15 Best Propane Lantern for Camping: Tested and Reviewed

15 Best Propane Lantern for Camping: Tested and Reviewed

Nov 30, 2023

We've identified the best camping lights for every use even if you are traveling into the bush or lighting up the night when car camping. You could use a torch or headlamp instead, but a lantern illuminates the entire camp and makes two-handed operations easier.

During our testing, we charged, fueled, and lit up our campsites with lanterns, paying close attention to a variety of parameters like light, burn time, power and durability. We've divided the list into useful categories to assist you in finding the finest lantern for your needs.

The Best Camping Lanterns of 2023

Since its debut, camping lamps have made a difference. Nowadays, modern options have flooded the market, joining brightness with interesting features like rainbow lighting modes, USB ports, and solar panels for when it is out in the field.

Designs vary from simple and folding devices to high-tech options with powerful outputs and Bluetooth compatibility. 

In addition, some gas-powered holdouts still function in cold-weather excursions. Below are our top recommendations for the market in 2023, along with a full comparison table and shopping advice to help you select the best lantern for your camping experiences.

1. BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern

BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern

BioLite didn't go wrong with the AlpenGlow 500 lantern ($80). We couldn't think of anything we would have done differently with this little lantern, which easily won the title of best overall.

A brief shaking of the lantern activates a third press option. While we admire BioLite for developing a way of integrating an accelerometer, we found it to be hit-or-miss in practice. The lamp will eventually catch on; it may just take a little more shaking.

Aside from its light, it powers (500 lumens is dang bright), the AlpenGlow 500 includes some features we've come to expect in a lantern like an integrated 6400 mAh battery bank to charge your electronics. The AlpenGlow 250 is a smaller package with all of the same functionality.


  • Lumens 500 lm max, 5 lm min

  • Power source 6,400mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery

  • Burn time 200 hrs. on low, 5 hrs. on high

  • Water resistance IPX4 water resistant

  • Weight 13.8 oz.

READ ALSO: Best Camping Chairs with Canopy

2. Black Diamond Moji Lantern

Black Diamond Moji Lantern

With a weight of only 6 ounces and a diameter of 3 inches, there's no excuse not to carry it along at this price. The flexibility to run on several types of batteries is an advantage in an emergency, and the dimming switch allows for quick changes.


  • Lumens is at 200 lm max, and at 4 lm low

  • The power source is at Three AAA batteries / 1500 mAh Li-ion

  • Burning time is 70 hours on low

  • Water resistance at IPX4

  • Weight is 6 oz.

3. Fenix CL30R

Fenix CL30R

It's not often that we remove gloves when dealing with camp lanterns, but the rugged design of the Fenix CL30R ($144) made it evident that it doesn't need any TLC. When it came time to put this lantern to the test, we were impressed with it in terms of power source, and this was one of the things we liked about it. 

This lantern becomes cross-compatible with our other powered devices by using rechargeable (and replaceable) 18650 Li-ion batteries, and it can run on one, two, or all three cells. For even more fuel, you can replace the provided cells with more powerful 3,500 mAh models.

Do you need to charge your other electronics? A charging and USB are located at the back of the lantern and are protected by a rubber gasket. With 7,800 mAh (and the ability to increase to 10,500), this lantern can charge most modern phones from dead flat to full. 

A bail handle for hanging and a tripod socket for really dispersing those lumens round out this multifunctional lantern from Fenix. The Fenix CL30R is good for a sturdy and long-lasting lantern that can bear it all.


  • Lumens is at 650 lm max, and 10 ml min

  • The power source is at Three 2600 mAh and 18650 cells

  • Burn time is at 300 hours on eco and 4 hours 30 minutes on turbo

  • Water resistance is IPX7

  • Weight is 14.5 oz.

4. Goal Zero Crush

Goal Zero Crush

It weighs 3.2 ounces and folds up nicely to take up minimal room in your pack. You can charge it by USB or leave it outside to do its thing. It's important to remember that a smaller panel will take some time to fully top off the light – an estimated 20 hours.


  • Lumens is at 60 lm max, 6 lm low

  • The power source is a 500 mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery

  • Burn time is at 28 hours on low and 3 hours on high

  • Weight is 3.2 oz.

5. UCO Original Candle Lantern

UCO Original Candle Lantern

The UCO Original Candle Lantern ($26) is a must-have in case of an unexpected, in a pack, bugout bag, or camping gear. It's really simple to use: pull the glass down and fire up the candle.

