In Gear

Introduction

Nothing is better than a stress-free camping experience. You need the right gear if you want quality time in the beautiful outdoors with your friends or family.

Solar lanterns are the best way to make sure you have enough light without worrying about batteries. The best solar lantern should be compact, durable, and last as long as you need it.

Today’s solar lantern options are built to perfection. They are small-sized, long-lasting, and can offer ample light. The best part is that they can also withstand the toughest environmental conditions. This guide will talk about some of the best solar lantern options.

How to Choose a Great Solar Lantern for Your Outdoor Trips

Solar lanterns are recognized as a must when going camping or anywhere where conventional electricity is not an option. They offer reliable light in most settings and can be carried anywhere.

However, the sheer number of options can make it difficult to pick one that best fits your purpose. Here’s what you should consider while purchasing the best solar lantern.

Charge Length

The first factor you need to consider is the amount of time a single charge serves. Currently, the best available options on the market can provide light for up to 24 hours when used at a low setting. This is plenty of light even if you cannot recharge the lantern for several days in a row. During camping, you will only need the lantern for a few hours at night.

The amount of time the lantern takes to fully recharge should also be a consideration. Some solar lanterns need to be in the sun for far longer than regular lanterns. The average time for a full charge is 6 hours.

This isn’t a big problem if you are camping at a single spot for a few days. But this can be challenging if you are trekking or moving on a backpacking trip with the lantern packed in your gear for the better part of the day.

Multiple Charging Options

The idea behind solar lanterns is that they charge using the sun’s energy as opposed to using other resource-intensive modes of charging. However, it is always beneficial for a device to have multiple charging options. You don’t want to be stuck with a solar lantern with a single mode of charging on rainy or overcast days.

Look for charging options like batteries and USB ports. Any outdoor adventurer, whether a backpacker, hiker or a camper knows that having more options is always better when it comes to guaranteeing power during the night.

Size of the Lantern

Size and weight is an important factor with any camping equipment. You can use bigger sized solar lanterns if you prefer car or RV camping. You can easily pack it up with the rest of the equipment. All you need in this case is something that will give you enough light.

However, if you are taking a backpacking trip, you would probably be more concerned about the size of the lantern. Size is everything when it comes to packing your gear. You don’t want to carry unnecessary weight when you are traipsing through the wild.

Miscellaneous

Additional factors like a strong water-resistant performance and durable design should also factor into your decision for purchasing the best solar lantern. There are a lot of options when it comes to the selection of lighting, design colors, and hanging options. You can pick between suction cups, metal handles, hooks, and other things.

You should always find a lantern that best suits your purpose. For instance, water-resistance needs to be a priority over other things when your activities involve frequent paddle boarding in mountain lakes. Don’t forget to take a look at the warranty terms.

Top 10 Solar Lanterns

1. LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lanterns – Best Overall

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Description
  • Extra bright solar powered LED lantern. Multiple brightness settings make it a perfect indoor or outdoor light.
  • Lightweight, inflatable, collapsible, waterproof (IP67), shatterproof, and dustproof. Completely safe for children.
  • Great for camping, hiking, fishing, emergency preparedness, patio parties/picnics, fun in the pool, and more. Makes a perfect gift.

LuminAid inflatable solar-powered lantern is the best solar lantern if you are looking for something compact that offers expandable light. It can easily fold down to a 1-inch thick flat lantern that weighs less than 5 ounces. It offers 75 lumens of light for 4 hours.

The best part about the lantern is that it can float on the water since it is inflatable. It is designed to be waterproof with a rating of IP76. The lantern takes 10 to 14 hours to charge in full sun. A single charge can last as long as 24 hours in low setting.

There are two ways to recharge this solar lantern. You can use regular sun’s rays or micro USB input. USB cord is included with the lantern and can fully recharge it in just 2 hours. In fact, if required you can use the lantern as a power bank as well.

Why Buy It?

Multipurpose – LuminAID solar inflatable lantern is best for hiking, camping, patio parties, emergency preparedness, pool parties, and fishing among other activities. It is completely safe for children. It is also shatterproof and dustproof.

