Best Camping Lantern: 11 Trialed & Tested Lamps [2024 Update]

Illuminate your campsite with our guide to the best camping lantern. We've tested 11 models from brands like LuminAid, Black Diamond, and Goal Zero to help you find the perfect lantern for visibility and safety on your outdoor adventures.

Written by: | Reviewed by: Kieran James Cunningham
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Navigating a campsite in the dark can be challenging and hazardous without proper camp lighting. While headlamps and torches are useful for mobility, their proximity beams can be blinding and only illuminate a limited area. For broader, stationary illumination without the need to carry a light source, a camping lantern is the best choice.

We’ve reviewed 11 top camping lanterns to help you find the perfect one for your needs. Whether you’re an experienced camper or a beginner, looking for something compact or capable of illuminating an entire campsite, our list below offers a suitable option for everyone. We’ll also highlight why the Black Diamond Apollo stands out as our favorite.

In addition to our reviews, we also detail the various features that should play a role in how you decide which model is the best camping lantern for your needs.

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Black Diamond Apollo hanging off tent ceiling
Our favorite camping lantern, the Black Diamond Apollo hanging out in the backcountry © MyOpenCountry

Which is the best camping lantern?

We tested and trialed many camping lanterns in the office and the field, and created the following shortlist of our 11 lanterns.

  • Black Diamond Apollo
  • LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Inflatable Lantern
  • Black Diamond Moji
  • Coleman Twin LED Lantern
  • Etekcity Portable LED Camping Lantern
  • Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini v2
  • Goal Zero Crush Light
  • Streamlight The Siege
  • MPOWERD Luci String Lights
  • Ultimate Survival Technologies 60-Day Duro Glow
  • Coleman QuickPack Deluxe Propane Lantern
Black Diamond Equipment - Apollo Lantern

Black Diamond Apollo

Editors Choice

The Black Diamond Apollo hits our testing sweet spot with 25 hours of burn time and its light weight of 12.1oz, making it a great choice for a short backpacking trip and earning it our editor’s choice award.

With dimmable lighting and 250 lumens on max brightness, a diffuser globe gives off a pleasing light. It is bright enough to light the entire campsite for a smaller car camping group.

Possibly the stand-out feature of the Apollo is the ability to use either the Li-Ion rechargeable battery or standard AA batteries. Giving you the eco-friendliness of rechargeables with the convenience of battery-operated lanterns.

The rubber-tipped folding legs are excellent at creating a stable base, even if your campsite resembles the lunar surface. Combine that with the best hanging hooks we saw, and you’ll have no campsite frustrations setting the Apollo up.

If we’re going to be hard on the Apollo, then the run-time on a single charge is middling to low, particularly when compared to the 60-day runtime of the UST Duro or the 500 hours of the Goal Zero Lighthouse.

  • PROs

    • Takes rechargeable or standard batteries
    • A lighter option that still gives a good light output
    • Collapsible lantern stand gives great stability
    • Dimmable lantern
  • CONs

    • Middling runtime
    • Dimmer can be fiddly

Bottom-Line: In a very close call, the excellent performance across the board pushes the lantern Black Diamond Apollo into first place on our list.

LuminAID 2-in-1 Solar Camping Lantern and Phone Charger - Inflatable LED Lamp for Camping, Hiking and Travel - Emergency Light for Power Outages, Hurricane, Survival Kits - As Seen on Shark Tank

LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Inflatable Lantern

Best Solar Lantern

The LuminAID Packlite 2-in-1 stands out as best solar-powered lantern, offering up to 50 hours of warm light on the lowest setting, and boasting the longest battery life among the solar lanterns we reviewed. Additionally, with a 10-hour solar charge time (or 1-2 hours via the micro-USB port), it surpasses the competition in charging speed as well.

With 5 brightness levels, we found its 130 lumens of light on its highest setting more than enough to light smaller backpacking campsites. At only 8.36 oz (237g) and with a pack size of only 6″ x 6″ x 1″, it’s a great choice for lightweight backpackers who want something for shorter trips (or longer one’s with reliable sunlight).