A single candle will burn for approximately 9 hours, and the spring-loaded system will keep the flame at the same height. Because it gets hot, use caution when extinguishing or moving it. It collapses to 4.25 inches long and weighs only 6.4 ounces.

The neoprene cover is a protective layer in movement, making it a valuable addition to your camping gear. We've used it at camp for a classic, mellow firelight experience and keep it in our chuck kit. It's a popular choice for disaster preparedness.


  • Lumens 20 lm max

  • Power source Candle

  • Burn time is 9 to 12 hours.

  • Water resistance N/A

  • Weight 6.4 oz.

6. MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights + Power Hub

MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights + Power Hub

One of our favorite camping lights is the MPOWERD Luci String Lights + Power Hub ($70). It has everything you need for a camp atmosphere in a little compact.

We especially enjoy how these lights store themselves. Wrap the string lights around the solar bottom and twist them shut. Our tests show that if there are too many overlapping bulbs, it will become too bulky to close.

Due to its compact size, the integrated solar panel faces challenges when charging from depletion. It fully charges in approximately 3-5 hours using USB-C or 16 hours through solar power. Therefore, we suggest charging it before heading out for camping and then using solar power to maintain its charge.


  • Lumens is at 140 lm max, 20 lm low

  • The power source is at 4000 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery and solar panel

  • Burning time is at 40 hrs. on low and 8 hrs. on high

  • Water resistance is IPX4

  • Weight is 1 lb., 10.2 oz.

7. Snow Peak GigaPower Lantern Auto

Snow Peak GigaPower Lantern Auto

This lamp ($80) is a little lamp that runs on isobutane (like your favorite hiking stove) and takes up little space. It weighs only 4.6 ounces and measures around 3.75 inches in diameter, making it the best choice to your camp table for dinner.

During our testing, we found the source output to be especially nice while still being bright enough to do all of our camp duties. It has a maximum output of 400 lumens and can run for roughly 5 hours in warm weather. Genius!

The body of this lantern is made of machined aluminum, with brass fittings that make a seamless connection to a gas canister. A stainless steel cage holds the globe in its place and stores the lantern mantle that is needed to ignite this lantern. It requires a little finesse the first time, but it should last many nights before it needs to be replaced again.

An added benefit? Because it burns fuel, this little lantern emits a bit of hand-warming heat, which is nice for when the chill creeps in. Just remember to let it cool before you store it, as we were (painfully) reminded during our first use.

While we were using the lantern, it began to rain, but it never went out or gave us headaches. Because it is constructed of glass, it is prone to breaking if dropped. However, the supplied strong and secure carrying-on pack will keep it safe when packed. This Lantern is our top pick for a cute warm glow.


  • Lumens is 400 lumens

  • Power source is Isobutane

  • Burning time is 5 hours on a 4 oz. fuel can

  • Weight is 4.5 oz.

8. BioLite AlpenGlow Mini

BioLite AlpenGlow Mini

Given how much we adored the AlpenGlow 500 Lantern, it's no surprise that we adored the new Mini Lantern ($40). This small part takes much of the camp-friendly functions that earned the AlpenGlow 500 Lantern the best overall lantern award and shrinks it down into a completely backpackable size.

Every camper should have a reliable backpacking lamp in his or her arsenal. The Moji Lantern is an amazing little lantern in its own right and is the most obvious competitor for this petite model. Both the Moji and the AlpenGlow Mini make compelling arguments for being the finest camping lantern to keep in your pack, but a few things will determine which one you finally choose.

Let's start with brightness. There isn't much difference between the two lanterns, but the Moji wins out with 200 overall lumens to the BioLite's 150. Neither of these lanterns is that bright, but they glow better in tent interiors when you need a little brightness. The burn time favors the Moji, with a marathon time of 70 hours on low vs 40 hours for the AlpenGlow.

When it comes to functionality, the scales start to balance out. In comparison to the Black Diamond, the AlpenGlow Mini has four different light modes: warm white, one-color, single-color, and a Horizon mode that changes color. These many modes provide you a lot of options to fix the tone at your campground, and we loved dialing it in for what we were doing.

The highest setting is greater on the AlpenGlow, with a bungee cord system, which is easier to add to limbs, tent poles, and hang loops than the Moji's harsh double-hooks. Finally, we loved the inclusion of USB-C charging in this small lamp, which the Moji and even the larger AlpenGlow 500 lantern lack.


  • Lumens is at 150 lm max, 5 lm low

  • The power source is 1,000 mAh rechargeable Li-ion

  • Burning time is 40 hours on low and 5 hours on high

  • Water resistance is IPX4

  • Weight is 3.4 oz.

