The Best Camping Lanterns of 2022

Whether heading into the backcountry or lighting up the night while car camping, we’ve found the best camping lanterns for every use and budget.

A good camping lantern is an outdoor essential. It’s a major help while cooking, is great for nightly camp games, and sets just the right outdoor ambiance. Sure, you could just use a flashlight or headlamp, but a lantern lights up the entire camp and makes two-handed tasks easier.

While there isn’t a single best camping lantern for everyone, we’ve broken the list into handy categories to help you identify the best lantern for your use.

If you’re totally in the dark about what you’re looking for in a lantern, check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ section to better inform your decision. We’ve even thrown together a comparison chart to better guide your way through the night.

Scroll down to see all of our top picks, or jump to the category you’re looking for:

The Best Camping Lanterns of 2022

Best Overall Camping Lantern: BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern

BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern

BioLite didn’t miss when they brewed up the AlpenGlow 500 lantern ($80), a light that’s as versatile in the backcountry as it is car camping. There’s little we could come up with that we would have done differently on this trick little lantern, which easily landed it the title of best overall.

Need a quick burst of white light? One tap. Feeling a little more natural? Tap again. A third tap brings the color, and a fourth ignites color-changing ChromaReal LEDs. BioLite also incorporated a number of secondary modes to each, giving you the ability to limit the light to only one side of the lantern or imitate a candle flicker.

There’s even a third press option triggered by a quick shake of the lantern. But while we do applaud BioLite for finding a unique way of integrating an accelerometer, in practice we found this to be a little hit-and-miss. Eventually, the lantern will catch on — it may just take an extra shake to get there.

BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern
The dimmability of the AlpenGlow 500 is almost as impressive as its 500-lumen high-power mode; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

On top of its impressive lighting capabilities (500 lumens is dang bright), the AlpenGlow 500 incorporates a number of features we’ve come to expect in a lantern, such as an integrated 6400 mAh power bank to charge your electronics. For those looking for all the same functions in a smaller package, there’s the AlpenGlow 250.

With ChromaReal LED tech baked in, this lantern puts out impressively natural-looking light, which we greatly appreciated. Anyone searching for an all-around powerhouse of a lantern would likely find it in the AlpenGlow.

  • Lumens: 500 lm max, 5 lm min
  • Power source: 6400 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 200 hours on low, 5 hours on high
  • Water resistance: IPX4 water resistant
  • Weight: 13.4 oz.
  • Ability to recharge electronics from the 6400 mAh power bank
  • Many different modes to choose from and suit the mood
  • ChromaReal LED technology provides excellent full-spectrum light
  • Shake to change functionality isn’t the most intuitive, sometimes doesn’t register
  • We wished all new rechargeable electronics would come standard with USB-C, but this does not

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Budget Camping Lantern: Black Diamond Moji Lantern

Black Diamond Moji Lantern

Newly updated for 2022, the Moji Lantern ($25) gained a number of upgrades that only further cements itself as our budget winner. Now with double the lumen output (a respectable 200), and the ability to be powered by AAA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack, this lantern does a lot in an even smaller package than before.

Weighing in at just 6 oz and measuring 3 inches around, there’s no reason not to bring it along just in case, especially at the price. The ability to run off of different types of battery gives it an edge in emergencies, and the dimming switch allows you to make quick adjustments.

With a 200-lumen max, it’s not the brightest light on the list, but the Moji gets the job done. It not only stands up to rain, but it also can be splashed from multiple angles and will keep on ticking with an IPX4 water-resistant rating.

Per the manufacturer, it lasts up to 70 hours on low. But don’t expect to get that much out of a single battery supply, as you’ll surely want to use a higher setting in camp.

This little lantern is our top pick for hanging in the tent. Its lowest 4-lumen setting makes a good nightlight, too. Whether backpacking, car camping, or looking for an ultra-packable emergency light, the Moji is a durable and useful bargain.

