Best Camping Lights for Tents – Top 8 Outdoor Lanterns

Best Camping Lights for Tents – Top 8 Outdoor Lanterns

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.


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 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.


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.


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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