Among other things, camping is most enjoyable when you sit around the campfire and share stories or beer while staring into a dark night sky. Plan a camping trip with your closest friends and family if you want to have a good time and it is a wonderful way to create lasting memories.
Despite fire’s ability to provide warmth and comfort, there are situations in which its light would not be sufficient. You might need more light than a fire at times when going on activation-oriented camping tours, such as backpacking, mountaineering, or kayak expeditions. It may also be impossible to light a fire while on a camping trip during a drought. In Europe, many backcountry campsites prohibit fires anyway, so a good camping lantern is essential. Which camping lantern is better for you, a gas lantern or an LED one? We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of camping lanterns in this article!
There are many different options available for camping lanterns in 2019. The majority of lanterns are hands-free, emit a good amount of light, and are relatively easy to use, however, things like power source, size and weight, and durability as well as ergonomy, price and safety, and water-resistance are varying from lamp to lamp.
What Are the Different Types of Camping Lanterns?
Lanterns can be classified into 3 types: electrical camping lanterns, fuel-burning lanterns, and candle lanterns.
Electronic Camping Lanterns
The majority of electronic lanterns today are powered by batteries. LEDs are light-emitting diodes, and these lanterns use alkaline or lithium(-ion) type batteries to power a bright lamp that is very energy efficient. Some are rechargeable, while others aren’t.
External battery packs can also be recharged through USB ports with some LED lanterns. Typically, LED lights have replaced typical light bulbs more or less over the past decade.
An LED camping lantern’s advantages
- Lanterns with LEDs are safe by nature. The lanterns are not flammable, and they can be used by children and pets as well.
- They are convenient since you can buy rechargeable batteries at any gas station. The backpacks are also easy to pack
- Most LED camping lanterns are pretty lightweight
- Thanks to integrated circuits and sealing, it’s not hard to create a durable and water-resistant electrical device today. Since LED camping lanterns are water-resistant, most of them are also waterproof
- Tent attached to a pack, near flammable materials,
LED camping lanterns have some disadvantages
- Batteries that cannot be recharged are wasteful
- Battery life may not last for multi-day trips
- The amount of light emitted is not enough to light a large area
The lanterns all burn fuel. Many use disposable canisters of butane, while others use liquid-fuel, a refillable white gas, or even unleaded fuel. The propane tanks on propane burning lamps can be easily refilled, and they are very efficient. Camping lanterns that burn fuel use mantles as a heating medium. A film of burning fuel covers this medium, which glows and emits light when ignited. Are you aware that the mantles of gas lanterns once had a slight radioactivity? You can find out more about it here. It sounds weird, but it’s true.
Fuel-burning lanterns have several advantages
- The brightest lantern when it comes to light output with a small footprint is a fuel-burning camping lantern.
- An excellent choice for fuel-burning lanterns is that they are highly adjustable
- Long burn time: One canister of light can light up for a full day
- Warm light: When you burn something, the light emitted is nice, warm, and cozy
- A reliable system means no worries about broken circuits or malfunctions. Fuel-burning camping lanterns are not problematic as long as the mantle is intact and fuel is available
Fuel-burning lanterns have a number of disadvantages
- Needs fuel: If you need to restock, you’ll need extra tanks with fuel or propane gas
- If you are not careful, it is easy to break fragile mantles, so bring replacements
- Unlike electric lanterns, they are heavier and bulkier
- Costs more than electric lanterns
- Ventilation is necessary: Do not use in tents, etc.
- Too hot
- It can sometimes be loud (hissing noises)
Candle Camping Lanterns
A candle lantern is essentially nothing more than a candle inside a protective housing that has deflectors to spread the light emitted by the candle. Despite their natural quality (candles are candles), candles do not emit a ton of light. Multiple candles are used in some candle camping lanterns.
Candle lanterns have many advantages
- A wonderful atmosphere of camping is created by soft light
- There is enough light for simple tasks
The drawbacks of candle lanterns
- Avoid using candle lanterns with sleeping bags, children, or any other material that is flammable
- When hot, it can burn your skin
- They do not give out a lot of light, making them unsuitable for lighting larger areas
Finding The Right Lantern for Your Activity
After reading the text above, it becomes clear that any lantern type has some distinct advantages. Weight, power source, and light output are all factors that must be considered on a variety of scales. If you set up a base camp with a large kitchen area, you might need a strong light to illuminate the kitchen, and that’s where a fuel-burning light shines. A candlelight game might be all that you need when you are playing cards with friends in a cabin.