  • Lumens: 200 lm max, 4 lm low
  • Power source: Three AAA batteries, or a 1500 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 70 hours on low
  • Water resistance: IPX4 water resistant
  • Weight: 6 oz.
  • Budget price won’t hurt your wallet
  • Can be powered by different batteries
  • Compact form factor
  • Not the brightest lantern
  • Won’t last too long on the highest setting

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Most Versatile Camping Lantern: Lander Cairn XL Lantern

Lander Cairn Lantern

This palm-sized light has continually surprised and impressed us. It has reliably worked every single night for many months and pumps out a comfortably bright 350 lumens. There aren’t many places we couldn’t see this versatile lantern finding good use!

The bungee cord makes it easy to hang in any location. And the small size means you can quickly grab it to use as a flashlight when needed. Hold the button on the side to brighten or dim the light.

You can also switch between a strobe setting and a colored-light option. It takes a few tries at first to move through its dimming and other settings, one of our lone issues, but it’s easy enough once you get the hang of it.

There is an app you can use to control the settings on the Cairn XL ($100), but we honestly haven’t used it much. We’d rather not be on our phones while camping and much prefer the simple button on the side of the light.

You don’t have to worry about rain or dirt, as it has an IP65 waterproof rating, and it has proven very durable while testing. We’ve repeatedly dropped it and have seen no damage or loss in performance. It also doubles as a charging station, with a USB port and the ability to charge a phone up to four times.

All in all, this is a feature-rich lantern in a small package that’s great for car camping, van dwelling, or backyard hanging.

  • Lumens: 350 lm max
  • Power source: 10000 mAh rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 250 hours on low
  • Water resistance: IP65 waterproof
  • Weight: 10 oz.
  • Feature-rich, there’s even an app to control it
  • Compact form is easy to use
  • One of the most waterproof in our review
  • USB-C charging
  • The single button on the lantern takes some practice to cycle through all functions

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Best Solar Backpacking Lantern: Goal Zero Crush

Goal Zero Crush Lights

Looking for a packable solar light that won’t break the bank? Then it’s time you met the Goal Zero Crush Light. At just 20 bucks, it’s a great value. The 60-lumen max output isn’t wildly bright, but it offers a pleasant, useful glow around your camp.

It weighs 3.2 ounces and collapses neatly to take up very little space in your pack. And you can recharge via USB or simply set it outside and let the sun work its magic. It’s good to note that a smaller panel like the one on this lantern will take some time — an estimated 20 hours — to fully top off the light.

One of our favorite unexpected features? The candle flicker mode! Many lanterns these days are incorporating some type of ambiance setting, but only a few really hit the mark. We’re happy to report that the Crush made us believe.

It has a claimed max run time (on the lowest setting) of 35 hours, but the longest we’ve gotten is 28 hours. It’s never been a problem camping, though, as we just set it out each day to top off the charge. The Crush Light is a solid solar light and a great choice for backpacking.

  • Lumens: 60 lm max, 6 lm low
  • Power source: 500 mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 28 hours on low, 3 hours on high
  • Water resistance: Unpublished
  • Weight: 3.2 oz.
  • Very compact when collapsed down
  • Can be recharged via USB or via the integrated solar panel
  • Max claimed run time didn’t quite meet our expectations in testing

Check Price at REICheck Price at Goal Zero

Best Emergency Candle Lantern: UCO Original Candle Lantern Kit

UCO Candle Lantern

This little candle-powered lantern ($30) is a must-have for your emergency kit, bugout bag, or go-to camp kit. It’s extremely easy to use — just slide the glass down and light the candle for instant light. The included reflector clip directs the light where you need it most.

A single candle burns for nearly 9 hours, and the spring-loaded system keeps the flame at a consistent height. It does get hot, so use caution when extinguishing or moving. It packs down to 4.25 inches long and weighs just 6.4 ounces.

The neoprene case keeps everything protected during transport and makes it a convenient addition to your camp kit. We’ve used one exclusively at camp when desiring a classic, soft firelight. And it’s always in our chuck kit just in case.

