There are many different camping lanterns to choose from today. No longer are you stuck with just one style, the traditional green lantern with kerosene, there are many, many to choose from.
Lantern types –
Candle lanterns – the use of candles in lanterns have gone way back and are still used today. They give off a soft glow and mirrors or other type of reflectors can be added to heighten the glow they give off. Using two candles is better than using only one. And they are much quieter than the fuel lanterns; however they don’t give off as much light, they become very hot and you can not get them near any type of material such as a tent.
Fuel lanterns – gas powered lanterns can run on various types of fuel depending on what type of lantern you purchase. Refillable, liquid fuel such as gas produces a nice light. Propane is another fuel efficient, powerful light and finally butane which comes in a disposable container and has a high light output.
The fuel lanterns have a stronger, brighter light than a battery operated lantern, however, they generate a lot of heat and an abundant of ventilation is needed to operate. In addition, many of these fuel lanterns can be very noisy when the fuel is rushing over the flame. You must use caution when operating any fuel-style lantern.
Mantles are the cloth pieces that the flame burn when a fuel burning lantern is lit. Once they have been burned, they become very brittle and should be disposed of properly. Bring several mantles on a camping trip because they don’t last as long as one might think.
Battery or electric powered lanterns – these offer a minimum of light output depending on what type of battery you are using. The LED light has a long life and can project a long, bright light with a pretty good battery life. The incandescent has a modest battery life, yet a good light output and most bulbs use a gas filled style which make them more fragile than the others. And lastly, florescent bulbs are larger and produce a lot of light. All of these are quiet and can be used with little or no supervision because they generate no heat. Disposal is a problem to the environment, however.
With battery or other electric powered lanterns, you should not attempt to insert and use lithium batteries inside these lanterns unless the manufacturers suggest using lithium batteries. You will ruin the lantern and light source if you use the lithium batteries.
Below 20 degrees, alkaline batteries loose their power rather quickly, so to help keep them working longer, carry them inside your clothing during the day and sleep with them in your sleeping bag at night to allow your body heat to keep them warm.
Solar rechargeable lantern – this lantern contains panels in the back which can be titled towards the sunlight to gain its energy for ‘burning’ the light during the night. And that would be a full seven hours. It contains a 9 watt energy saving U-tube florescent light and can be recharged three different ways – solar recharging, 120v UL approved house charging adapter and 12v car adaptor. This solar lantern also contains a remote control and a motion detection system up to 130 degree view. If you are using the house adaptor and the electricity goes out, the light will come on.
Windup/crack lanterns – there is no need for batteries in these lanterns because you hand crack or wind them up to get them going. Most of them come with a built-in radio and the lights are LED lights. There is no need for power plugs or expensive batteries, just fold out the crank handle and twirl it around a few times and you are good to go. There is an on/off button for both the radio and the lantern.
Propane torches – these are unlike the teak torches that people place around their back yards. These are actual propane filled torches that help to repel the bugs with a ring of citronella fire burning at eight inches high and will burn into the night for 10 hours unless you want to turn it off then you can with the on/off switch. There is a separate anchor located at the bottom near the stack so there won’t be any tipping over and the flame can withstand a 10 mile per hour wind gusts.
Compact backpacking lantern – is a small, butane filled camping lantern which comes with a small canister of butane which will last you 8.5 hours. It also comes with a carrying case and a mesh cover for the top of the lanterns flame.