The 11 Best Camping Lanterns of 2021

Top picks for outdoorsy folks to illuminate the backwoods

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern at Amazon

"The Vont LED Camping Lanterns deliver reliable use in a compact package that will please many shoppers."

Best Budget: Black Diamond Moji Lantern at Amazon

"This compact lantern offers no-frills illumination with a just-right price."

Best Solar: Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern at Amazon

"You won’t have to worry about batteries or fuel with this solar powered lantern."

Best Rechargeable: Barebones USB Lantern at Amazon

"Delivers up to 80 hours of burn time in just six hours of fast-paced recharging via micro-USB."

Best LED: Energizer LED Camping Lantern at Amazon

"This LED camping lantern will quickly become a go-to for the campsite and beyond."

Best Battery Life: UST 30-Day Duro Lantern at Amazon

"This lantern surges to the front of the pack when it comes to run time."

Best for Backpacking: LuminAID Packlite Max Phone Charger Lantern at REI

"Offers solar recharging and a long burn time in a lightweight package."

Best for Car Camping: UCO Sitka 500 Lumen Camping Lantern with Extendable Arm at Amazon

"With 500 lumens, this lamp has the power to illuminate an entire campsite, but because it weighs in at 2.2 pounds it’s best for when you’re driving — not walking — to your campsite."

Best for Tent Camping: Black Diamond Orbit Lantern at REI

"Casting a delicate 105 lumens and weighing only 3 ounces, this lamp is perfect for hanging for tent light."

Best Portable Gas Lantern: Coleman Gas Lantern at Amazon

"This lamp is a classic. It delivers ample brightness and burn time."

Best for Group Camping: BioLite BaseLantern XL Bluetooth Lantern and Power Hub at Amazon

"Thanks to its elevated base and bright, even light, this lamp can illuminate a large campsite."

Camping is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the outdoors and truly appreciate Mother Nature’s majesty. Whether you’re an experienced backcountry expert or a confirmed non-camper, there are a few essentials that can make your outdoors experience more comfortable. Camping lanterns, which light up your ultra-dark campsite, help you extend your evening after the sun sets and allow you to see trip hazards across the site. Married camping couple Derek and Tonya Jones, who capture their travels on Instagram @Fabulous.Jones, advise looking for a low maintenance, durable lantern, and one where accessing fuel or batteries will be relatively easy. We’ve found the top lamps for every occasion. Read on for the best camping lanterns of the year.

Best Overall: Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern

Vont LED Camping Lantern

Courtesy of Vont

What We Like
  • 360-degrees of bright LED lighting

  • Waterproof and durable if dropped

  • Batteries included

  • Great lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Light doesn't illuminate longer distances

The Vont LED Camping Lanterns deliver reliable use in a compact package that will please many shoppers. The lamps’ compact size means they’re a go-anywhere workhorse that can easily be toted along backpacking, set up in a campsite, or kept at home for emergencies. They are constructed with aircraft-grade, waterproof materials, so these hardy little lanterns (they’re 4.8 inches tall) can survive 10-foot drops and being temporarily submerged in water. Coming in a set of four, they can easily be set throughout a campsite or brought into tents to create a fully lit space; however, they also have a carrying arm for portability. 

Max lumens: 140 lumens | Burn time: 90 hours | Power source: 3 AAA batteries | Weight: 10 ounces

Best Budget: Black Diamond Moji Lantern

What We Like
  • Very lightweight

  • Rings to hang the light

  • Dimming switch for brightness

What We Don't Like
  • Low light source

This compact lantern offers no-frills illumination at a just-right price. It illuminates only 100 lumens, which is just enough for a tent or to carry around with you in the campsite—which you can do easily because it weighs just a few ounces. Rings at the top of the ball-like dome help you hang the portable lamp wherever you need it. The lantern also has a dimming switch to adjust brightness, and a frosted dome casts a gentle, ambient light.

Max lumens: 100 lumens | Burn time: 70 hours | Power source: AAA batteries | Weight: 3 ounces

Best Solar: Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern

What We Like
  • Solar powered and USB charging

  • Collapsable for travel

  • Comes in several colors

What We Don't Like
  • Short amount of burn time

Whether you’re backpacking or hanging around a fixed campsite, you won’t have to worry about batteries or fuel with this solar-powered lantern. If you’re faced with cloudy days or are snow camping, you can charge the Crush via USB before you hit the trails. The collapsible pop-up design makes this a handy and compact addition to any packing list.

