Best Camping Lantern – Expert Review

Updated: February 12, 2024
Best Camping Lantern

The Coleman LED Latern is without a doubt the best camping lantern money can buy with its sleek 390-lumen, 32-foot twin beam design, lasting up to 300 hours on low power. 

The Black Diamond Apollo is an affordable camping lantern, helping you save money with its impressive power capabilities (250 lumens, a rechargable lithium battery and a handy power metre).

The LuminAID PackLite Max gives you the best backpacking experience with its durability (waterproof and shatterproof), extra bright LED solar lantern, a nifty phone charger and multiple charging options. 

Whether you’re trekking, backpacking or camping, this guide to the best lanterns (with Bluetooth, solar, rechargeable and budget options) will provide you with a great starting point for your adventure.

Best Camping Lanterns (Top Picks)

Best Overall

Coleman 390 Lumens Twin LED Lantern, 4 Lifetime LED Bulbs Provide Efficient & Energy-Saving Light, Customizable Brightness Settings & Water-Resistant Design

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Black Diamond Equipment Apollo Lantern - Graphite

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Best Backpacking 

LuminAID PackLite Max

LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Camping Lantern and Phone Charger | For Backpacking, Emergency Kits and Travel | As Seen on Shark Tank

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Top Lanterns For Camping (Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 18 camping lanterns for this article. Below are the best camping lanterns that made our short list.

  1. Coleman Twin LED - Best Overall
  2. Coleman Multi-Panel LED
  3. Coleman Premium Dual Fuel - Best Winter
  4. BioLite BaseLantern XL - Best Bluetooth
  5. LuminAID PackLite Max - Best For Backpacking & Hiking
  6. Black Diamond Apollo - Best Value
  7. Goal Zero Lighthouse 600
  8. Black Diamond Moji

Read our complete buyers guide for camping lanterns.

1. Best Overall Lantern

Coleman 390 Lumens Twin LED Lantern, 4 Lifetime LED Bulbs Provide Efficient & Energy-Saving Light, Customizable Brightness Settings & Water-Resistant Design

5/5 Overall Rating

The Coleman LED camping lantern is a large, portable lantern that is perfect to take away with you when you’re camping by yourself or in a larger group. It has up to 390 lumens controlled by a dial, so you can choose your own brightness.

On its highest brightness setting the Coleman Twin will light up the area up to 10 meters! It features 4 LED bulbs that emit bright light, conserve energy and should never need to be replaced.

Main Features
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Lasts up to 299 hours
  • Energy saving LEDs 
  • Lights up to 10 meters on a high setting
  • D-cell batteries give it long lasting power
  • Water- and weather-resistant
  • Textured tube for good beam pattern
  • 3-year warranty
What we like
  • Solid, durable construction
  • Far reaching light
  • Very affordable
  • Remains cool while in use
  • Can be used inside tent
What we dislike
  • Quite heavy so not good for backpacking
  • Isn’t rechargeable and requires a lot of batteries

2. Best Lantern for Family Camping

Coleman Multi-Panel LED Lantern: Rechargeable, Water-Resistant, Magnetic Light Panels, Built-In Flashlight, USB Charging Port; Excellent for Camping, Hunting, Emergencies, etc

5/5 Overall Rating

The Coleman Multi-Panel LED, formerly known as the Coleman Quad Pro 800L LED, is the perfect camping lantern for a family camping trip. It has 4 different light panels that can be taken off the base unit to be used as individual flashlights, so that you don’t have to keep lugging a whole lantern around when you or your kids need to get something from your tent.

With individual and customizable controls on each panel, the lantern can be adjusted to various levels of brightness. The base unit will stay lit even when all four panels have been removed, so you can light up multiple places at the same time.

Main Features
  • Up to 800 lumens
  • Runs up to 400 hours on low
  • 4 detachable LED panels
  • Water- and weather-resistant
  • 18 meter beam distance
  • LEDs won’t need replacing
  • 8 D batteries provide a long battery life
  • Individual panels run for 1.5 hours before needing to be charged on the base unit
What we like
  • Each LED panel has a built in flashlight, kickstand, and is magnetized for hands free use
  • USB port to charge your cellphone
  • Very powerful light
  • Can adjust each panel individually for the perfect setting
  • Rugged and durable design
  • Safe to use inside tent
What we dislike
  • It’s quite large and heavy
  • Not rechargeable and requires a lot of batteries

3. Best for Winter Camping

best camping lantern

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The Coleman Premium Dual Fuel uses Coleman Liquid Fuel to produce up to 700 lumens of light and lasts 7 hours on a higher setting and much longer on a lower one.

It is intended for outdoor use only and should not be brought inside your tent as it is gas-powered.

This lantern is the best camping lantern to use in very cold winter conditions as it performs just as well as it would in warmer seasons. It also gives off quite a bit of heat when in use, for some extra cosy glimmer.

Main Features
  • 700 lumens
  • Dimmer knob for adjusting brightness
  • Two mantle lighting
  • Uses Coleman Liquid Fuel which is more efficient than propane
  • 26-meter beam distance
  • 3-year warranty
What we like
  • Functions well in very cold weather conditions
  • Reliable and durable
  • Very bright
What we dislike
  • Not very safe if you have young children
  • Not suitable for tent use

4. Best Bluetooth Lantern

No products found.