Other cute features include the ability to recharge your mobile devices, a battery meter to ensure you’re never in the dark, and the fact it floats.

While it is made with strong materials consisting of a rugged thermoplastic polyurethane, and is IP67 rated, due to its inflatable nature any small puncture and it’s done. While 130 lumens is probably more than sufficient to light most backpackers’ campsites, it is one of the dimmer options we reviewed.

  • PROs

    • Fast solar charge time
    • Long battery life (for solar rechargeable)
    • Compact & Lightweight
    • Waterproof & even floats
    • USB port for your phone, GPS & other devices
  • CONs

    • Not a very bright lantern
    • Concerns about punctures

Bottom-Line: Backpackers looking for a lightweight and packable solar rechargeable lantern would be hard-pressed to find a better option than the LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1.

Black Diamond Equipment Moji Compact LED Lantern

Black Diamond Moji

Best Value

The Black Diamond Moji earns our value pick, delivering 100 lumens of ambient light on the highest setting through its TriplePower LED bulb. This brightness is more than sufficient to illuminate a small-sized tent at an exceptionally affordable price.

The Moji takes three AAA batteries and will give you up to 10 hours of light. It has one of our favorite features, a dimmer switch, and its brightness memory will ensure you don’t blind yourself next time you turn it on.

Weighing in at 5.5 oz (including disposable batteries), and with a pack size of 5″ x 4″ x 3″ it’s a great inexpensive option for short backpacking trips, or as a secondary lantern. The minimal weight and the well-designed collapsible double hanging hook make it the perfect overhang light source for your tent.

The Black Diamond Moji is unlikely to win many fans if you need a brighter, longer-lasting camping lantern. In which case you should look to its big brother the Black Diamond Apollo, or the Streamlight Siege.

  • PROs

    • Compact & lightweight
    • Inexpensive
    • Dimmable with brightness memory
  • CONs

    • Very basic
    • Not very bright
    • Short battery life of AAA batteries

Bottom-Line: A simple, lightweight battery-powered lantern that’s great value for hanging inside your tent.

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

Coleman Twin LED Lantern

Best for Larger Groups

For larger camping groups, we recommend the user-friendly Coleman Twin LED lantern with dimming switch.

This simple lantern can dole out 390 lumens of light at its maximum brightness for a whopping 80 hours. Turn the dimmer dial down low to save battery life and it’ll crank out 100 lumens of light for around 300 hours.

This simply designed LED bulb lantern provides enough illumination for a larger group campsite, but thanks to its dimming capacity is not so bright that you’ll be blinded inside your tent.

The battery compartment is easily accessible by unscrewing the base of the lantern, where it takes 8 D cell batteries. As a result, this Coleman lantern is a heavy option, weighing in at 2.87 lbs (1.3kg), making it more suited to campsites that are accessible by car or emergency situations such as power outages.

  • PROs

    • Good run time on low setting
    • Very durable
  • CONs

    • 8 D Cell batteries makes it very heavy
    • Large

Bottom-Line: The Coleman Twin LED is a good lantern with simple functionality for car camping or power outages at home.

Etekcity Camping Lantern Battery Powered Led Lights with AA Batteries, Upgraded Magnetic Base and Brightness Control Flashlights for Power Outage, Backpacking, Hiking, Storms, Black, 4 Pack

Etekcity Portable LED Camping Lantern

Best Budget

The Etekcity LED is our choice for best budget camping lantern.

This hardy IP54 LED lantern is surprisingly light weighing only a pound, and compact at 7″ x 3″ x 3″, making it a highly portable option.

The magnetic base is an interesting idea, but not a particularly useful one if your intended use is for camping. At 60 lumens, this is the weakest camping lantern in our review (tied with the Goal Zero Crush), yet produces a surprising amount of light. The lack of a diffuser tube or globe on this little lantern means that the illumination given off is hard on the eyes. Even cycling through the 4 lighting levels and onto the lowest lighting setting it is harsh to look at.

