The cook stove discussion was so great, I thought we could do the same with lanterns. What are your favorites for car camping, canoe camping, kid camping, etc.

I bought this one for my kids b/c it has a nite light & is rechargeable. They can leave it on all night-no problem-just recharge. It can last a long time on night light. It is PERFECT for kids car camping. Very happy with it.

I need another one for canoe camping, with kids in mind. All comments welcome for this purpose or just general discussion of lanterns.

What is a lantern?

– Last Updated: Sep-06-08 10:16 PM EST –

To me, if it doesn't burn something to make light, it's not a lantern. Kerosene, oil, wax, gasoline, naptha.... batteries just don't fit in there.

Maybe I'm a stubborn coot who refuses to acknowledge modern usage of the word, but by *my* definition of lantern, there isn't much better than a Coleman white gas. UCO candle lanterns, Dietz Kerosene and Primus butane lanterns are up there too. I have a special place for Aladdin (the company, not Arabian lore) kerosene lamps, even though they're not strictly lanterns.


LED lantern
I really like the eGear 10 day lantern for fall canoe trips.

With 4 alkaline batteries installed, it weighs in at about 2.5 lbs. It is tough enough to take jostling around in a portage pack. And it has about the same light output as the Coleman exponent backpacking lantern, which I used to take on fall trips - but had to be very careful with the fragile mantels and glass globe even bubble wrapped and inside it’s plastic case. Now one set of batteries in the LED lantern provides reliable, trouble free campsite light for at least a week’s trip.

I just looked at Summit’s site
WOW are they expensive…a Coleman cooler that sells at Walmart for $35 and they want over $100…Saw other stuff way over priced too… The lantern was fairly priced though…

DM! Perfect!
Exactly what I was looking for!!

Sorry about the summit site. I actually just googled for a picture so I knew nothing about the site.

UCO Candle Lantern
I’ve been using the uco candle lantern all this season and love it. Doesn’t give out much light but on most nights, just enough. Well worth the space it takes up in the kayak.

For car camping I’ve switched to the 3 candle version.


– Last Updated: Sep-08-08 8:35 AM EST –

i have to agree with phreon, in a sense. I used a "Coleman Dual Fuel" for years and LOVED it!!! It put out extreme amounts of light, easy to operate & little maintanance. But then propane lanterns came into play... Less mess, same little maintanance & easy operation.

Now, when "family camping" I use the propane lantern. I am looking into those lanterns that you "wind" to recharge, for the simple reason that with the wife, three kids & a 140lb dog, "fuel" and/or batteries are just "one more thing to pack".

BUT... When camping by my lonesome or with the guys, I use my $4 Wal-Mart kerosine "Hurricane Lantern". It puts out just enough light to do what is needed at night & is light weight, easy to use & can burn all weekend on one self-contained tank of fuel. The nastalgia is also a A tip to you is:

Instead of kerosine, use citronella lanp oil.

That way, your lantern not only puts out light, with out much ambient light interferance, but also helps keep bugs away.

Paddle easy,


If you’re taking about these …
… I hate the damned things:

Their light is so intense and omni-directional that they are practically worthless, as half your campsite is awash in blinding rays. Maybe a rear reflector made from an old coffee can, and a frosted globe, would make them more functional.

I like my little UCO candle lantern, and the electric night lights look pretty useful too, but the kerosene and white gas lanterns are simply overkill.

Get a couple of flannel-bound Yoopers setting up their tents nearby, each with his own kerosene lantern hissing and throwing out that gawdawful light, and it looks like Lucifer himself has sprung up from the underworld and is roaming the woods with his unearthly minions, stubbing his cloven hooves on tent stakes and cussing …

If you camp next to me with one of those infernal devices, you should know that the globes are easily broken with a rock. If you camp a few sites down, well, I’m pretty good with a slingshot too …


For Car camping I
Use a duel fuel lantern, For camping I have used a candle lantern, I also love headlamps

Circular LED
I saw a circular LED the other day. You weave it into the top of your tent & it has little LEDs in a circle. Looked pretty cool for the kids or reading/playing cards in a tent.