Max lumens: 60 lumens | Burn time: 3.5 hours | Power source: Solar | Weight: 3.2 ounces

Best Rechargeable: Barebones USB Lantern

What We Like
  • Rechargeable with micro-USB

  • Easy on/off switch with dimmer

  • Vintage-inspired design

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy in weight

The Barebones Rechargeable USB Lantern delivers up to 80 hours of burn time in just six hours of fast-paced recharging via micro-USB. A durable stamped steel body means this lamp can take a beating in outdoors conditions. A simple on/off switch doubles as a dimmer to create more ambiance around the campsite while you’re solo or entertaining. Plus, with its vintage-inspired design in antique bronze or red, this lamp is extremely photogenic.

Max lumens: 220 lumens | Burn time: 4-80 hours | Power source: Rechargeable battery | Weight: 1 pound, 2 ounces

Best LED: Energizer LED Camping Lantern

What We Like
  • Long burn time

  • Three brightness settings to save battery

  • Water-resistant plastic construction

What We Don't Like
  • Batteries not included

With bright 500-lumen light and 360-degrees of illumination, this LED camping lantern will quickly become a go-to for the campsite and beyond. Grab this handheld lantern on the go around the campsite or even during an emergency at home. Thanks to the LED, it won’t heat up and can easily be carted into tents and kept safely around children and pets. It offers three brightness modes, with the lowest setting extending the burn time up to 650 hours. It’s a durable, all-weather choice thanks to its water-resistant and plastic (rather than glass) construction.

Max lumens: 500 lumens | Burn time: 650 hours | Power source: 3 Energizer Max D batteries | Weight: 14 ounces

Best Battery Life: UST 30-Day Duro Lantern

What We Like
  • Extremely long burn time

  • Very bright light source

  • Recessed hooks for hanging

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy in weight

With a burn-time (on low) of 30 days, this lantern surges to the front of the pack when it comes to run time. That’s all courtesy of D-cell batteries, which on high cast a bright 1,000-lumen glow that may have your campsite neighbors asking you to dim it. Built-in recessed hooks allow for hanging anywhere, whether off the rearview mirror of your RV or a tree branch. A weather-resistant ABS plastic case means the removable globe and base can take a beating and stand up to the elements.

Max lumens: 1,000 lumens | Burn time: 30 days (on low) | Power source: 3 D-cell alkaline batteries | Weight: 1 pound, 14 ounces

Best for Backpacking: LuminAID Packlite Max Phone Charger Lantern

LuminAID Packlite Max Phone Charger Lantern

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Solar rechargeable batteries

  • Five brightness levels

  • Adjustable strap to hang

  • Can be collapsed to 1-inch tall

What We Don't Like
  • Not great as a battery backup for phones

Offering solar recharging and a long burn time in a lightweight package, this lantern checks all the boxes for the backcountry. Users can choose from five brightness settings, with the lowest setting allowing the lamp to run for 50 hours—in other words, throughout evening use on a several-day backpacking trip. However, with its solar recharging capability, backpackers never have to worry about running out of a charge. The collapsible light stands in a six-inch cube when inflated, but it packs down to one inch tall, making it easy to stash in packs. An adjustable strap allows you to hang the lantern in trees or tents or daisy chain them together to create string lights. Thanks to its LED light, this lamp is also safe around kids and pets.

Max lumens: 150 lumens | Burn time: 50 hours on low | Power source: Lithium-ion batteries (solar rechargeable) | Weight: 8.6 ounces

Best for Car Camping: UCO Sitka 500 Lumen Camping Lantern with Extendable Arm

What We Like
  • Extension arm to elevate light source

  • Adjustable brightness

  • Durable leather carrying handle

What We Don't Like
  • Batteries not included

  • Heavy in weight

With 500 lumens, this lamp has the power to illuminate an entire campsite, but because it weighs in at 2.2 pounds, it’s best for when you’re driving—not walking—to your campsite. Even though it has bright-as-the-sun illumination, a frosted cover makes this lantern light easy on the eyes. At full brightness, it has five hours of burn time out of a single charge; but that can be extended up to 70 hours by dialing it back a little. As an added feature, it has a versatile arm that can be extended from 12.5 to 26 inches, so you can use this for illumination in several ways around the campsite, from cooking to reading.

Max lumens: 500 lumens | Burn time: 70 hours on low | Power source: 6 D-cell alkaline batteries | Weight: 2.2 pounds

Best for Tent Camping: Black Diamond Orbit Lantern

Black Diamond Orbit Lantern

Courtesy of Paragon Sports

What We Like
  • Lightweight lantern

  • Collapsible double hook

  • Can switch to flashlight mode

What We Don't Like
  • Can run through a lot of batteries

Casting a delicate 105 lumens and weighing only 3 ounces, this lamp is perfect for hanging for tent light. A collapsible double hook makes for easy hanging within your campground. Plus, this lamp plays double duty: It has a 50-lumen LED bulb in the bottom chamber that can act as a flashlight, and it seamlessly switches between flashlight, lantern, and dual (lantern and flashlight) modes.