It takes AA disposable batteries and on the lowest setting has a burn time of up to 30 hours making it one of the poorer performing camping lanterns.

  • PROs

    • Lightest weight of the traditional car camping lanterns
    • Very durable
    • Very low price tag
  • CONs

    • Not very bright
    • harsh light source
    • Poor battery lifespan & not rechargeable

Bottom-Line: If you’re looking for a cheap but functional option then Etekcity could be for you.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Core Lantern, Small Solar-Powered and USB Lantern for Camping and Emergency Use

Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini v2

Best Rechargeable Camping Lantern

While we awarded the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2 the title of best rechargeable camping lantern, it was a strong contender for the overall title as well. It occupies the same sweet spot as the Apollo, making it a good choice for either backpackers or small car camping parties.

The lithium-ion rechargeable battery can illuminate your campsite for up to 500 hours, making it the longest-lasting rechargeable camping lantern on our list. The light levels are adjustable up to a maximum brightness of 210 lumens and it’s the only lantern on our list that has adjustable light direction.

Unlike the Apollo, the Lighthouse does not accept regular disposable batteries but does charge faster from a solar panel. This is impressive considering the lantern’s battery burn time.

Where the Lighthouse fell away is the overall durability. It feels a lot more flimsy and susceptible to drops and knocks than Black Diamond’s Apollo.

  • PROs

    • Incredible burn time for a lightweight rechargeable lantern
    • Dimmable brightness & adjustable light direction
    • Good light output for such a small lantern
  • CONs

    • Rechargeable battery power only
    • Durability concerns & not the most waterproof

Bottom-Line: The Goal Zero lighthouse is the king of the rechargeable battery camping lanterns, and was our runner up for the overall title.

Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern

Goal Zero Crush Light

Best Lightweight Lantern

The Goal Zero Crush weighs a mere 3.2 oz and packs down to 5″ x 5″ x 0.5″, making this compact lantern the smallest on our list and our preferred option for a lightweight lantern.

The single power button provides three levels of lighting (60-35-6 lumens) for up to 35 hours. The Crush is the perfect lightweight lantern for personal use or for a solo ultralight backpacker. The Crush can be fully recharged in as little as two hours by connecting the USB port to any power bank or mains power source. If you’re carrying a portable solar panel, then expect charging to take significantly longer (up to 20 hours).

While not a functional selling point, the Crush comes in a more expensive version called the Chroma which allows you to choose between six different colors.

The low power output of the Crush is only going to illuminate small tents or provide enough light for close proximity activities, making it unsuitable for larger groups (unless you buy multiple).

  • PROs

    • Lightweight & Packs “Flat”
    • Good warm light
    • Durable
    • Cheap
  • CONs

    • Not the brightest camping lantern available

Bottom-Line: This lantern makes for a great choice if packing super light, or if only required for personal use.

Streamlight 44931 Siege 540-Lumen Compact D Alkaline Outdoor Hand Lantern/Flashlight Combo, Coyote

Streamlight The Siege

Best for Car Camping

The Streamlight Siege earns our top spot for car camping, being one of the most durable lanterns on our list it’s capable of withstanding rough treatment without compromising functionality.

The pint-size (7.25″ x 3″) Siege takes three D cell batteries that produce up to 300 hours of lighting on its lowest setting. It’ll run for 30 hours if you need the full 540 lumens of lighting on full power, and you can remove the diffuser cover if you need extra light.

One cool extra feature that the Siege has is a red light mode. Red light is a great setting for finding things in your tent without disturbing your tent mates or affecting your night vision.

A few things where the Siege falls down is the lack of a dimmer switch, you can only cycle through three brightness settings, and the weight clocking in at nearly 2 lbs.

