Light Up The Night With The Best Camping Lanterns In 2022
Because most of us live in cities, we’ve lost track of just how dark it can get at night. But if you’ve ever spent any time camping in the great outdoors – you know. At 3 am in the woods, it can get so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.
That’s where quality camping lanterns come in. Super-bright, compact, and weatherproof, they are outdoor essentials. A traditional or solar lantern will ensure people aren’t tripping over the tent, that a quick visit to the outhouse doesn’t result in someone getting lost, and that meals after sunset don’t end with food on the ground that could attract wildlife.
But shopping for camping lanterns online can be tricky as you aren’t able to try them out before you buy one. So we’ve done the research for you and below are the results: our choices for the best camping lanterns on the market today.
- Most Versatile: LuminAID PackLite Titan
- Best Waterproof Option: SOL Floating Lantern
- Best All-Arounder: NiteIze Radiant 200
- Most Bang for Your Buck: Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern
- Dual Purpose: Odoland Portable LED Camping Lantern
- Impressive Run Time: Streamlight 44931 Camping Lantern
- Most Durable: Coleman Twin LED Camping Lantern
- High Lumen Count: LE Dimmable LED Camping Lantern
- Best for Jobsites: LE Rechargeable LED Camping Lantern
- Best Compact Model: Bolt Lite Solar Rechargeable LED Lantern
- Best for Emergencies: AYL StarLight LED Lantern
- Best Gas-Powered Option: Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow Propane Lantern
- Backpacker on a Budget: Suaoki LED Camping Lantern
- Budget Buy: Etekcity 2 Pack Portable Outdoor LED
The Best Camping Lantern
Any of the top three models on this list could have taken the top spot, it was a close one. But, the LuminAID PackLite Titan tops our list as the best camping lantern for its versatility. The collapsibility of this lantern and the fact it only weighs 12.5 ounces makes it a great option for backpackers, car campers, van life and anything in between.
This model doubles as a phone charger in a pinch as well. The rechargeable battery can be refilled via the solar panels on top or via a USB cord. Each charge can offer 100 hours of battery life or charge your phone 2-3 times. In testing, I didn’t use the phone charging feature, but this was the group’s favorite lantern at our campout. It was bright, effective and easy to pop open and close. Hands down, one of the best rechargeable camping lantern models in this price range.
Collapses for portability
Solar panels on top for easy charging
Rechargeable camping lantern via USB or solar
Can be used as a phone charger in a pinch
100 hours maximum run time
- ModelPackLite Titan
- Weight12.5 Ounces
The SOL Floating lantern is an exceptionally waterproof model with an IPX7 rating and is one of the best camping lanterns around. We used this model for a night time stroll to the creek to rockhound for a bit. I love that you can use this tiny-but-mighty lantern for a variety of activities. From nighttime paddles to cooking in the evening at camp, there’s an impeccable amount of versatility here between the carry handle and included carabiner on the bottom.
Additionally, between four light settings, there are 50-250 available lumens depending on the setting. A single charge for this rechargeable camping lantern will have it running for up to 195 hours which is an incredibly long battery life. But this lantern’s size may be its only downfall. With so much going for it, I’d love to see this model be a little bigger. Regardless, we still think this is one of the best camping lanterns on the market.
Up to 195 hours of battery life
IPX7 waterproof rating
Recharge via USB port
Bottom carabiner for hanging
Large fold-up carry handle
50 – 520 lumens
- ModelFloating Lantern
Cost-effectiveness and functionality blend beautifully in the NiteIze Radiant 200. This 200-lumen lantern earns a spot near the top of the list for keeping costs low while offering the features and durability of upper-end models. The innovative carabiner handle allows you to hang this lantern inside your tent, in a tree or wherever your creativity takes you. With 200 lumens, it doesn’t have the same lumen count as the models directly ahead of it, but it still packs quite a punch.
