Best Camping Lights for Tents – Top 8 Outdoor Lanterns

As soon as the nights start drawing in, it quickly becomes essential to have some form of lantern to light up your living space. If you are camping in a tent or sitting in an awning you could opt to build a fire or use a head torch for light generation, but these approaches are either impractical for inside or tend to produce a narrow focused beam which is not warm or diffuse enough to relax.

The best camping lights for tents are specially designed to light up large areas for long periods of time without the battery dying. The light is shone out in all directions (omnidirectional) which feels much more natural than a torch and can often replicate daylight very well.

Furthermore, the top camping lights on the market offer a lightweight, waterproof build with excellent portability. This allows you to comfortably and conveniently carry them in your gear, and also hang them up for maximum light distribution.

For backpacking adventures away from the campsite, space is at a premium and so you may wish to go with the head torch option.

However some lanterns are small enough to stow inside a backpack or even attach to a carabiner on the outside. Below, we’ve shared our top 8 recommended picks for the best camping lights for tents currently on the market – to help you find the perfect model.

COLEMAN Duo Panel Light Lantern

COLEMAN Duo Panel Light Lantern The Coleman Duo Panel Light Lantern is built with a high and low lighting mode – giving it an overall run time of up to 200 hours. Integrating two removable magnetic light panels, you can use either one independently without any batteries. Each panel is built with a bright flashlight and a broad panel light. 

Plus, each panel features individual controls for secluded adjustment.  Its USB charging port means that you can even use the lantern to charge your phone. The IPX 4 water-resistant rating allows the light to withstand light rain and water splashes.

 

Pros
  • Beam distance of up to 13 meters
  • Run time of up to 200 hours on low mode and 20 hours on high mode
  • Built-in flashlight for trail lighting 
  • IPX4 water-resistant rating
Cons
  • Flimsy handle
  • It does not support AC charging

 

VANGO Star 85 Lantern

VANGO Star 85 LanternUsing the Vango Star 85 Lantern, you will enjoy a warm lighting effect to make it a perfect choice for camping. The lamp features dual setting options. The low settings offer a brightness level of about 40 lumens. The high setting provides a brightness level of about 85 lumens. 

The 85-lumen brightness is suitable for enhancing close-up visibility. Additionally, it offers a visible range of up to 100 meters with a focused beam. Furthermore, the lantern for camping integrates a hanging hook that doubles as a carrying handle.

 

Pros
  • Warmer LED light glow
  • The integrated hanging hook also serves as a carrying handle
  • The frosted glass keeps the light from bothering your eyes.
  • Two light settings, i.e. bright and calm
Cons
  • Not bright enough for activities such as reading
  • Some people may find it too small

 

Coleman Batteryguard 200 Lantern

Coleman Batguard 200 LanternIntegrating modern LED technology, the Coleman Batteryguard 200 Lantern consumes significantly less energy to make it eco-friendly. As a result, the camping lantern produces up to 200 lumens of light to brighten up your camping space. In addition, its IPX4 certification gives the light a splash-proof build – allowing it to withstand light rain and water splashes.

When switched off, its batteries maintain optimal energy – allowing it to retain its brightness for twice as long. Furthermore, the batteries’ efficiency enables them to last up to 25% longer. The light’s versatile design means you can use it both indoors and outdoors – whether you are camping, fishing, or dealing with an emergency power outage. 

Pros
  • Up to 15 hours of uninterrupted run time
  • The beam distance can reach up to 7 meters
  • The IPX4 rating means the light can withstand light rain and water splashes
  • Battery guard technology retains its energy up to two times more
Cons
  • Only one lighting mode
  • Splash-proof design – not waterproof

 

Eurohike 1W LED ORB Light

Eurohike 1W LED ORB LightIf you are on a tight budget, the Eurohike 1W LED ORB Light is an excellent affordable option. In addition, the bulb’s ultra-small and lightweight design makes it ideal for on-the-go activities like hiking and backpacking. 

You can choose to hang the LED light in your tent or attach it to your rucksack with the provided carabiner clip. Furthermore, the light emits adequate brightness – extending up to 40 lumens. Additionally, the 1W LED bulb features two choices of light modes – i.e. glow and flash. 

 

Pros
  • Up to 40 lumens of brightness
  • It can be attached to the tent or rucksack thanks to the carabiner clip 
  • It has two light modes: glow and flash
  • Affordably priced
Cons
  • It doesn’t fully waterproof footwear
  • The package isn’t very durable

 

Eurohike 3 LED Hanging Light

Eurohike 3 LED Hanging LightThe Eurohike 3 Led Light is designed to deliver ultra brightness. In fact, the camping lantern even features a triple lighting mode offering a choice of glow, flash, and red flash. Furthermore, equipped with 20-lumen brightness, the LED lantern is ideal for close-up use – whether you are cooking or reading.