  • PROs

    • Red Lighting Mode
    • Long battery life
    • Durable
  • CONs

    • Heavy, largely due to three-D batteries
    • Three preset lighting modes – not dimmable

Bottom-Line: The Siege packs a punch in a small package. Its weight precludes it from backpacking, but its red LED mode, battery life, light output, and durability make it a clear winner as the best car camping lantern.

MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights + Phone Charger: White 18' Rechargeable via Solar or USB-A, 100 Lumens LEDs, Lasts Up to 20 Hours, Waterproof, Camping, Backyard, and Travel

MPOWERD Luci String Lights

Best String Lights

For the best camping string lights, we chose the MPowered Luci, a unique solar lantern featuring 20 LED lights arranged in 10 nodes along an 18-foot cord. Each node emits 100 lumens of light and the string design and four brightness settings make it ideal for hanging around your tent vestibule or picnic table for some ambient campsite lighting.

The rechargeable Li-Ion battery can keep the power on for up to 20 hours. Once you’ve run the battery down you can recharge it with the built-in solar panel (16 hours to charge) or connect it to an external power source to charge in 7 hours. This makes it one of the slower LED lanterns to charge up, but if you’re leaving it set up then the unit should recharge throughout the day.

The Luci LED lantern is one of the lighter options to make the cut and is IPX4 rated so hanging it outdoors in the backcountry won’t be a problem. The main issue we had during testing was that depending on your campsite, it can be difficult to find good hang points.

  • PROs

    • Solar-powered
    • Can illuminate a larger outdoor area more evenly
    • Doesn’t take up much space in your backpack
    • Easy to pack up
  • CONs

    • Can be difficult to hang the light bulbs
    • Can catch easily on passersby

Bottom-Line: The MPowered Luci LED bulb camping lantern is a great option for providing even illumination across a small campsite or a larger tent at night.

ust 60-DAY Duro LED Portable 1200 Lumen Lantern with Lifetime LED Bulbs and Hook for Camping, Hiking, Emergency and Outdoor Survival, Titanium, One Size (20-PLN0C6D002)

Ultimate Survival Technologies 60-Day Duro Glow


The UST Duro Glow is the brightest lantern on our list, capable of producing up to 1200 lumens.

With three brightness settings and an SOS strobe function which is unique amongst the camping lanterns we tested, the UST Duro is an excellent piece of emergency kit.

Despite the staggering lumen output, the diffuser does an excellent job of radiating out easy-on-the-eye, soft light.

The Duro takes a whopping 6 x D cell batteries to power, making it one of the heaviest lanterns on our list (the Coleman Quickpack is the heaviest) at 3.1 lbs. It also loses out to the Siege in ease of use as replacing batteries is a challenging task. Getting the battery compartment open is easy, but aligning the lantern and its base again takes proper focus.

  • PROs

    • High lumen output
    • Longest burn time of any lantern
    • SOS strobe function
  • CONs

    • Heavier lantern
    • Pain to replace the batteries

Bottom-Line: While the UST is a great lantern, the Siege outperforms it for most car camping trips. The long burn time, brightness, and SOS function make this an excellent pick for emergency situations such as a power outage.

Coleman QuickPack Deluxe Propane Lantern with Storage Case, 1000 Lumens Gas Lantern with Adjustable Brightness, Pressure Control, & Mantles Included; Great for Camping, Tailgating, & Emergencies

Coleman QuickPack Deluxe Propane Lantern

Best Propane Lantern

If you prefer traditional gas-powered lanterns, we recommend Coleman’s Quickpack Deluxe Propane model.

With a 16.4 oz propane canister, this lantern can deliver 7.5 – 13 hours of adjustable light, with a 1000 lumen output on the highest setting.

The Quickpack name comes from its innovative design that transforms the sturdy unit lantern base into a carrying case, by pushing the globe and mantle down and locking it into place.

The downside to the QuickPack are common to all liquid fuel type lanterns, in that using them in a confined space is dangerous, and we would recommend them for outdoor use only.