Need a little longer burning light? UCO also sells natural beeswax candles that burn for an extended 12 hours. And for those buggy summer nights, there are even citronella candles that’ll keep the skeeters at bay.

It’s also a top pick for emergency preparedness. Whether you live in a hurricane zone or have frequent blizzard-induced power outages, it’s a good idea to have a backup light available. The UCO Candle Lantern is an affordable, easy-to-use, reliable option for both camping and emergencies.

  • Lumens: 20 lm max
  • Power source: Candle
  • Burn time: 9-12 hours
  • Water resistance: N/A
  • Weight: 6.4 oz.
  • Can add a little warmth to a chilly campout
  • Natural candle-lit lighting
  • Very easy to use, just light and go
  • Need to be mindful of spilling wax and hot glass
  • No turning up this lantern, the light you get is what you get

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Best String Light: MPOWERD Luci String Lights

MPOWERD Luci String Lights

The MPOWERD Luci String Lights ($50) have quickly become one of our favorite camping lights. Ten individual light pods are spread across 18 feet of braided nylon cord, allowing you to light up a large area. It’s all the camp ambiance you need in a neat package.

We particularly like the way these lights store in themselves. Simply wrap the string lights into the solar base and twist closed. Pro tip: Be sure to avoid too many overlapping bulbs or it will become too bulky to close.

Because of its small form factor, the integrated solar panel does struggle a bit to charge the lantern from flat dead. It charges fully in about 8 hours via USB or 16 hours via solar, so we recommend charging it up prior to camping and then using solar to keep it topped off throughout.

We’ve used these string lights nearly every day for many months, and they’re still going strong. The color is a pleasing, natural warm light, and we’ve been impressed with how bright it gets on the highest setting. The Luci String Lights are a favorite option for adding a bit of camp ambiance or brightening up the backyard.

  • Lumens: 100 lm max
  • Power source: 2000 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 20 hours on low, 5 hours on high
  • Water resistance: IPX4 water resistant
  • Weight: 11.3 oz.
  • Ability to light up a broad area, focus on specific zones
  • String lights store on the lantern, limiting tangles
  • The solar panel is small, and the charging capacity is limited
  • Take care not to snag the lights, the wiring can break

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Best Portable Gas Lantern: Primus EasyLight Camping Lantern

Primus Easy Light Camping Lantern

This handy little lantern ($70) runs on isobutane (just like your favorite backpacking stove) and doesn’t take up much room. It weighs just 6.6 ounces and measures about 4.5 inches around.

We found the light output particularly pleasant, yet plenty bright to complete all our camp chores. It has a max output of 490 lumens and will run for about 10 hours in warm conditions. Similar to stoves, the run time decreases in colder weather.

An added bonus? Since it’s burning fuel, this little lantern will give off a bit of hand-warming heat (1100 BTUs to be exact), perfect for when the chill sets in.

It began raining while we were using this lantern, but it never went out or had any issues. Being made of glass, it is susceptible to breaking if dropped. But the included hard carrying case will keep it safe when packed.

We used it for a week straight while renting camping gear and appreciated the easy light piezo ignition, warm light output, and easy packing design.

  • Lumens: 490 lm max
  • Power source: Isobutane
  • Burn time: 10 hours
  • Water resistance: N/A
  • Weight: 6.6 oz.
  • Burns isobutane, which you may already have on hand from making dinner
  • Pleasant and warm light output
  • Piezo ignition makes lighting easy
  • Will need to be used with care, as the glass globe can break
  • You may need an additional canister if you want to cook food and power the lantern

Check Price at Amazon

Best of the Rest

Ledlenser ML6 Lantern

Ledlenser Lantern

Do you need a pint-sized lantern that packs a big punch? The Ledlenser ML6 ($90) is just the thing you need. We’ve been testing this packable light for over a year, and it has continually impressed.

