It’s easy to lose track of just how dark it gets at night while living in brightly-lit cities. It’s only when you go camping in the great outdoors that you realize just how dark pitch black is, especially in the dead of the night. This is where LED lanterns for camping come to your rescue. They ensure that no one keeps tripping in the dark or that after-dark meals don’t end with food on the ground. Whether it’s sitting around a fire, digging into some good food, or cooking around a barbeque, the best LED camping lanterns light up a large area. But what’s so special about LED lanterns in the first place?
Well, the first and foremost aspect is that LED lanterns deliver brightness par excellence, which is just what is need for outdoor living. Today, camping lanterns are lightweight, compact, robust, hi-tech, portable, and handsfree units that be placed or hung just about anywhere. What’s more, they’re packed with a gamut of features like solar paneling, shatterproof glass, and even water resistance.
It’s no wonder that an LED lantern features high on a list of must-have camping accessories. Here’s a list of the 13 best LED lanterns for camping.
Picking out a good LED camping lantern
The most important factor when it comes to choosing an LED camping lantern is, unsurprisingly, its brightness, or the ‘lumen count.’ Usually, it’s good to pick ones with a minimum lumen count if 100-150, since the light needs to fall over a larger area. The ideal lantern would have a lumen count between 200 and 300. The size of the lens also needs to be taken into consideration, as a larger lens with lower lumens could be as effective as a regular-sized one with a higher lumen count.
Another very important feature is any dimming or brightness control features that the lantern might have. Lights might have to be dimmed or increased in intensity as camping environments change, and the best lanterns feature this property.
Portability and packability
Space and weight are two important considerations, especially since requirements change with environments. For instance, ultra-lightweight models are perfect for backcountry camping where luggage space is premium. On the other hand, you’ll need something bulkier and chunkier for when you’re car camping or at basecamp. The heft will help with any rough weather conditions that you might encounter.
Performance and runtime
LED lanterns can be either battery-powered or rechargeable ones. Choosing between them ideally comes down to the average duration of your trip. However, the presence of lithium batteries has vastly improved the runtimes of rechargeable lanterns. Amongst them, the most versatile LED lanterns for camping are the ones that recharge via USB cables, while those with standard wall charging could prove to be a challenge. Another rather fetching feature of the USB cable-charging lanterns is that they can also be used to charge camera batteries and smartphones!
Sometimes, its the most simple of features that make the better camping lanterns stand out amongst a sea of options. For instance, models with handles and on/off switches are more helpful than you might think. Also, try and choose a lantern that features an IP (ingress protection) rating which reads like this – IPXY. The number ‘X’ is the product’s ability to repel solid dirt/dust particles. The number ‘Y’ measures water resistance, which is rated on a scale of 0 to 8.
Coleman Quad LED Lantern
Although its the heaviest and largest lantern on this list, the Coleman Quad LED Lantern is a serious illumination tool and is a useful addition to camping gear.
It’s a fairly robust exterior sets the tone for the Coleman Twist’s performance ahead. A handle on top makes it easy to be carried about the camp, and the unit is weatherproof to survive all kinds of weather.
However, the outstanding feature of this lantern is the fact that it can essentially be broken up into four different parts. It features four detachable lights that give out 190 lumens when connected onto the base, giving off a powerful light. However, the light panels can be used individually for adjusting the brightness quotient, making this one versatile lantern. This is particularly useful if you’re in a larger group, and have your own individual tents. So, even between a large group, you only need to carry just this one lantern. What’s more, once all four panels are in place, they recharge automatically as well.
- Weight: 1.44 kg (3.18 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 190
- Four-in-one lantern.
- Panels recharge automatically when placed on the base, when as lantern functions.
- A light beam range of eight meters.
Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern
The Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 might be a traditional-looking lantern, but it ticks all the boxes that make it a great one.
The Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 is built to last. It features collapsible and robust legs and a hook, all of which ensure that it can be placed anywhere. There’s even an ingenious feature where its light beam can be either projected to 360 degrees or 180 degrees. It’s no secret that the latter mode saves battery power immensely. The projected runtime for the Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 is anywhere between 2.5 to 48 hours depending on how high or low the light setting is. Heck, it even has an optional solar panel for recharging the battery too.