  • PROs

    • Bright at 1000 lumens
    • Dimmable
    • Compact storage design
  • CONs

    • Not recommended for confined spaces
    • Heavy at 3.2 lbs

Bottom-Line: While many campers will pick electric lanterns, if you’re on the hunt for fuel-burning lanterns, then the Coleman Quickpack Deluxe propane lantern would be our top recommendation.

What To Look For In A Camp Lantern?

When deciding on the best portable lantern for your camping trips, we recommend you focus on the following.

  • Electric vs. Fuel-Burning
  • Brightness
  • Light Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Durability & Water Resistance
  • Ease of Use
  • Weight
  • Additional Features

Electric vs. Fuel Burning

When it comes to power sources, camping lanterns fall into two categories: those powered by electricity (batteries) versus those fueled by burning gas or liquid fuel.

Nowadays, the most popular options for camping light sources are battery powered lanterns using rechargeable and disposable batteries.

In comparison to traditional camping lanterns, LED electric lanterns are safer, meaning they’re tent, dog, and child-friendly. In addition, battery-powered lanterns have a superior “burn time”, meaning you won’t be left in the dark.

If safety and longer battery life aren’t enough to convince you then electric lanterns tend to be lighter and more durable than their gas-powered compatriots.

The downside to battery lanterns is the frequent need to replace the batteries, which will discharge even when in storage.

Increasingly, rechargeable batteries as a power source are becoming the norm in most models of lanterns. These lightweight batteries can be charged and discharged hundreds of times making them a much more environmentally friendly option.

Rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries are typically charged with micro-USB cords connected either to a power outlet, battery pack, portable solar panel, or a built-in solar panel. Lanterns may or may not have the included USB cable required for this charging.

The main issue with rechargeable batteries is that once you’ve run the battery down, you’ll need an external power source (outlet, battery pack, or the sun) on hand to charge it up again.

On the flip side, disposable alkaline batteries are small & easy to carry, meaning it is easy to have backups.

Some of the top models like the Black Diamond Apollo have an internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery and are also compatible with 3 AA batteries. This gives you the best of both worlds – the benefit of rechargeables with the reassurance of disposable backups.

Traditional gas lanterns are iconic in design but have lately declined in popularity. While these lanterns are brighter and have an adjustable flame to control light intensity, traditional camping lanterns suffer from safety concerns.

Gas-powered lanterns are dangerous to use in tents because they emit toxic fumes and generate a lot of heat.

If you’re a traditionalist in terms of design or need to light a large outdoor area then a gas-powered lantern may be the way to go.

liquid fuel lantern
Liquid fuel lanterns are brighter than electric lanterns, they are not suitable for use in confined spaces.


An important specification for a camping lantern is its brightness, measured in lumens. The higher the lumen output, the greater the light intensity of the lantern.

For the technically inclined, one lumen is equal to the intensity of one candle shone onto a meter square of area. Thus, the 210-lumen Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini is equivalent to the light output of 210 candles.

The camping lanterns we’ve tested range from Goal Zero’s Crush Light’s 60 lumens up to the staggeringly bright light of the UST 60-day Duro Glow at 1200 lumens.

How much light, and therefore how many lumens, you need will depend on your usage, but we recommend the following as a rough guideline:

  • 60 to 100 lumens: Gives a pleasant glow perfect for reading in a small tent.
  • 100 to 200 lumens: Perfect for solo-use or for a two-person tent.
  • 200 to 600 lumens: Great for group use.
  • 600+ lumens: Enough light output to light up a room or a large outdoor area.

If you want your lantern to light a large area, all-out brightness is a good thing. However, lower settings of light output are easier on the eye late into the night.

In fact, we’ve found there is such a thing as too bright. Particularly for certain tasks or situations.

In our opinion, the quality and adjustability of the light are more important than the max brightness alone.

