Camping is one of the best ways to escape our busy day-to-day lives but it’s not always as good as it should be unless you have the right gear. Getting caught out by being unprepared is the classic way a camping trip goes awry. You forget a good waterproof jacket or take a summer sleeping bag instead of a winter one, the list is endless.
One of the most annoying things that can happen is getting to your campsite in the evening and realizing you forgot your lantern, or simply forgot to charge it. Hanging out in a tent in the dark is a little boring and having no light source makes things like cooking and planning the next day pretty tricky.
The best camping lanterns are ones that work no matter what. Even if you forgot to charge it, misplaced the batteries, a solar camping lantern has got your back. Just leave them outside your tent while you enjoy the day and come home to a recharged lantern that’ll give you all the light you need for your evening.
There are loads of solar camping lanterns on the market and some are pretty unreliable. The charge doesn’t hold, the batteries wear out, and they can break quite easily. Luckily, we have rounded up some of the best solar lanterns around and dug into the details to help you find a solar camping lantern that’ll work and last.
Best For Water Activities
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The Best All-rounder
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Best On A Budget
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The LuminAID Packlite Nova Solar Inflatable Lantern is one of the best solar camping lanterns on the market. It packs down super small and with the 5 light modes, you can always find the right ambiance for your evening.
Weighing just 5 oz. and packing down to 4.75 x 4.75 x 1 inches, this is an ideal solar camping lantern for backpacking. You’ll be able to slot it into a tiny space in your pack and barely notice the extra weight.
The Packlite Nova can be charged via either solar charger or USB. It takes 10 hours to charge in direct sunlight and 1-2 hours via USB. Once fully charged, it’ll give you up to 24 hours of light in low light mode.
One of the best things about this lantern is that it’s expandable, just open it up, inflate it, and you create a long lantern that gives off a good amount of light. Being inflatable, it also floats and it’s fully waterproof, so if you love fishing or any other kind of water activity, this is a great choice.
The only drawbacks are that if you puncture the inflatable part, it doesn’t become that useful, or float anymore. Also the. attery can start to not fully charge after a while.
Overall an awesome solar camping lantern that’s affordable, light, packable, bright, and durable if looked after.
The SUAOKI Led Camping Lantern is a great choice if you’re looking for something light, portable, and versatile. The lantern is collapsable and so packs down very small for backpacking but opens up to give you a large amount of light in the evenings.
You can charge this solar camping lantern via USB and solar. It comes with a charging indicator so you know when any kind of charging is being effective, there is nothing worse than not knowing if the solar charger is working.
It’s worth charging to full at home before a camping trip and then using solar to top it up every day. The lantern also acts as a power bank, so you can charge your phone and other devices while you’re out in the wilderness.
The lantern has 3 modes; high, low, and SOS. The SOS gets a little annoying as you have to flick past it to get to the other modes and end up with a flashing light in your eyes. From a full charge, you’ll get 10 hours in low mode and 5 hours in high. It would be better if it lasted a bit longer.
The only major flaws with this solar camping lantern are that bugs get inside, and it’s not waterproof. So you’ll have to be careful with it if bugs get inside, so will dirt and dust.
Overall it’s a very compact, durable, light, and versatile solar camping lantern.
The AGPTEK Solar Camping Lantern is one of the most reliable lanterns if you’re in a tricky spot and looking for some charge. This lantern comes with 5 different methods to charge it with.
You can use AAA batteries, plug it into the wall, use a car adapter, crank the dynamo, and use the solar panel to charge this lantern. No matter where you are, and no matter the weather, you’ll be able to have a working lantern for your evenings.
The solar panels used are Polysilicon solar panels and are highly efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. The lantern is also made using energy-efficient components to ensure the charge lasts as long as possible.
It has two brightness modes and can be used as a power bank for charging your mobile phone or other devices. It also comes with a handy hanging handle for attaching it to your tent.
There are some negatives; the lantern doesn’t come with batteries and it’s likely to break if you drop it, so be careful with it. It’s also a little bulky for backpacking with.
Overall a solid solar camping lantern for car camping that’ll give you a charge no matter what the situation.
The d.light S30 Portable Solar Lantern is a no-frills, does what it says solar camping lantern. It doesn’t have the added features of being a power bank or things like that but it does what it’s meant to well, provide light and solar charge.
The solar panel on these lanterns is excellent and does a great job of charging the battery even on a cloudy day. There is also an indicator light so you that the solar charging is working. If you don’t want to worry about having to rely just on solar, you can also charge it via USB.
The lantern comes with 3 different light modes so you can find the right intensity for your needs, whether it’s cooking or reading at night. There is a handy hanging handle so you can clip it to the roof of your tent and you can also pop it onto the floor.
The lantern is pretty light at 7.2 oz. and the dimensions are just about small enough for use when backpacking. It’s well made, durable, and comes with a 2-year warranty.
Overall a reliable, durable, no-frills solar camping lantern.
The Odoland USB Rechargeable Solar Lantern is packed full of extra features that make it stand out from the others on the market. Additions like having a warm light mode, giving you a homey feel, instead of just having a blue light mode make those little differences.
