If you are preparing to head out into the backcountry and need a dependable outdoor light source, you came to the right place. We tested dozens of lamps, beacons, nightlights, and lanterns to separate the best from the rest.
So, here are the top ten camping lanterns for 2021, in no particular order. In addition, we’ve thrown in a quick buying guide to help you make an informed decision when purchasing.
The market offers lanterns in all shapes and sizes, with various designs and build quality. For that reason, it’s essential to consider the following elements and buy the best outdoor light source:
When looking for outdoor lanterns, start by looking at the shape and functionality. After all, the lamp should fit comfortably into your bug-out bag or an EDC pouch. So, the goal is to find space-saving lanterns with an attractive and cool-looking design.
As expected, the overall build quality plays a massive role when buying outdoor gear and EDC equipment. For that reason, check the materials and see if the lantern features the best materials.
In a way, durability closely relates to the quality of the materials, but the overall design can also affect longevity. In other words, look for camping lanterns with sleek and sturdy bodies. Also, ensure that the lamp of your choice is impact-resistant and waterproof.
Finally, ensure that the light source will provide the best bang for your buck. Despite popular belief, the most expensive camping lanterns are not necessarily the best option for every camper. So, compare the prices of several models to hit the sweet spot between cost and usability.
To start the list in style, we’ll first visit a famous American brand, the iconic Fenix Store. Launched in 2005, this ambitious company always tried to bring affordable yet premium lightning to its customers. Even though Fenix-Store focuses primarily on flashlights, the well-designed Fenix CL30R LED Camping Lantern is one of the best in class.
So, what makes it so good? Well, everything starts with the impressive maximum output of 650 lumens on the Turbo setting. Moreover, this high-intensity lantern uses a wide-beam illumination system, spreading the light everywhere around the camp. Fenix claims the beam has a 35-meter diameter illumination, but from our experience, the light travels even further.
Available in black and iron grey, this compact lantern looks excellent. Likewise, it relies on a one-button operation, allowing you to switch between output levels easily. Moreover, if you double-click, the device will enter Flash mode. In any case, Fenix CL30R offers effortless operations and maximum convenience. For instance, it comes equipped with a hanging loop and a tripod socket for seamless mounting.
We should also mention the IPX-7 rating, making this lantern water-resistant and floatable. Like most outdoor lamps, it features a micro-USB port to transform the device into a power bank. Speaking of batteries, know that Fenix CL30R uses up to three rechargeable 2600mAh 18650 batteries.
The second entry on our list also comes from a famous American brand. This time we go to Holladay, Utah, where Black Diamond Equipment creates high-end gear and accessories for skiing, climbing, and other outdoor activities. Founded in 1989, Black Diamond is now an experienced company with a diverse portfolio. Since it also sells innovative outdoor light sources, we had to test the eye-catching Black Diamond ReMoji Lantern.
The first thing you’ll notice about this lamp is the size. The compact ReMoji lantern weighs only 2.9 ounces, making it a pocket-size option. Nonetheless, it delivers 100 lumens of light thanks to six LEDs. So, even though it fits into the palm of a hand, it will provide ample brightness for nighttime reading or cooking dinner.
To be precise, the miniature Bright Diamond ReMoji Lantern features a frosted globe design. Besides the ambient light, this outdoor lamp also lets you dim the brightness by pressing a convenient button. In addition, this small-sized lantern offers double-hook hanging. You can also use the magnetic top to stick the lamp on metallic surfaces, such as the roof of your van.
Aside from versatile attachment options and an IPX4 rating, this camping lantern also provides long-lasting performance. More precisely, Black Diamond ReMoji Lantern has an internal Li-Ion battery you can charge via a USB port.
Goal Zero is a relatively young brand, but it already offers an impressive portfolio of portable solar products. Since it focuses on innovation and sustainability, Goal Zero continues to push the boundaries and delivers convenient solutions to off-grid areas. One such model is the solar-powered Goal Zero Crush Light, one of the best camping lanterns out there.
As the name says, the Crush Light is a collapsible lantern with a lightweight body and a sleek profile. In other words, you can collapse the flexible rubber and flatten the lamp when traveling. Once you arrive at the campsite, extend the lantern and enjoy a bright light with a maximum output of 60 lumens on High.