At 7.8 inches tall, it easily fits in the palm of your hand. And it can pump out a powerful 750 lumens. That level of light is great for precise tasks, but generally, we use it at a much lower light level. This means your battery will last much longer.

The ML6 charges quickly via USB. It takes about 5 hours to recharge, and we get a solid weekend of camping on a single charge.

We also really like the varied options for hanging this lantern. You can choose from a metal hook on the bottom base plate, or use the malleable rubber loop on top.

Ledlenser ML6 Camping Lantern
The Micro Prism Lens tech makes the Ledlenser ML6 easy to look at without glare; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

That rubber top loop can come undone, which is nice for easily hanging it on a branch or rope. But since it can become removed completely, beware of misplacing it.

Lastly, the ML6 earns top marks for durability. One of our tester’s toddlers is very fond of this light and has repeatedly dropped it. Despite this rough handling, it still shines brightly and functions perfectly.

At 100 bucks, it’s not the cheapest option around. But, if you’re looking for a bright, portable, long-lasting lantern, this is a winner.

  • Lumens: 750 lm max, 20 lm min
  • Power source: 3000 mAh Li-ion 18650 rechargeable cell
  • Burn time: 70 hours on low, 4 hours on high
  • Water resistance: IP54 waterproof
  • Weight: 9.8 oz.
  • Utilizes universal 18650 rechargeable battery
  • Impressively durable design
  • Ability to recharge electronics
  • On the pricier end for a lantern
  • Upper rubber loop can come off entirely

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Barebones Forest Lantern

Barebones Forest Lantern

With a style that would fit right in while tending a lighthouse in a squall, the Barebones Forest Lantern ($80) certainly looks the part when we think of camping lanterns of old. The tech inside certainly tells a different story — sporting 5-watt CREE LEDs and a max 220 lumens sure to illuminate any darkened camp.

The steel cage that encases the interior lighting cover is a classic touch, and the build quality extends to the rest of the lantern, which is made up of three different materials: steel, plastic, and rubber.

This lantern isn’t the brightest at 220 lumens, but that’s something we actually came to appreciate — it fits in with the older look of the light. The weight is a bit hefty, which again comes with the classic look territory, but it doesn’t make it any nicer to lug around.

Perfect for setting the scene, the Forest Lantern even comes in five different vintage colors.

  • Lumens: 220 lm max
  • Power source: 4400 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 80 hours on low, 4 hours on high
  • Water resistance: Unpublished
  • Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.
  • Classic look
  • Integrates modern technology like a rechargeable battery, charge indicator
  • Multiple color options are available
  • On the heavier end for a lantern
  • Not weatherproofed, will need to be protected from adverse conditions

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GoalZero Lighthouse 600 Lantern

GoalZero Lighthouse 600 Lantern

Leave it to solar-power guru GoalZero to come up with a lantern that incorporates a number of smart charge and recharge features that turn the Lighthouse 600 lantern ($70) into a light source you can trust to stay on when you need it.

With three methods of charging the lantern (solar panel, USB, or spinning the crank atop the unit) we never felt we’d see the flicker of this lantern running out of juice. It makes an excellent basecamp lantern, perched above a table or hung from the inside of a tent.

While the integrated charging USB cord is a handy touch, we do see this as a potential future failure point should the cable become snagged or kinked. A simple USB port with a cover would have been our preference.

Unlike some of the other lanterns on our list, the Lighthouse 600 doesn’t use an integrated solar panel to recharge from the sun. This means you’ll either need to already own a GoalZero solar panel or purchase one like the Nomad 10. For those who use a panel regularly, the Lighthouse will be an obvious companion.

Ready for whatever, the Lighthouse 600 would make a great lantern for anyone who wants an all-in-one system for light and charging ability.

