A quality lantern while camping is absolutely essential. Whether you’re playing cards after dark, cooking dinner huddled around your camp stove, collecting firewood, or reading before bed you count on your camping lantern or light. It’s one of the most important items for both regular camping and backpacking considering how much you rely on your lantern once the sun goes down.
We’ve included a few different style camp lights and lanterns here for a variety of purposes. There’s a few ultralight options that are ideal for use in the back country while backpacking (see products six, nine and ten) as well as a few more heavy duty options for regular camping use (see products one, three and five).
We’ve selected some units for their portability and included features like USB charging capabilities and others solely for their impressive light output. There’s even a few unique options like a mosquito repelling lantern (see product four) and high powered rechargeable head lamp (see product eight) you’ll be impressed by.
Whether you’re an off the beaten path backpacker or a luxury car camper we’ve found just the right camp light for you. Happy Camping from all of us at Heavy!
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1. Best All Around Camping Lantern: Streamlight Siege 1100 Lumen Ultra-Compact Work LanternPros:
- This is a super bright camping lantern (1100 lumen) great for large area lighting
- Three different light modes so you don’t have to always use this unit on it’s highest, almost blinding setting
- Rechargeable light with excellent battery life that also operates as a power bank for USB compatible devices
- When the globe is secured, this lantern will float and also includes a water tight storage compartment on the underside of the lamp for storing small items
- The rubber housing makes this an exceptionally tough camp lantern
- This is an expensive unit as far as camp lights go, but you’ll own this one for years and years of camping
- Not very compact
- Some complaints that the run time is closer to 15 hours
This is one of the best all purpose camp lanterns around! The Streamlight Siege is a totally righteous LED camping light that just about does it all. This bad boy is powered by a 8800 rechargeable lithium ion battery and even has a charging port for powering USB compatible devices. This is a seriously powerhouse lantern that doubles as a charging station…pretty awesome.
There’s no batteries involved with this lantern which will save you some money in the long run — especially considering this light is built to last for years and years of camping. There are three different light settings so you can set this unit to a dimmer setting in order to create some mood lighting for camp dinners — otherwise, it’s pretty dam bright (1100 lumens)!
The power button has a battery level indicator incorporated in the design so you can keep a close watch on the light’s battery life. The outer globe is removable and when taken off exposes a D-ring for hanging this lantern upside down for larger area lighting. This feature also allows this lantern to effectively hang from a tent ceiling for use reading or just rummaging around.
When the globe is secured to the Streamlight Siege this lantern will believe it or not float! It’s a seriously handy feature for boaters or fishermen who need a high powered lantern to bring on board their vessel. There’s even a small, water tight storage compartment within the base of the light for safely stashing smaller items that need to stay bone dry.
Bright as hell, super durable against wear and tear, waterproof and capable for use as a power bank — the Streamlight Siege very well might be the last camping lantern you’ll ever own.
2. Best Value Camping Lantern: LE Dimmable Portable LED Camping LanternPros:
- Has four different light modes for choosing just the right brightness intensity for the situation
- Relatively compact at four by eight inches
- Water resistant and built with a silicon base for a solid table top grip
- Great battery life (maximum of around 25 hours) on one set of batteries
- Runs on D batteries (sold separately) which are not terribly cheap
- Some campers find the always blinking green LED light to be annoying — it can be removed easily if you discover it bothers you by unscrewing the bottom lantern panel and locating the internal wiring
- Water resistant, but not fully water proof
Here’s a super affordable but excellent quality camp lantern from LE, or Lighting EVER. This 1000 lumen unit runs on three D batteries and puts out some serious lighting. There’s three different light modes including daylight white (700 lumens), warm white (300 lumens) and full brightness (1000 lumens) as well as a flash mode.
The daylight white and warm white light settings are perfect for when you want some lower level lighting and will also greatly extend the overall battery life of the lantern. This light has about 12 hours of battery life on full brightness, 18 hours on high brightness and an impressive 25 hours on the lower light setting.