Max lumens: 105 lumens | Burn time: 70 hours on low | Power source: 4 AAA batteries | Weight: 3 ounces

Best Portable Gas Lantern: Coleman Gas Lantern

What We Like
  • Casts light up to 23 meters

  • Good for extreme weather conditions

  • Ventilator resists corrosion

  • Base can be propped up anywhere

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy in weight

  • Requires propane

If you’re looking for a non-battery-powered lantern, this lamp is a classic. It delivers ample brightness and burn time. Plus, its pressure-control technology and high-temperature-tolerance glass globe deliver consistent, safe performance even in extreme weather conditions. The lantern will stand the test of time due to a porcelain-coated two-tier ventilator that resists corrosion and rust. It’s useful around the campsite thanks to a collapsible footed base that can be propped anywhere and a bail handle for convenient carrying and hanging. It comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Max lumens: 1,000 lumens | Burn time: 7.5 hours on high | Power source: Propane | Weight: 3 pounds

Best for Group Camping: BioLite BaseLantern XL Bluetooth Lantern and Power Hub

What We Like
  • Adjustable brightness in multiple colors

  • Doubles as power-bank to charge tech gear

  • Pairs with other BioLite products

What We Don't Like
  • Charging multiple devices quickly drains battery

Thanks to its elevated base and bright, even light, this lamp can illuminate a large campsite. Added features like a color-changing LED spectrum also bring a party atmosphere to group gatherings. The lamp also doubles as a rechargeable power-bank battery, which can help multiple people charge phones, tablets, or other gear while camping. Just keep in mind using it that way will sap the battery life. It can also pair with other BioLite products, such as SiteLights (overhead string lighting), to light an even larger area. 

Max lumens: 500 lumens | Burn time: 55 hours on low | Power source: Rechargeable battery | Weight: 4.6 ounces

Final Verdict

For their overall versatility, we like the Volt 4 Pack Camping Lanterns (view on Amazon). These small but mighty lamps can take a beating in the backcountry or front country by withstanding harsh conditions and storms, and they still deliver a reliable light source. Reviews report these lamps to offer ample light and are easy to operate as well.

What to Look For in a Camping Lantern

Lumens

Lumens are a measure of the output of light, with higher numbers indicating brighter light. For lanterns, lumens begin around 40 and may top 700 in the brightest models.

Weight

The heavier the lantern, the less portable it is. If you’re car camping or RVing, this may not be much of a concern. However, if you’re backpacking or tent camping, you’ll want to opt for a lighter lantern. Keep in mind that lighter lanterns will also generally put out less light. Keep in mind the power source when considering the overall weight. Batteries or fuel will only make it heavier, but it’s useless without anything to power the lantern.

 Fuel

Accessing fuel in the backcountry may be difficult. It may be easier to find batteries even in remote areas. If you’re opting for a battery-powered lantern, keep in mind the battery life to make sure it will last the duration of your needs during a trip, and preferably even longer.

 Conditions

Derek and Tonya Jones, who capture their travels under @Fabulous.Jones on Instagram, recommend keeping the environment in mind when choosing a lantern. For example, if you’re camping in the desert or where there’s a high risk of fire, you may not want an open flame. If you’re tent camping, you won’t want to use an open flame or a lantern that generates heat when using it around flammable materials.  

 FAQs

What are the types of camping lanterns?

In general, there are three types of camping lanterns: electric lanterns powered by LED lights, fuel-burning lanterns, and candle lanterns. LED lamps have a long battery life, good light output, can handle rugged use (read: they don’t easily break), are quiet and exhaust-free. Fuel-burning lamps may be powered by liquid fuel, propane, or butane (often the same fuel as camp stoves). These lamps are generally brighter than LED lanterns; however, they need ample ventilation, generate heat, are noisy, and can be heavy. Candle lanterns provide soft, natural light with no noise; however, they generate little light, and you must keep them far from flammable materials.

 How many lumens do you need?

Anything around 100 lumens will be sufficient for traipsing around a dark campsite at night. This level is also recommended for use within a tent. Opt for around 200 lumens if you’re trying to illuminate an entire tent site and around 300 lumens if you’re having a campsite party.

 How do you hang a lantern inside a tent?

Some lanterns incorporate handy features such as a loop, hook, or clip, which allow you to hang your lantern inside your tent. Most tents have interior fabric loops and/or mesh pockets that allow for hanging items also. When in doubt, a carabiner can save the day.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

TripSavvy authors spend hours researching their topics, interviewing experts, and reading reviews and comments to compile their best-of lists.

Was this page helpful?
Continue to 5 of 11 below.
Continue to 9 of 11 below.