Candle lanterns???

Anybody here have any experience with candle lanterns? I’m interested in the idea but have never seen one in person.

Transporting my propane lantern [which does a good job for most applications] to the campsite only to find broken mantles is pretty frustrating. Yes, I carry spare mantles, but it’s just that I am really careful with the lantern and quite often have to replace the danged mantles. Plus there are the propane tanks to haul in full and haul out empty.

Anyhow, I’d like to know what you folks think of the candle lanterns. One model I’ve found online is here:

Any thoughts on this???



don’t use a lantern
I don’t use any camp light/lantern except a headlamp or flashlight very, very little and, if appropriate, a campfire. Figure that my eyes adjust to the dark and if I need light for something out of the pack, find something in the tent, or a bathroom break I use the headlamp (or flashlight). Plus, I make camp, get it organized, and get the tent ready to go while it is still light. I don’t read at night in the tent preferring to be surrounded with and connecting to night sounds. Less to hassel with and without much artificial light I am more connected to my surroundings. I haven’t used a lantern since I was 18 and I’m 3 times that now. Besides, my wife who paddles and trips with me would kill me if I brought a lantern.

Candle lanterns are OK
They put out enough light to see by but I prefer just having an LED headlamp or an LED hanging light over a table. For the amount of light provided per weight, breakable glass, extra candles etc. LED’s are a better use of weight and space.

they work
we had one like that, i thought it’s pretty cool and nice to have for car camping but wouldn’t bother for anything where space and weight matter. a little led light is much better.

Had no luck with the “original”…
… candle lantern. I only tried using it twice, and each time it clogged up with wax so the self-feed feature didn’t function, meaning the candle would quit burning after about 10 minutes. Never used it again after those two failures.

I’ve had good luck with another brand that uses “tea candles” which are available at almost any grocery or drug store. No mechanical devices or springs, no requirement for name-brand special-fit candles, less than one-quarter the weight and a fraction of the cost. I got 'em at Campmore, and I’m sure they still sell them. The only thing I did was trim the aluminum housing at the base of the glass so the light would shine lower.

If you want something with as much heft and size as the “original candle lantern”, you’d be better off with a miniature oil lantern. Just as bright, burns a lot longer, and totally trouble-free. Campmore used to sell them too, and probably still do.

That said, LED headlamps are really the cat’s meow these days, but three times now I’ve had those things drop dead on a trip (not the batteries, but the mini-electronics inside), so I always bring at least two.

carry one in my pfd backpack
pfd backpack? well its the Lotus Design backpack that straps to your pfd…why there?

if you have a coveral cag, a tuliq, or a large paddling jacket you can sit down and pull the cag over your knees and to the ground making a small tent like structure…the candle lantern is on the ground between your legs–you will heat up almost instantly.

Candle lanterns are too heavy to backpack with but for paddle camping they are great and take up little space.

they’re okay
simply put- light, cheap, easy to deal with- do not really put out much light

Candle lanterns
We have a few of them and they’re okay, but nothing to brag on in terms of the amount of light they make, only a small percentage of the amount of light produced by a gas or propane lantern. They’re not a substitute for a gas or propane lantern – they’re in a completely different category. They produce a soft light that is about equal to an electric night-light, the type of thing used to dimly illuminate a hallway or bathroom at home. The only real similarity to a gas/propane lantern is that they both have breakable glass and they both use flame to make light. For obvious reasons they are not recommended for use inside a tent. The candles are just as heavy as batteries, probably about as expensive. On the plus side they don’t make any noise, they don’t consume batteries, they don’t require canisters or cans/bottles of liquid fuel and they don’t have mantles. I bought a few some years ago (one for each person in our family), but we don’t bother taking them anymore on canoe trips. These days our goal is to carry as little weight as possible while tripping, so we only use minimal lighting – for us the candle lanterns aren’t worth lugging along. - Randall

Here’s Your Camping Lantern:

not much light
I would estimate, about one candle power

now if I could just find a 9-volt battery

I use the tea candle one too
(Except I never use it. I now use my princeton tec LED headlamp instead. I like the candles in principle, but 1) they always blind me more than help me see; 2) I could never figure out where to put them: too high in the tent, and you run the risk of them melting the roof; too low and you run the risk of tipping them over.)

I have several LEDs…
…but end up using this cheapo more than the rest…

Does that LED come with…
…the full head of hair & handsome chiseled features of that model? ‘Twould be an improvement over the ‘grey/wrinkled/saggy-jowl’ look I’ve been wearing of late. - RK

I have LED’s too, but…
…substituting the LED for a candle lantern is like substituting a picture of a campfire on your laptop for a real, honest-to-goodness, campfire. I’ve had a candle lantern like you are showing for 25 years. I use it everywhere…car camping, backpacking, canoe camping. They don’t put out a lot of light, but they sure do wonders for the ambience of the evening. It’s light is a soft, warm glow that electric bulbs can’t match. I often use them in the tent…but it is a flame and you have to respect that. Also, the top of this lantern gets very hot so make sure it has cooled down before before your grasp it to fold it down. The candles made for use in this lantern work very well though towards the end they may clog the spring and you will have to clean it out…an easy operation. Bottom line…if you want tons of light at the push of a button, get a xenon bulbed flashlight. But if you want something to enhance your wilderness experience…by all means get the candle lantern…you won’t be sorry.

candle lanterns
I have had a candle lantern for years. I like the light it throws but it is not bright enough to read by. I also carry a headlamp. The candle lantern is great with the citronella candle to keep bugs away. As for breakage, I hollowout some extra foam and keep the lantern in that.

Thanks, all…
You’ve all given me a lot of good food for thought on this.


But wait!
I want to add my .02 worth!

We like the candle lanterns you show in your link very much but we use handlamps for most camp chores as your hands are free and the light is brighter.

However, the candle lanterns give a softer light inside the tent and help take care of any condensation inside. For winter camping, it does provide extra warmth, especially if in a snow cave.

We use the pac-flat reflector (also shown on the UCO website) and find that it provides enough light to read by. I might also recommend getting the one with the built in led.

love mine
When they first came out I got one from LL Bean that was aluminum. Within a couple of paddling trips I had beat the bejeezus out of it so the next time I was at Bean’s I showed it to them. They gave me their apologies, a brand new brass one, a leather case, and a couple of packs of candles. Love them, love the lantern. All I bring on my trips whether it’s a weekend with someone else or a week alone, is an LED headlamp for chores and the lantern for reading and leaving outside the front of my tent or hammock when I use the night facilities. Helps me find my way home.

Hate 'em
Never had luck with a candle lantern. Like someone said, mine always clogged and wasn’t worth it for the light and the danger in a tent. I have a yellow single LED lantern that does ok. I’d like a touch more light but it has a soft glow. I also carry a submersible led headlamp.