I also love the fact that this lantern compacts down for additional portability and space-saving. You will need four AA batteries to get this product going but once you do, you’ll have up to 16.5 hours of run time, although you may want to pack some spare batteries just in case that doesn’t get you through the weekend, however lack of battery wasn’t a problem for us!
16.5 hours of battery life
Powered by four AA batteries
Light, compact and portable
- ModelRadiant 200
- Weight6.6 Ounces
When on the trail, it’s essential to have a reliable camping lantern that’s genuinely weatherproof, and the Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern meets these requirements. It’s excellent value for money and also easy to carry, slipping comfortably into your backpack for easy access when you set up camp. It comes with four AAA batteries included, and while it doesn’t work on solar power, these aren’t too large that you’ll bulk up your bag with spares. With 140 lumens, this model is also one of the brightest lanterns you’ll find at such a price, but the lumens are definitely low compared to other models on our list.
When the sun sets, the Vont is easy to unfold, making it hassle-free and helping to get you organized when the rain pours down. Even if you’re not a camper, it’s an excellent backup light for the home during power outages or for kids’ sleepovers. Whether you want to have some late-night discussions with your camping buddies or have some light as you dive into a good book, this is a solid, affordable option. The construction is robust, and the quality is high, proving you don’t always need to spend big bucks for the best results.
Pack of four
30 bright LEDs, 360º light
Waterproof, compact body
Integrated hanging hook
Up to 90 hours of battery life
Four AAA batteries included
140 lumens per lamp
- Weight1.6 Ounces
A true gem for summer camping, the Odoland Portable LED Camping Lantern is a lightweight, low-powered fan and light. The lantern itself is fitted with a whopping 18 bulbs that can light up an entire tent and proves useful around the campsite as well. The fan is a handy addition, fitted with high and low settings for all-around convenience and excellent airflow on muggy days. The fact that it can be placed in a number of positions takes it up a notch or two; there is a hook present to attach it to the ceiling. It can equally be placed on any flat surface inside the tent.
You would expect a product with so many features to be a tad bit clunky, but not the Odland lantern! It is as lightweight as they come and the hanging hook also doubles as a handle to carry it with. Its source of power is a humble pair of D (rechargeable) batteries, yet this lantern has up to 37 hours of battery life on one set of batteries. When using both the light and fan, it lasts about 16 hours. For more must-have products for the outdoor, check out our selection of the best mosquito hammocks.
18 LED bulbs
Two airflow settings
37 hours of runtime
Powered by two D batteries
Integrated hanging hook
- Weight1 Pounds
LEDs have revolutionized not only residential and commercial lighting but camping lanterns as well. Today they’re the fastest-growing segment of the camping lantern industry and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. The Streamlight 44931 Siege Lantern may have an ominous name but the results it produces are beyond reproach. The Siege uses C4 LED technology to produce brilliant white or red light, has five output modes, and is powered by alkaline disposable batteries. Thankfully, it can also operate on rechargeable batteries.
The Siege camp lantern will crank out 340 lumens and there’s a flashing red SOS mode should you need it. If you want to create a softer atmosphere, use the polycarbonate cover for soft light with gentle light diffusion. The Siege is also truly waterproof and will float with that cover in place. It will even keep working if submerged under a foot of water. The Siege from Streamlight is the kind of camping lantern most outdoor enthusiasts will wonder how they ever lived without.
IPX7 waterproof construction
Multiple light modes – red, white
Integrated D-rings for hanging
2m impact resistant
Requires three D disposable batteries
30-295 hours of battery life depending on the setting
Up to 340 lumens
- Weight1.9 Pounds
Coleman has been an ever-present name in the camping world and especially with camp lanterns, and while there is still a case to be made for fuel-driven camping lamps, the company has seen the writing on the wall and jumped into the LED camping lantern market with both feet. Their Twin LED Camping Lantern boasts a classic profile and pumps out an impressive 390 lumens when set on high. It’s also weather-resistant so you don’t have to worry if it’s hanging out in the rain for a while.
