Top Camping, Backpacking LED Lights and Lanterns
Whether you are planning on a trip into the backcountry or preparing your home for an emergency, proper illumination is an essential tool to have at your disposal.
Illumination is listed in the “10 Essential Systems” for the outdoors, which was written by mountaineers to help people be prepared in the wilderness. When traveling in the outdoors, you must be prepared to hike or set up camp at night, even if your plans do not call for it.
If preparing your home for an emergency, battery powered lanterns will allow you to complete essential tasks, even after dark. Having adequate lighting in these unpredictable situations is essential for your safety and survival.
In this article, we will be looking at 6 different emergency lanterns, comparing them, and selecting the best one. For comparison purposes, we will be taking a look at each of the following categories.
- Brightness – Brightness is measured in units called lumens. One lumen can be described as having the lighting power of one candle.
- Battery life
- Size and weight
- Modes – Many portable lanterns will offer different lighting modes including high, low, night, and a strobe mode for signaling during an emergency.
- Water resistance
Here are our Top Picks
Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Lantern Review
UST 30 Day Lantern Review: This lantern by UST can run for up to 30 days on its lowest setting of 29 lumens. Its high setting is 300 lumens, which can easily light up a large area. It has 4 modes including low, medium, high, and an SOS strobe setting.
This is a battery operated lantern that runs on three D-cell batteries and it is made with a rubber housing that is both water and impact resistant. It features a large rubberized carrying handle and a smaller recessed hook in the bottom that allows it to be hung from the ceiling. The light diffuser easily comes off with a twist to allow the bulb to shine brighter. You can remove the diffuser and set aside in strobe mode during emergencies.
This is a great lantern for camping and emergency preparedness. It is on the heavier side, so it would not be best for activities where you will be carrying all of your gear in a backpack. It will, however, last a full 30 days, which is key for emergency survival. Batteries will run down in storage, so it is a good idea to store the batteries separately. The lantern comes in black, silver, and glow.
- Brightness: 29-300 lumens
- Battery life: 30 days on low, 32 hours on high
- Size and weight: 3.5 x 3.5 x 7.2 inches, 1 pound
- Modes: High, Medium, Low, and Strobe
- Water resistant: Yes
Energizer Weatheready 360-Degree LED Lantern Review
Energizer LED Lantern Review: The Weatheready Lantern by Energizer has three modes including high, low, and an amber nightlight. It has to ability to run on either three AA batteries, which are included, or three D-cell batteries. Inside the casing, there are three bright white LED bulbs that can produce up to 55 lumens on high. The housing is made of plastic materials and the base is made of impact resistant rubber. It is IPX7 waterproof, which means that it can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water. The on/off push button glows in the dark for easy use at night. The lantern also features a built in carrying handle and recessed hook on bottom for hanging.
The LED camping lantern is large in size, but the plastic housing allows it to remain relatively lightweight. The packaging comes with AA batteries, but the lantern will run up to 15 days on low if using D batteries.
- Brightness: 28-55 lumens
- Battery life: 29 to 58 hours with AA, 195 to 380 hours with D-cell
- Size and weight: 5 x 6 x 11 inches, 14.7 ounces
- Modes: High, Low, and Night
- Water resistant: IPX7 Waterproof
Rayovac Sportsman 240 Lumen 3D LED Lantern Review
Royovac Sportsman Lantern Review: The Sportsman 240 by Rayovac has low, high, and strobe settings and can output 240 lumens on high. The Rayovac lantern runs on three D-cell batteries and uses LED bulbs that offer 100,000 hours of working time. There is a rubberized carrying handle as well as a hook on the bottom to hang the lantern for hands-free use. When not in use, a green light blinks so that it can easily be found in the dark. The housing is water resistant and designed for rugged use.
This lantern is almost as bright as the UST 30-Day, but does not have even close to the same battery life. At 1 pound and 14 ounces, it is also almost a pound heavier. With 240 lumens, this lantern is great to have around for emergencies or short car camping trips.