Long Battery Life –You can get 24 hours of battery life from a single charge. It doesn’t take too long to charge completely and comes with dual charging options. There are no additional batteries required with this best solar lantern.

PROS CONS
(+) Compact and lightweight (-) Takes too long to charge fully
(+) Easy to carry (-) Battery drains quickly on high light setting
(+) Long battery life

2. Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern – Best Buy

Goal Zero Crush Light solar-powered lantern is lightweight, inexpensive, and collapsible. It is a great buy if you are looking for something for personal use or to be hanged in a two or three-person tent. The design is straightforward and is offered at a reasonable price.

The construction is of high quality and the product is designed to be long-lasting. It fares much better than its competitors in the durability section. However, it won’t last long when used with large groups.

There is a mini-USB 5V port on the lantern to offer alternative solar charging. Goal Zero Crush Light has an accordion design that collapses to a compact 5″ x 5″ x 0.6″. This makes it slim enough to easily fit the auxiliary pocket of a backpack. The only downside to the lantern is that it is not very bright.

The brightness tops at 60 lumens which is very low as compared to competitors. However, the shine radius is consistent and goes from the center to the edges. This makes it a stellar companion when unwinding or playing cards at the end of a long day.

Why Buy It?

No-Fuss Design – The light has a hassle-free design and is easy to use. Use your thumbs to expand the light cover. Turn on the switch and cycle through various light settings with a successive pressing of the power button.

5 Light Panel – There are five LED lights on the panel that offer a nice warm glow as opposed to harsh white light from LEDs.

gh hopefully you are not in an alley!

PROS CONS
(+) Compact (-) Rated to just IPX4
(+) Dual powered (-) Low lumen
(+) Inexpensive

3. Survival Frog Pocket Light LED Solar Camping Lantern – Best in Features

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Description
  • 4.5V SOLAR PANEL: Use the power of the sun. The Pocket Light LED Solar Camping Lantern lasts more than 10 hours on one solar charge, plus it will charge your cell phone, and other electronic devices. But this solar camp lantern can also recharge itself in a flash (Full sun charge in 4-6 hours). Just 1 hour in the sun provides you with 30 minutes of light (low). Includes smart chip, offering protection from overcharging, over-discharging, and short circuiting.

Survival Frog Pocket Light employs a 4.5-volt solar panel to harness the power of the sun. A single solar charge can easily last 10 hours. It has a sterling capability to charge cellphones as well. It charges easily and doesn’t take too long. You can get 30 minutes of light on low setting with an hour’s charge.

There is a smart chip on the lantern to offer protection from overcharging, short-circuiting, and over-discharging. The lantern weighs only 5 oz. and is easy to pack and store. It is so small that it can easily fit a large pocket and transform it into a solar flashlight.

There is an emergency phone charger built into the design which is surprisingly versatile. You can charge your phone while the lantern is switched on without compromising on light quality.

Why Buy It?

Flash Charge – It doesn’t take more than 4 hours for Survival Frog Pocket Light to fully charge. A full charge can easily last up to 10 hours on the highest setting.

Emergency Signal Feature – The flashlight includes an easy signaling feature which makes it ideal for emergencies. You can use the lantern’s flash setting to easily signal for help from rescue teams.

PROS CONS
(+) Emergency signal (-) Low lumen output
(+) Flash charge (-) Short charge life
(+) Light weight

5. Olight S1A

4. BioLite Sunlight Solar Powered Lantern – Best in Design

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Description
  • Personal and portable 100-lumen solar LED lantern that can be charged during the day by sun or at home via micro USB port
  • Provides up to 50 hours of dimmable light on low and 4 hours on high, using the built-in 750 mAh rechargeable battery
  • Switch between the full RGB color spectrum light colors, including red night vision, to set the mood at any campsite or backyard

BioLite Sunlight solar-powered lantern is personal, compact, and portable. It offers a nice 100-lumen LED light and can be easily charged during the day by sun’s rays or at home through the micro USB port. The compact lantern can offer 50 hours of low setting light or 4 hours of high setting light on a full charge.

