8 Best Solar Camping Lanterns in 2021

Best Solar Camping Lanterns
Image By Canva Photos

Whether you’re glamping with the whole family for a weekend getaway or braving the freezing temperatures and harsh slopes of the Appalachian trail, every outdoor excursion needs a good light source. Solar powered lanterns are a reliable, easy way to ensure you always have light when you need it, even if you aren’t around a power source. Read on to see our list of the best solar camping lanterns available today so that you can prepare for your next adventure.

Top Picks: Best Solar Camping Lanterns

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview:

  • Best Overall – MPOWERD Luci 2.0With 75 lumens, an integrated hanging hook, 24-hour runtime, and collapsible design, what’s not to love?
  • Runner Up – LuminAID PackLite NovaOur runner-up is beat out only due to price. It comes with USB charging capability and waterproof floating design.
  • Best on a Budget – TANSOREN Solar LEDFor reliable illumination on a budget, look no further than this durable, classic camping lantern.
  • The “Green” Pick – d.light S3Since 2006, d.light has been dedicated to providing clean, renewable solar light across the globe. Every sale of this high-efficiency solar lantern furthers that mission.
  • Best Collapsible – Kizen Solar LEDA powerful, reliable solar lantern that collapses down to the size of a hockey puck? Yes, please!
  • Best for Backpacking – Goal Zero CrushWith a flexible silicone “shade,” a collapsed size half an inch thick, and a weight of just over 3 ounces, you’ll never have to sacrifice prime backpack real estate again!
  • Most Reliable – AGPTEK Solar LanternWith the USB cord, car charger adapter, battery compartment, hand crank, and solar panel, you’ll never be without a way to get some light.
  • All-Purpose Charging – GoerTek Power BankNeed a reliable light source for your trip, but also want a way to charge your phone? GoerTek’s got you covered!

1. MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0

The best solar camping lanterns overall

MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 The best solar camping lanterns overall

Brand: MPOWERD | Lumens: 75 | Weight: 4.4 oz | Runtime: 24 hours | Price: 💰💰

MPOWERD is a trusted brand of excellent outdoor equipment, and their Luci Outdoor 2.0 Solar Inflatable Light is no exception. With a 75-lumen output and an average runtime of 24 hours on a single charge, this compact lantern offers plenty of illumination for most any casual activity, no matter how long your trip is! Where other solar powered lights can take forever to recharge, this baby takes a mere 7 hours from full depletion to get back up to 100%. Its waterproof design is submersible up to one meter and durably rated to withstand 150 pounds of pressure, ensuring it can handle anything you throw at it. At just 4.4 ounces and a collapsed width of just 1.5”, your lighting needs are covered whether you’re camping, glamping, or backpacking.

  • Integrated hook for easy hanging 
  • Multiple light settings to suit different needs
  • Collapsible design takes up minimal space when stored

  • Some reviewers mentioned that the power button is difficult to find in the dark
  • To switch the lantern off, you have to cycle through the remaining light modes

2. LuminAID PackLite Nove Inflatable Lantern

The best solar camping lantern: Runner Up

LuminAID PackLite Nove Inflatable Lantern The best solar camping lantern: Runner Up

Brand: LuminAID | Lumens: 75 | Weight: 5 oz | Runtime: 24 hours | Price: 💰💰

Second only due to price, the LuminAID PackLite Nova has all the same features you need in a solar lantern. The “inflatable” design collapses down to a 4.75” x 4/75” square that’s only 1” thick, meaning it will fit just about anywhere. Backpackers will appreciate the lightweight design at just 5 ounces. With a 10-hour charge time, you can enjoy 75 lumens of illumination for up to 24 consecutive hours. As a cool design feature, the straps that hold the lantern together when collapsed can be reversed and used as a loop for hanging or handle for holding.

  • Compact, lightweight design is easy to bring along
  • Waterproof construction rated IP67 and designed to float
  • Bonus USB charging backup for an additional power source

  • A few buyers have experienced the light break within weeks
  • Some reviewers disliked having so many different light settings to cycle through any time they want to turn the light on/off

3. TANSOREN Solar LED Camping Lantern

The best budget solar camping lantern

TANSOREN Solar LED Camping Lantern

Brand: TANSOREN | Lumens: 180 | Weight: 11.36 oz | Runtime: 8 hours | Price: 💰

Solar power might seem like a high-end feature, but with 21st-century technology, it’s become more accessible than ever. This super-bright solar camping lantern offers a stunning 180 lumens. Still, it costs less than $15, making it one of the most affordable solar lanterns on the market. As a backup, this baby can charge via USB, an AC outlet, or 3 AA batteries (not included). This means you can plug the lantern in to start your trip with a full charge and then recharge via solar later. As a bonus, the USB port can double as a charger for your Android smartphone or tablet. While the collapsible design is not as compact as some, it does protect the internal light mechanisms for added durability. 