All the lanterns we have featured have multiple brightness settings available. However, a continuous dimming feature is one “upgrade” that we recommend, almost as a must-have. This will allow you greater flexibility in adjusting the brightness level to suit the task at hand.

camping lantern brightness graph

Light Quality

The quality and color of a lantern’s light are also crucial considerations, with a range of light tones available for different purposes. These range from bright white, ideal for illuminating large areas, to a warmer orange glow, better suited for reading.

The more you move towards the red end of the light spectrum, the easier on the eye the light becomes. Too far towards the cooler-blue-white end, as is the case with the Etekcity, and you can feel like you’ve been caught in a prison light spotlight.

Lastly, the casing plays an important role in helping to diffuse the light, making it softer and easier to look directly towards.

lantern inside tent
A white light is better suited for trying to find kit in your tent at night.

Battery Life

Camping or backpacking for extended periods means that the battery life, or burn time, of your lantern needs to be prioritized. Estimate the number of hours your group requires artificial lighting in the evening and then multiply this by the number of days in your typical camping trip to establish a baseline.

Bear in mind that the “headline” number of hours of light output given by lantern manufacturers is typically given for the lowest setting you can adjust to. If you run your lantern on the maximum brightness, then expect a significantly shorter burn time.

For example, the Streamlight Siege can run for almost 300 hours on its lowest brightness output (55 lumens). Crank that up to its max brightness of 540 lumens, and you’ll drop the battery life to around 30 hours.

Specs should also be treated with skepticism as we’ve yet to find a lantern that performs to the manufacturer’s battery life claims whilst being used in the wild.

For longer car camping adventures it makes sense to choose a heavier lantern, such as the Siege or the UST Duro, which can keep emitting light for even the longest of trips.

Longer hiking trips will necessitate looking for a lantern that has its own solar panels, such as the LuminAID Packlite Max, or bringing along a portable battery pack, solar charger, or one that takes disposable batteries like the Black Diamond Apollo.

camping lantern burn time graph

Durability & Water Resistance

Like most outdoor equipment, the durability and water resistance of your camping lantern are crucial. While all the models we’ve tested will hold up well to the rigors of camping, some outperform the others.

If you need a lantern that can take a battering then impact-resistant plastics, and rubber such as seen on the UST Duro or the Streamlight Siege, help protect the lanterns from accidental drops and falls.

Unsurprisingly the lighter lanterns are made with less durable materials, but the products we tested all still held up well to the demands of the backcountry.

The most susceptible ones to damage are inflatable solar lanterns like the LuminAid Packlite, or string lights such as the MPowered Luci, where punctures or fraying respectively could place them into early retirement.

Water and dirt are an inescapable part of spending time in the outdoors, both of which don’t mix particularly well with electronic products. The IP rating system is a standardized international system for rating the protection provided against intrusion, dust ingress, and water. It’s made up of two numbers, the first is the solids protection (rated from x – 6) and the second is the product’s water resistance (rated from 1 – 8).

The higher the number, the greater the protection from solid or liquids offered by the lantern. For more details on  the IP ratings take a look at the following chart:

All of the electric LED lanterns we’ve reviewed are a minimum of IPX4 rated, which means they can handle splashes of liquid (i.e. light-moderate rain). At the top end, the LuminAid Nova (IP67) and the Streamlight Siege (IPX7) are the highest-rated and can be submerged in water (for a short time) without issue.

IP ratings are an international standard to determine how well protected an electrical device is from water and solid ingress.

Ease of Use

For ease of use, electric lanterns win hands down over propane lanterns. A simple on/off switch is much easier to operate than attempting to ignite a gas lamp.

If you’re looking for something basic then you can’t get much simpler than a large, and easily accessible on/off switch (or dial) and a hook to hang your lantern – the Coleman Twin LED is a good example of such a camping lantern.

Beyond this then the intuitiveness of selecting the correct light mode should be frustration-free. This is where dimmable lanterns such as the Goal Zero Lighthouse or the Black Diamond Apollo win over products like the Goal Zero Crush or UST Duro where you have to cycle through light levels.