The Coleman Twin LED Camping Lantern provides 299 hours of illumination when set to low which is more than most people would need if they camped for a month straight. The Twin has a rubber base and 7 different settings. On high it will create an effective circle of light nearly 10 meters in diameter. Since the Twin’s LED lamps generate no heat it’s also perfectly safe to bring it into the tent. This camp lantern may boast a long run time, but it does take a lot of batteries – eight D batteries to be exact – which can add significant weight. Still worth the long battery life for most folks!
299 hours of battery life on low setting
Powered by eight D batteries
Five-year limited warranty
100 – 390 lumens
- Weight2.87 Pounds
Our next option, the LE Dimmable Camping Lantern, looks clean and simple but offers a massive amount of lighting and power behind every little feature. For one, you have an excellent 1,000-lumen output (later explained in our buying guide), and four different lighting modes to choose from. Bear in mind that if you end up bringing this in your blow up tent at the end of the night, you don’t want it on the brightest setting; to be safe, it’s best to switch to a daylight white or warm white mode.
Aside from being super-bright, the LE Dimmable LED Camping Lantern is water-resistant. It’s going to hold up for a short while in the rain, so if you’re a walk away from your camp, it’s not going to get wrecked when the clouds start dripping down. You do have to use 3 D batteries, which get drained fairly quick (in about 12 hours) so that makes this camp lantern a little less cost-effective to run. Still, it’s inexpensive, gets the job done, and keeps you nice and safe by cutting through the dark and illuminating the night.
4 lighting modes to choose from
IPX4 water-resistant construction
One button operation
Plastic and rubber housing
Integrated hanging hook
Runs on 3 D batteries
12-hour battery life on highest setting
Up to 1000 lumens
- BrandLighting EVER
- Weight14.4 Ounces
Next up, we’ve got a super powerful camping lantern that doubles up as a flashlight. It’s designed to hang from the ceiling of your tent or sit on the ground and light up a large area out of the side light. And if you need to look for something or you’re walking in the dark? Simply switch to the front light. Speaking of which, the front light is especially powerful, with two light modes (400 and 1,000 lumens) and an irradiation distance up to 1,640ft. It also has a flashing red mode, which makes it useful in a roadside emergency. These features combined make this one of the brightest camping lantern options on the market. The runtime on the side light is 5 to 12 hours and you get up to four hours of battery life with the front light.
It’s obvious that the LE Rechargeable LED Camping Lantern has been designed for all kinds of outdoor adventures and work. The durable plastic housing is rated IPX4 water-resistant and it weighs just 30 ounces, so it’s not going to weigh your pack down by much. It also has an additional function as a 3600mAh power bank, so you can charge your devices wherever you are.
Five light settings
Side light and front light
Irradiation distance – 1640ft
3600mAh power bank
Red flashing mode
Up to 12 hours of battery life
Up to 1000 lumens
- Weight1.87 Pounds
The Bolt Lite Solar Rechargeable LED Lantern is an excellent camping lantern you can hang or position in place to illuminate your chilled post-hike sessions with a cold beer and great company. It’s a highly versatile camping lantern, providing both solar and USB charging capabilities, which is great for when the skies above are a murky gray with little chance of sunlight.
If you keep it charged, it’s also great in a power outage either at the cabin or around the house. The stable platform also allows the lantern to stand confidently in the tent, on the picnic table, or even in the car if you’ve made of mess of the campsite reservations and you have to resort to car camping. If you need overhead light, the attached hook lets you hang it from the roof of the tent so you’ll feel almost like you’re at home.
The collapsible style makes this compact lantern easy to pack, while the multiple light settings offer a variety of ways for you to set the mood with high or low brightnesses, and the flashing feature makes it great for emergencies, although we’d hope you never need to use that.
