Best Camp Lighting

Camping trips allow us to get back to nature and enjoy the great outdoors. But when the sun goes down, darkness can put a damper on your experience. Having the right lighting is essential to fully enjoy your camping adventure after sunset.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to choose the best camp lighting. We’ll discuss different types of camp lights and key features to consider and provide tips to help you select the perfect lighting for your needs.

Whether car camping or backpacking, we’ll help you find camp lights that work for your specific situation. With the right illumination, you can transform your campsite into a brightly lit oasis at night. Let’s shed some light on picking the best camping lights for every camper.

Best Camp Lighting
Best Camp Lighting

How to Choose the Best Camp Lighting 

Types of Camp Lights

There are several main options when it comes to camp lighting. The type you choose depends on factors like the size of your campsite, ease of transport, power source, and more. Common types of camp lighting include:

Lanterns – Lanterns are portable lights perfect for illuminating both small and large spaces. They’re easy to carry and hang up in tents or around the campsite. Lanterns run on various power sources like batteries or solar. Rechargeable batteries are popular for their convenience.

Headlamps – Headlamps strap to your forehead or head, freeing up your hands. They’re ideal for tasks like cooking, reading, and going on night hikes. Headlamps run on batteries or are rechargeable. Look for adjustable beams and brightness levels.

String Lights – String lights add a festive ambiance to any campsite. Powered by batteries or solar, they’re available in different lengths. Use them to illuminate tents, wrap around trees, or create cozy lounging areas. Waterproof string lights can handle the outdoors.

Flashlights – A reliable flashlight is a camping essential for exploring at night and moving around your site. They come in various sizes and levels of brightness. LED flashlights offer extremely long battery life. Hands-free models can light your path or snap onto surfaces.

Area Lights – For large campsites, area lights are necessary to create broad illumination. While less portable than other options, they can light up an entire campground. Gas-powered area lights are bright but noisy. LED models are quieter and more efficient.

Candles/Torches – Candles create a flickering ambiance, and torches fuelled by citronella oil provide gentle light while repelling insects. Just take fire safety precautions when using open flames. Battery-operated fake candles offer the mood without the fire risk.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Camp Lighting

Lumens A key factor in choosing any camp light is its brightness, measured in lumens. Consider how much area you need to illuminate and buy lights accordingly. Here are some lumen guidelines:

  • Small tent or lantern – 100 lumens is sufficient
  • Medium-sized tent – 250-400 lumens
  • Large camping area/site – 500+ lumens
  • Spotlighting/hiking – 1,000+ lumens

Runtime Runtime measures how long your camp lights will last before needing new batteries or recharging. Long runtimes allow you to keep lights on into the night without interruption:

  • Lanterns – 10-40 hours
  • Headlamps – Up to 100 hours
  • String lights – 15+ hours
  • Flashlights/Spotlights – At least 5 hours on high

Look for low battery indicators, so you know when it’s time to switch batteries or recharge. Camp lights with multiple brightness levels will also help preserve battery life.

Power Source Your power source options for camp lighting include:

  • Batteries – Offer portability and convenience. AA and D batteries power most camp lights but drain fastest at high brightness. Stock up on extras.
  • Rechargeable – Built-in lithium-ion batteries recharge via USB or AC adapter. Convenient and cost-effective over time.
  • Solar – Absorb sunlight during the day to power LEDs after dark. Eco-friendly but needs full sun exposure.
  • Gas – Gas-fueled lights are extremely bright but high-maintenance.
  • Candles/Torches – Create ambiance but pose a potential fire risk.

For versatility, look for lights that offer multiple power options, like solar charging and battery power.

Durability: Look at construction and housing materials when evaluating durability. Plastic housings are lightweight but more prone to cracking than metal. Rubberized coatings and waterproof seals boost weather resistance.

Make sure lenses, seals, and housings are impact-resistant. Camp lighting takes a lot of abuse, so durability equals longevity.

Portability: Look at size, weight, and design to evaluate portability. Smaller and lighter lights like LED headlamps, penlights, and mini lanterns are most portable for backpacking. Larger models with handles and collapsible frames are better for car camping.

String lights and wearable lights offer hands-free portability around camp. Flashlights and lanterns should have carrying cases, straps, or hooks to easily take them on the go.

Extra Features Added features to look for in camp lighting include:

  • Dimming – Adjustable brightness settings via dimmers or multiple modes. Allows better battery management.
  • Emergency Modes – Flashing red or white modes double as emergency signals.
  • USB Charging – Built-in USB ports let you charge phones/devices from battery-powered lights.
  • Remote Control – Remotely control on/off and modes for convenience.
  • Collapsible – Foldable models are easier to pack and transport.
  • Magnetic – Magnetic bases allow attachment to metal surfaces around the camp.
  • Rotating – Rotating lights illuminate in multiple directions.