More precisely, this camping lantern offers three settings: high, medium, and low. Believe it or not, the battery can last for up to 35 hours on the lowest brightness, while the High mode drains the battery out in three hours. However, you’ll have no problems powering this outdoor lantern because Goal Zero Crush Light has a top-placed solar panel.
In addition, you can charge it from a micro USB port. In any case, this dependable model earns top marks for usability and functionality. For instance, Goal Zero Crush Light has an IPX4 rating, allowing you to hang it from a pole to illuminate the camping area without worrying about the rain.
Now it’s time to go back to Fenix Store, given that this brand offers several top-ranked camping lanterns. One of them is the sturdy Fenix CL26R High-Performance Rechargeable Lantern. Available in red, black, or green, this camping lamp looks excellent and offers plenty of bright light.
To be precise, the maximum output is 400 lumens, which is more than most outdoor lanterns can deliver. Best of all, Fenix CL26R offers several powering options. Namely, you can opt for two CR123 batteries or a single 18650 rechargeable battery. In addition, this camping lantern also comes with a built-in 2,600 mAh rechargeable battery you can charge via a micro USB port.
Like most outdoor lamps out there, Fenix CL26R High-Performance Rechargeable Lantern also offers one-switch controls. Moreover, users can cycle through six white output modes and two red output levels by pressing the button. So yes, this lamp has a dual lighting source, and you can opt for the white or red light.
Although the Fenix Store is famous for its high-quality flashlights, this product is also up there with the best. For instance, this lantern comes with a magnetic absorption top, a tripod socket, and a battery level indicator. As expected, Fenix CL26R is as durable as camping lanterns get, and it can withstand cars rolling over it.
As a New-York based startup, BioLite stepped onto the scene in 2006. However, this company primarily focuses on rural and remote areas where portable energy products are most needed. In other words, BioLite designs innovative stoves, grills, and lighting products to support developing communities.
But, of course, everyone else is free to use BioLite products, including the high-performing BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern. As the name says, this elegant outdoor light source provides up to 500 lumens and offers blended or single color modes. Besides AlpenGlow 500, BioLite also sells the 250-lumen version, i.e., the pocket-sized AlpenGlow lantern.
With AlpenGlow 500, you’ll get access to several lighting modes, including the Candle Flicker or the Multicolor mode. Since this lantern has only one button on the top, you’ll cycle through the modes by pressing or holding the button on the top. Likewise, users can activate multicolor modes by shaking the device.
Most importantly, the BioLite Alpen Glow 500 lantern uses ChromaReal LED technology to deliver exceptional light quality. We should also mention that this outdoor lamp features a 6400 mAh rechargeable battery. Also, AlpenGlow 500 has an IPX4 rating, making it a complete package and one of the best camping lanterns to buy in 2021.
The next entry on our list comes from an invention-driven company established in 1989. Over the years, Nite Ize had done it all—from its humble beginnings in Colorado to becoming a global brand with more than 500 products. Well, one the robust-looking Nite Ize Radiant 400 LED Lantern is the perfect example of the company’s philosophy.
Essentially, Nite Ize started as a cabin-based startup, so they know the importance of outdoor lighting. For that reason, Radiant 400 is one of the most durable camping lanterns you will find. Among other things, it offers water- and impact- resistance. Plus, you can carry it anywhere, thanks to a well-designed carabiner handle. All in all, Nite Ize Radiant 400 LED Lantern feels best when banishing the darkness and exploring unfamiliar terrain.
As expected, this model also offers three brightness levels, allowing you to adjust the lighting depending on your needs. By holding the switch for five seconds, you’ll turn off the device. However, the only drawback to buying this lantern is that the batteries do not come with the package. In other words, you’ll have to buy three D-Cell batteries separately.
As you already noticed, we have a habit of repeating things if we really like them. For example, Black Diamond Equipment offers everything you could need in an outdoor-oriented brand. So, we’ll revisit this brand to check out the eye-catching Black Diamond Equipment Apollo Lantern.