- Brightness: Up to 240 lumens
- Battery life: 40 hours on low, 90 hours on high
- Size and weight: 7 x 3.5 inches, 1 pound 14 ounces
- Modes: High, Low, and Strobe
- Water resistant: Yes
Ultimate Survival Technologies 60-Day Lantern Review
UST 60 Day Lantern Review: The UST 60-Day Lantern works on 6 D-cell batteries and offers low, medium, high, and strobe mode. High mode puts out an impressive 508 lumens, which can light a fairly large area. The light diffuser can be removed with a twist to provide more light or to signal for help in strobe mode. When set to low, this lantern offers an amazing run time of 60 days. The rubberized housing and carrying handle are both water resistant and durable.
This lantern is the heaviest of our six, weighing in at almost 4 pounds. The run time of 60 days only applies to the low setting, which at 18 lumens is not a lot of lighting. However, because of its long runtime, this lantern is one of the best LED lanterns on the market for long-term emergency preparation.
- Brightness: 18, 200, 508 lumens
- Battery life: 60 days on low, 36 hours on high
- Size and weight: 5.1 x 4.8 x 9.5 inches, 3.8 pounds
- Modes: High, Medium, Low, and Strobe
- Water resistant: Yes
Divine LEDs Ultra Bright LED Lantern Review
Divine LED Lantern Review: The Ultra Bright Lantern from Divine is a lightweight and collapsible lantern that runs on three AA batteries. The company uses military grade, water resistant materials and offers a 10-year warranty. It can produce 60 lumens for about 60 hours. There is no on/off button and the collapsible design allows the lantern to turn on when it is opened and off when it is closed.
This is the smallest and lightest of the five and the only one that is collapsible. This makes it the best for camping or hiking if you are planning on carrying your gear. However, it only offers one mode and does not have any rubberized surfaces. The prices will vary wildly with some retailers charging up to $60.
- Brightness: 60 Lumens
- Battery life: Up to 60 hours
- Size and weight: 10.6 ounces
- Modes: High
- Water Resistant: Yes
Ivation Hand Crank LED Lantern Review
Hand Crank LED Lantern Review: This hand crank lantern by Ivation is probably the neatest of the six we reviewed here. It is a perfect for a small tent when camping, and if your bug out bag is strapped for space, this lantern is key for tight spaces because it collapses for ease of storage.
Here are a few of the cool features of the Ivation. This is a rechargeable LED lantern that you charge by a hand crank. After just one minute of cranking, you can get 11 minutes of low-level light. You can also charge with the included USB cable, which also allows you to charge cell phones or other electronics in emergency situations.
Another cool feature of this rechargeable lantern is that is collapses into a flashlight. So you get a lantern and a flashlight.
The only problem with this lantern is it might be bit small or underpowered for more than just a LED camping lantern. If you are walking through the woods for an extended time or something else, you might want something bigger with a longer batter life.
This is perfect for tents and is one of the best backpacking lanterns around if you don’t want to add much weight to your pack.
- Brightness: 15-65 Lumens
- Battery life: 4.5 hours low light, 40 minutes high light. Rechargeable camping lantern with hand crank.
- Size and weight: 8 ounces
- Modes: Low, High
- Water Resistant: Rainproof, not waterproof.
My Vote for Best Camping Lantern
Each of these six lanterns has upsides and downsides. As far as brightness and battery life, the UST 60-Day Lantern wins by a landslide with a whopping 508 lumens on high and 60 days of battery life on low. This is brightest LED lantern of the six.
In the size and weight categories, the Divine Ultra Bright Lantern and Ivation were the lightest and most compact, making them the best option for carrying on the go.
As far as water resistance, the Weatheready Lantern by Energizer beats the competition with full IPX7 waterproofness.
The overall winner in my opinion is Ultimate Survival Technology’s 30-Day lantern. It is very bright, but not as heavy as its 60-day brother, which still allows it to be a great backpacking lantern. The rubberized housing makes it very durable and water resistant. This lantern would be excellent for a camping trip and it’s one of the best emergency lanterns on the market, offering bright and reliable illumination at a decent cost.