…and speaking of “overkill”,

– Last Updated: Sep-09-08 12:12 AM EST –

...chill-out! Sometimes a gas lantern is the right tool for the job. You don't think so because you've never needed a light source that could do what a gas lantern can do, just like some back-country skiers don't believe a snowshoer can go places they can't, and just like some kayakers really don't understand why a canoe works much better for multi-portage trips or when traveling small rivers. There are always those who will rain fire upon someone who does things for their own reasons, but I must say it's rare to even see an anti-jetski post with this kind of tone, but I figure that anyone from these parts who truely looks down their nose at "flannel-bound Yoopers" (foks who were making their own way in the woods long before the days when modern gearheads like you ever had it easy enough to leave home the way they do now) and tells the whole world that they will break their lantern with a slingshot rather than walk over and say "Hi" isn't ever gonna accompany me at one of my camnpsites anyway.

I use a gas lantern when car camping for things like cooking, washing dishes, or group dinners, but don't worry, you'll never accidently stumble upon one of the places I am likely to camp. I also know hunters who keep them handy in case they need to track a deer after dark (those guys would laugh in your face at any suggestion that another light source would work for that).

By the way, did you know you can turn a Coleman lantern down so it's much less bright than a candle? It's really a multi-purpose tool.

I’d be lost without an LED headlamp

– Last Updated: Sep-09-08 12:36 AM EST –

On nearly all boat-camping trips, two LED headlamps are all I take (I take two because I've had really bad luck with their reliability, but I keep using them because until they malfunction, they are much nicer than a flashlight). I recently upgraded to a model that actually comes close to a small flashlight in terms of its ability to illuminate things about 30 feet away.

Sometimes I take a candle lantern that uses tea candles. I like them because they are compact and they only weigh about 1/10th as much as the name-brand "Candle Lantern" (which really weighs a lot for the amount of light it produces). There's also no spring or sliding parts to gum-up with wax. I also have a little oil lantern that's about as bright as a candle lantern, but one fill-up with fuel and it's good for a long time, especially in relation to its size and weight.

For car camping, I take a good old Coleman lantern. I wish they were as rugged and had standard-issue reflectors like they did decades ago, but the new lanterns start easier, and unlike the old-style, can be adjusted to any output level you want or need, even a lot dimmer than a candle. Sad to say, I've actually used my Coleman lantern a lot more for evaluating foundation soils inside un-lit buildings and for round-the-clock infiltration tests for my job than I've used it for camping (battery powered lights and smaller lanterns just don't cut it when you really need to be able to see extreme details), but I'm sure it will still be running fine when I finally retire and put it to nothing other than its "proper" use.

You obviously don’t know what a…
Kerosine “Hurricane Lantern” is… Well, here is an example:

As far as the “Dual Fuel”… You cant beat it for doing “car camping tasks” in the dark, like the dishes you put off & realized you have nothing to make breakfast for. Or for cutting firewood, cause you ate such a big dinner, you were too lazy to cut wood when you should’ve. And, yes, they can be turned down to a “candle glow”. Both the fuel & the propane.

As far as battery & rechargeables… I don’t like it when I am in the middle of a camp trip to realize that the batteries are dead or getting out to camp only to find that nobody “plugged in” the lantern to charge & now we are screwed for light. When I am by myself or with the guys, I don’t really care as most of the time the moon casts a good enough lite to see by.

Paddle easy,


BTW… Break my lantern globe & listen to the bullets fly by until you hand over the $$ to replace it.


Mea Culpa
I was only (mostly) kidding; I have never and would never break anyone’s lantern, no matter how blinding and annoying. And I was perhaps being a bit hyperbolic simply for comedic effect (a lot of good that did me). I have to wonder how many internet misunderstandings could be prevented if only I could find one of those little smiley-face emoticons with his tongue firmly in cheek.

I stand by my basic criticisms of the lanterns. Remember when you were a teenager, drinking with your buddies on a dark dead-end road, and suddenly the local county deputy hit you with his spotlight and headlights, and you all froze like a small herd of startled and slightly inebriated whitetails?

