Camping Lanterns

By R. Maxine Lundquist

Selecting a camping lantern that’s right for you and your family is easy. To make it even easier, we’ve reviewed a selection of the most popular lanterns using propane, batteries and solar power. Having a propane lantern for the camp site, a couple of budget-friendly battery lanterns for the tents and a solar powered one for emergencies covers all bases.

Propane Lanterns:

My propane lantern of choice is the Coleman 2-Mantle Instastart:

The two-mantle lantern creates a far brighter light than a single-mantle lantern, making it very easy to see at night with a spectacular output of 967 lumens. It runs for 7-13 hours on a single 16 oz. cylinder of propane, depending on whether you have the light adjusted to low or high. It has a battery-powered ignition, which means you don’t need matches to start it. Believe me, you’ll love this option when it’s wet out or you can’t find the matches! Comes with a protective carrying case and at about 35 dollars it is well worth the money spent.

I was going to review more than one propane lantern with two mantles and an electric start, but quite frankly this Coleman left them all in the dust. Don’t waste your time and money on any other.

Battery Lanterns


The Dorcy LED Camping Flashlight Lantern is a bargain at at about fifteen dollars; it has a push-button switch on the side and puts out about 65 lumens of light, perfect for lighting up the inside of your tent or a darker area of the camp site. It runs for a whopping 144 hours, is waterproof, and has a nightlight feature that comes in handy for the kids (you won’t step on ’em in the tent that way). Runs on 3 “D” batteries. The lantern to get for budget-friendly living.

Another battery lantern worth looking at is the Weiita L16 Led Lantern.

Far brighter at up to 180 Lumens, this lantern is weather resistant (not waterproof) and runs on 4 “AA” batteries for anywhere from 40-60 hours, depending on whether you have it turned on high or low. It will run you around ten dollars–also a bargain.

Solar-Powered Lanterns

This is a handy little item with very little financial outlay:

At less than twenty dollars it’s well worth the investment. A similar product is the Thorfire:

You can’t get this sent to Canada, but the product is available on the Amazon.ca website, at about 25 dollars. This handy-dandy little light collapses down for easier storage, taking up less space, so it’s good for hikers as well.

There is also the Solar-Powered Camping Lantern and Cell Phone Charger:

It has a flip-top solar panel and illuminates up to ten hours after a full charge. It’s bright orange, which makes it easy to spot, and you can even charge it via USB if there is no sun. It’s a steal at under twenty dollars–unless you live in Canada–the shipping and handling charges if you get it at Amazon.com make it a bit pricey at just over thirty bucks. The Canadian Amazon site sells it for about five bucks less all told.

Let there be light!

2 thoughts on “Camping Lanterns”

  1. I learning so much from your site (alas, I am not a camper). These reviews are really good & remind me that I could use something for the house other than a flashlight.

    Question: regarding the Weiita L16 Led Lantern, you mentioned that its weather resistant, but not waterproof. Call me ignorant, but what exactly is the difference?

    1. That’s an awesome question, Otis, and one I didn’t think to address, so thanks for asking it. “Weather resistant” or “water resistant” means you’re fine if you need to use it in the rain, and if it drops into a mud puddle or pond and is fished out quickly it will probably be OK. If you left it there, however, in a little while it would take on water and ruin the insides. “Waterproof” means just that–you can drop it in water and nothing will get inside because it’s sealed. For camping I’m always OK with weather resistant, unless I think I’m going to be on the water a lot. Then it’s waterproof all the way. Also for my survival case–waterproof, because you don’t know what you’ll meet up with in your wilderness survival needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *