Last Updated on September 10, 2020
If you want to enjoy any outdoor activity, especially hiking, you’re going to need a handy portable hiking lantern. It helps you find your way through the exciting paths of your trip, which are often scary and hard to navigate.
Picking out a lantern could be a little tough, especially if you don’t know what details to focus on. This is why I’ve cooked up this list of the best portable hiking lanterns you’ll find on the market, along with a help section that explains the features that matter most.
The 4 Best Portable Hiking Lanterns in 2020
1. Vont 4 Pack LED LanternView on Amazon
The Vont 4 Pack lantern is a pretty reliable choice with good luminance and incredibly lightweight design at only 10 ounces; this is why it’s a perfect choice for hiking if you’ll be walking for long distances. Not to mention, it’s weatherproof, so it has your back no matter when or where you hike.
It operates using four AAA batteries instead of a solar cell, which is a bit of a bummer, but still, the batteries aren’t too bulky. Those batteries enable it to produce 60 lumens of brightness, which is quite bright for a lantern of its price range, giving you good value for your money.
This is especially true because it has a robust construction and is easy to fold and unfold. Its collapsibility makes it more portable and practical since the brightness increases as you unfold the lantern.
- Highly portable
- Excellent brightness
- Very lightweight
- Long-lasting battery
- Uses batteries instead of solar cells
2. LE LED Camping LanternView on Amazon
The LE LED lantern is one of the best portable hiking lanterns you can get on the market. It weighs around 14 ounces, without batteries, measures 7 x 3.5 inches, and produces almost 1,000 lumens.
With four settings, you can control the beam of light in order to get the illumination that best suits your situation, whether you want a smaller shine or a directed beam of light.
However, it never turns off completely unless you take the batteries out of it. Otherwise, it keeps flashing on and off. While this is practical for finding it in the dark, it’s not the most convenient thing to have a light constantly flashing with no need. Plus, it drains the battery as this lantern only lasts 10 to 14 hours.
While it’s not completely waterproof, it can take a splash or two of water without getting damaged. It’s a good choice for people who don’t use their lanterns quite frequently.
- Affordable price
- Strong illumination ability
- Sufficiently lightweight
- Inconvenient battery compartment placement
- Must remove the battery to turn it off completely
3. Streamlight 44931 SiegeView on Amazon
The Streamlight 44931 is a robust lantern with strong spring “D” clips and a handle with enough tension to remain upright. It’s equipped with three white modes and two red ones and shines at 570 lumens maximally for 15 hours or 275 lumens if you want to keep it running for longer.
It comes with a flashing red SOS mode to keep you safe and a polycarbonate cover to protect the lantern. With that cover, it can float in water and keeps working even when fully submerged.
What’s more, it comes with an off/on button that lights up when in use and indicates the remaining battery life.
With so much to offer, it only weighs 15 ounces, making it one of the most powerful portable hiking lanterns.
- Operates when fully submerged
- Shock-resistant lens
- Stable rubber base
- Batteries make it a little heavy
4. Coleman Gas LanternView on Amazon
With 1,000 lumens up to 75 feet, the Coleman gas is a pretty powerful lantern. It runs up to 7.5 hours on one 16.4-ounce propane cylinder that you buy separately. It comes with a glass globe that withstands high temperatures.
To make performance more convenient and consistent, it comes with pressure-regulation technology. However, the knob is a little fidgety.
The bail handle enables you to hang it wherever you want while the collapsible footed base allows for compact storage.
- Excellent design
- Bright illumination
- Flimsy knob
Choosing a Hiking Lantern
Since you’re looking for a hiking lantern in the first place, you’re probably most concerned with portability, weight, and compactness to suit a backpacking adventure.
However, there are a couple of aspects that you should consider, too, including how much illumination you need, whether you want it for emergency situations, and how long you want it to last. Here are the features that define a good hiking lantern:
Uses and Portability
You should spend a lot of time figuring out exactly what you’ll be using your lantern for. Is it only to illuminate your route? Do you want to hang it in a one-person tent? Or are you going to use it with an entire campsite?
Since you’ll be using your lantern to backpack, you want to get a very lightweight option, so you want to aim for under one pound.
Some lanterns come with the ability to charge your electronic devices, which is an incredible option if you’re going to be trekking a lot and won’t have the luxury of finding an outlet often.
Power Source and Brightness
The brightness of the lantern is indicated by the lumen output. The higher its number is, the brighter your lantern’s illumination would be.
Most models come with options of low and high, especially ones that bear battery-saving in mind, as there’s a trade-off between run time and intensity of illumination. Anything above 500 lumens would be good enough.
You might want to look into solar or battery-powered options, especially if you won’t have a car that you can get to every now and then. Also, if you plan to use your lantern inside a tent, you should opt for LED ones instead of gas—or flame—powered ones.
Quality of Light
You should consider the attributes of light your lantern produces in terms of quality and color. Light temperature is what you should consider, and LED lights can produce a spectrum of different light tones. If you want the strongest illumination to cover the widest area, you should opt for white light.
To sum it up, decide on the strength of illumination, uses, and portability requirements, and you’ll be able to find the best portable hiking lantern for yourself.