READ ALSO: Single Wall Tent vs Double Wall

9. Coast EAL22 Lantern

Coast EAL22 Lantern

The Coast EAL22 Lantern works up the lumens to a blazing 1,250 on high while remaining one of our more affordable lanterns. The lantern is meant to be an emergency light source, but nothing stops it from lighting up your next camping trip.

The lantern lives up to Coast's rugged reputation, with a bash-resistant nylon casing and polycarbonate diffuser that didn't ding even after we unintentionally knocked it off a camp table. 

The 225-hour run time is on the good side of the spectrum. The five lighting modes begin with a gentle white glow that is good for a card game, then transition to brighter white modes that brighten a campsite or outdoor kitchen. The last two modes are red, with a flashing option if you need to hail someone or alert approaching traffic.

Mounting options include two carabiner-style hanging hooks on the top and bottom of the lantern and a bail handle for carrying about. This adaptability extends to the EAL22's powering options since it is a dual-power lantern that can be powered by D-cell batteries or a separate battery pack.

The ZITHION-X rechargeable battery pack is near-essential in our tester's opinion, although it does take a bite out of the budget because the lantern itself is the same cost. While D-cell batteries will suffice, the ability to recharge other equipment with it is a feature we wouldn't want to be without.

We didn't worry about leaving the Coast EAL22 propane tank out on the picnic table in a storm because it's stormproof. This is a good choice for people who want a vintage light.


  • Lumens is at 1,250 lm max, and 77 lm min.

  • The power source is a 3x D battery or an 8,800 mAh Li-ion ZITHION-X 

  • Burning time is at 225 hrs. on low, and 7.5 hrs. on high

  • Water resistance is IP54

  • Weight is 2 lbs., 8.5 oz.

10. Ledlenser ML6 Lantern

Ledlenser ML6 Lantern

Do you require a small lantern with a big punch? The Ledlenser ML6 ($90) is just what you need. We've been using this packable light for over a year and it never fails to impress.

The ML6 charges easily with a USB cable. It takes around 5 hours to recharge, and we can go camping for a whole weekend on a single charge. At $90, it's hardly the lowest option available. However, if you want a brilliant, portable, and long-lasting lantern, this is a winner.


  • Lumens is at 750 lm max, 5 lm min

  • The power source is 3000 mAh Li-ion 18650 rechargeable cell

  • Burning time is at 70 hours on low, 4 hours on high

  • Water resistance is IP54

  • Weight is 9.9 oz.

11. Barebones Forest Lantern

The Barebones Forest Lantern ($80) looks the part when we think of camping lanterns of old. The technology inside tells a different story, with 5-watt CREE LEDs and a maximum brightness output sure to brighten any darkest camp.

The steel cage that encases the inner lighting cover is a classic touch, and the quality of construction extends to the remainder of the lantern, which is composed of three distinct materials: steel, plastic, and rubber.

At 325 lumens, this lantern isn't the brightest, but that's something we come to like because it complements the lantern's vintage appearance. The weight is a little heavy, which goes with the vintage style, but it doesn't make it any easier to carry around.

The Forest Lantern comes in five various vintage colors, making it ideal for establishing the scene.


  • Lumens is at 325 lm max

  • The power source is at 2 8W lithium-ion cell batteries

  • Burning time is 80 hours on low and 4 hours on high

  • Weight is 1 lb. 2 oz.

12. Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern

Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern

We never expected to witness the flicker of this lantern running out of charge with three charging options (solar panel, USB, or twisting the crank atop the unit). It works well as a basecamp lantern, either perched above a table or hanging from the inside of a tent.

The Lighthouse 600, unlike some of the other lanterns on our list, does not employ a solar panel to charge from the sun. This means you'll either need to own a Goal Zero solar panel or buy one, such as the Nomad 10. The Lighthouse 600 is ready for anything and would make an excellent lantern for anyone looking for an all-in-one light and charging solution.


  • Lumens is 600 lm max

  • Power source is at 5,200 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery

  • Burning time is 320 hours on low and 2.5 hours on high

  • Weight is 1 lb., 1.6 oz.

13. LE-LED Camping Lantern

LE-LED Camping Lantern

This battery-powered lantern ($30) is clearly a fan favorite because of the good feedback from a number of our testers.

It is powered by three D batteries and has a maximum output of 1,000 lumens. It also includes four lighting settings and the ability to remove the cap to make it smaller or shine a more focused beam of light.

We've splashed water on it without incident, but we don't advocate leaving it out in the rain or becoming entirely submerged. It doesn't take up much space in the car or tent, being little over 7 inches tall and 3.5 inches broad.