There’s a hook built into top and underside of the lamp for easy hanging when you need to illuminate larger spaces and a skid resistant, silicon base for secure table top placement. Even on low this unit provides plenty of visibility for card playing, meal prepping and more.
For such a low cost, this is an awesome combination of being a regular camp lantern as well as a powerful unit for large area lighting. It’s furthermore highly water resistant and only four by eight inches in size. It’s not quite an ultralight backpacking lantern, but it’s very compact and still capable of hitting the back country.
One more neat feature of this camping lantern is that there’s a green indicator light that always remains on so you can find this unit while wandering around the campsite in the dark. It barely uses any power at all and makes this lantern a piece of cake to locate in the dead of night.
For a relatively compact, water and impact resistant camp lantern with adjustable lighting this is likely the best value unit on the market. No doubt a solid choice of camp lighting from IE.
4. Best Bug Repelling Lantern: Thermacell Mosquito Repelling Scout Camp LanternPros:Cons:
If you’re not aware of this mosquito repelling unit from Thermacell you’re definitely going to be impressed by this one. This camping lantern has a built-in bug-repelling device that’s very highly reviewed for keeping insect pests away from your campsite.
This unit utilizes a refillable insect repellent cartridge that releases into a 15 by 15-foot space by the power of a separate, butane cartridge. The insect repellent is saturated into specially built “mats” that are heated by butane power. The repellent is allethrin, a synthetic version of the natural insect-repelling component present in chrysanthemum plants.
It’s a really neat concept that actually works! Camping reviews praise this Thermacell lantern for its bug-blocking abilities. You can use the lantern and the bug repellent device at the same time or operate them separately.
Furthermore, you can physically separate the two components of this versatile lantern — perfect for when you want to bring the lantern to bed but the rest of your camping group still needs the mosquito defense! This purchase includes a bug repellent mat, but you’ll need to purchase additional repellent and butane refills separately. Fortunately, it’s not too expensive to refill the fuel and repellent for this unit and it’s one of the most economic options for effective mosquito defense in any setting.
The light itself is not terribly impressive — it puts out just 220 lumens. It’s an effective light for meal prepping, tent use, and for playing camp games, but it’s not really suitable for adequate large area lighting. On the other hand, on just four AA batteries this lantern will shine strong for up to 40 hours — that’s a lot of light on just one battery set.
The light is relatively compact at nine and a half by eight inches and could even come with you into the backcountry if mosquito defense is important to you. Thermacell has built this unit to be durable as well so despite its various components and unique design it can handle a pretty thorough beating.
An awesome product at an AWESOME price, the Thermacell Scout Camp Lantern is a total steal. Check out the attached video below for a simple run-through of this unit.
5. Most Versatile Camping Spotlight: LE Rechargeable 3 Mode Camping Lantern With Power BankPros:
- Super bright and focused spotlight at 100 lumens great for completing pitch black camping tasks
- Includes a side light for use as a lantern when you need area lighting
- 3600mAh lithium ion battery can be used as a power bank for USB compatible devices
- Super water resistant and built rock solid so you can own and operate this light for many seasons of camping
- Excellent value for the cost considering the strength of this light and all it can do!
- All the various light modes don’t have impressive battery life — but this is a dam bright lantern
- This is a pretty large product that’s not really suitable for hiking or backpacking with — this is a camp lantern that stays at the campground. Consider the smaller sized model available through the same link for a more portable option
- Long charge times
Here’s another high strength camping light from LE. This rechargeable spotlight/lantern combination with incorporated power bank is a kick ass product. This larger sized spotlight has a high powered 1000 lumen setting as well as a lower light (but still quite bright) 400 lumen setting.
On high, this light will last two hours and on the lower setting it will remain charged for about five hours. Both beams are very concentrated and far reaching providing excellent visibility if you need to leave the campsite for firewood or anything else.