  • Lumens: 600 lm max
  • Power source: 5200 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 320 hours on low, 2.5 hours on high
  • Water resistance: Unpublished
  • Weight: 1 lb. 1.6 oz.
  • Unique crank ability provides unlimited power supply
  • Simultaneous recharge and discharge means you can provide light while charging
  • The permanently attached USB cord seems like a failure point
  • Wire legs are a bit wobbly

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LE LED Camping Lantern

LED Camping Lantern Amazon

With positive reviews from a number of our testers, it’s clear that this battery-powered lantern ($26) is a fan favorite. It runs on three D batteries and has a max output of 1,000 lumens. Plus, it has four lighting settings, and you can remove the cap to make it smaller or shine a more directed beam of light.

We’ve splashed water on it without any issues, but we don’t recommend letting it sit out in the rain or become submerged completely. At a little over 7 inches tall and about 3.5 inches wide, it won’t take up much room in the car or tent.

The nice thing about a battery-powered lantern is that you don’t need to worry about charging it up. The downside is it burns through batteries if used often. It ran anywhere from 10 to 14 hours during our testing before needing a fresh set of batteries.

If you plan to use it infrequently or use rechargeable D batteries, it’s a great option. But if you plan to use it every weekend, a rechargeable or solar lantern is probably a better pick.

  • Lumens: 1,000 lm max
  • Power source: Three D batteries
  • Burn time: 10-14 hours
  • Water resistance: IPX4 water resistant
  • Weight: 14 oz.
  • A unique removable cap allows for a more direct light beam
  • Smaller size means it won’t crowd out your tent or picnic table
  • Eats up batteries quickly if used often, isn’t rechargeable

Check Price at Amazon

GoalZero Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern

GoalZero Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern

A micro-size wonder, the Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern ($25) combines the functionality of a flashlight and a lantern into a super compact unit. This quickly became our “toss it and go” lantern of choice for quick outings where sundown was a possibility.

Not the brightest lantern of the lot, this light is best thought of as a close-quarters beam. We appreciated the dimmability of both the flashlight and lantern components, though the push button to activate it is on the smaller side.

Compared to our best budget pick, the Black Diamond Moji lantern, the Lighthouse Micro won’t beat it in overall lumen output, but the functionality of a focused beam does give it the edge when searching for runaway tent stakes and the like.

If you’re looking for a micro-size lantern with additional charge-out capabilities, GoalZero also makes the Lighthouse Micro Charge ($30) with an added USB port. Both of these lanterns would make perfect just-in-case additions to a glovebox or daypack.

  • Lumens: 150 lm max, 7 lm min
  • Power source: 2600 mAh rechargeable 18650 cell
  • Burn time: 170 hours on low, 7 hours on high
  • Water resistance: IPX6
  • Weight: 2.4 oz.
  • Very compact design
  • Integrated USB makes recharging a breeze
  • Limited lumen output is best suited to use inside tents
  • Push button is a bit small

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Coleman Gas Lantern

Coleman Gas Lantern

No lantern review would be complete without this classic Coleman lantern ($45). If you’ve never used a gas lantern, it’s important to make note of a few things. First, in lieu of light bulbs, it uses mantles that fill with fuel and burn brightly. The glass can become extremely hot, and caution should be used when handling it.

That said, it’s a solid lantern that will last for years. And it clocks in at just $40. The dual-mantle design pumps out 1,000 lumens on high. It will run for nearly 7.5 hours on high before needing a new fuel canister. The green propane cylinders run $38 for a pack of four. While this isn’t outrageously expensive, it does add up and should be a consideration when lantern shopping.

We found it easy to thread the light onto the propane cylinder and appreciated the footed base that prevents tipping. It’s worth noting that you will need a match to light this lantern.

If you don’t mind paying a bit more for a version that comes with a carrying case and an autostart piezo igniter, check out the Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow with Carrying Case ($60).

  • Lumens: 1,000 lm max
  • Power source: Propane
  • Burn time: 13 hours on low
  • Water resistance: N/A
  • Weight: 3 lbs.
  • Classic styling and natural lighting
  • Broad footed base limits risk of tipping
  • Requires consumable propane, which can add up
  • Glass lens can become hot during use

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EJ Case XTorch

EJ Case XTorch

With humanitarian roots and a utilitarian design, the XTorch ($55) is a unique illumination option for use at home or a campsite. We have been testing it for about 2 years and are happy to report the product has held up to use and abuse. It’s a handy light that does double duty as a lantern and a phone charger.