The benefit of using a battery-powered lantern is that you don't have to bother about charging it. The disadvantage is that it depletes batteries quickly if used frequently. During our tests, this LE LED lantern lasted anywhere from 10 to 14 hours before requiring a new set of batteries.


  • Lumens 1,000 lm max

  • Power source Three D batteries

  • Burn time 10-14 hours

  • Water resistance IPX4 water resistant

  • Weight 14 oz

14. Coleman Deluxe Propane Lantern With Hardshell Case

Coleman Deluxe Propane Lantern With Hardshell Case

This vintage Coleman Deluxe Propane Lantern ($65) would be missing from any lantern evaluation. If you've never used a gas lantern before, there are a few things you should know. To begin, instead of light bulbs, it employs mantles that are filled with fuel and burn brilliantly. The glass can grow incredibly hot, so use caution when touching it.

Having said that, it's a sturdy lantern that will last for years. And it's only $65 to boot. The dual-mantle design produces 1,000 lumens on high and can run for over 7.5 hours before requiring a new fuel canister.

A single 1-pound canister of green propane costs roughly $10. While this isn't overly expensive, it does add up and should be considered when buying lanterns.

We found it simple to thread the light onto the propane cylinder and loved the footed base, which keeps it from tipping over like a coleman lantern.

It's important to note that you'll need a match to light this lantern. When it's time to break camp, the Coleman Deluxe tucks into its hardshell carrying bag, ready for the next trip.


  • Lumens 1,000 lm max

  • Power source Propane

  • Burn time 13 hours on low

  • Water resistance N/A

  • Weight 3 lbs., 11 oz.

15. Solight SolarPuff Lantern

Solight SolarPuff Lantern

The Solight SolarPuff Lantern ($32) is the best camping lantern; it unfolds like an origami swan, from a tiny flat to a 4-inch lit cube – all without needing to be inflated. This lamp, made of PET sailcloth, opens and provides a bright, warm, or colored light.

We first noticed the SolarPuff lantern on the outside of the pack of a PCT thru-hiker, who thought the collapsible lantern was an ideal luxury item.

The inbuilt solar panel charges the lantern while you hike and claims to provide 12 hours of illumination on low (when the sun is shining).

Solight was updated with a Dusk to Dawn light sensor that can turn on by itself at starlight and switch off as the sun rises - a feature we really liked.


  • Lumens 90 lm max, 45 lm min

  • Power source 1,200 mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery

  • Burn time 12 hours on low

  • Water resistance IP68 waterproof

  • Weight 2.6 oz.

READ ALSO: Best Tree Tent for Camping

How the Camping Lanterns are Tested

Austin Beck-Doss, our lead tester, lived off-grid and relied on a lamp every night while compiling this list. These lanterns were tested for months and thousands of light hours were logged to select the best of the best. Since 2020, our professionals have personally handled and tested nearly 40 different lanterns.

The lanterns highlighted here are the best bets for long-term use and abuse, from the hardships of packing and unpacking to the dangers of rolling around in the back of a car.

During testing, we focused on light brightness, battery life, and convenience of usage. We also looked at things like durability, packability, and overall value.

We also didn't use child gloves on these lanterns because our testing frequently included the garden hose if actual showers failed to materialize.

We had a lot of fun 'accidentally' knocking these lanterns off picnic tables to see how they fared. Not every light source survived, but those that did can be found on this list.

As the technology behind camping lanterns evolves, our testing will keep up, bringing the finest of the best lanterns.

How to Choose a Camp Lantern

How to Choose a Camp Lantern

Outdoor lighting technology is always evolving. Not long ago, the best you could get were gas lanterns, which, although they had a classic design, also had some classic faults.

Most lanterns now rely on battery power for illumination, with advances in lithium-polymer and lithium-ion batteries significantly expanding burn periods. Light element technology has also advanced, with smart LEDs that can alter temperature and even color now being the norm.

Electric vs. Gas-Powered Lanterns

The choice between an electric and a gas-powered light is personal preference. Electric lanterns are safe to use inside a tent because they are silent and lightweight.

On the other hand, alkaline batteries lose around half their capacity when temperatures fall below freezing, while rechargeable batteries may not last on multi-day travels without recharging.

They are hot to the touch since they employ a live flame, must be used away from flammable things, and require ventilation. They are also more susceptible to damage than electric lanterns.

Lumens and Light Modes

Lanterns should be bright enough to illuminate an area but not so bright that they temporarily blind you if you look at them.

