Coleman Lantern Rebuilding Techniques

Coleman Lantern Rebuilding Techniques
Coleman lanterns are a staple of camping and have been providing ambient light to outdoor lovers for decades. Many campers reminisce and tell tall tales by the light and glow of the lanterns mantles. These vintage lanterns require a bit of maintenance and work to keep them functioning safely and properly. If you have located an older lantern requiring a rebuild or refurbished, there are a few techniques to employ in bringing it up to par.

Clean the Glass, Scrape the Rust

Scraping away any excess rust or corrosion off the burning surface, mantles or exterior features lets a proper visual assessment take place. Rust and sediment, along with being aesthetically displeasing, hides breaks in the metal or other areas which may require repair or rebuilding. Use a standard household glass cleaner to wipe up the lantern's glass housing. To remove the rust, use a small amount of spray lubricant, such as WD40, on a piece of number nine sandpaper and sand away the rust and corrosion.

Fuel Intake Hoses

Older lanterns have a tendency to have dry rot on the fuel hoses and valves as they break down and harden over time. Often, it is best to simply replace the hoses instead of risking fuel leaks and the potential for fuel fires. Coleman's website offers all needed parts and replacement features for its lanterns. When replacing the hoses and valves, use a small amount of spray lubricant to clean the surface areas, and attach as recommended by the instructions included with the replacement part.


The generator is the small metal tube where the fuel enters and goes through the combustion process, allowing the mantles to light up and provide light. Buy a replacement generator through Coleman, as the old ones are not worth the effort to try and refurbish. Fix the new generator to the fuel valves and hoses you have already replaced. To avoid frustration, don't forget to put the attachment nut on the generator before you place it into position.


On older, vintage lanterns, the mantles will need replacing. The mantles are the small white cloth pieces that go over the fuel out-valves in the interior of the lantern, and seep the fuel through the fabric without burning up, but providing the glow of the light. Replacement mantles are available through Coleman or at most department and sporting good stores. Test the mantles by putting the glass lid over the lantern and lighting it up. Mantles should burn clean and bright faded orange when installed correctly.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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