Light Up the Night with the Best Camping Lanterns Leave a comment


Light Up the Night with the Best Camping Lanterns

For both the casual and serious camper, lighting up the camp area at night to find your way back from that midnight bathroom break, or fishing out the last of the marshmallows for that last s’more is made a lot easier with a convenient source of light. Camping lanterns should be portable, lightweight and most of all, efficient. Here are some of the best camping lanterns for keeping your campsite in the right light.

1. LED Lenser ML6 Lantern – Editor’s Pick

If you want a lantern design that does it all and don’t mind paying a bit extra for all the features, the Led Lenser ML6 lantern can do just about everything you need it to. Like the goal zero, the ML6 serves not only as a handy camping lantern but a power bank as well with its onboard 3,200 mAh rechargeable power source. The ML6 is also capable of connecting via Bluetooth to your phone so you can control it from further away.

The light can offer up to 750 lumens of light output in its “boost” mode for those short stints where you’ll need a lot of light but it can also provide you with a generous 180 hours of functionality at its lowest setting which is 5 lumens. The Led Lenser ML6 is also weatherproof.

Pros/Feature rich and offers the best light output as far as LED options go


Bottom Line/Great to have for a casual weekend of camping with friends and family

2. Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2 Lantern – Budget Pick

Blending the best parts of a lantern with the benefits of a power bank, the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2 is a great companion for those of us who like to spend our days adventuring and then coming back to get a bit of “out of office work” done in the evenings. The Lighthouse Mini V2 features a 3.200 mAh onboard battery which provides you with either 4 Hours of light output on its 210 high setting or can last for up to 500 hours on its low setting. 

If you run out of juice with the Lighthouse mini, you can always carry a spare 18650 Goal Zero Battery to swap them out just in case you anticipate needing more power. The light weighs just 8 ounces and collapses its legs onto the side of the lantern to make it both light and compact for those looking to save on weight and space but still light up the night. 

Pros/Serves as a power bank as well as a light

Cons/Electronics and harsh weather tend not to play well together

Bottom Line/Great for the casual camper who wants to keep their device charged while enjoying the wild at night

3. Primus Micron Lantern

If you’re already heavily invested into the small and portable propane tanks for cooking then you’ll appreciate this little attachment for small propane cylinders. The Primus Micron lantern is durable, lightweight and best of all silent. While most other propane or butane powered lamps will make some sort of noise as they give off both heat and light, this Micron does not mean you won’t have that annoying background noise around when you’re trying to listen to the sounds of the night.

The Micron is probably best suited for backpackers who are trying to save on space and weight as it can share fuel with your cooking utensils and also offers a decent amount of light (235 max lumens) while weighing only 4.4ounces. The Piezoelectric lighting mechanism means that you’ll never be without an ignition source.

Pros/ Lightweight and compact

Cons/Requires Propane, Isobutane or Butane fuel to run

Bottom Line/Perfectly suited for backpackers trying to save on space and weight

4. Coleman LED Lantern | 390 Lumens Twin LED Lantern

The Coleman brand has a long history of having some of the most affordable and accessible camping gear known to man. Their 390 Lumen Twin LED Lantern runs off standard D-Cell batteries and is water resistant against rain and splashing water. What is really neat about the Coleman lantern is that it nearly perfectly emulates the classic style of string mantles while being much safer from a fuel storage perspective. 

The Coleman 390 Lumen camping lantern boasts up to 85 hours or runtime on its “high” setting and up to 299 hours on the “low” setting (100 lumens). The Lantern is also very lightweight at just under 3-pounds making it stable enough to withstand some wind while still being light enough to carry.

Pros/Lightweight, Affordable and replaceable batteries

Cons/Not very weather resistant, No rechargeable battery

Bottom Line/Blends the best of both worlds in terms of affordability and features

5. Coleman Deluxe Propane Gas Lantern – Classic Pick

This one has been a staple in the camping industry for years and for good reason. The Coleman propane gas lantern is portable and reliable and provides a generous 1000 lumens of light for getting your whole camp area lit up to keep the fun times rolling even after the sun has gone down. The Gas lantern makes use of standard 16.4 oz propane cylinders and lights easily and safely with matches. 

The Coleman gas lantern features a built-in pressure regulator and will run up to 7.5 hours on a full propane cylinder meaning it’ll work for multiple nights in a row without needing to be refilled.

Pros/A classic design that is simple and familiar to many – generous runtime and inexpensive fuel

Cons/ Poses a slight fire hazard and requires the transportation of bulky propane cylinders

Bottom Line/A classic camping tool that will last a lifetime and is handy to have around in case of an emergency

Illumination on lumens

Lumens are the measurement of how much light you get from a bulb. You have to determine how much light you need and weigh that against the weight of the lantern and, of course, the cost.

If your goal is to use the lantern for only setting up and taking down your camp area after dark, then I’d recommend something that is more lightweight and puts out less light. You’ll of course want a fully dimmable light so that you can tune the amount of light output to your needs but generally your battery powered lanterns that put out about 300 or so lumens should be able to handle this job. If you’re just planning on playing card games on the picnic table and having some drinks with friends Gas lanterns that put out 1000 plus lumens or some very high output LED options are probably the way to go.

It’s hard to beat the gas lantern for camping. They are very bright too, but harder to pack in.

Lanterns vs. flashlights

Flashlights are great and they are very portable, but they aren’t really suitable for lighting a large area. Lanterns do a far better job of providing a specific general area with light and tend to be easier to set up in a manner that is conducive to having both hands free while going about your business.

There are some combo units out there on the market, but they’ll usually just be LED lanterns with a built-in flashlight function.

Sitting around the camp, playing cards? You need a lantern for this as a flashlight just won’t do.

My power went out, can I use my propane lantern indoors safely?

Like anything else that burns propane or butane, Gas lanterns put off decent amounts of carbon monoxide which can be dangerous in high amounts. If the power goes out and you need a source of light it’s much better to stick to battery powered lanterns for indoor use and leave the gas lanterns for outdoor use.

About the Author

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Luke is currently a full-time writer for,,, and of course, Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally takes an interest in anything that has to do with the great outdoors.
Luke is also a private certified pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot’s license in the hopes of becoming a professional pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include anything to do with aviation, aerospace and military technology, and American Conservancy efforts.
Instagram: @ballisticaviation

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