The 10 Best Camping Lights & Lanterns for Travel [2021]

Camping Light

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Make it easy to navigate your way around the tent on your next camping trip with a dedicated camping light. Portable, energy-efficient, and easy to use, these lights offer a variety of different modes and can be placed both inside and outside your tent to allow you to find your way in the dark.

Things To Consider With Camping Lights & Lanterns

Your camping light needs to be able to cut through the darkness while still being energy efficient and highly portable. Before you buy, consider the following:

Lanterns

Most campers and outdoor adventurers will take a flashlight with them as a matter of course, but if you want to enjoy better-quality lighting in your tent or camping area, a lantern will give you all the illumination you need.

Lanterns throw out 360 degrees of light that won’t blind you when you look at them, and they can be hung from the top of your tent to make it feel cozy and bright, even on the darkest of nights.

Bottom Line: Lightweight, battery-powered, and compact enough to be carried around with you, a camping lantern offers a convenient way to light your living area.

Bulbs

The most efficient and effective bulbs for camping lights are undoubtedly LEDs. This type of bulb consumes very little energy, and they’re able to disperse an impressive amount of light. LED bulbs also offer a longer lifespan, meaning that they’re more reliable and will need to be replaced less often. They’re also cost-efficient and widely available.

Brightness

The brightness of any bulb is measured by lumens. The level of brightness you’ll require for your trip will depend on your individual needs. For reference, though, most campers look for lights that offer between 30 and 60 lumens of light to cut through the darkness in your tent. Opt for around 100 lumens if you’re looking to light up outside areas, too.

There are plenty of higher-powered LEDs available for outside lighting that can illuminate your camping area to let you eat, chat, and move around safely in the dark.

Power

Camping in the wild does not give you easy access to electricity. With this in mind, most camping lights are powered by disposable batteries or built-in rechargeable ones. There are also eco-friendly lanterns that work with solar power, though these often come with a battery backup to ensure they remain functional in all weather conditions.

Bottom Line: Rechargeable lanterns are easy to power up using a USB cable, and some even come with an additional USB port that can be used to charge your cell phone.

Waterproofing

A lot of camping lanterns have been constructed to withstand moisture and water. While some only offer minimal protection against splashes and moist air, others have IP ratings that determine how much water they can withstand.

Lanterns with higher IP ratings may even be suitable for use outdoors or in standing water, but check with the manufacturer’s recommendations before you buy.

The 10 Best Camping Lights & Lanterns

1. Excellent Light and Fan Combo

Odoland Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan

Perfect for both hurricane season and camping trips alike, this awesome 2-in-1 LED light and ceiling fan will help keep you cool while lighting up the space around you. Super lightweight, this lantern is designed to rotate so it can be hung from your tent poles or placed upright on any surface.

Featuring 18 individual low-powered LED bulbs, it’s bright enough to cut through the darkness and offers up to 37 hours of regular use when in light mode. It’s the perfect accessory for adventures spent outdoors.

The whisper-quiet fan has 2 speed settings, and with a maximum wind speed of 10 feet per second, it will keep you cool on balmy nights.

Powered by just 2 regular D batteries, it can provide up to 15 hours of comfortable cooling and is small enough to carry in your bag, making it a great little addition to your survival kit or camping gear.

What We Like

  • It emits an impressive amount of light and cool air.

What We Don’t Like

  • The handle could be sturdier.

Hot Tip: A good lantern is just one of many items you may need to pack for an epic camping trip. Check out our list of the best camping essentials to bring on your next trip.

2. 2-Piece Lantern Set for Your Tent

Etekcity Lantern Camping Lantern

Efficient enough to provide up to 30 hours of illumination, this set of 2 clever collapsible lanterns includes 30 individual LED bulbs that cast an impressive amount of light.

Made from super-tough, military-grade ABS material, these lanterns are sturdy enough to cope with all kinds of camping adventures, and they’ve even been constructed to withstand wet conditions with an IP54 rating.

Weighing in at just 10 pounds, they’re lightweight enough to hang inside your tent or carry around with you, and with a small storage area in the top lid of each lantern, you can stash your keys or spare batteries.