However, what sets the lantern really apart is the fact that it possesses an inbuilt hand crank. This allows you to easily grab and crank the handle to switch on the light, no matter how dark your surroundings might be. And isn’t that what you really want from your lantern in the end?
- Weight: 0.75 kg (1.65 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 400
- Infinite power due to optional solar charging panel.
- USB charging.
- Light bean degree adjustment.
- Hand crank for switching on the light.
- Battery is non-replaceable, so it needs to be recharged before being used again.
Black Diamond Apollo Lantern
Every list has an all-rounder, and the Black Diamond Apollo is the all-rounder on this list. Whether it is power outages, camping, or backpacking, the lantern is poised to tackle anything that is thrown its way. While it doesn’t exactly earn high marks, its across-the-board consistency is what is admirable.
The Apollo lantern’s one-of-a-kind design casts a slightly warm, even glow, whose quality is bettered by its opaque plastic cover, which improves the light quality. An extremely nifty feature is that the power button doubles as a dimness switch. What’s excellent is that the lantern can be set up on any surface thanks to the retractable tripod legs. The design goes extra lengths to ensure stability with the presence of rubberized footpads when the legs are folded. Plus, it can be hung at any level as well.
The highlight of the Black Diamond Apollo is, undoubtedly, its battery capacity. Apart from a rechargeable internal battery, it also has a three-slot compartment for AA backup batteries. Two useful blue charge indicator lights help to decipher battery usage. The lantern runs for 6 hours at maximum brightness on the internal battery, after which it switches to the AA ones and can operate for another 18 hours.
- Weight: 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 225
- Dual metal hooks.
- Dimming feature on the power button.
- Rubber footbed for stable placing.
- The life of replaceable batteries is quite short as compared to other lanterns on this list.
Etekcity Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern
The Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern from Etekcity knocks it out of the park with its portable and durable offering. The lantern packs a circular pattern of 30 LED lights for complete directional lighting. At less than $30, it is easily one of the cheapest LED lanterns for camping on this list.
This collapsible LED lantern is actually a pair of extremely lightweight, portable, and foldable military-grade lights. What’s more, they’re durable to boot and can handle all sorts of bumps and shocks it might face. They are packed with 30 white-light diodes that consume very little electricity. What’s more, they radiate a 360-degree high-intensity light with a far-reaching beam.
The lantern allows for 12 hours of uninterrupted use on the low setting using the included AA batteries. However, the power-saving design ensures diminishing brightness over time so that the light lasts longer.
- Weight: 0.72 kg (1.6 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 300
- Practical and portable.
- The dial changing modes is a bit noisy and clunky.
Suaoki Collapsible Clover Style Solar LED Camping Lantern
If you like to get off the grid for days together, check out the Clover-style Solar LED Camping Lantern from Suaoki. It’s the perfect companion if you’re heading to a remote location or are planning an extended outdoor trip. Plus, it’s also environment-friendly and famously low-maintenance.
Backpackers for whom space is at a premium in their backpack will appreciate the packable design of the Suaoki lantern. The light given off is just right and not overpowering at all. Plus, each of the leaves in the unique ‘clover’ design is independently adjustable and function as a light even when folded flat. So, they can be useful for directing the light towards a specific angle. If that wasn’t enough, the lantern even has three distinct lighting modes – SOS blinking, low, and high.
An hour of solar charging yields around half-an-hour of lighting. Furthermore, users can also ‘turbocharge’ the lantern with the help of a USB cable. Plus, you needn’t be worried about overcharging either, as the Smart Protection Chip protects the circuit.
- Weight: 0.12 kg (0.37 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: N/A
- It can be charged both via USB and solar power.
- Portable and compact.
- Durability is a bit dicey.
BioLite BaseLantern XL
If you’re part of the tech-loving camping squad, you will love the Biolite BaseLantern. It brings lanterns to the land of the Internet of things and packs in lots of tech in a fabulous package.