All this sounds great, but unfortunately, this lantern is not as durable as other options, so we’d not recommend taking it on longer backpacking treks into the deep bush. That’s not to say it’s not useful, though, and for short family camping trips where it won’t need to be the only light source, it’s a good camping lantern to have on hand, and an even greater backup choice if needed.
Solar-powered or USB rechargeable
3 light modes, including flashing
Collapsible, compact design
Lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge
Carabiner hook for hanging
- Weight5.6 Ounces
Among LED lights, the AYL StarLight LED Lantern may be one of the brightest camping lanterns on the market, providing up to 1000 lumens of LED light for your outdoor activities. Unlike some outdoor lanterns that are little more than big night lights, the AYL StarLight Camping Lantern is made to be used outdoors. Also, if you’re in the woods for a long weekend and only have a single set of batteries as a power source with you don’t worry; you’ll get up to six nights of LED light from those batteries, which is impressively long battery life. This also makes this lantern ideal for outages and emergencies.
The designers of this lamp understood that when you’re in the deep woods, light is your most important resource. As such you can use it to illuminate your whole site or bring it into the tent so you can read while in your sleeping bag. If your car breaks down, the StarLight will provide a no-nonsense emergency light that will make sure you’re safe until help arrives. All in all a versatile, high-energy camping lamp.
Water-resistant and shockproof
Removable reflector cap
High, low and SOS modes
Uses 3 D batteries
Up to 6 days of battery life
Up to 1000 lumens
- Weight14.6 Ounces
The next item on our list is a true classic: Coleman PerfectFlow Propane Lantern. As its name suggests, the PerfectFlow is propane powered and extremely bright lantern at nearly 1000 lumens. A single 16.4 oz propane tank will provide up to 7 hours on high mode and 14 hours on low mode, which is more than enough for a summer weekend campout. The whole apparatus sits firmly atop the customized base and can be transported from location to location via the top handle.
The control knob works as a defacto dimmer switch providing you with optimal control over light levels. So, if high light isn’t required, you have the option of dimming the light level to your heart’s content, thus extending the run time of this Coleman lantern. It’s hard to argue with either the very stable, extremely effective design or the fact that the PerfectFlow Coleman lantern will light the bejeezus out of your campsite. It is hands down our favorite gas-powered lantern.
Up to14 hours of light on one canister
Compatible with standard propane canisters
Stability with custom base
Up to 970 lumens on high
- Weight1.41 Kg
Nearing the end of this best camp lantern list is the compact Suaoki LED Camping Lantern. Like all versatile quality camping lights, the Suaoki lantern is both solar and battery-powered. It sports a small but effective solar panel on top and runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (800mAh), providing around 10 hours in low mode or 5 hours in high after a single full charge.
A unique feature of this solar camping lantern is the smart chip that protects against overcharging or excessive discharging. This means that you can easily and safely charge the Suaoki rechargeable camping lantern either via the USB port or using the built-in solar panel – the choice is yours. Hook it to the MOLLE straps of your backpack alongside your tomahawk and you’re ready for whatever comes down the trail. At 5.6 ounces, this lightweight camping lantern will certainly not slow you down.
Solar-powered and battery-powered
3 lighting modes: high, low and SOS
Recharges mobile devices
Collapsible, compact design
Generate up to 65 lumens
- Weight0.18 Kg
The Etekcity Outdoor LED Camping Lantern brings the illumination where you need it: at the campsite, on the trail, or around the house when you’re engaged in car or home repairs or maintenance. These compact lanterns are also great to have on the deck or on the patio after dark during your big holiday celebrations. They can be set securely on just about any surface or hung via the collapsible handles from branches or rope.
The Etekcity Outdoor LED Camping Lantern comes as a 2-pack which is a good thing because they’re not very bright individually. What they are, however, is convenient as they’re super-lightweight even with the batteries installed, plus they’re genuinely weatherproof so you don’t have to panic if it starts to rain. With a full complement of batteries, you’ll get about 12 hours of clear LED light. They’re perfect to take inside the tent to read a good book while the coyotes bay at the moon from the ridge.