No products found.

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The No products found. is a flatback lantern that features 500 lumens to help light up your campsite. It has a rechargeable 12000mAh li-on battery that can keep it running for up to 78 hours on a dim setting.

This lantern is the best Bluetooth camping lantern as it connects to your smartphone through its own app (iOS and Android) to create your own smart grid. It has RGB color features so you can make it whatever color you want it to be.

The Biolite BaseLantern is also constructed with a stainless steel housing, so that it is more durable for camping purposes.

Main Features
  • 500 lumen
  • 78 hour run time
  • Adjustable brightness and warmth
  • Controlled remotely by your smartphone
  • USB ports to charge your cellphone
  • Rechargeable 12000mAh li-on battery
  • Stainless steel folding legs 
  • Bluetooth Low Energy App
  • High efficiency white and RGB LEDs
What we like
  • App allows you to control colour, warmth, brightness, timers, proximity control and power
  • Versatile and durable
  • Easy to use
  • Can use inside a tent
  • Bright enough to light up a whole campsite
  • Great color options
What we dislike
  • Problems staying connected to the smartphone

5. Best Lantern for Backpacking and Hiking

LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Camping Lantern and Phone Charger | For Backpacking, Emergency Kits and Travel | As Seen on Shark Tank

4/5 Overall Rating

The LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 phone charger lantern is an inflatable solar lantern that is perfect for backpacking or hiking.

It is lightweight, collapsible and charges in the sunlight so it’s easy to carry around while you’re out and about and you don’t need to worry about plugging it in to charge or bringing any extra batteries with you.

It can last up to 50 hours on a full charge if it’s set at a low brightness so you don’t have to leave it out in the sun to charge every day. It can also be charged with a USB cable, which takes a bit quicker to charge than with the sunlight.

Main Features
  • 2000mAh built-in battery
  • Solar or USB powered
  • USB port smartphone charging
  • Waterproof and shatterproof
  • 150 lumens
  • Inflates to a 6” cube 
  • 5 brightness settings
  • Battery indicator
  • Red LED light that turns on when charging
What we like
  • Inflatable and collapsible design makes it light and compact
  • Very durable
  • Doesn’t need electricity or extra batteries to recharge
  • Has a convenient handle that you can attach to your backpack
  • Safe to use in your tent
What we dislike
  • Can take up to 20 hours to charge via solar power (depending on sunlight conditions)

6. Best Value Rechargeable Lantern

Black Diamond Equipment Apollo Lantern - Graphite

4/5 Overall Rating

The Black Diamond Apollo is a lightweight yet rugged camping lantern that is very easy to use and great to take with you on your weekend camping trips.

It is safe to use in your tent and bright enough to illuminate a small campsite.

The lantern uses a 2600 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but has a compartment for 3 AA batteries for a backup.

The design is simple and effective, as it has three fold out legs for stability on uneven surfaces making it ideal for camping.

Main Features
  • 2600 mAh rechargeable battery and compartment for 3 AA batteries
  • 225 lumen
  • Battery saving dimming mode
  • Double hook hang loop
  • 3 folding legs
  • Emits soft, evenly distributed light
  • USB port for phone charging
  • Battery indicator
What we like
  • Small, compact design 
  • Lightweight
  • Safe for tent use
  • Dual power source
What we dislike
  • Not waterproof
  • Low battery longevity

7. Best Solar Lantern

Lighthouse 600 Multi Functional Adjustable Light Perfect for Camping, Outdoor Events, or Emergency use Lumens USB Charging of Phones and Small Devices Long-Lasting Lithium Battery.

4.7/5 Overall Rating

The Goal Zero Lighthouse lantern is one of the most powerful and efficient solar lanterns for camping. However, it does not come with its own solar panel, so you will need to get one separately, like the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel, if this is how you'd prefer to charge it.

The lantern has a 4400 mAh rechargeable battery that can either be charged via a solar panel, USB port or the built-in hand crank for instant use. It has a max of 600 lumens that you can adjust with a small dial.

With its multiple charging options, the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 ensures that you’ll never be left in the dark.

Main Features
  • 600 lumens
  • Multiple charging options: hand crank, USB and solar panel
  • 4400 mAh built in battery
  • Up to 48 hours of run time (using one side on a dim setting)
  • USB port fo phone charging
  • Collapsible legs
  • Built in handle for carrying
  • Dualite directional lighting
What we like
  • Small, compact design 
  • Can choose to light up only one side or both
  • Instant charging with the hand crank
  • Can be used in your tent
  • Affordable
What we dislike
  • Doesn’t come with its own solar panel
  • Legs could be more stable

8. Best Budget Camping Lantern

Black Diamond Equipment Moji Compact LED Lantern

4.7/5 Overall Rating

The Black Diamond Moji is a very affordable option for a camping lantern and is suitable for general campsite use. It is small, compact and comes in a variety of fun colors for you to choose from.