The Biolite boasts a laundry list of features. For starters, it has its own free app for both iOS and Android platforms, allowing users to unlock a bevy of fun and practical features. For instance, you can set a variety of colors as well as program a range of light settings. The lantern lights up large spaces nicely, with the app even allowing for adjusting warmth by adding in more yellow or blue. That, combined with the 180/360 degree settings allows for adjusting just how much light you need. Plus, the lantern is nicely hefty, has stainless-steel legs for stability and durability, and is more water-resistant than it looks.
If all that wasn’t enough, the app also works with Biolite’s ‘nanogrid’ lineup of products, which includes overhead lights, downlighters, and even the ever-popular fairy-light style devices.
- Weight: 0.68 kg (1.5 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 500
- Incredibly tech-rich.
- 180/360 light settings.
- Lots of features.
Coleman 360 Light And Sound LED Lantern
Go off the grid in style with the Coleman 360 Light and Sound Lantern. Where else would you find a lantern that not only burns bright but also plays all your playlist?
Build to last, the nifty Coleman 360 is your very own, private light and sound show. An inbuilt Bluetooth speaker blasts tunes at a decent sound level, while the 360-degree light beam lights up a good-sized area. All this, combined with IPX4 water resistance and a shatterproof polycarbonate lens easily makes this one of the best camping gadgets you will own.
All this doesn’t diminish the fact that the Coleman 360 is a great lantern as well. Three light settings make it easy to not only regulate the brightness but also to save battery life. Moreover, the lantern boasts a great battery life of 7-40 hours on high/low light settings.
- Weight: 0.62 kg (1.36 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 400
- A rechargeable battery.
- Inbuilt speaker.
- 360-degree lighting.
- IPX4 water-resistant rating.
- Lack of sound settings.
Streamlight The Seige Lantern
The petite but powerful Seige Lantern from Streamlight is one of the most versatile and durable LED lanterns for camping. No matter whether its an extended backcountry camping trip or a car camping one, the Streamlight Seige is your best bet.
This sturdy little workhorse of a lantern has a gamut of handy features, including magnets, water-resistance, double-ended hooks, and red and white modes. The double-sided handles allow it to be hung from both ends. While it has a waterproof rating of IPX7 and is waterproof up to 3 feet, it floats! It is a rather neat feature, especially if you’re fishing or boating in calm waters. What’s more, the lantern also has a good impact resistance of up to 6.5 feet. The magnets allow it to be easily secured to other magnetic surfaces like fridges or car hoods.
However, its set of light features are perhaps the Seige lantern’s coolest features. It boasts a removable polycarbonate cover for adjusting the glare of the light emitted. A flashing SOS mode is useful in emergent situations. Furthermore, it even has a red mode that can keep your eyes adjusted to the darkness while illuminating the surroundings at the same time.
- Weight: 0.87 kg (1.94 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 200
- Water-resistant with IPX7 rating.
- Durable and compact.
- Size might be a bit too small.
Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro Glow
How’d you like to camp with a lantern that lasts for a whopping 30 days in its lowest setting? Say hello to the 30-Day Duro Glow from Ultimate Survival Technologies, a robust lantern with almost infinite battery life.
Since it’s rather weighty, this lantern makes for the perfect companion for RV or car camping. The 30-day Duro Glow is an absolute light savant. It features four light modes: SOS strobe, low, medium, and high. Between SOS strobes and high light levels, it emits between 30-700 lumens of light. If placed on the lowest setting, it goes on and on even if kept on 24×7. Plus, the frosted dome is quite useful in dimming the light, if need be.
Apart from the above, the Duro Glow has some nifty features. The handle makes it easy to be carried around the campsite for a while. Moreover, the lantern glows in the dark. If that wasn’t enough, the dome cover can be removed and the lantern can be hung upside down by the plastic hook for lighting a larger area. A robust, impact, resistant base and a water-resistant quality make this lantern a great choice for all your outdoor camping needs.
- Weight: 0.4 kg (0.9 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 300
- Emits a diffused, soft light.
- Durable, tough, and water-resistant.
- Very, very long battery life.
- Bottom hook is a bit flimsy.
Rayovac Sportsman Virtually Indestructible LED Lantern
Are you a fan of touch camping, extreme hiking, or water sports? The Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern literally has ‘virtually indestructible’ right in its name. The utterly waterproof LED lantern boasts an amazing array of features that help it survive even the most rugged outdoors.