LED lanterns are ideal for backpacking trips
Choosing an LED electronic lantern is a good choice if you are only going on a short camping trip. Its small size and lightweight make it easy to stow away in a backpack, and you can easily hang it inside your tent as a reading lamp if you have a hook or lanyard. Your trip may require some replacement batteries, depending on how long it is. Having added water resistance is also very useful – you never know what weather you’ll encounter, especially when hiking in autumn or spring! In addition, you can buy multifunctional lanterns with USB chargers, or you can purchase solar panels to recharge them on the go.
You might consider even bringing a candle lantern, although we always recommend that people bring a headlamp as a replacement light. When going for an outdoor adventure, you shouldn’t bring a candle lantern as your only light source.
Backpacking trips that last longer
In case you plan to venture into the backcountry for more than two nights, invest in a bigger LED lantern or a compact fuel-burning lantern. You will need a lantern that burns for a longer period of time. A lantern with a high lumen output is also expected to be brighter and have more battery power. The camping lantern becomes heavier with a larger battery.
If you want to make sure you are on the right side, do this simple calculation: Count how many nights you will be hiking, then find out what time sunset is in the area you plan to hike. If you have a 8-hour darkness, then you don’t need to have a light for 8 hours since you’ll be sleeping for some time. This number should be multiplied with the number of nights you plan to spend camping, plus an extra five hours for emergencies. As an example:
If you are hiking for 3 nights, with sunset at 8 pm, you will need ca. Three hours of light per night. Three times three equals nine hours plus an additional five hours for an emergency. Therefore, you need 14 hours of light. When choosing a camping lantern, consider both the runtimes for low and high light settings if the lantern has an adjustable light output. If you need more than one set of batteries, use the following calculation: If you have one set of batteries that gives you 7 hours of runtime, you’ll need another set to get up to 14 hours.
Additionally, if you have more than one backpack or a tent in your backpacking group, you can bring multiple lighter lanterns. It’s also a good idea to bring a backup lantern in case the main one breaks.
You can also bring heavier lanterns if you prefer more comfortable camping styles, such as car camping. Car camping is common for mountain bikers, trail runners, and family vacations.
Whether you have a heavy fuel-driven lantern or a large battery-operated lantern, your car is the perfect place to store them. Due to the fact that you do not have to pack your backpack with gear, you have more options. If you wish to use the lantern at its highest intensity, you will need plenty of extra fuel no matter what lantern you choose.
Camping with a RV is a unique experience: most RVs have plenty of light inside, and some have outdoor lamps as well. A good lantern can still be useful when you need more light outside or when you walk from your RV to other parts of the campsite. For storing fuel and additional backup batteries, RVs can accommodate a bright and bulky lantern.
It all depends on whether you go backpacking or have a car or RV when choosing a camping lantern type. You can find more information on the best fuel-driven camping lanterns in our guide with the best fuel-powered camping lanterns in 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the best lantern for camping?
The best lantern for camping are as follows:
UST 30-Day Duro LED Lantern
Streamlight The Siege Lantern
Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern & USB Power Hub
Black Diamond Apollo Lantern
Are gas camping lanterns safe?
Gas camping lanterns emit carbon monoxide (CPO), which can be fatal if absorbed into the bloodstream. The fumes produced by a lantern are the same as those given off by a motor running in a closed garage. The danger of CPO lies in its odorlessness and colorlessness, so you may never realize that you’re in danger.
Do people still use gas lanterns?
The use of gas lanterns for lighting is almost extinct. There are no manufacturers that manufacture mantle gas lamps that use natural gas; however, some old homes still have fixtures installed, and certain restoration projects use salvaged fixtures as ornaments.
Are gas lanterns good?
Due to their sound, heat, and potential carbon monoxide leakage, gas lanterns should be used only in well-ventilated areas away from children and pets. Ideally, they should be used outdoors or in semi-enclosed areas such as outdoor kitchens, porches, verandas, or courtyards.
What is the best lantern for power outages?
The best lantern for power outages are as follows:
Coleman 1,000-Lumen LED Lantern.
LE LED Camping Lantern.
Vont LED Camping Lantern
Coleman Rugged Rechargeable LED Lantern.
Is 400 lumens good for camping?
Small camping lanterns typically have a lumen output between 100 and 400 lumens. What lumens does a camping lantern need? Camping lanterns are best when they produce a maximum light output of about 1000 to 2000 lumens and can be dimmed to meet the needs of campers.
How should you use a camping lantern?
To know how to use camping lantern you should check out this video!