Powered by regular AA batteries, these superb little camping lamps come with batteries pre-installed, meaning they’re ready to go right out of the box.

What We Like

  • They throw off an impressive amount of light in the darkness.

What We Don’t Like

  • The lamps only provide lateral lighting.

3. Compact Camping Bulbs

DealBang Compact LED Camping Light Bulbs

These palm-sized LED bulbs come with hooks that allow them to be hung directly from the top of your tent, and the special frosted finishing on the light cover adds a warm, cozy feeling to your outdoor accommodation.

With an IPX4 rating, they can be used both inside and out. They offer 150 lumens of LED light, meaning they can illuminate a much larger area than their compact size suggests.

Powered using 3 AAA batteries, these little bulbs come with high, low, and strobe modes and the strong and sturdy D-clip hook lets them hang safely overhead, making them an excellent choice for camping, fishing, and even emergency use back at home.

Available as a set of 4, these bulbs are a cost-effective, efficient, and practical alternative to traditional lanterns and hanging lights.

What We Like

  • These super-versatile bulbs make your tent feel cozy.

What We Don’t Like

  • They’re smaller than regular-sized lightbulbs.

4. Rechargeable Camping Lantern for Easy Power-Ups

LE LED Rechargeable Camping Lantern

Rechargeable and ready for anything, this camping night light provides as much as 500 lumens and emits 6,000K of light with a beam distance of 350 meters (~1,150 feet).

Highly practical and incredibly efficient, this lantern has an IPX4 waterproof rating that makes it suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

An excellent choice for family camping vacations, this useful night light has a 2,600mAh (milliAmp hour) battery that can be recharged using a USB port, and the versatile design can also be used as a power bank for your smartphone or other mobile devices.

With strong and sturdy carry handles, as well as 2 hooks on the back, it’s easy to secure the lantern above or beside you, and with 2 brightness levels to choose from, this lantern offers all the light you need while camping.

What We Like

  • This is a compact and lightweight lantern.

What We Don’t Like

  • The design of the power button makes it difficult to switch on.

5. Lantern for Year-Round Use

LED Rechargeable Waterproof Camping Lantern

With a choice of 3 different lighting modes, you can enjoy 280 lumens in full brightness, 140 lumens in half-brightness, or 260 lumens in the useful SOS mode.

Offering between 5 and 11 hours of power, depending on which mode you choose, this awesome camping light comes with a built-in rechargeable 3,000mAh polymer battery that can be recharged using a USB cable.

Compact by design, this little lantern throws out an impressive amount of light given its size. It also boasts an IPX4 water-resistant rating, making it suitable for use year-round. Lightweight and easy to use, this lantern can be used for camping, fishing, and hunting trips.

What We Like

  • It’s tough enough to handle every kind of camping trip.

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s easy to accidentally knock the switch on and off during operation.

6. Super-Bright Camping Light for Use Outside Your Tent

OTYTY 2 COB 30W 1500LM LED Work Light

This set of 2 super-bright outdoor lights is extremely energy efficient and provides up to 1,500 lumens of light.

Easy to use and waterproof enough to use in all weather conditions, these lights are easy to use and offer high, low, and strobe functions for increased versatility.

Featuring a 180-degree adjustable lamp stand, you can aim the light source to illuminate any area, and with the ability to rotate fully, you can even hang them up high.

An excellent choice for use while setting up your campsite, camping kitchen, or simply when sitting around the fire at night, these camping lights can be powered by 2 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (included) or 4 AA batteries (not included).

With a USB cable for fast and convenient charging, these lights can also be used as a power pack for charging your cell phone.

What We Like

  • These lights are rugged and ready for anything.

What We Don’t Like

  • They tend to flicker from time to time.

Hot Tip: In the market for a fantastic tent? Check out our in-depth buyer’s guide to the best camping tents.

7. Camping Lights for Use at Home and Away

LED Camping Lantern

Offering a streamlined modern design and a white-frosted shell, these lights offer incredible illumination without any unwanted glare.