There’s also an additional light on the side of the spotlight that can be used for area lighting around the dinner table or inside your tent. There’s two light settings, 130 lumens (six hours of light) and 70 lumens (up to 12 hours of light) on the side light. There’s also a red flashing light on the opposing side of the spotlight in case of emergency.
This light is powered by two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with a capacity up to 3600mAh and takes five to six hours to reach a full charge. There’s a battery life indicator above the plug-in port which is a nice added touch. USB compatible chargers can be used with this lantern/spotlight to charge your cell phone and other devices, perhaps the most useful feature of this unit.
LE has furthermore crafted this product to be effectively water proof so using this light in the rain is no problem. The carry handle has a good feel to it, and there’s also a shoulder strap included. This is a pretty large spotlight, so don’t plan on backpacking with this monster sized light.
LE does offer this same model camping light in a smaller size through the same link, it has slightly lower light output and battery capacity but it’s still an excellent product. This is a rock solid, multi purpose camp light that will no doubt make an excellent campground companion — check out the attached video below for a closer look at this unit’s righteous features.
6. Best Highly Portable Solar Lantern: Suaoki Led Collapsible, Solar Panel Camping LanternPros:
- Super compact (collapsible) and light weight (6.7 ounces) lantern great for ultralight backpacking use
- Great value product that’s highly affordable considering its capabilities
- Solar and USB rechargeable and works as a power bank for your devices
- Operates as both a flashlight and a lantern
- Not a super high powered light source for large area lighting - this is more of a backpacking option than a camp ground illuminator
- Incorporated power bank can give your devices some juice, but this unit won’t power up your devices quickly or fully (800mAh battery). It is however solar rechargeable so you can keep adding bits of power to your devices while on the trail
- Somewhat fragile compared to durable alternatives - be careful with this one
Here’s an ultralight, compact and collapsible lantern for backpacking use. The Collapsible Solar Panel Camping Lantern from Suaoki is another highly versatile camp light with a ton of positive reviews. Everyone loves this unit for its exceptional portability and light output.
This isn’t a super bright lantern at just 65 lumens but camping reviews insist it’s absolutely adequate for use around the campground. For prepping meals, playing cards and locating gear in your tent this lantern will totally do the trick.
The 800mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery is juiced up by the included USB cable or through the solar panel located on top of the device. When you’re in the back country for days or weeks at a time it’s hugely advantageous to be able to power your night time light source using the power of the sun.
One hour of solar charging gives you about 15 minutes of light on the brightest setting or 25 minutes on the low light setting — not bad. The USB port can also draw power from the battery and be used to charge devices. It’s not a high capacity battery so you won’t be able to give your phone or GPS a ton of juice, but it’s still nice knowing you have an emergency power bank if you need it.
The coolest feature of this lantern is that it collapses to fit into the palm of your hand and comes in at only 6.7 ounces. Light shines from the bottom of this unit as well so you can also use it as a flashlight when you collapse the lantern.
It’s a a flashlight, a lantern and solar rechargeable back country power bank all in one — quite the versatile unit for such an affordable product.
7. Best Budget Camping Lantern: Etekcity 2 Pack Portable LED Camping Lanterns with 6 AA BatteriesPros:
- Super affordable - and you get two lanterns!
- Battery life is impressive at 12 hours considering this unit runs on three AA batteries
- Super compact (4.8 by 3.4) and lightweight (~0.5 pounds) making this a suitable lantern for use hiking or backpacking
- Carry handle allows for hanging from a tree limb or tent ceiling — a simple but convenient feature considering the low cost of these lanterns
- The light brightness is only adjustable through how much you expose the light (cannot save battery life with a ‘low’ light setting
- Not very durable against impact
- Prone to rust corrosion
Here’s a decent quality, budget option for those campers who need a bright light source but can’t swing a top quality lantern. This two pack of LED camping lanterns from Etekcity might be all you need depending on your style of camping and how often you spend overnights in the wilderness.