The light allows you to attach it securely to your tent or rucksack using the integrated carabiner clip. It also features a collapsible design – significantly reducing its size for easy transport and storage.

 

Pros
  • Collapsible design for easy transport and storage
  • You can attach the light securely to your tent or rucksack using the carabiner clip
  • The three light modes are glow, flash, and red flash
  • Built to give off a bright glow – 20 lumens brightness
Cons
  • Not the best option for covering extensive ground
  • It can be a little small for some people

 

VANGO Light Disc

VANGO Light DiscYou can still create a fun light ambience in the outdoors, thanks to the VANGO Light Disc. The multi-functional lantern features 48 bright LEDs. Collectively, the LEDs deliver a brightness level of up to 75 lumens. Thanks to this design, the portable light provides impressive light projection around your tent and campsite. 

The lighting utilises two separate lighting modes, so you can choose the brightness you want. A hanging hook allows you to attach it where you want in your tent. Alternatively, you can simply use it as a carrying handle to move the lantern where you want it to be.

 

Pros
  • 48 LED light glow
  • The brightness level is up to 75 lumens
  • Impressive light projection around the tent and campsite
  • Two separate lighting modes, i.e. bright and calm
Cons
  • Its wiring isn’t the most dependable
  • The 48 LEDs are not as bright as advertised

 

BioLite SiteLight Mini

BioLite SiteLight MiniFor optimal light projection, the BioLite SiteLight Mini is a perfect option. The dimmable and ambient lighting delivers up to 150 lumens of a warm glow. However, this is not all the lighting offers. Thanks to its robust design, it creates the perfect aesthetic around your campsite. Each string is equipped with up to 4 lights.

The light string features a packable and portable design for easy cord management, storage, and transportation. Measuring up to 10 feet, the light string covers a significant amount of space. Plus, the light string features a daisy chain design – allowing you to connect to extra light strands from the BioLite brand.

 

Pros
  • Cord stabiliser for hanging over branches
  • Daisy chain output allows you to connect additional BioLite strands
  • Power/daisy chain input via USB is included
  • It is sold in a set of four light strands
Cons
  • The strand’s broken lights are irreplaceable
  • Some issues with the quality 

 

Eurohike 3W Cob Lantern

Eurohike 3W Cob LanternIf you have a small tent, the Eurohike 3W Cob Lantern is a perfect lighting option. Alternatively, you can opt to invest in multiple lanterns to light up different areas of your camping site. The 3W lantern offers a bright lighting performance whilst remaining compact and easy to use. 

Its carrying handle enhances its functionality whilst also doubling as a hanging tool. Additionally, you can also use the compact lantern as a torch when you head out in the darkness. Its dimmer switch control allows you to control its brightness at any time. You can set it at full brightness when preparing your dinner or with minimal brightness to serve as a night light. 

 

Pros
  • Dimmer switch for bulb brightness control
  • It has a carrying handle for easy functionality and to hang the lantern
  • Uses 3xAAA batteries
  • Compact and easy to use design
Cons
  • It does not come in a variety of colour options
  • Batteries are not rechargeable

 

Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best Camping Lights for Tents

When choosing the best camping lights for tents to invest in, you must focus on the right features. This buyer’s guide is included to help you figure out the key features you want to focus on when choosing the ideal lighting option.

  • Types of Camping Lights

You will find a selection of camping lights on the market. However, the most common types include torches, lanterns, spotlights, and tent lights.

Torches

A torch comes in handy for performing close-up tasks such as inflating your SIM or using the bathroom in the dark. Typically, torches are portable, lightweight, and compact. The best torches are even built with water-resistant or waterproof bodies to withstand the rough outdoors. 

Some people even opt for head torches since they are more convenient. Due to its design, using a head torch leaves your hands free to focus on other tasks. You can even use a head torch for nighttime activities such as hiking to navigate the trails.

Lanterns

Lanterns offer a more durable design. Unlike torches, you can actually set lanterns down to continue enjoying the illumination while performing other tasks. In fact, like your household lighting, lanterns are used to provide 360-degree illumination in the outdoors.

Some of the best camping lights for tents feature a hook or handle that allows you to attach them to your tent securely. In addition, you can find gas or battery-operated lanterns based on your preferences.

Spotlights

Similar to torches, spotlights are ideal for illuminating a particular area for a short period. For example, you can use it to look for an item you’ve misplaced. This is because a spotlight features a concentrated beam of light illumination.

This type of illumination allows the light beam to the darkness far into the distance. In addition, most of the spotlights enable you to attach them to your pack or stash them inside your bag due to their compact build – for added convenience. 

Tent Lights

As the name implies, tent lights are more specialised in terms of hanging them up in your tent. Keep in mind, however, that you can do the same with lanterns and spotlights. 