Equipped with 30 LED bulbs
10 ounces each, collapsible
Powered by 6 AA batteries
Compact battery-powered lantern
60 lumens each
- Weight5.6 Ounces
Why Trust Us
When it comes to all things camping, outdoors and sports-related, that's where our GearHungry team shines. We love camping, exploring and getting outdoors, so outdoor lanterns are must-haves. Whether it's small LED lanterns for camping tents or ultralight backpacking lanterns, this guide and our team have used a little bit of everything.
Who This Is For
This guide is for anyone looking for a quality camping lantern. Most of the lanterns here feature a rechargeable battery or built-in solar panels but we have a couple of gas-powered lanterns on our list too. Among the variety found in this guide, we think there's a camp lantern for everyone here.
How We Picked
Selecting the best camping lanterns started with our team's tried and tested favorites. We then ensured we have a variety of shapes, brightness, features and weight so that there were plenty of options, from the best backpacking lantern to favorites for car camping, and even a gas-powered lantern.
How We Tested
I tested these lanterns with my partner and some friends on a weekend camping trip. We used them for late-night adventures to the creek, for bathroom trips and while sitting around the camp table at night.
Features To Look For In Camping Lanterns
There are many things to consider when buying a camping lantern, including the power source, brightness, weight of the lantern, and more. Here are the main things we recommend you pay attention to.
Weight - Camping lanterns should be relatively lightweight. You’ll see an average of one to two pounds, and rarely more than three. You’ll be holding your lantern slightly elevated, so you don’t want too much weight making your arm tired while you’re traveling. However, lightweight camping lanterns may fall or become damaged if they are too light and hanging from a tree or inside a tent.
Brightness – If you want the outdoor lantern to illuminate your entire campground you’re going to want a propane camping lantern or one of the more powerful (600 lumens and up) LED lamps. If you're fishing and need light for your gear or something to illuminate your ski hut for the night, you'll want a softer, dimmer light. Lumens generally translate to brightness but in some situations, soft light or ambient light (string lights, anyone?) is a better fit.
Portability - This usually comes down to weight distribution. If a lantern is awkwardly heavy on one side, or doesn’t possess a large enough handle, it’s not very portable. There are some models where you’re just expected to put them down, turn them on, and that’s it but if you expect or need a lantern for late night bathroom trips or explorations, then portability should be a consideration.
Type and number of batteries required – Flashlight batteries are more expensive and heavier than AA or AAA batteries which is something to consider if you’re hiking a long way. Rechargeable camping lantern options are usually quite lightweight, as are solar-powered lantern options.
Light duration – How long the camping lantern will operate on a full charge, full tank of fuel, or a new set of batteries is crucial. Generally, the longer the battery life the better. However, easily rechargeable camping lanterns like solar powered options may not need as long of a run time.
Light modes and functions - Having several light settings is a benefit. A red light mode, for example, is great for being on the beach and not disturbing others. Multiple brightness settings are standard in any camp lantern and many have a dial to adjust the brightness. A blinking setting can be vital in an emergency too!
Water resistance and IP ratings - If you intend to bring your camp lantern on a kayak or raft trip, a snowy ski hut trip, or anywhere where there is a chance of moisture, water resistance and IP ratings matter to ensure you have a product that can tolerate its intended environment, the outdoors.
Size – Generally, the larger the camping lantern the less appropriate it will be on long treks. Smaller lanterns may not be bright enough for large spaces or campgrounds though. A night with a full moon will also need less illumination than one with a new moon.
Stability - Stability can be a make or break feature depending on your use. A lantern you intend to hang or carry around may not need to sit on a table well but any camp lantern that will be standing on its own must be stable enough to withstand some wind and movements.
Additional features - Additional features like phone charging or other survival or convenience features are always a plus but are not necessary. Extra features are a win but aren't worth shelling out too much extra money for.
