How to Light a Coleman Lantern

How to Light a Coleman Lantern
In today's age of modern convenience, it's not too often that one sees a Coleman lantern being used as a source of light for camping. However, there is something nostalgic and comforting in the soft glow thrown from this type of gas-powered light. Coleman lanterns are fairly easy to use, but you'll need to master several steps in order to learn how to light a gas lantern.

Coleman Lantern Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Coleman lantern
  • Coleman lantern fuel
  • Two mantles
  • Stick matches
Step 1
The first step in lighting a Coleman lantern is to fuel it up. Make sure you know what kind of fuel you lantern requires. You can purchase Coleman lantern fuel (white gas) where you bought the lantern or at most local sporting goods, outdoors gear, or hardware stores. If you have a dual fuel lantern, you can use unleaded gas from a gas can instead of Coleman fuel. If you have a propane lantern, you will need to use propane. 
Step 2
Pressurize the lantern. There's a little round stainless-steel knob on the base of the lantern. Turn it counterclockwise to pull out the plunger and then push it back in. Do this 10 to 15 times to build up the pressure so that the gas will be forced out once the lantern is turned on.
Step 3
Tie on your mantles. Mantles are little cloth booties that go inside the lantern. If you take the top off the lantern and pull up the glass, in the middle of the lantern are two tubes that hang down about an inch from the top. The mantles go over these tubes and they have a drawstring on them which you can pull tight and tie.
Step 4
Light the mantles. Hold your match just under the mantles. Making contact with the flame is fine but don't touch the mantles with the match once they've been lit. Mantles become an ash-type substance once on fire and will dissolve if touched.
Step 5
Wait for the mantles to stop burning. Typical wait time is around 30 seconds.
Step 6
Put the glass and top back on the lantern.
Step 7
Turn the gas control valve halfway. The gas control valve is also located on the base of the lantern and is labeled as such.
Step 8
Re-light the mantles. Below the glass, there are small slots cut in to the metal of the lantern. Light your match and place it so that the flame goes inside the glass. The mantles will light on fire and slowly begin to glow.
Step 9
Adjust your light. Allow the mantles to glow for 10 seconds. The lamp is now lit and ready to be used. Adjust the light, using the gas control valve.

Tips & Warnings

Coleman fuel should be stored only in its original container. Do not transfer it to another storage container.
Mantles become very fragile after the initial lighting. Don't touch them.

Coleman Lantern Maintenance

If you are going to use a Coleman lantern, it's important to know more than just how to start the lantern. At a minimum, you also need to learn how to properly care for a camping lantern. It's also advisable to learn how a Coleman lantern works and find out how to troubleshoot your lantern in case something goes wrong with it during your camping trip. If you have strong DIY skills, you may also want to learn how to repair or rebuild a Coleman lantern.

Article Written By Patrick Cameron

Patrick Cameron is a freelance writer with 10 years of diverse experience in consumer goods branding, promotions and retail communications. He works out of his home in Denver, Colo. He received his Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.