Choose lights with useful extra features, but don’t lose sight of key performance factors like brightness and battery life.

Best Camp Lighting Reviews

Coleman Lantern Rugged Rechargeable (Lithium Ion)

The Coleman Lantern Rugged Rechargeable is an easy-to-use lantern that is great for beginner campers. It runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be charged using any 240V outlet, making it very convenient. This lantern provides bright lighting with a maximum output of 300 lumens. On the highest setting, the battery lasts for 5 hours. When used in low mode, the battery lasts an impressive 20 hours.

The lantern is simple to operate. Its rugged design means it can withstand the outdoor elements. A handy feature is the USB charging port that allows you to charge devices like phones from the lantern’s battery. However, the lantern is relatively large and heavy. It lacks some features found in more advanced models. But for a mid-range lantern, it’s a great choice that provides bright, reliable lighting for your next camping trip.


  • Includes USB charging port to charge devices
  • Very easy to use right out of the box
  • Long 20-hour runtime on low setting


  • The large and heavy design
  • Not shockproof or waterproof
  • Only 5 hours on the highest setting

Coleman Lithium Ion Easy Hang Lantern Vanquish Spin

This rechargeable Coleman lantern is a top choice for campers looking for a durable, high-powered light. Its rugged design features rubber corner guards that absorb impacts. The comfortable rubber grip makes carrying easy, and a handle allows you to hang the lantern in your tent.

With an impressive maximum output of 550 lumens, this lantern can illuminate large areas. It has four lighting modes, adjusted by the spinning top. On low mode, the battery lasts up to 80 hours. You’ll get 4 hours on the highest 550-lumen setting.

A useful battery lock function conserves power when not in use. The LED bulb never needs replacing. While the runtime on high mode is lower than some models, this lantern’s excellent durability and bright lighting make it ideal for harsh outdoor use.


  • Impact-resistant corner guards
  • Integrated handle for hanging
  • Battery lock feature maximizes battery life


  • Only 4 hours runtime on the highest 550-lumen mode
Camping Light Lamp
Camping Light Lamp

Coleman Vanquish Pack Away 4D Lantern

This portable Coleman lantern packs great lighting and handy features into a compact, collapsible frame. It runs on 4D batteries, so no recharging is needed. With a comfortable grip handle and hanging hook, you can illuminate your tent or campsite from multiple positions.

Choose from four modes – high at 650 lumens, medium, low, and an emergency flashing light. On high, you’ll get 13 hours of bright light. Impressively, the low mode lasts 400 hours. The 4D batteries must be purchased separately.

Built with a durable exterior, this affordable lantern holds up well during outdoor use. The battery lock feature prevents accidental draining. Easy to pack away, it’s great for camping, power outages, and emergency situations where portable light is needed.


  • Extremely portable and packs away
  • 4 lighting modes for different needs
  • Battery lock prevents accidental draining


  • 4D batteries are not included and must be replaced

Zempire Megadome Camping Light V2

This powerful 500-lumen LED lantern from Zempire excels at illuminating tents and campsites. It uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and includes a USB charging cable. With three brightness modes, you can choose the perfect lighting.

On the highest 500-lumen mode, you’ll get an excellent 7 hours of bright light. Medium mode provides 13 hours, while low mode gives you 45 hours of lighting on a single charge. This lantern can also be used as a power bank to charge devices via USB.

A handy 12cm hook allows you to hang the light in your tent. Weighing only 0.35kg, it’s easy to transport. With a durable plastic exterior, the lantern handles tough conditions while providing up to 45 hours of continuous use before needing a recharge.


  • Three brightness modes
  • Can charge devices through USB
  • 45-hour runtime on low setting


  • One of the more expensive models

Led Lenser ML4 Rechargeable Lantern

Weighing just 0.07kg, this tiny but mighty lantern from Led Lenser is perfect for backcountry camping trips. Despite its small size, it puts out an impressive 300 lumens of brightness. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it also works with 3 AA batteries as a backup.

With a whopping 45-hour runtime on low, you’ll get great performance. Choose from 5 lighting modes to find the perfect setting. This lantern is dust and water-resistant, making it ideal for wet tent conditions.

An integrated hook offers hanging capabilities. The battery life indicator lets you monitor power levels. For a lightweight, compact lantern that won’t take up much pack space, provides 300 lumens of bright light, and is built to withstand the elements, the Led Lenser ML4 is a top choice.