I wouldn’t recommend this unit for purchase if you’re a frequent camper because the quality is not built to last nearly as effectively as many of the other units listed here — but for the occasional camp out there’s nothing wrong with this!
These lanterns are only 4.8 by 3.4 inches collapsed and weigh about half a pound each. They operate on three AA batteries (six batteries included) and have a total run time of 12 hours. The last four hours of battery life don’t have the same high brightness as the first eight but it’s still impressively efficient for running on three AA batteries.
There’s a carry handle built into these lanterns that allows them to be hung from a tree limb or tent gear loft and the bottom sits nicely on a table top. There’s no light adjustment capability but you can partially close the lantern to decrease the brightness.
All in all, this is a great value set of camp lanterns that will perform just fine for a variety of camping scenarios.
8. Best Rechargeable Headlamp for Camping: Icefox Rechargeable LED HeadlampPros:
- Four different brightness modes and a 90 degree rotatable lamp
- Rechargeable so you can avoid the hassle and extra head weight of batteries
- Up to eight hours of battery life on one charge and a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours!
- At 6000 lumens this is one of the brightest headlamps on the market — and the price is comparable to plenty of lower quality units
- Perfect for camp chores where you need your hands free like collecting fire wood and fetching water
- Fairly heavy for a headlamp - might not be suitable for some children due to its weight
- Not waterproof
- Some reports of poor wiring
We wanted to include at least one headlamp option on this list for those camp chores away from the fire that require your hands to be free. When collecting fire wood from the forest or fetching water from the stream you’re going to need a bright and reliable headlamp.
I have always opted for headlamps over conventional flashlights because they keep your hands free — because if you need a flashlight while completing camp chores you probably need your hands right!? Furthermore, I prefer rechargeable headlamps over battery powered lamps because packing loads of batteries can be a pain.
This unit by Icefox is a top reviewed, high quality headlamp that’s built heavy duty. With four working modes of brightness and a 90 degree rotatable lamp, this light is the real deal. Although it may be a bit on the cumbersome side (about 10 ounces), the battery life (up to eight hours) and brightness (6000 lumens) of this headlamp makes it more than worth its weight.
You might find that this light is a bit heavy on the head for children, but as an adult camper this headlamp should not be overlooked. This light by Icefox will likely outlive your buddy’s and also save you the hassle and cost of buying batteries for every camp out.
At around $20 the cost of this headlamp is totally comparable to a ton of inferior competitor lamps — why settle for a lesser quality flashlight or headlamp that costs around the same?
9. Best LED Lantern for Lower Light Settings: Black Diamond Apollo LanternPros:
- Perfect for low intensity area lighting
- Generates a more natural and pleasing light than a lot of other LED units that won’t ruin your night vision
- The incorporated dimmer allows for very fine tune adjusting of the light level
- Super lightweight (7.8 ounces) and fits into your hand making it an awesome backpacking choice
- Fairly expensive lantern, you’re paying for top quality but not many included features with this one
- Light output is not meant to be super bright - look elsewhere for whole camp site illumination
- Not entirely waterproof
I really like the Apollo Lantern from Black Diamond for use as a low light source. The light produced by this unit has a more natural feel than a lot of the almost blue LED lights. It’s easier on your eyes and great for maintaining night vision.
This lantern is great for campers who don’t need a blindingly bright lantern for particularly large area lighting. It’s plenty bright (80 lumens) for cooking meals and use inside even larger sized tents, but it’s not a lantern for illuminating whole camp sites.
Black Diamond is a company renowned for its quality — hence the above average price tag. This is a top notch unit that should perform for many seasons of camping. It’s mindfully designed to easily hang from a hook or tree limb and is also built with some awesome leg supports for ground or table top use.
