Headlamps may be a backpacker's best friend, but for campsite and family use, you can't beat a good lantern. Most lights are under a pound, and thanks to LED bulbs inside, can last an entire trip and more. Most have a stable plastic base for sitting on a table when you're making dinner or playing cards, and a loop for hanging from the dome of a tent. If you're nostalgic for the days of old kerosene lanterns, you can even get one with a flickering mode.
Read on for our favorite sources of illumination that aren't campfires.
The Best Camping Lanterns: Black Diamond Voyager
The Voyager strikes a nice balance between weight and power. At under 7 ounces, the lantern runs on two high-efficiency LEDs, one providing illumination under the frosted shade and the other powering a 50-lumen flashlight beam from the base. The light is splash resistant and comes in blue, grey, and white.
LASTS: 100 hours
LIGHT OUTPUT: 75 lumens
WEIGHT: 6.8 ounces (with batteries)
The Best Camping Lanterns: Snow Peak Mini Hozuki
The Mini is a tiny version of Snow Peak’s bigger lantern, but serves just as well in most situations, especially where small groups are concerned. The clever design uses a soft silicone shade that can take some abuse while in your pack, a rubber loop that stays closed thanks to the magnet on top, and waterproof housing. In terms of techie features, it has a low-battery indictor and three brightness modes, including one that makes it flicker like a candle.
LASTS: 70 hours
LIGHT OUTPUT: 60 lumens
WEIGHT: 3.2 ounces (with batteries)
The Best Camping Lanterns: d.light S20 Solar Lantern
The S20 solar lantern is the follow-up to the much loved S10, a low-cost, everyday light source currently used all over the developing world. Great design features include the glow-in-the-dark button, a battery charge indicator, and the ability to charge from the wall or solar energy. (It needs eight hours of sun for a full charge.)
LASTS: 8 hours
WEIGHT: 9.5 ounces
The Best Camping Lanterns: L.L. Bean 10-Day Camp Lantern
The 10-Day Camp Lantern is a favorite for larger groups and destination campouts. Because of the four hefty D batteries inside, it weighs over twice as much as any of the other devices here, but it also offers brighter light for as much as 10 days straight. It comes equipped with a dimmer switch and rugged, water-resistant housing.
LASTS: 10 days
LIGHT OUTPUT: 160 lumens
WEIGHT: 2 pounds, 9 ounces