  • Incredibly lightweight and compact
  • Up to 45 hours of runtime
  • Water and dust-resistant exterior


  • One of the more expensive options

Wsky T2000 Camping Lantern Flashlight

The Wsky T2000 is a versatile 2-in-1 lantern and flashlight perfect for camping trips. It runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and features an impressive 60 LED bulbs that provide up to 1800 lumens of brightness. With six lighting modes, including normal, low, high, strobe, red, and SOS, you can find the perfect setting.

This lantern works as a power bank to charge devices via USB. The water-resistant exterior stands up to wet weather. An included S-hook allows you to hang the lantern in your tent. Weighing just 0.68kg, it’s easy to carry. While battery runtime isn’t listed, the rechargeable design avoids frequent battery changes. For a reasonably priced lantern that also works as a high-powered flashlight, the Wsky T2000 is a great choice.


  • 6 lighting modes, including red and strobe
  • It can be used as a standing lantern or handheld flashlight
  • Water-resistant and durable exterior


  • Battery runtime not specified

HeroBeam LED Lantern V2.0 with Flashlight

Run by 3 AA batteries, this affordable LED lantern from HeroBeam shines at 300 lumens for up to 36 hours of light. The 30 LED bulbs provide ample illumination, and AA batteries can be easily purchased when needed.

Built with durable plastic, the lantern stands up to heat, vibration, drops, and shocks. It works well in rainy, windy conditions thanks to its weather-resistant design. Covered by a 5-year warranty and 30-day satisfaction guarantee, you can buy with confidence.

While extremely bright, some users wish it had a dimmer option. But if you want an inexpensive, rugged lantern that runs on easy-to-find AA batteries, the HeroBeam V2.0 is a great choice.


  • Durable and weather-resistant
  • 5-year warranty and satisfaction guarantee
  • Uses easily found AA batteries


  • Very bright with no dimmer option
LED Lantern
LED Lantern

Blazin’ Bison Brightest Rechargeable LED Lantern

Boasting an impressive 600-lumen output, this rechargeable lantern from Blazin’ Bison lives up to its name as one of the brightest camping lights available. It runs for up to 500 hours on a single charge. With six modes, including high, medium, low, SOS, and more, you’ve got options.

The lightweight 0.4kg unit provides 360-degree illumination. It’s both water-resistant and shockproof, ready for outdoor use. An integrated USB port allows you to charge devices. If you want one lantern that can handle a week-long camping trip, the Blazin’ Bison is it – with up to 6 days of light before needing a recharge.


  • Shockproof and water-resistant
  • Up to 500 hours of runtime
  • Built-in USB port for charging devices


  • Light dispersed sideways, not upward

Aimtom PowerPal Mini LED Camping Lantern

Weighing just 0.3kg, the Aimtom PowerPal lives up to its name as a mini lantern ready for backpacking trips. Despite its small size, it puts out an impressive 660 lumens of brightness with a 260m beam distance. Use it as a spotlight, lantern, or flashlight.

This rugged LED lamp is designed for the outdoors with a waterproof housing. Integrated magnets allow you to attach it to metal surfaces. With modes like high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS, you’ve got versatility. Runtime ranges from 7 hours on high to a whopping 158 hours on low.

For a lightweight, versatile light featuring multiple modes, magnetic attachment, and a waterproof body, the Aimtom PowerPal is a leading choice. Just don’t expect the highest lumen output.


  • Lightweight 0.3kg design
  • Waterproof and multipurpose
  • Runtime up to 158 hours


  • Max 660 lumens (less than some models)

Blazin Brightest LED Storm & Power Outage Lantern

This camouflage-patterned lantern from Blazin puts out 500 lumens of brightness, perfect for camping trips and emergency situations. It runs on 3-D cell batteries, avoiding the need to recharge. The water-resistant plastic housing allows safe use in wet conditions.

An integrated handle and hanging hook offer versatility. The 500-lumen output generates up to 140 hours of light on the lowest setting. Covered by a lifetime guarantee, this affordable lantern provides reliable performance. Just note the light stays on when switched off, so remove batteries when not in use.


  • Camo stylish design
  • Water-resistant plastic
  • Lifetime guarantee


  • Stays on when switched off


Finding the right camp lighting for your next adventure doesn’t need to be a challenge. By understanding different types of camp lights, thinking about when and how you’ll use them, and evaluating key features like lumens, battery life, durability, and portability, you can select the perfect lighting for your specific needs.

Use this guide’s tips to narrow down your options and zero in on camp lights that will allow you to have fun and stay illuminated no matter how dark it gets during your camping trips. With the sun’s rays absent, let your new camp lights provide the next best thing. 

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