  • Waterproof design for light in the rain
  • Built-in carry handle and/or handing hook
  • Easy operation – extend the lantern, and you’re good to go!

  • Takes a long time to fully charge via solar
  • The USB port is not compatible with Apple products

4. d.light S3 Portable Solar Lantern

The best eco-friendly solar camping lantern

d.light S3 Portable Solar Lantern

Brand: d.light | Lumens: 30 | Weight: 5.3 oz | Runtime: 12 hours | Price: 💰💰

Solar power is already a pretty eco-friendly concept. It causes no harmful emissions and takes advantage of a universal renewable resource. But why not take it a step further? The d.light S3 does just that. Since 2006, d.light has become a global leader in providing solar power to those with unreliable or nonexistent access to electricity, successfully providing an alternative to fossil fuel sources. Their brand claims to have supplied over 80 million people with clean, renewable light sources. Every sale supports the mission to spread renewable energy across the globe.

  • Backup charging capability via AC outlet
  • Integrated metal frame doubles as a stand, a hook, and a carry handle
  • Weather-resistant, high-efficiency solar panels can charge even on the cloudiest of days

  • A few reviewers mentioned that the on/off switch is “clunky”
  • Some reviewers noted that the light is not evenly distributed throughout the lens, which concentrates the lumens, making it seem extra-bright (too bright to look at)

5. Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern

The best collapsible solar camping lantern

Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern

Brand: Kizen | Lumens: 65 | Weight: 6.4 oz | Runtime: 10 hours | Price: 💰💰

While most of the solar lanterns we’ve looked at so far are collapsible, our favorite collapsing design comes from Kizen. Extended, the lantern is about the size of a water bottle and offers 65 lumens of 360-degree illumination. When closed, the lantern is about the size of a hockey puck, meaning it can easily fit in a pocket, backpack, purse, or rucksack. The integrated carry handle can be used as a hanging hook and folds flat against the lantern to maintain its compact size. With both a micro-USB and USB charging port, there’s plenty of backup power sources. Plus, you can use them to charge your phone in case of an emergency.

  • Includes 3 AAA batteries for backup power
  • Highly compact when compressed, fits almost anywhere
  • The top of the lantern is a flashlight with a focused beam of light

  • The “shade” of the lantern isn’t super durable, and rough handling may crumple or twist it
  • Even on the highest setting, the light radius doesn’t go too far – suitable for lighting up a tent, but not a whole campsite

6. Goal Zero Crush Light

The best backpacking solar camping lantern

Goal Zero Crush Light

Brand: Goal Zero | Lumens: 60 | Weight: 3.2 oz | Runtime: 35 hours | Price: 💰💰

Every backpacker knows that every single ounce makes a difference, and every inch of space is prime real estate. Goal Zero’s Crush Light weighs in at just 3.2 ounces, making it one the lightest solar camping lanterns, not to mention regular camping lanterns. It folds completely flat, measuring just over half an inch thick, and is a mere 4.95” x 4.95” square, so it takes up as little space in your bag as possible. The integrated carry handle and hanging hook folds flat as well and entirely detaches if need be. With 35 hours of runtime from a full charge, you’ll have enough light for your entire trip on a single charge. Choose from High, Medium, and Low light modes to suit the situation, or, for some ambiance, try the Flickering Candle setting.

  • Solar panels can charge while the lantern is collapsed
  • The “shade” is silicone for added water resistance, easy cleaning, and tear-resistant flexibility
  • One of the lightest weight and most compact camping lanterns available that still packs a punch

  • A few reviewers had issues with the silicone shade separating from the frame after multiple uses
  • Some reviewers noted a strong plastic smell upon delivery, and recommend airing the light out before use

7. AGPTEK Dynamo Solar Lantern

The best reliable solar camping lantern

AGPTEK Dynamo Solar Lantern

Brand: AGPTEK | Lumens: 240 | Weight: 25.6 oz | Runtime: 20 hours | Price: 💰💰💰

If you’re looking for a reliable camping lantern (or just an emergency light source in general), then AGPTEK has you covered. 

