Camping Lamps and Lantern Buying Guide
If your family is going camping with small children tearing around the place, an electric lantern is definitely the safe option. They can be knocked over and touched without the worry of burnt fingers or your tent burning down.
Battery: Great if you are going somewhere away from your car and mains electricity, batteries are widely available pretty much all over the globe.
Rechargeable: An integral battery unit can be charged either from the mains or from the 12v in car connector. This gives great flexibility for those spending long periods camping with a car.
Dynamo: When all else fails, you can always rely on brute force! A crank handle can be used to charge an integral battery.
Incandescent bulb: Common in more traditional lanterns, incandescent or filament bulbs are cheap to install, but are relatively energy hungry and are susceptible to breaking.
LED: Most modern electrical lanterns are illuminated by LED. This can be in the form of one extremely bright LED, or several less powerful LEDs. LEDs offer a high level of light output whilst consuming a relatively small amount of energy, thus offering great battery life. They are also more robust than traditional incandescent bulbs.
If you are after a lantern which emits a great deal of light and is cheap to run, gas lanterns are ideal.
Gas lanterns: There is a wide range of gas powered lanterns on the market, ranging from small backpacking sized lanterns running on small disposable gas canisters through to larger, brighter lanterns running on refillable Campingaz cylinders.
Liquid fuel lanterns: Whilst most people opt for gas or electric powered lanterns for camping trips, for some (particularly those going to more remote areas), a lantern which you can run on unleaded petrol or Coleman fuel is a more dependable option.
Mantles: These are small mesh socks which fit in the lantern and are the part which emits light. When new, the mantle is relatively large and made of a loose weaved fabric. Before the first use, the mantle should be attached to lantern, and lit. The mantle will burn for a short time, it will reduce in size and become fragile. Once you have done this, you are ready to turn on the gas and light the lantern. Mantles can be very fragile, and can break easily if touched or moved. It is always worthwhile having at least a couple of spare mantles with you.
Ignition: Whilst most lanterns require you to light the burner unit with a match or lighter, some lanterns come fitted with an ignition or Piezo system. This makes the job of lighting your stove that little bit easier.
Not sure what type of gas canister you need? Read our guide here.