Because of its Sci-Fi design, this camping lantern always attracts attention and turns into a conversation starter. Since Black Diamond offers the Apollo lantern in three colors, you can even adjust it to your style.
Even though it relies on QuadPower LEDs, this model only delivers 250 lumens. Nonetheless, the glee-free light offers sufficient brightness and several advanced modes. The dimming function and the strobe mode are at your disposal with the adjustable Black Diamond Apollo Lantern.
Users can opt for three AA batteries or the rechargeable 2600 mAh lithium-ion battery to power the device. Either way, the Apollo will get the job done during camping or backpacking sessions. Plus, a convenient power meter will show the status of both these power options.
As we said, Black Diamond Apollo might not be the brightest outdoor lamp on the market. Nevertheless, it has plenty to offer, including the collapsible double-hook hang loop and the cool-looking folding legs.
If you liked the space satellite design of the previous model, enjoy the next camping lantern. Namely, Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Rechargeable Lantern also has a pair of collapsible legs. As a result, this extra-bright night light can be the beacon you need to illuminate camping areas and show everyone the way.
With an output of 600 lumens, the Lighthouse is among the brightest camping lanterns in 2021. Best of all, it features a multi-directional LED light. Thus, you can use the 360-degree beam or save on power and light up only half of the lantern. In any case, Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 will provide more than enough brightness to light up the night.
Of course, the collapsible legs elevate the light source, ensuring excellent light dispersion. At the same time, the Lighthouse fits into any camping bag because you can fold the legs and reduce the lantern’s volume. In addition, we should mention the built-in handle for hassle-free carrying or hanging.
Finally, the remarkable battery life is another reason to include Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 on the list of the best camping lanterns. More precisely, this model comes equipped with a rechargeable 5200 mAh lithium battery. So, aside from the solar panel on the top, you can even use the hand crank to charge up the lantern when exploring the outdoors. But, of course, such an impressive battery can also borrow energy, and you can use the USB output to charge smartphones or headlamps.
We already listed a collapsible solar lantern, but it’s time to add another contender in this specific category. So, we present you with the compact MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 Lantern, a budget-friendly model with high-quality specs.
Although MPOWERD is a young brand launched in 2012, it has already attracted a decent fan base worldwide. As the name says, this startup focuses on empowering rural and low-developed communities, and the second generation of Luci Outdoor lantern follows the same concept.
To be precise, this model is entirely solar-powered, which results in complete freedom of movement and mobility. The battery holds up to 24 hours with ease on a single charge, from what we’ve seen. Admittedly, the charging process is slow, and MPOWERD should improve this aspect as soon as possible.
Even so, this affordable camping lantern will deliver 75 lumens of cool white LED light anywhere you need it. Moreover, MPROWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 has an IP67 rating and withholds up to 150 pounds of pressure.
Finally, we’ll conclude the list of the best camping lanterns by visiting the famous German brand, Ledlenser. Established in the early 2000s, Ledlenser is now a multinational corporation and the leader in the flashlights market. However, they also make excellent outdoor lanterns, such as the attractive ML6 rechargeable model.
As expected, Ledlenser ML6 delivers top-quality light because it comes equipped with 18 LEDs. In total, the configuration results in a maximum output of 750 lumens, and you’ll also have several modes at your disposal. For instance, this lantern/flashlight features Strobe, Boost, Blink, Pulse, and SOS options.
Like most high-quality camping lanterns in 2021, the well-built Ledlenser ML6 has a sleek design. Likewise, this model can double as a power bank, given that it uses a rechargeable Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery.
Among other things, this model stands above the competition because it provides a vast selection of mounting options. Besides the rubber hook, you can also use the integrated magnets or a removable stand. Either way, this premium camping lantern deserves to be up there with the best, although it comes at a relatively higher price.
So, there you have it, the most comprehensive list of the best camping lanterns out there. If you love camping and exploring the outdoors, most of these models will be right up your alley.
Nonetheless, many will agree that Goal Zero Lighthouse and BioLite AlpenGlow are the top-ranking outdoor lights in 2021. These feature-rich lanterns are a safe bet for anyone interested in buying a dependable night light for their tents, huts, tailgates, or backyards.
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