You probably won't need a lantern to mimic the sun, and most lanterns have a maximum lumen output that ranges between 200 and 500 lumens. This is more than adequate to illuminate most camping areas and is usually adjustable to ambient light.

Aim for a lumen output of 60 to 100 if you want a more pleasing light. Lanterns such as the Solight or the Black Diamond are ideal inside a tent.

Also, keep in mind that diffusion is important when it comes to how light is projected around camp and that translucent globes will give a softer, more diffused light that is gentler. 

Lanterns like the AlpenGlow and Goal Zero may be able to produce the same 500 lumens, but the AlpenGlow will be considerably more pleasing to the eye in intimate settings.

Light Modes:

Fortunately, we've come a long way from the simple ON/OFF switch, and modern camping lanterns include a plethora of different lighting options for fine-tuning your lighting system. We consider its reason to dim to be one of the most crucial features.

Today's camping lanterns feature wide dimming ranges, with many able to lower to a one-digit lamp and then increase to full power or even a turbo mode, just like the Fenix CL30R.

Many other lanterns, like the Ledlenser ML6, may feature a red light, which is good for preserving night vision or not disturbing your tent mate. This lantern can flash an SOS signal and a strobe in emergencies.

LED Lights vs. Incandescent

Lanterns used to use incandescent bulbs to give light at first, but they have mainly been phased out in favor of LEDs. LEDs are more energy efficient and have a lifespan exceeding incandescent bulb wire filaments.

Another advantage of LEDs is that they have a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating, which measures how natural colors are in different lighting conditions. Lanterns with a CRI of 90, just like the BioLite AlpenGlow 500 Lantern, generate high-quality color lighting.

Weight and Packed Size

Consider how you want to use your lantern. Weight and packing size will not be a problem for car camping. If you want to take your lantern into the woods, you'll want something lighter that won't take up much pack space. Look for a tiny or folding lantern if you're going trekking.

Camping Lanterns:

Lanterns like the AlpenGlow 500, Fenix CL30R, and GZL 600 are at the top of our list of the best camping lanterns. They all have a long battery life, and mounting options that allow them to be used in a variety of camp configurations.

These lanterns all weigh roughly a pound, and while they aren't the most packable, most campers only have to worry about over-filling the trunk.

There are some interesting lighting alternatives, like the MPOWERD Luci String Lights, which can be hung up and really spread light. Consider combining both types of lighting to meet your flood and spot lighting requirements.

Backpacking Lanterns:

When we're looking for a hiking lantern, we grab the Black Diamond Moji, Solight SolarPuff, or Goal Zero Crush. The two collapsible alternatives is good for long-distance travel where weight is critical, and the Moji is our top pick for a light that lasts and has a compact profile.

Don't rule out candles or isobutane-powered lanterns on your next hiking trip. Both the UCO Candle Lantern and the Snow Peak GigaPower lanterns are small enough not to be a burden in your bag and run on fuels you're probably already carrying.

When deep in the backcountry, we usually love the natural flicker of a fire to a normal LED light, and these lanterns easily make the cut on our packing lists.

Battery Life and Types

If you choose an electric lantern, try battery longevity, especially if you plan to be in the woods for many days or more. Many lanterns will last 5-10 hours on high and even longer on lesser settings. 

The AlpenGlow 500 at 200 hours on low, the CL30R at 300 hours, and the GZL 600 Lantern at an amazing 320 total hours of burn life are part of the longest-lasting lanterns in our testing.

Lanterns that use disposable batteries accept either alkaline or lithium-style batteries, but it's important to understand when each is appropriate. Alkaline batteries are common household batteries and are not expensive than lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries, on the other hand, keep their voltage until nearly dead, perform better in low temperatures, and last up to two to three times as all the other alkaline batteries. They can be recharged using wall outlet chargers.

Ease of Use

Electric lanterns, on the whole, take the prize for convenience. They activate with the push of a button, and the brightness is easily adjustable. Gas-powered lanterns need more effort to apply the fuel canister and ignite the wick.

With advancements in lantern technology and more functions introduced every year, search for a lantern that hasn't succumbed to bad design. The sequence of button presses to cycle through the other cycles should be simple to memorize.

Durability & Water Resistance

We won't lie: we've definitely left our camping lanterns out overnight and woken up to a soggy glow. Investing in a long-lasting lantern will pay off in the long run.

To begin, keep in mind that many gas lanterns will need a glass lens to function. 

Many electric lanterns will have some form of rubberized over-molding to protect against knocks and bruising about camp. In terms of water resistance, many lanterns are now designed to withstand splashes or brief immersions in water. 

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