It features a dimming switch, so you can adjust the brightness to your liking. It is also water-resistant and has a collapsible double hook loop for hanging it up.

While its modest 100-lumen max isn’t the most powerful for a camping lantern, the Moji has a long running time and is certainly good enough to provide light around your table or in your tent.

Main Features
  • 100 lumen
  • Dimming switch
  • Uses 3 AAA batteries
  • Water-resistant
  • 70 hours of run time
  • Comes in different colors
What we like
  • Frosted globe provides even light
  • Very affordable
  • Perfect size for travelling and camping
  • Safe for tent use
  • Memory feature maintains the same level of brightness when you turn it off and on again
  • Lightweight
What we dislike
  • Doesn’t have a stand or legs
  • Very small

The Bottom Line

The perfect camping lantern for you depends on the type of your camping trip.

If you’re going for a long camping trip, you’ll need a camping lantern with a longer running time or battery life, like the Coleman Multi-Panel LED or the Black Diamond Apollo. These camping lanterns have great run times and use batteries, so you can easily pack extra if they run out of juice.

The LuminAID PackLite Max is more suited to backpacking trips as it is small, collapsible, solar-powered and can easily be attached to your backpack. The Black Diamond Moji can also be used as a backpacking option due to its small size but it is not as powerful as the PackLite Max  and is more suited to tent or table top use.

The No products found., the Goal Zero Lighthouse and the Coleman Premium Dual Fuel are all designed with more specific purposes and features in mind, so are more suited to campers looking for those features.

Buyer's Guide

Before you buy a camping lantern, you need to consider for what purpose you need it. Are you looking for a bright, general campsite lantern, a tent light or table top lantern, or are you looking for something more compact that you can take hiking with you?

Brightness, run time, power source and durability are all very important factors to consider for any type of camping lantern, but if you need one for backpacking then you need to consider its size and weight as well.

What is the brightest camping lantern?

  1. Coleman Multi-Panel LED - 800 lumens
  2. Coleman Premium Dual Fuel - 700 lumens
  3. Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 - 600 lumens
  4. Streamlight Siege - 540 lumens
  5. BioLite BaseLantern XL Bluetooth Lantern and Power Hub - 400 lumens

How many lumens is enough for a camping lantern?

In portable lanterns, lumens vary from 40 and up to 800 for the brightest modes. Most lanterns fall into the 150-500 range. Depending on the size of your camp, 100 lumens should be enough to walk around with or light up a tent.

Features Of a Great Camping Lantern

Uses and Value

Many campers will have driven to their camping spot and will have their car nearby. Brighter, heavier camping lanterns are great for car camping, because they can light up the whole campsite and you can store the heavy extra batteries in your car.

Backpacking lanterns need to be small, lightweight and compact, so that they’re easy to travel around with. Solar-powered backpacking lanterns are a great option because they can be charged without using batteries or electricity. Many lanterns have a USB port, so you can keep your cellphone charged in case of any emergencies.

Power Source and Brightness

The higher the lumen, the brighter the lantern. If you need a camping lantern to brighten up a large area, make sure you choose one with a higher lumen output. They usually come with a dimming switch, so you can adjust the brightness.

Replaceable battery-operated camping lanterns have their pros and cons. Their run times are generally very long and impressive, but they also require you to pack extra batteries.

Solar-powered camping lanterns are great, but they can take quite long to charge and generally don’t have very long run times.

Built-in batteries mean that the camping lantern is rechargeable, so you won't ever need to pack extra batteries with you. These camping lanterns also usually have a USB port so that you can charge your phone, but they need to be recharged with electricity. Run times for these camping lanterns depend on the size of the battery and the brightness of the lantern.

Light Quality

The quality and warmth of LED light varies from very bright, white light to warm, amber light that emits a softer glow. Whiter light can light up larger areas but is also quite harsh to look at. Warm light is much softer and creates a cosier atmosphere. 

Features and Settings

Most lanterns have a dial to adjust the brightness of the light and lower it to make the battery run for longer, but you should also consider some other features that you may find useful in a camping lantern.

Some lanterns will have hooks so that you can hang them in your tent and foldable legs to stand on, while others have a more classic lantern design with a simple, solid base. You also get camping lanterns that can change color and be controlled with your cellphone.

Care and Maintenance

Electric camping lanterns are very easy to care for and don’t require a lot of maintenance as long as you keep them safe from the elements.

Camping lanterns that use fuel need regular cleaning to prevent clogs, rust and corrosion.

Longevity and Durability

The durability of a camping lantern depends on what materials it is constructed from and whether it is water- or weather-resistant. Many camping lanterns are made from strong plastic, so they are durable and water-resistant.

Ease of Use

Electric camping lanterns are very easy to use and simply require you to press or flick an on/off button. Fuel-powered camping lanterns, like propane/butane lanterns, are a little harder to use and proper safety precautions need to be taken.

Weight and Packing

The size, weight and packability of a camping lantern is important as you generally want something that won’t take up a lot of space - especially if you’re backpacking. More modern camping lanterns are generally quite small and have collapsible limbs for easy storage. 

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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