Pushing a button multiple times may seem like an easy operation, but the lighting you require may be between two brightness settings (sometimes necessitating cycling through them all more than once to adjust to the right setting). In instances like this, simply turning a dial to the desired brightness is (in our opinion) the better option.

Setting up your lantern should be a piece of cake, whether you plan to set it down somewhere or hang it on a tree branch.

Wider bases or camping lanterns with legs are the better options for getting them to sit well on uneven surfaces. The rubber-tipped legs of the Black Diamond Apollo made it a cinch to find a place to set it down at various campsites.

If easy hanging is your wish, then look for good hooks (again the Black Diamond Apollo’s twin hook design is a winner). Also, pay attention to a lantern’s weight, as heavier lanterns are much harder to suspend. At 1.5kg and with a small recessed hook like the UST Duro is not going to be great for hanging.

If you opt for a rechargeable lantern then take a look at the charge time (particularly for a solar-powered lantern). Longer charge times like the 7 (USB) to 16 hours (solar) charging time of the MPowered Luci may not necessarily fit with your itinerary.

Black Diamond Apollo lantern with its tripod legs
With three stable tripod legs, hanging hooks and adjustable light settings, the Apollo is one of easiest lanterns to use © MyOpenCountry


The importance of weight in your decision-making depends on your camping style. For car camping, weight is generally not an issue unless your campsite is far from the car park. If you plan on backpacking, opt for a lightweight lantern that doesn’t occupy much space.

For backpacking, we recommend nothing larger than the Black Diamond Apollo (12 ounces) depending on your other gear requirements.

Ultralight backpackers and those watching their weight will likely want to opt for something even lighter. The Goal Zero Crush (3.2 ounces) and the Black Diamond Moji (4.3 ounces) being two of the lightest camping lanterns we would recommend.

Further reading: If you’re looking for something more lightweight, then check our guide to the best headlamps for hiking & backpacking.

camping lantern weight graph

Additional Features

While not essential to the lantern’s primary function, extra features such as USB charging ports, battery life meters, night vision mode, and other light settings can help make camping in the wilderness that little bit easier.

One of the more popular features seen on lanterns like the Goal Zero Lighthouse is the ability to use it as a phone charger or to charge other electronic devices like your GPS unit via USB. Definitely, a handy function if you intend to be out on a longer camping trip.

Power runs out unexpectedly? Several of the lanterns, such as the LuminAid Packlite or the Black Diamond Apollo have a battery life meter. It’s a useful function to keep an eye on…and turn down the brightness level if you need light for a little bit longer. While it didn’t make the final cut, the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 lantern features a built-in hand-crank so you have the option to manually power up your lantern.

One useful feature we’d like to see on more light sources is a night vision mode – red lighting is an unintrusive light setting that won’t disturb your tent mates’ sleep. It also doesn’t dilate your pupils like white light does, meaning you’ll be able to see while retaining your night vision.

Beyond this, there are camping lanterns with other interesting features such as flashlight mode, directional light settings, or the Goal Zero Crush even has a candle flicker mode for creating ambiance. While handy, these features are unlikely to be useful enough to sway your decision one way or another.

Goal Zero Crush Light sitting on a log
An extra feature of the Goal Zero Crush Light is a candle flicker mode. © MyOpenCountry

What are the best camping lights? The Verdict

We’ve tested and reviewed 11 models, covering the brightest camping lantern to the best budget options and everything in between. We hope you’ve discovered the ideal portable lantern for your needs. Feel free to share your thoughts on our choice of the Black Diamond Apollo as the best camping lantern in the comments below.

Last update on 2024-07-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Brian has been an avid hiker and backpacker since he was a small kid, often being taken out into the wilderness on trips with his father. His dad knew everything about nature and the wilderness (or at least that's how it seemed to a ten year old Brian).

After high school, he went to university to read for both a BS and MS in Geology (primarily so he could spend his time outside rather than in a classroom). He's now hiked, camped, skied, backpacked or mapped on five continents (still need to bag Antarctica) & 30 of the US states.

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