This solar lantern is expandable. The lantern is just 6.4 oz. and measures only 2.2 x 2.4 inches when packed down, making it great for backpacking. Expanding it opens the silicone lampshade helping to spread the light generously and it glows in the dark after you’ve used it.
You can charge it via USB or by solar, plus there is a charging indicator to let you know if the lantern is charging or not. It comes with 3 light modes; white, high warm, and low warm, ideal for cooking, hanging out, or just reading in bed. It also comes with a foldable carabiner so you can clip it on anywhere.
The only drawbacks to this solar camping lantern are that it comes without instructions, making it a bit tricky to work out at first. And, the silicone lampshade is a bit of a dust magnet but wiping it with a damp cloth will sort it out.
Overall a handy solar camping lantern that’s affordable and has both homey and practical features that add a lot.
The Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern is a little bit of solar camping lantern perfection. It’s affordable, light, packable, has great extra features, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
This solar camping lantern can be quick-charged via USB or via solar over a longer period of time. It also doubles up as a power bank so you can charge your phone or any other device that uses a USB charger.
This lantern has been engineered with fail-safes to ensure the circuits don’t break from over-charging, over-heating, or over-discharging. This means it won’t do that annoying thing where it stops charging anymore if it’s been plugged in too long.
The lantern has 3 light modes, weighs just 8.8 oz. and packs down to just 3.35 x 1.77 inches. It’s perfect for backpacking and it can be used as a flashlight, how versatile can this thing be. Oh, it’s also splash-proof for solar charging in the rain.
Unfortunately, there are some negatives, but not serious ones. The included handle can pop off quite easily, and there is no charging indicator.
Otherwise, this is an incredibly durable, affordable, and versatile solar lantern and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
The TANSOREN Solar LED Camping Lantern is more of a car camping solar lantern as it’s a little bulky and heavy for squeezing into your pack.
It can be charged via 3 sources; AA batteries, solar, and being plugged into a wall. This means you can have some charge no matter where you are. It also doubles up as a power bank but it does not charge Apple products which is a major negative.
The base has 4 magnets in it, this allows you to put it on a metal surface and know that it won’t fall off, handy. It comes with 2 lighting modes, it compacts into itself and opens up to give an ok light.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t light up large areas well and it isn’t very durable. So you’ll have to be quite careful with it.
Overall an ok solar camping lantern that is better used for car camping than backpacking.
Another solar camping lantern from d.light. The d.light S3 Portable Solar Lantern is similar to the S30, but a little bit more portable. It comes without the lampshade and just has a stand to allow you to direct the light into any direction you like.
As with all d.light products, the solar panel is incredibly efficient and will charge your lantern even on a cloudy day. There is also a smart solar indicator on the side to show you the charge intensity it’s getting. You can also charge it via USB to ensure you have a full charge before your camping adventure.
The stand it comes on allows it to be hung, put on a table, or clipped to a bag. And, you can direct the light in any direction you please, even up. This makes all your nightly camping chores, like cooking or washing up, a lot easier.
The lantern is also highly portable and super light. It’s ideal for backpacking and it’s exceptionally durable while being very affordable.
Overall, it’s a pretty amazing solar camping lantern that gets the job done, plus buying one puts some money to a good cause.
Lighting modes are an important consideration when looking for the right solar camping lantern. Most lanterns come with a blue light and a few modes that range from high to low and SOS but some come with a few more.
The lighting modes of the lanterns in the review can range from turbo to low and SOS. There is one lantern that comes with a warm light instead of a bright blue light, check out the Odoland USB Rechargeable Solar Lantern if that’s what you’re looking for.
A range of lighting modes is great. High modes work well when you’re cooking or washing up while low modes are ideal for saving battery and having a mellow light when you’re heading to bed.
The more charging methods a solar lantern has available the better, especially if they don’t require any actual electricity. This means you’ll always be able to use your lantern no matter what. All the lanterns in the review have at least 2 charging modes, solar and USB, but some can also be charged via a car adapter, batteries, and a dynamo.
It’s up to you which charging methods you might like but have just USB and solar is enough. This way you can fully charge it before you go camping and keep topping up every day while you’re adventuring.
Weight and packed size is an important thing to think about if you’re into backpacking. The last thing you want is for a solar camping lantern to be heavy and bulky, much better if it’s small, light, and compact.
Almost all the lanterns in the review pack down very small and weigh around 1lb, making them ideal for backpacking.
Some of the solar camping lanterns in the review also double up as a power bank. This is a handy feature and worth having if you need it. Just be aware that you’ll have to be confident in the solar charging capability, as once you’ve plugged in your phone you might not have enough juice left for using the light at night.
The best solar camping lantern for water activities is the LuminAID Packlite Nova Solar Inflatable Lantern. The lantern floats, is waterproof, gives off great light, and charges via solar or USB. It’s also super light, packable, and affordable. What more could you ask for?
The best solar camping lantern, if you’re on a budget, is the d.light S3 Portable Solar Lantern. It’s light, portable, efficient, works well, and will last. You can charge it on a cloudy day or use a USB charger to top it off and it’s incredibly affordable.
The all-round best solar camping lantern is the Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern. It’s a power bank, it’s a lantern, it has in-built fails safes, and it’s light and portable. This solar camping lantern does it all for an awesome price.