The company, based in Minnesota, calls the product a “tough, reliable, solar-powered flashlight, lantern, and back-up cell phone charger for off-grid and just-in-case emergency use.” That’s a bit of a mouthful, but it sums up the hybrid product’s feature set.

The design is clean despite the bells and whistles. The manufacturing is high-quality, with smooth lines and strong materials like silicone USB covers and a polycarbonate case.

XTorch lights are used around the world with nonprofits and other organizations involved in disaster relief, refugee aid, and humanitarian outreach. The company donates 25% of its annual profits to help fund donations to international partners.

The LED flashlight has multiple modes, including a 400-lumen high beam that cuts a path into the night. Set the light on its end and you can use the side lantern, a small 100-lumen LED that brightens a room. This makes the lantern more of an afterthought than the main attraction, but it’s still enough light to work with.

Rugged and water-resistant, the unit is 8.5 inches tall and weighs about 9 ounces. A solar panel on the side lets you charge it in the sun.

Check out the XTorch for a neat hybrid option. It’s a quality product that’s also involved in a good cause.

  • Lumens: 400 lm max, 100 lm min
  • Power source: LiFePO4 rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 48 hours on low
  • Water resistance: Unpublished rating, claimed water resistant
  • Weight: 9 oz.
  • Multiple charging modes, including USB and an integrated solar panel
  • Hybrid design incorporates a flashlight and lantern in one
  • Ability to charge your portable electronics
  • Lantern function doesn’t cast the widest beam
  • Solar panel isn’t the biggest

Check Price at Amazon

Solight SolarPuff Lantern

Solight SolarPuff Lantern 

The Solight SolarPuff Lantern ($30) unfolds with the grace of an origami swan, going from a compact flat to a 4-inch lighted cube — all without the need of inflating it. Made of PET sailcloth, this light pops open and provides either a bright, warm, or multi-colored light.

We first saw the SolarPuff lantern riding on the outside of the pack of a PCT thru-hiker, who found the collapsible lantern to be a perfect luxury item. The integrated solar panel charges the lantern while you hike and puts out a purported 12 hours of light on its low setting (with the sun shining).

Newly updated, Solight added a Dusk to Dawn light sensor, which can turn on the lantern by itself as the stars come out and turn back off as the sun comes up — a feature we very much enjoyed.

You likely won’t want to make the SolarPuff your only light source, as even at max output it only manages 90-lumens. But as a go-anywhere lantern with a small footprint, the SolarPuff Lantern is an easy choice.

  • Lumens: 90 lm max, 45 lm min
  • Power source: 1200 mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery
  • Burn time: 12 hours on low
  • Water resistance: IP68 waterproof
  • Weight: 2.6 oz.
  • Incredible portability and ultralight weight
  • Requires no inflation to expand
  • Limited battery life
  • Not the brightest lantern

