8 Best Camping Lanterns of 2022, Tested by Experts


best camping lanterns

It’s easy to go broke buying all the camping gear and hiking essentials you think you’ll need to enjoy your time in the wilderness. There are hiking backpacks and cooking utensils and hiking boots and bug sprays and—the list goes on. But why overcomplicate things? Keep it simple: Lightweight clothing for layering, plenty of water, a well-stocked first aid kit, and a few other essentials are all you really need.

We would add a proper camping lantern to that list too. If you’re planning anything beyond a simple day hike—any trip where you could find yourself outdoors after dark—a reliable light source is key. A flashlight or headlamp is great for campsite tasks like cooking, pitching a tent, and midnight bathroom runs. But a good camp lantern or two can transform your campsite into a warm, inviting, livable outdoor space that feels more like home. Over the years, we’ve researched more lanterns than we can count. Here are our field-tested picks for the best camping lanterns to shop in 2022.

Read More: Best Camping Essentials

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Best Overall Camping Lantern

Alpenglow 500 Lantern

Best Multipurpose Camping Lantern

Lighthouse Micro Charge Lantern/Flashlight

Best Gas-Powered Camping Lantern

Premium Powerhouse Dual Fuel Lantern

Best Collapsible Camping Lantern

Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern

Most Compact Camping Lantern

MoonLit LED Micro Lantern

Best Solar Camping Lantern

PackLite Max 2-in-1 Camping Lantern

Best Full-Coverage Camping Lantern


Most Stylish Camping Lantern

Forest Lantern

Brightness Matters Most

Brightness isn’t the only metric to measure a lantern’s worth, but it’s certainly one of the most important. The best way to compare “apples to apples” is to check the official lumen rating. Knowing the number of lumens that’s right for your camping needs can be tricky. But, as a starting point, a camping lantern with 50-100 lumens is adequate for a typical four-person tent. For a small, two-person campsite, look for a lantern with at least 500 lumens, while 1000 lumens (about as bright as a 60-watt incandescent bulb) is enough to illuminate the entire site. Larger camps may want to consider a lantern with an even higher capacity. No matter your setup, look for a lantern that’s dimmable so you can power things down and not feel like you’re sleeping on the 50-yard line of a Monday Night Football game at bedtime.

What Makes a Camping Lantern “the Best”?

Not long ago, brightness was the only thing that mattered when buying a camping lantern. But, many of today’s battery-powered models offer a lot more features than their predecessors. Consider what you’ll be using your lantern for. Backcountry campers will likely value battery life and portability over sheer brightness. Front-country campers, on the other hand, can sacrifice smaller size for a larger battery and higher lumen output. Other features to look for include solar rechargeability (using external or built-in solar panels) and the option to use the lantern’s integrated battery as a backup power bank for smartphones and other mobile devices.

How We Tested

Over the last 18 months, we tested more than three dozen camping lanterns. Our in-field testing included front-country camping (while car camping and RV’ing) and backcountry camps (with smaller, more portable lanterns). We ranked each model on metrics like weight, portability, battery power, ease of use, and brightness. The list above represents our honest opinion of the eight best camping lanterns to consider in 2022.

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