The lantern makes use of a built-in 750 mAh rechargeable battery to store energy. There are some poignant features in the BioLite Sunlight. It allows you to switch the entire RGB color spectrum. You can set the mood in your backyard or at a campsite with any light of your choice, including red night vision.

There is an integrated sundial in the construction to maximize recharging speeds. The design also allows for proper alignment to the sun for maximum charge. The lantern comes with a 360-degree kickstand which can be used as a stand, hold or a hanging hook for your light depending upon your setup.

Why Buy It?

Spectrum Colors – There is nothing better than being able to set the mood at a campsite. BioLite Sunlight can be configured to throw the light of any color, including a subdued red night light.

Bright Light – You can get light as bright as 100 lumens with BioLite Sunlight. The best part is that the 750 mAh battery allows you to use the lantern at this high light setting for up to 4 hours.

PROS CONS
(+) 100 lumens (-) Heats up on high settings
(+) Quick charge (-) Heavy
(+) Full RGB color spectrum

5. MPOWERD Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Light – Best Budget Buy

Description
  • This pocket-sized solar LED light is completely powered by the sun, no additional batteries needed. Set it in direct sunlight and Luci EMRG lasts up to 7 hours on a single charge
  • Lantern, flashlight & emergency light all-in-one
  • Inflatable, collapsible, lightweight (weighs only 2.4 ounces) and fully waterproof (IP67 rating)

MPOWERD Luci EMRG has a waterproof floating design. The rechargeable solar-powered lantern is lightweight and extremely durable. It can easily fit in your emergency kit or backpacking gear. It can work well in any kind of setting as long as the operating temperatures are 15 – 122°F.

There are four easy settings on the lanterns including bright, super bright, flashing, and S.O.S. It takes 8 hours for a full charge which offers 7 hours of bright setting light. MPOWERD Luci EMRG has three white LEDs that provide up to 100 sq. ft. of light with 25 lumens. The lantern also features one red LED.

The unique part about this best solar lantern is that it can retain up to 95% of its charge when not in use and stored appropriately. There are no additional batteries required with this pocket-sized solar LED light. All you need to do is set it in the sun and the batteries will recharge automatically.

Why Buy It?

All in one Design – MPOWERD Luci EMRG is a Lantern, emergency light, and flashlight all-in-one. It is lightweight and collapsible which makes it multipurpose. The device weighs just 2.4 ounces and is completely waterproof with an IP67 rating.

Multiple Light Setting – There are four distinct settings in this lantern for separate situations. You can set the mood with bright or super bright. You can also make use of the red & white S.O.S. or flashing light when in an emergency.

PROS CONS
(+) 1-year manufacturer warranty (-) Low lumen
(+) Different light settings (-) Short duration in a single charge
(+) Lightweight and durable

6. Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern – Value for Money

Description
  • ✅RECHARGE FROM VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE! - Solar rechargeable, so you never have to worry about running out of batteries on your outdoor and camping trips. Can also be quick charged by USB port. Need to make an emergency call but out of batteries and away from a power source? No problem, the Kizen lantern can charge up your phone enough for you to make that call.

Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern is the best solar lantern when you are looking for the most value for your buck and space. It has an innovative design and is no bigger than a hockey puck when completely collapsed. In fact, solar lanterns can fold down to a size that is 2.4 times smaller than its full size.

Kizen offers a 100% money-back lifetime warranty, which shows that they back their products completely. The lantern is loaded with features and can easily double as an Emergency Power Bank. The lantern is constructed out of good quality materials and is of a heavy-duty built. Unfortunately, it is not the most durable product around.

Why Buy It?

Different Lighting Options – When fully extended, the Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern has three different light modes. It can be used at high, low, and SOS setting for emergencies. It can also be used as a powerful flashlight when folded down to the size of a hockey puck.