  • Bulb Type

Different camping lights come in various designs and styles – so do their bulbs. Typically, you will find camping lights fitted with incandescent, LED, and fluorescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the oldest option. These types of bulbs offer high brightness for a short period and produce a warmer light colour. They also provide a non-flickering beam of light. However, it consumes the most energy. 

Newer light bulb designs, LEDs are rugged and consume very little energy. In addition, these types of bulbs produce minimal heat, are cost-cutting, safe, and even keep off bugs. As a result, LED camping lights have become the most popular type of camping light. A newer lighting design, LED stands for a light-emitting diode. 

LED lights have become quite popular due to their ability to preserve energy as they use very little of it. Compared to traditional lights such as incandescent and fluorescent lights, LEDs are cost-effective and energy-efficient. In fact, they are about 80% more efficient than these two lighting options. This is because, unlike most other bulbs, LED bulbs waste only 5% of their heat.

Due to their minimal energy consumption, LEDs enjoy a longer lifespan. Due to this fact, LED lights have continued to be a popular choice amongst campers. In addition, the bulbs are not only long-lasting but also quite affordable and cost-effective. 

Plus, you can find a wide selection of LED lights to choose from. Many camping tools tend to use fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs are more durable and larger in size. Thus, you need more space to accommodate them.

  • Brightness Level

Different camping lights have different brightness levels. Thus, you must think of where and how you intend to use your lighting to determine the ideal brightness level. The brightness level is measured in lumens. As a general rule of thumb, a standard 60W incandescent bulb offers about 800 lumens of light. 

A flashlight only offers about 15 lumens. Thus, between the two, you want to determine the ideal level of light for your camping trip. Typically, people tend to opt for 35 to 60-lumen lanterns for camping tents. However, if you want to illuminate your camping site, you will have to invest in more lighting.

  • Applications

When choosing the best tent camping lights, consider how you intend to use the light. For example, you can think of the location – is it a tent, an outdoor shelter, or a campsite? What do you intend to do? – Hike at night, cook, and fish? If you are camping overnight, think of how you intend to use the light in the dark.

  • Power Source

As mentioned above, different camping lights have various power sources. Some depend on batteries or solar power, while others depend on gas. With lanterns, the most popular power source is either built-in rechargeable batteries or disposable ones. Using a built-in battery, the lantern can be connected to a standard power outlet to recharge it. 

Alternatively, for disposable batteries, all you need is anywhere between 3 to 5 AAA batteries. Eco-friendly camping lanterns are solar-powered, so to cultivate power for these lanterns, you can leave the lantern directly under the sun. A lesser-known option is mechanical lighting, which is powered by a manual crank. 

This light design features a built-in hand crank which you use to charge the battery. The hand-cranking method can be pretty time-consuming, although the light is a perfect emergency option. You can also opt to recharge it using a car charger. This is a good idea for those who go camping with their vehicles or use motor homes such as RVs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. To What Extent Brightness Level Do I Need for My Tent?

It depends on your tent’s size, design, as well as personal preference. For example, you need a brightness level of at least 35 to 60 lumens for a standard camping tent. However, if you intend to set up lights outside your tent, you may need more.

Depending on the environment, the requirement typically ranges between 100 and 500 lumens. Furthermore, if you intend to use a flashlight or headlight inside your tent, opt for a brightness level of at least 10 to 30 lumens. Using a flashlight allows you to execute smaller tasks without the bigger lanterns, such as going to the bathroom.

2. Can Use a Torch Alone During Camping?

Not really. Without a doubt, a torch is a valuable and versatile tool. Using a torch, you can execute smaller tasks that need dedicated close-up lighting. Some of the best torches even allow you to shine a beam of light at a further distance. Nonetheless, you still need a lantern for your campsite and tent. What separates a torch from a lantern is that a lantern is designed to stand freely on a flat surface.

This means that you can use it to conduct any task – whether you engage in social activities, cooking, reading or setting up. A camping lantern even allows you to hang it up – allowing it to illuminate more space. Of course, torches are only useful to a certain point as their illumination doesn’t cover a large space and you need to hold on to most torch designs (except for a head torch).

3. What Is the Best Camping Light for Tents?

Our recommendation for the best camping light for tents is the Vango Light Disco. Integrating a unique and versatile design, these lights don’t only add style to your tent. Its combined 498 LEDs illuminate enough brightness for efficient lighting. Plus, due to the LED design, the lights are cost-cutting and energy-efficient to run.

Conclusion

When the sun goes down and the darkness takes over, it doesn’t mean you should ditch your favourite activities. Whether you are camping, fishing, or hiking, you can continue with your activities as long as you invest in suitable lighting options. After all, you will enjoy more safety and convenience.

Other models also come with features such as a USB port for charging smartphones, a carrying handle, or a hanging hook.  As evident in the buying guide above, the best part about tent camping lights is that they come in various designs, styles, and sizes. So, you can always find an option to suit your needs. Our review of the eight best camping lights for tents above is the ideal place to begin your search.

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