The legs bring this lantern up to about nine inches in height which is great for increasing light dispersion. On high, the Apollo can effectively light about a 10 meter area — pretty outstanding for a lantern this low profile. It can be adjusted all the way down to 10 lumens for maximum battery conservation (up to 60 hours!) and for scenarios where you just don’t need the full brightness.
This unit is powered by four AA batteries and is impressively efficient — it’s what you’re paying for with Black Diamond. The Apollo is only 7.8 ounces and can fit in your hand so this is a suitable backpacking option as well.
Black Diamond does offer an even more compact, personal sized lantern, the Orbit for backpackers really looking to trim their pack weight. All in all, this is a top notch product all your camping buddies will be envious over.
There is a newer model of the Apollo available — but the older unit comes more highly reviewed. The newer model does however have a significantly higher light output of 225 lumens and is rechargeable and usable as a power bank. It’s a matter of preference, so check out the new Apollo here.
10. Best Value Ultralight Lantern: Yeti Junior by InternovaPros:
- One of the brightest camp lanterns available (300 lumens) for its size
- Super lightweight (8 ounces) and portable (3.8 by 3.8 by 5.5 inches) ideal or backpacking use
- Light can be effectively adjusted through the closure system
- Internova includes a five year warranty on this product
- Although you can adjust the brightness on this lantern (by how much you expose the light), you cannot control it through a dimmer so there is no way to conserve battery on low light settings
- Relatively fragile
- Not waterproof
Here’s one more great backpacking option that’s both super bright and compact. The Yeti Junior by Internova is one of the brightest camping lanterns around for its size at 300 lumens. It’s only 3.8 by 3.8 by 5.5 inches in size and 8 ounces in weight — this one won’t way you down.
It employs a neat interior light design that doesn’t operate like the usual bulbs or strip lighting common with most camp lanterns. The Yeti Junior is built with a continuous ARC LED that is designed to create 360 degree illumination.
It’s well reviewed for effective area lighting and can be adjusted to half brightness by simply closing the lantern half way. The Yeti Junior can be used on a soft light setting when fully closed that won’t disrupt your night vision but provides enough light for lots of camping tasks.
It’s a simple unit that operates on four AA batteries and has minimal moving parts and gadgets that might become potentially damaged. Internova even includes a five year warranty on this product so you can buy with confidence. For the ultralight backpacker or minimalist camper, the Yeti Junior will no doubt perform wonderfully at a super reasonable cost.
11. Best Radio-Light: Esky Emergency Solar Hand Crank Weather Radio With 3W FlashlightPros:
- Large battery capacity - this unit has a long battery life and therefore gives more juice to your USB compatible devices on one charge
- Four ways to charge (solar panel, hand crank, AAA batteries and USB cord)
- Has an emergency SOS feature that can broadcast alerts if you get into trouble
- Very reasonably priced considering all the features here
- Slightly less compact than many other emergency radios - but still impressively slim and compact at only six by two and a half inches
- Light output is not much
- Be careful not to damage the crank
Here’s a different approach to camping lanterns that you might want to consider. Emergency radios typically include a high powered light and are pretty righteous pieces of gear that just might even save your life!
This unit from Esky has a 2000mAH power bank and can also be powered by AAA batteries. The flashlight on this unit is also decently bright at 3W and has an essentially never ending battery life because of the included hand crank. The rechargeable battery will provide power for up to 10 hours of light or 8 hours of radio time on a single charge!
This radio is barely any less compact or lightweight than most other comparable models but sports a higher quality power bank and flashlight. This is still a highly portable emergency radio that can really go anywhere despite it being slightly larger than the competition.
If taken care of this camping lantern/emergency radio should provide you with unlimited energy for all of your USB compatible devices. This radio can be tuned in to AM, FM and NOAA radio channels — but it can also broadcast an SOS alarm as an emergency signal if you get caught in a dangerous situation.
This feature could without a doubt save your life in a survival scenario and is perhaps the most important aspect of this radio. Check out our list of Emergency Radios for some other potentially life saving camp lantern options.
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