Smart Design – There are not many solar lanterns on the market that can boast of a smart circuitry design. But, Kizen has been engineered to perfection and safety with multiple fail-safes to prevent overcharging and over-discharging. It also comes with safety features to prevent the circuits from overheating.

PROS CONS
(+) Lifetime warranty (-) Not durable
(+) Versatile (-) Battery cannot be replaced
(+) Safety features

7. d.light A2 Portable Solar Light for Camping –Most Resistant

Description
  • EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: Great addition to emergency kits and supplies
  • VERSATILE: Ultra-portable, ultra-bright LED camping lantern brings light anywhere without sacrificing brightness
  • RUGGED: Hurricane survival kit addition. Resistant to water, weather, dust, and drops

d.light A2 Portable Solar Light is designed to be maintenance-free, ultra-simple, and user-friendly. It is built out of heavy-duty materials to withstand accidental drops and rough use. This is one of the most rugged designs out there. It is also one of the cheapest at just $12.

The lantern is super bright with three different brightness levels. The light is thrown out in a circle from the center. A2 is the latest addition to the d.light line and is built to be smaller and lighter than other models. The light offered by the lantern is almost three times brighter than a campfire or a kerosene stove.

Each full charge offers 4 hours of light which is not that great as compared to other models on this list. But, the fact that d.light A2 has super-fast charging technology makes up for that. You never have to worry about sacrificing brightness again with this ultra-portable, ultra-bright LED camping lantern.

There is a metal handle on the body that doubles up as a stand. But, the handle cannot be used to hang the lantern. It comes with an integrated solar panel and a water-resistant power button. The LED bulbs are of high-quality and can offer a worry-free supply for 60,000 hours.

Why Buy It?

Rugged Design – A2 is built to withstand the roughest of use. It is water-resistant and can also withstand accidental drops. The lantern is weather and dust resistant.

Weight – d.light A2 Portable Solar Light is designed extensively for camping and backpacking. The product weighs just 80 grams and can easily fit into any crevice of your backpack.

PROS CONS
(+) Easy to handle (-) No hanging option
(+) Rugged design (-) No power charging
(+) Convenient battery life indicator

8. Odoland USB Rechargeable Solar Lantern – Easiest to Carry

Description
  • Solar & USB Powered: With built-in rechargeable battery, the lantern can be charged via the USB port. Its solar panel makes it possible to be charged directly from the sun, which may save your life especially when you haven’t access to charge the lantern. The charging indicator will tell you when it is fully charged.

Odoland USB Rechargeable Solar Lantern is a durable and multi-purpose product made from high-quality plastic. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that is powered via solar rays. It can also be charged using a USB cord. There is a handy charging indicator on the side of the body to let you know when the device is completely charged.

As one of the best solar lanterns on the market, it is built to be completely portable. It is small and lightweight. It can be easily carried in a pocket. The lantern is also easy to carry with a small metal loop at the top. You can use it to hang it in tents or strap it to backpacks. This makes it easy for the lantern to charge while you are on the go.

There are three light modes in the lantern to ensure you are always with the kind of light you need. The low warm white lasts the longest for 20 hours and emits up to 20 lumens. The cold white setting is the shortest, but the brightest. It can emit up to 150 lumens and last for up to 5 hours.

In an average setting, you would want to use high warm white which emits up to 90 lumens and can last for up to 7 hours. The lampshade is built from waterproof material. However, it is only resistant to splashing water. A good soaking may damage the product.

Why Buy It?

Collapsible – Odoland lantern has a collapsible design and can be adjusted to any space. It is easy to set up and can be folded down to a very small size.

High quality – The lantern is built to be durable and is made from high-quality plastic. It has a rugged design and can be easily carried or used anywhere.