Dynamo has five different ways to charge: 

  • Plug it in with the included USB cable to any standard USB adapter
  • Attach the car charger adapter and charge it from your car
  • Fill it with 3 AAA batteries (not included)
  • Let the solar panel on top do its thing
  • Last but not least, if all else fails, use the hand crank! 

Choose from two light settings (Bright and Super Bright) depending on how much light radius you need. The lantern stands up on its own or can be hung or carried via the integrated handle. 

  • 240 lumens can light up a whole room with ease
  • Wire cage around the light protects from damage
  • Multiple charging methods ensure a reliable light source no matter the situation

  • Though powerful, this lantern is pretty hefty and doesn’t compact down at all
  • Despite the various charging methods, some experienced small battery charge

8. GoerTek Solar Power Bank

The best all-purpose solar camping lantern

GoerTek Solar Power Bank

Brand: GoerTek | Lumens: N/A | Weight: 21.4 oz | Runtime: 60 hours | Price: 💰💰💰💰

While some of the solar lanterns on our list have mentioned phone charging capability, most aren’t capable of fully charging up a device. Rather, they give you enough juice to make an emergency phone call. GoerTek’s Solar Power Bank, on the other hand, comes with three separate USB ports that, from 100% power, can recharge your smartphone up to 8 full times! With over 60 hours of light on the lowest setting (and three settings to choose from), you can make it an entire trip with plenty of light and phone charges without running out of power. 

  • Compact, flat design is easy to store and pack into a bag
  • Super durable chassis is IPX6 waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof
  • High capacity can charge smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, wireless earbuds, and more

  • Though the size is relatively compact, the power bank weighs 21.4 ounces, which is pretty costly for backpackers 
  • To fully charge the power bank via solar alone, it takes up to 83 hours, which is longer than any other solar lantern on our list

What to Look For in the Best Solar Camping Lanterns

Charging one of the Best Solar Camping Lanterns
Image by S. Shepard / Canva Photos

Solar camping lights come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with a variety of features, so here are a few things to keep in mind as you shop:

Light Output

The most important consideration for any light source is how much light it gives off. For lanterns, we measure this in lumens. For most activities (cooking, playing cards, changing clothes, etc), 50 to 100 lumens will be plenty. But if you’re planning on doing some night hiking, need to illuminate an entire picnic area, or are using one lantern to light up your entire campsite, you’ll probably want to get a higher lumen range, like 150 to 200 lumens.

Light Modes

Most solar powered camping lanterns will have a few different light settings (usually High, Low, and SOS). Some can double as a flashlight with a concentrated light beam as well as an ambient lantern light. High power is excellent for lighting up a larger area, and low power is better for reading before bed. SOS is, of course, a great feature to have in your pocket in case of emergency. 

Runtime

Just how long can you expect your lantern to stay lit from a full charge? If you need something to light up your tent at night so you can change before bed, then a few hours is more than enough. But if you’re planning on hiking in the dark, or will need something to light the way to the bathroom once or twice a night, then you’ll need something that lasts a little longer. 

Charging Modes

While all solar camping lights are designed to charge via solar power, some will have other options, like USB, hand crank, battery, or even standard outlet power. Having these extra methods to recharge your light source can be vital in an emergency situation, or if it’s just a really cloudy day and solar power isn’t cutting it.

Size and Weight

If you’re camping from your car, or an RV, then it might not matter too much how big or heavy your lantern is. But backpackers and frequent campers know how important space and weight is. The best solar lanterns will pack down to take up as little room as possible when traveling, and then open up when you’re ready to use them. 

Durability

Most solar powered camping lanterns are water-resistant, but resistance might not be enough if you’re expecting a downpour. And true wilderness campers know the value of drop resistance and structural integrity – you don’t want to lose your light source just because your gear took a beating. 

Functionality

While all solar lanterns will, ostensibly, act as a light, some can double as a phone charger, or an emergency radio, or a flashlight. If any of those features are important to you, be sure to find a lantern that can do that! 

Our Process

For this guide on the Best Solar Camping Lanterns, our team spent 3 hours researching the most popular options from over 10 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about seventy-five user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each solar camping lantern. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 8 on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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