Types Of Camping Lanterns
Electric lanterns – The battery operated lantern has been around a while but has become increasingly popular following the advent of affordable LED technology. Today they’re the fastest growing segment of the outdoor lantern market. Some of the benefits of electric lanterns that use LED technology include a long battery life, great light output, and quiet operation. Another big plus is that they're safe for indoor use.
Fuel-powered lanterns – There are a number of different types of fuel-powered camping lanterns including:
- Propane – Propane powered camping lanterns enjoyed widespread popularity in the past and are still very popular mainly because you have more precise control over the amount of light and they shine like the sun if that’s what you want. Many folks also carry propane for their camp stoves, making it an accessible fuel source.
- Butane – Butane-powered lanterns are not huge sellers because they don’t always perform well in cold weather. They do have the advantage of lighter fuel canisters than propane and they’re typically self-igniting.
- Kerosene – Kerosene lanterns are old-school at its best. Typically made of metal with a heavy glass lens, they can weigh quite a bit. On the other hand, you have a lot of control and they’re very dependable. There is a greater fire hazard here though, but these are still some of the most dependable gas lantern options.
Wind-ups – Wind-up lanterns use a crank system to charge a battery that powers what are typically LED lights. They’re great because they never run out of power and are easy to recharge. Some of these models don't hold their charge for long though.
Solar – The solar powered rechargeable lantern is a favorite of environmentalists seeking a more sustainable way to illuminate their surroundings. The only drawback is the obvious one: cloudy days. Still, some of the best camping lanterns on the market fall in the solar powered lantern category. Many of these models make for a compact lantern that is great for backpacking.
Camping Lantern FAQ
Q: How to maintain camping lanterns?
A: You’ve got a fairly easy task when it comes to maintaining your camping lantern. There’s very little damage that can occur (apart from dropping it), so following these steps will keep it in out-of-the-box shape from day one to day one-thousand.
- Clear dirt from base - Bits of dirt and dust are going to find their way inside your camping lantern. Simply detach the lens, clean out anything that’s fallen in, and ensure to clean the exterior. People don’t often correlate general cleanliness with maintenance, which is exactly how things get damaged far quicker than they ever should have.
- Clean interior of lens - If you get a simple lens cleaning rag or individual lens wipes, you’ll be good to go. Take the lens off during disassembly and general cleaning, and wipe down the inside and out. Light eventually bleaches/damages plastic lenses, which are most common among camping lanterns. You can slow that effect immensely by doing this, which will keep things nice and bright as time goes on.
Q: How often should I clean my camping lantern?
A: Ideally, you'll wipe your lantern down every time you're about to put it away after camping, and right before you use it again. If you’re one of those gents who throws your camping gear into a bag in a hurry and heads home, you’re bringing the great outdoors in, and nobody wants that. Clean your lantern right before you store it and then again before you use it, and it’ll stay looking next to perfect.
If you just use your lantern in the backyard or have it set for emergencies, you should check it out every six months to clean off any dust or dirt that’s gathered. Give it a little test as well; nobody wants to reach in for emergency supplies, only to find that their light source is toast.
Q: What are lumens?
A: In short, lumens equal brightness. Lumens are affected by way too many factors to count but primarily dictate how bright your light source is going to be.
Thanks to new light bulb labeling standards and laws, it’s easy to determine how energy-efficient a light bulb can be. You take the lumens (listed on packages) and divide by the watts that the bulb or light source takes. You’re able to get a figure of watts per lumen, and on portable light sources like these camping lanterns, it gives you a better idea of how quickly you’re going to run through the battery source.
More lumens, more light; this is especially useful for your campsite. Too many lumens can be a bad thing, mind you. In a moment, we’ll discuss how many lumens you’re actually going to need. If you take a look at our tactical flashlight buying guide, high outputs of lumens are used to temporarily blind and distract your adversaries in a survival scenario. High lumens can damage your eyesight, so be careful.
Q: How many lumens do you really need?