Providing 360 degrees of soft white light, just one of these lanterns can provide enough brightness to light up your tent, and when you switch on both at once, you can enjoy up to 800 lumens of natural-looking light.

Fully rechargeable, they can be ready to go in around 2 hours using the provided USB cable, and with an additional USB output port, they can also be used to charge your cell phone.

Offering 3 different levels of brightness, you can find the perfect amount of light, and a strobe function combined with an SOS mode provides additional safety.

Lightweight, great looking, and IP44 water-resistant, these contemporary night lights are a great choice for camping, fishing, and even as an important part of your hurricane kit.

What We Like

  • These lanterns are no bigger than a regular water bottle.

What We Don’t Like

  • They’re not as durable as some more traditional lantern designs.

8. Supercute LED String Lights

MPOWERD Luci String Lights

Featuring 20 warm white LEDs spread across 18 feet of cord, these super-versatile, strong lights emit 100 lumens of power and can provide up to 20 hours of light on just a single charge.

Easy to use, these string lights come with hanging clips that make it easy to distribute them throughout your tent, and the compact size and lightweight design make it easy for you to carry them around with you.

Without the need for batteries, these string lights can be charged using the built-in solar panel or via a USB connection.

You’ll also find a USB output port in the compact base unit, providing you the ability to charge your cell phone while you’re away from home.

What We Like

  • You can charge your phone while the lights are in use.

What We Don’t Like

  • The solar charging function could use some improvement.

9. Long-Lasting Rechargeable Camping Light

LED Rechargeable Camping Lantern with 4 Light Modes

Versatile and incredibly effective, this awesome camping lantern is filled with 46 LED light bulbs that deliver an impressive 1,800 lumens of light.

With a built-in 4,400mAh rechargeable battery, this light can easily be recharged. It offers up to 12 hours of light on a single charge, making it a practical choice for life on the road.

Thanks to its built-in USB port, this clever little camping light can charge your cell phone using your choice of cable, and with an IP44 waterproof rating, it can withstand splashes and damp conditions.

Offering daylight, warm light, combined light, and flash modes, this little light can be used in all conditions, and the dimmer function allows you to choose the right amount of illumination in an instant.

Compact but highly capable, this lantern even comes with a slip-proof handle, making it easy to hang from the pole in your tent.

What We Like

  • It features super-bright light and a variety of modes.

What We Don’t Like

  • The battery life seems to diminish quickly in colder weather.

10. Camping Lantern for Everyday Campers

Energizer LED Camping Lantern

This brilliant little camping lantern is easy to use, lightweight, and makes a great addition for camping trips, hurricane kits, and a ton of other outdoor adventures.

Powered using 4 D batteries, the modern design is functional and straightforward, and with a choice of modes that can cast up to 100 lumens (on high mode) for up to 8 hours at a time, this 1-piece camping light is IPX4 water- and impact-resistant.

With a non-slip handle for easy carrying, it also comes with a steady base for hands-free illumination.

What We Like

  • It sports a versatile and lightweight design.

What We Don’t Like

  • It is not rechargeable.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re camping out with the kids in your backyard or heading to the backcountry to get off the grid, a camping lantern provides all the light you need to move around in the dark.

From LED lightbulbs that can hang directly from your tent poles to freestanding lanterns that can cut through the dark, a camping lantern or light is a must-have for any outdoor overnight excursions.


Frequently asked questions

What color light is best for camping?

White light will offer you the best visibility for camping but it can also attract bugs. An off-white or orange light won’t attract as many bugs and might be more suitable.

How do you choose lights for camping?

There are a few factors you should consider in choosing lights for camping. Lumens is a key consideration as it determines how bright your lights will be. You’ll also want to consider the types of bulbs, battery life, method of recharging and additional features, such as waterproof cases.

How do you hang lights in a camping tent?

Many camping lights and lanterns will have a handle or hook to easily hang them in your camping tent. If you’re using string lights you can hang your lights using Velcro bands or zip ties to secure them to your tent frame.

How many lumens do I need for a camping lantern?

For inside your tent, 30 to 60 lumens should be enough, but if you’re looking to light up your outdoor areas, aim for something in the region of 100 lumens.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavored to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

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