Well, that’s how I find sharing a campsite with one of these lanterns, and I say that as someone who grew up camping under the tutelage of elders who loved their Coleman gas lanterns. In fact, I have a couple such inherited heirlooms in the garage which I have never used. Every time I click on the LED headlamp clamped to my forehead, several generations of my family forebears no doubt spin in their graves …

I did NOT realize that one could dial these lanterns down to something less intrusive. And apparently neither do most users of them. Perhaps it is the simple American propensity to operate everything at either full throttle or ‘off’, but I’ve only ever seen them going full blast.

But my main complaint is the way these lanterns send their light out in all directions, including back in your own eyes and over to your neighbors. And if you hang them in a tree or set them on a rock BEHIND you so you can set up your tent or whatever, then everything you’re working on is in your own shadow.

One of the many reasons I go to the woods is to experience their fundamental nature: the quiet, the solitude, the darkness, maybe to see some stars. And that’s hard to do when your neighbor is doing his best to make the woods look like a Wal*Mart parking lot.

But to each his own, and I certainly recognize that my fellow campers are entitled to use the lantern of their choice. I’m always careful with my voice and car-door-slamming and wood-chopping; I only ask that they be equally considerate with their neighbors.

Oh, and the truth is that I actually suck with a slingshot …


tea lights
I have one of the UCO tea light candle lanterns as well (I’ve got a complete set of the uco lanterns!). It’s not bad. I like how the base holds the tea light in a little clip, and it has a wax ‘spill-over’ area. That’s the main problem with tea lights…the wax melts and gets everywhere.

Unfortunately I don’t really like the tea light lantern much…not enough light and the tea lights don’t burn long, or strong enough. But it could just be that I was using a crappy tea light.

Ditto on the LED headlamps
Although I have little use for fuel lanterns (see above), I too love my LED headlamps, especially the Princeton Tec Eos:

Compact, lightweight, uses readily available AAA batteries, and although it’s rated at only 1 watt, everyone I camp with is impressed by its output in the dark woods. Even better, it’s waterproof to 1 meter, so I keep one in the underdeck bag or dayhatch for finding the campsite after dark or even signaling other boats of my presence on the water.

Only $34.99 at Campmor:


They make reflectors…
Coleman makes a reflector for $9 that fits most of their lanterns. I’m not sure it reflects so much as blocks the light about 170 degrees, but it works wonders for maintaining neighborly peace.


I have a coleman for car camping but I don’t take it wilderness tripping, and since this is a Wilderness Tripping Forum …

For wilderness tripping, especially with portaging, I seldom take a lantern. However, on my Fall and Spring trips, when there is less daylight, sometimes a lantern is nice. The advantage of a candle lantern is that it also produces a little heat and can drive some of the moisture away from inside your tent.

But I have a little safety concern with a flame in the tent, so I also have a Sylvania 4AA LED Lantern. It is pictured here but I got mine from Menards for $5. It suppose to last 200 hours on high or 80 hours on low. I know it eaily last a week for me. It’s not real bright and won’t light a big area, but it’s good for hanging in a small tent.

My Favorites
I bring 2 Energizer 3-LED flip lights (walmart $7-8?). They have 2 output settings, white diffuser, reflector, hanging hook, very lightweight, and will run for many long hours per set of 4 “AA” batteries. We set one on low and used it as a camp nite lite all night for 6 days and it never ran down the batteries. Only complaint is it’s not waterproof or it would be perfect. They are pretty darn bright on high and just right on low.

Next comes our Princeton tec headlamps (quad), a really great piece of gear. Last but not least is the Sure Fire E2D flashlight. Waterproof, compact, rugged, blindingly bright for when you really need to see or signal. Use sparingly as they love to eat batteries!


Head Light
Don’t really use a lantern unless car camping (or lazy camping) and anything will work - good ole Coleman.

Backpack / Kayak camping just a good ole Walmart special (husband won’t pay over $10) head light. Works just fine!