Check Price at Amazon

Comparison Chart

Camping Lantern Price Max Lumens Power Source Burn Time Water Resistance Weight
BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern $80 500 6400 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery 200 hours on low, 5 hours on high IPX4 water resistant 13.4 oz.
Lander Cairn XL Lantern $100 350 10000 mAh rechargeable battery 250 hours on low IP65 waterproof 10 oz.
Black Diamond Moji Lantern $25 200 Three AAA batteries, or a 1500 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery 70 hours on low IPX4 water resistant 6 oz.
Goal Zero Crush Light $20 60 500 mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery 28 hours on low, 3 hours on high Unpublished 3.2 oz.
UCO Original Candle Lantern Kit $30 20 Candle 9-12 hours N/A 6.4 oz.
MPOWERD Luci String Lights $50 100 2000 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery 20 hours on low, 5 hours on high IPX4 water resistant 11.3 oz.
Primus EasyLight Camping Lantern $70 490 Isobutane 10 hours N/A 6.6 0z.
Ledlenser ML6 Lantern $90 750 3000 mAh Li-ion 18650 rechargeable cell 70 hours on low, 4 hours on high IP54 waterproof 9.8 oz.
Barebones Forest Lantern $80 220 4400 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery 80 hours on low, 4 hours on high Unpublished 1 lb. 8 oz.
GoalZero Lighthouse 600 Lantern $70 600 5200 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery 320 hours on low, 2.5 hours on high Unpublished 1 lb. 1.6 oz.
LE LED Camping Lantern $26 1,000 Three D batteries 10-14 hours IPX4 water resistant 14 oz.
GoalZero Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern  $25 150 2600 mAh rechargeable 18650 cell 170 hours on low, 7 hours on high IPX6 2.4 oz.
Coleman Gas Lantern $45 1,000 Propane 13 hours on low N/A 3 lbs.
EJ Case XTorch $55 400 LiFePO4 rechargeable battery 48 hours on low Unpublished rating, claimed water resistant 9 oz.
Solight SolarPuff Lantern $32 90 1200 mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery 12 hours on low IP68 waterproof 2.6 oz.

Why You Should Trust Us

While putting this list together, our lead tester Austin Beck-Doss was living off-grid and relying on a lantern every single night. To determine the best of the best, these lanterns underwent months of testing and thousands of light hours logged.

The lanterns featured here are the top picks that will stand up to constant use and abuse, from the rigors of packing and unpacking to the perils of rolling around in the back of a car.

While testing, we paid particular attention to light output, battery life, and ease of use. We also kept an eye on durability, packability, and overall value.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Camp Lantern

Electric vs. Gas-Powered Lanterns

Choosing between an electric and a gas-powered lantern comes down to what features you prefer. Electric lanterns are quiet, lightweight, and safe to use inside a tent.

However, alkaline batteries lose about half their capacity when temperatures drop below freezing, and rechargeable batteries may not last on multi-day trips without a recharge.

Gas-powered lanterns like the Primus EasyLight Camping Lantern are bright, have a long burn time, and work well in sub-freezing temperatures (the runtime drops, but not as much as when using alkaline batteries). Because they use a live flame, they are hot to the touch, need to be used away from flammable materials, and require ventilation. They are also more fragile than electric lanterns.

BioLite and GoalZero Camping Lanterns
While gas lanterns give off a classic warm light, many modern electric lanterns are getting pretty good at emulating that light; (photo/Nick Belcaster)


Lanterns need to be bright enough to light up an area, but not so striking that they’ll temporarily blind you if you accidentally look at them. Most lanterns have a lumen output somewhere between 200 and 500 lumens. This is more than enough to light up most camping spaces.

If you’re looking for a more pleasant glow, 60 to 100 lumens will work well. Lanterns like the Solight SolarPuff Lantern or the Black Diamond Moji Lantern work well for use inside a tent.

Black Diamond Moji Lantern in Tent
Ounces matter on the Alaskan tundra, and a lightweight but powerful lantern like the Black Diamond Moji is just the ticket; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

LED vs. Incandescent

Lanterns of old all utilized incandescent bulbs to provide their light, but these have largely gone away in favor of LEDs. Light-emitting diodes are far more energy efficient — often more than 75% — and have a lifespan that exceeds the wire filaments of incandescent bulbs.

Another benefit of LEDs is they have a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) level, a measurement of how natural colors render in certain light. Lanterns like the BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern boast a CRI of 90 and produce high-quality color lighting.

Weight and Packed Size

Consider how you will be using your lantern. For car camping, weight and packed size are not going to be an issue. If you plan on packing your lantern into the woods, however, you’re going to want something lighter that won’t take up much pack space. If you’re going backpacking, look for a small or collapsible lantern.