The robust lantern emits a light beam of an impressive 400 lumens in its highest setting, easily illuminating an area of up to a whopping 50 feet. It also features two other modes, low and medium, and runs anywhere between 5 to 280 hours between the high and low modes.
Built to last, the lantern features an over-mold rubber cover along with a shatterproof reflector and lens. This covers the ‘indestructible’ part of the lantern, making it safe to be dropped from as high as 15 feet! If that wasn’t enough, the lantern even features the Ansi IPX7 LED system that makes it not only waterproof but submersible as well. So, if there are cave diving adventures or night fishing sessions, the lantern has you covered.
- Weight: 1.13 kg (2.5 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 400
- Extremely durable and rugged with a 15-feet drop safety rating.
- Submersible with a waterproof rating of IPX7.
- Not very light or portable.
HeroBeam V2.0 LED Lantern
One of the cheapest best LED camping lanterns is the Herobeam V2.0 LED Lantern. The budget-friendly lantern works as both a focused-beam flashlight and an omnidirectional lantern too.
What makes the HeroBeam V2.0 lantern perfect for even the wettest of rugged outdoor adventures is its IPX4 water-resistant rating. That, combined with its tough ABS plastic body makes it safe even if it is dropped around a bit. When it comes to illumination, the lantern features a trio of COB LEDs that lights up a large area. It’s extremely easy to use too – activate it by lifting the top, and shut it by pushing it down. Then again, it also has a very compact and packable size that makes it perfect for everyone from car and RV campers to backcountry hikers.
The icing on the cake is the fact that this lantern costs less than $15! So, if you’re going camping with not much dough to spend on a lantern, then the Herobeam V2.0 is perfect.
- Weight: 0.22 kg (0.5 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 200
Black Diamond Orbit Lantern
If a small, compact size is what you’re after, then you need to look no further than the Black Diamond Orbit Lantern. The something of an all-rounder camping accessory is ultra-portable and works as an excellent personal LED lantern for trekking trips.
The fact that it is just 14 cm in length and is collapsible makes it all the better for backpacking. The lantern features a beam-bettering dual reflector system that belts out 105 lumens and floods the surrounding area in bright light. A frosted plastic cover dims the light enough so as to not hurt your eyes. Furthermore, the barebones design even has a flashlight, a lantern, and a dual mode for different situations and environments. Moreover, the power button for high power is also its dimness switch!
A pair of simple metal hooks make it easy to hang the Black Diamond Orbit just about anywhere. The design doesn’t disappoint either – rubber accents within the plastic provide all the stability it needs when it’s set down. All-in-all, the pocket-sized Black Diamond Orbit packs quite a punch.
- Weight: 0.084 kg (0.2 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 105
- Multiple lighting modes
- Versatile and durable.
- Very lightweight, compact, and packable.
- Not rechargeable.
Supernova Orion Ultimate Survival Rechargeable LED Lantern
The Supernova Orion Rechargeable LED Lantern is like a cute but capable robot that’ll solve all your camping illumination problems. However, what’s unique about the Supernova Orion is that it is can run on any of the following combinations – 3 high-capacity AA batteries, dual lithium 18650 ones, or a single lithium 18650 one. Also, all these batteries come included with the lantern. However, that’s not all. The lantern comes with a power bank that can recharge them all!
Clearly, the lantern is a boon for those who’re headed into the wild on an extended camping or hiking trip. The side rails can be flipped up to carry the lantern easily. Plus, they’re big enough to even hike the lantern up to your shoulder. The S-hook makes it easy to hang the lantern literally everywhere. Furthermore, it’s sturdy build and grippy bottom means setting the lantern down isn’t a problem either.
Even though it emits just 180 lumens, be warned that the lantern will still be very bright when switched on in pitch darkness. What’s nice is that you can choose between four different lighting modes. These include flashing red for emergencies, night vision red for when you want your eyes to adjust to the darkness, soft white, and ultra-bright.
- Weight: 0.55 kg (1.2 lbs)
- Maximum lumens: 180
- 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- USB charging.
- Power bank.
- It can be carried and hung anywhere.
- It might take time to adjust to the light’s brightness.