The quality of your camping lantern, as well as the ease with which you operate it, greatly enhance your camping experience after dark. Depending on the model, it may be hung on a hook inside your tent to provide light for reading and games; in the alternative, it may be placed on a picnic table to provide illumination for late evening snacks, conversation and other activities. Choosing the best camping lanterns for your needs is a bit more difficult than simply going to the store and picking one off the shelf, in part because there are three different makes and endless variations when it comes to accessories. Moreover, the length of a trip and also the way you intend to use the lantern can make a huge difference in which lantern you should choose.
Gas-Powered Camping Lanterns
If you are looking for the brightest light possible from a light source that also emits some heat, gas-powered camping lanterns might be right for you. Running on propane or butane from refillable containers, you may adjust the amount of light that is emitted. Since replacement canisters are usually the same size as those used in camping stoves, you may find it easier to opt for a gas camping lantern if you also have a gas-powered camping stove.
The downside of this kind of camping illumination is the fact that the glass globe of the lantern can get extremely hot. In addition, the gas that powers the lanterns is flammable. Another problem is the fact that because of gas emissions and fire hazards, this kind of camping lantern should never be operated inside a tent.
When deciding on a gas lantern, you'll also need replacement glass or mesh globes, spare mantles---these are the devices that provide the burn---and sufficient fuel.
These lanterns are safe to use inside a tent and the mantle rarely gets hot to the touch. This makes them a good choice for use when children are part of the camping party. Battery-operated camping lanterns are sleek and stylish, and they do not require a lot of accessories to light them. A flick of the switch is usually all it takes to shine bright light on your campsite or inside your tent.
On the downside, these camping lanterns are not as bright as their gas-powered cousins. What is more, depending on the amount of time you operate your lantern daily, you may be going through a lot of batteries. Some lanterns in this category allow for recharging of a main battery, but this is only a good option if you are camping in your backyard or have several fully charged replacement batteries stored with your camping gear.
When purchasing an electric camping lantern, make sure to buy a large supply of spare batteries.
LED lanterns combine a number of LED bulbs with the ability to conserve battery power. Rather than changing batteries every day, as you might have to do with a simple battery-operated model, an LED lantern may let you go two days or more---with intermittent use---on one set of batteries. Most models feature a bright and ultrabright setting, allowing you to modulate the amount of light you have in the evening.
On the downside, the number of LED bulbs and also the length of available uninterrupted use vary greatly, depending on the manufacturer and also the model. Shopping around for the best value is a must.
When buying one of these lanterns, invest in a few spare batteries.