Many backpacking lanterns are also lightweight, so you won’t have a problem finding one that weighs under half a pound. Quite a few in this list fit those categories.

Solight SolarPuff Lantern
At only 2.6 oz and packing as small as a CD case (remember those?), the Solight SolarPuff takes the prize as most ultralight; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Battery Life

If you’re going with an electric lantern, battery life is a consideration, especially if you’re going to be in the woods for a few days or more. Many lanterns will give you 5-10 hours on high, with longer times in the lower settings.

It pays to carry extra batteries on your trip if your lantern uses disposable batteries. If you have a rechargeable battery, bring along a portable battery or solar charger to top off your lanterns between uses.

Consider also the type of rechargeable battery your lantern uses. Some, like the Ledlenser ML6 Lantern use a standardized rechargeable 18650 cell that can be used in other electronics. Most others will be integrated into the lantern, and non-serviceable.

GoalZero Lighthouse 600 Lantern
With an integrated 5200 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery, the GoalZero Lighthouse 600 lantern is able to both charge your devices, and itself with an integrated hand crank;(photo/Nick Belcaster)

Ease of Use

For the most part, electric lanterns win the prize for ease of use. They turn on with the push of a button and the brightness is simple to adjust. Gas-powered lanterns require a bit more work with applying the fuel canister and lighting the wick.

With advances in lantern tech, and more features being added every year, be sure to look for a lantern that hasn’t suffered from tech bloat. The pattern of button presses to move through the different lighting cycles should be easy to remember.

One tech advance that we are on board with is the adoption of USB-C in charging cables. Micro USB is still abundant on many consumer electronics, but a look to the future sees USB-C becoming the new standard. Of the lanterns we reviewed, only the Lander Cairn XL Lantern supported USB-C charging.

Ledlenser ML6 Lantern
The easy hang loop of the Ledlenser ML6 made it very popular with our hammock-savvy testers; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Extra Features

Many of the best camping lanterns offer additional features, such as the ability to charge your electronic devices and double as a flashlight. These are perks but aren’t real game-changers when choosing a lantern.

The most important features that we’ve found are ones that enhance the lantern’s main function. Look for lanterns that are water- and dustproof, ones with multiple dimming settings and integrated solar chargers.

BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Color Lantern
Chock-full of extra features, the BioLite AlpenGlow 500 offers white, natural, and multi-colored options for its light; (photo/Nick Belcaster)


What Is the Best Camping Lantern?

The best camping lantern is the one best designed for how you plan to use it. Look for a lantern that’s bright enough to illuminate your camping space and one that is simple enough to use after a long day of hiking. For 2022, we found the BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern to fit the bill for most of our camping outings.

For backpackers, a lightweight lantern that doesn’t take up too much pack space is ideal. Also, an electric lantern should be able to give you several evenings of light without requiring a recharge.

How Many Lumens Do I Need for a Camping Lantern?

For most campers, 100 lumens or above is enough to light up many camp spaces. If you prefer a more gentle glow, 50-75 lumens will be enough. Electric lanterns under 50 lumens are good for in-tent use.

What Is the Best Camping Lantern for Power Outages?

For occasional use, a brighter lantern with replaceable batteries will work well. Replaceable batteries are ideal for situations in which an external charging source is unavailable. Candle lanterns will also work well, as they don’t require any fuel besides the candle.

What Is the Best Camping Lantern from Coleman?

We’re fans of the classic Coleman Lantern. For $45, Coleman has made a solid lantern that will give you years of use. It produces 1,000 lumens on high, and it will run for 7 hours on high before you need to switch containers.

What Is a Lantern Mantle?

Lantern mantles are ceramic mesh sacks that encase the flame in gas-powered lanterns. They keep the flame small and contained inside the lamp.

How Long Do Lantern Mantles Last?

If you take care of it, a lantern mantle can last years. You can lengthen the life of the mantle by not dropping or shaking your lantern excessively and by not exposing it to strong wind without the globe attached.

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