A: You want to light up the campsite, but you don’t want to burn your retinas out. For the indoors, you’ll want 5,000 lumens per 250 square feet. Since there’s no real way to measure the outdoors (don’t go eccentric on your campsite layout), you’re left with a loose formula to determine what you’re going to need. Nothing is worse than premiering this on the campsite, and finding out that there’s not enough light to go around.
For one, determine how many people you’re going to have on your camping trip. If it’s you and three mates, envision a 1,000 square foot space, requiring about 20,000 lumens. You’re basically left with the need to light up a big-ass apartment or enormous connecting living room in an open floor plan. Keep in mind, this is a rating for widespread, non-concentrated light, and not realistic for the outdoors. How that light travels is different. You’ll have tents set up, the bumper of your car blocking some light, your equipment: you want to illuminate the space without having too many shadows getting in the way. For this, we personally recommend grabbing two of the same lanterns and placing them strategically on your camping grounds.
20,000 lumens in a single camping lantern is impossible to find, and besides, you don’t want to feel like you’re in a literal spotlight while you’re out there, so definitely don’t go crazy on the light source. The last thing you want is to attract wildlife from far-reaching spots in the great outdoors. Stick with a couple of lamps in the 200-300+ lumens range, and you’ll have plenty of low-bearing light in numerous areas of your campsite.
Q: I’m grabbing this for emergency situations, does that change my lumen needs?
A: Absolutely. Without being grim, power outages often bring a lot of scary feelings, like being looted during a widespread blackout from a horrible storm or hurricane. You don’t want to look like a source of major energy for others to get the wrong idea about. It doesn’t take very long for people in adverse conditions to resort to extreme actions.
In this case, you’re going to want to stick to about 1,000 to 5,000 lumens at most. These are great little numbers to have in case of an emergency. Take into consideration how long it takes for devastated areas to get power back: three weeks, ten hours of night each day, means about 310 hours of light that you may need. So, for emergency scenarios, we recommend getting a long-lasting lantern with multiple light modes and brightness settings, including a low light setting. Candle lanterns are also good to have as a backup light.
Q: What's the difference between a lantern and headlamp?
A: The main difference between the two is light output. You can have a lantern and a headlamp with the same lumens, but how that light is directed will change everything. Headlamps traditionally shine the beam of light all in one direction, giving you the ability to light up one specific target instead of just emitting a light source all around you.
Lanterns are more often used for camping because your campsite isn’t this narrow little strip of ground. If you’re with friends, you probably have two or more tents, possibly a small area where you dumped all of your backpacks, and maybe even a car. Think about this: you wouldn’t want the headlight of a car to be your primary nighttime light source around the campsite.
Another reason lanterns are preferred is the dimming effect. As that light source expands, the light strength lowers since it’s being focused on a 360-degree space. Headlamps focus that light, so you’re going to damage your eyes. It’s like having a little sun just staring you in the face whenever you need a little bit of illumination.
Now, headlamps do have their advantages. If you’re traveling in the woods at night, a lantern is going to help with your personal surroundings, but not with what’s up ahead. If you had to abandon the campsite due to a bear, you want both: some light around you and your friends, and a clear beam of light looking straight ahead so you’re not walking into trouble.
Last but not least, camping lanterns tend to emit less heat, while headlamps can often heat up and become alarming to touch the wrong spot. If you had to grab a lantern by the lens, you’d feel heat, but you’d still be able to grab it without burning yourself or injuring your hand.
Q: Can a camping lantern get hot enough to cause a fire?
A: We’ve read just about every dumb story online that you possibly could think of, and we’re convinced that you could use just about anything to start a fire.
Having said this, if you’re using propane or butane, be sure to pack your common sense. You can 100% avoid the outbreak of a fire if you keep your placement smart, don’t put flammable items nearby (the casing can get hot enough to light paper on fire), and make sure to turn it off before hitting the hay, then you should be all good.