PROS CONS
(+) Compact and collapsible (-) May take a long while to charge
(+) Dual recharging methods (-) Doesn’t store charge for long
(+) Up to 20 hours in a single charge

9. Kyng Bolt LiteSolar Rechargeable LED Lantern – Best in Size

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Description
  • RECHARGEABLE- New and improved design! Use solar energy or included USB cable to charge the internal 800 mAh battery. Lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge. 3 light modes are low- high- flashing.
  • PORTABLE- Use as a lantern when fully stretched, or as a flashlight when collapsed. Easy to carry and store.
  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL- Use it for camping, hiking, or emergencies. Hang as an overhead light using the included carabiner hook. Use as power bank to partially charge cell phone.

Kyng Bolt LiteSolar rechargeable lantern has an internal 800 mAh battery. It can be charged through solar rays and has a handy USB cable to charge through other means as well. The lantern offers 10 hours of light on a single charge. There are also three different light modes.

Low light setting is similar to a night light with 25 lumens whereas high light offers a comfortable 65 lumens. The product may not be the best solar lantern out there, but it is a decent purchase if you like white light and want something that charges quickly. There is also a flashing mode to signal distress.

LiteSolar is easy to carry and can be used as a handy flashlight when completely collapsed. It measures 3.3 inches wide by 2 inches high when fully collapsed. This opens to 4.75 inches when pulled open. The lantern offers enough range for a two-person tent.

Kyng offers a three-year warranty on the LiteSolar. Most other products on the market don’t come with a warranty.

Why Buy It?

Multipurpose – The best part about LiteSolar is that it is multi-functional. It can be used on camping trips, hiking, trekking, backyard parties, and even emergencies. The lantern can also be used as a power bank to charge a phone partially. However, it should be used only in case of an emergency.

Sturdy Design – Kyng Bolt LiteSolar is designed to be rugged and durable. It comes with a handy carabiner hook that can be used to convert it into an overhead light.

PROS CONS
(+) Lightweight (-) Low-quality battery
(+) Easy to hang (-) Low lumen output
(+) Double up as power bank

10. AGPTEK Solar Lantern– Most Flexible Design

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Description
  • 5 CHARGING METHODS: Solar Powered, Crank Dynamo, Car Adapter, AC Adapter or 3 x AA Battery.
  • GREEN POWER: Hand Crank Dynamo Solar 36 LED Lantern Outdoor Super Bright Camping Work Light.
  • LOW ENERGY CONSUMPTION: Built in the Polysilicon solar panels, brighter than the other camping light and lower energy consumption.

AGPTEK Solar Lantern has one of the most versatile designs. It comes with five modes of charging –solar-powered, crank dynamo, car adapter, AC adapter, and 3 AA batteries. The fact that the lantern can be powered by batteries gives you the flexibility to carry it on any kind of trip.

It is one of the greenest lanterns on the market right now. Even if there is no sun, you don’t have to rely on conventional energy. You can always charge the lantern with its handy crank dynamo to get some light in your camp. You can also use the hand crank feature to charge your phones through a nifty USB cord.

There are built-in Polysilicon solar panels that help in lower energy consumption while increasing the luminosity. There are only two light settings on offer – Bright and Superbright. The bright setting is enough to allow one person to read comfortably while the super bright setting can offer comfortable illumination for a larger group.

AGPTEK Solar Lantern comes with a carrying handle to make transportation easier.

Why Buy It?

Multi-charging Modes – You will never be without light in the outdoors with the 5 charging modes on offer.

Great Output – The lantern offers high luminosity in super bright mode. However, that tends to drain a charge quickly.

PROS CONS
(+) Affordable (-) Not water resistant
(+) 5 charging options (-) Bulky
(+) High output

A Standout Product

LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern is the best solar lantern at an attractive price point. It is compact, lightweight, and durable. It is also power-packed with interesting features that make it multifunctional.

The compact size doesn’t compromise on its luminosity. LuminAID offers 75 lumens for up to 4 hours which is awesome when you consider the fact that it doesn’t take long for it to charge fully.

Survival Frog Pocket Light comes to a close second. It offers some of the best features where solar lanterns are concerned. In addition, the battery life is really long. You can get 10 hours from a single charge. Plus, the lantern is among the safest on the list. You don’t have to worry about over-heating or short circuiting.

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