechargeability (using external or built-in solar panels) and the option to use the lantern’s integrated battery as a backup power bank for smartphones and other mobile devices.

Over the last 18 months, we tested more than three dozen camping lanterns. Our in-field testing included front-country camping (while car camping and RV’ing) and backcountry camps (with smaller, more portable lanterns). We ranked each model on metrics like weight, portability, battery power, ease of use, and brightness. The list above represents our honest opinion of the eight best camping lanterns to consider in 2022.

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