If you are sick of using wasteful, battery-powered flashlights on your camping trips and are looking for a more efficient alternative, you might be interested in a solar-powered camping light. These little devices are charged by the sun in the day and will give you bright light all night.
This guide will walk you through how to choose the best solar lantern, as well as a few of our favorite products on the market right now.
Picking out the best outdoor solar lantern for your needs might be a little trickier than you think. It’s not just about choosing the best quality for the best price – there are a few important factors you are going to want to consider before you buy.
The design of the camping lantern you choose will make a big difference in how you use it. No matter what style of lantern you are looking for, you should make sure that the design is lightweight, compact, and easy to carry – this is especially important if you are backpacking with your lantern.
The problem with using solar power, especially for a product that you may need to rely on in an emergency, is that it is simply not always available. The best solar-powered camping lights will have a built-in power bank so that you can charge them up without any sunlight around in an emergency situation.
Some camping lanterns, as well as having solar-powered charging, can be charged through a USB portal or with another method. This is a helpful feature on a cloudy or stormy day when your lantern will not be able to get a proper charge. It could also be helpful if the charge runs out at night and you need to turn the light back on.
Like any camping gear, you will want to be sure that your solar-powered lantern is built to withstand the elements. You never know when a rainstorm or fog might strike.
Your solar LED lantern should be made out of tough, pliable plastic that is resistant to tears or cracks. Any metal parts on the lantern (clips, base, or handle) should be corrosion resistant and designed to hold up to wet conditions.
One of the most important features of a good camping light is that it is portable. A lot of small solar lanterns are collapsible, which can be really helpful for keeping them in a pack or pocket while you are hiking.
If you tend to do more car camping than backpacking, you may not need a collapsible light – a large solar lantern could provide more light for longer. But you should still make sure it is lightweight, compact, and easy to pick up and move.
The best solar camp lanterns can be used in multiple ways. Again, if this is the only light source you are carrying on a camping trip or backpacking trip, it is important that you can get the very most out of it.
For the best versatility, look for a lantern that can hang, or be used standing up. It is also helpful if the light is lightweight and can be easily carried, to help you navigate in the dark.
IIf you have never used portable solar lighting before, you might not realize how helpful it can be. There are several scenarios when you might need to use your solar-powered light – they are not only for camping.
In case of a power outage at home, for example, it can be really handy to have a solar-powered lantern at home. If battery-powered and other electric light sources fail, you will want to have something on hand that can light up space in a pinch.
It is also a good idea to keep a solar-powered lantern in your car, in case of an emergency situation. If your car battery dies, you will not be able to rely on your headlights or the overhead light in your cab. Solar-powered camping lanterns are light and super portable – it is easy to keep one in your glove box just in case you find yourself stranded in the middle of the night.
Using your solar-powered camping lantern is fairly easy. The most crucial step is to make sure that it gets plenty of charge during the day, while the sun is out. If you are backpacking, that can be tricky – you may want to keep your lantern clipped to the outside of your pack so that it can charge while you are hiking in the daytime.
Once you are set up at your campsite, hang or rest your lantern where you need it. You should not need to worry about conserving the charge –most top-quality camping lanterns will be able to stay on all night without losing their charge.
The lantern has 10 LED lights along with the bottom panel, which provides a full, even glow whether it is hanging or standing upright. It is inflatable, which means it is easy to pack down and carry in a pocket or clipped to the outside of a pack. One of the biggest advantages of an inflatable light is that it is easy to handle when it is blown up – it is light and can be carried or tossed around without any risk of breaking it. Blowing it up takes less than a minute.
12 hours of light is a huge benefit – the drawback is that this lantern only has one charging option. In order to give 12 hours of light, it has to be placed in direct sunlight for at least 7 hours. That means that this may not be the best choice as an emergency backup light.
For camping and backpacking in the summertime, though, this little inflatable light can be a solid affordable option.
Everyone has different preferences and different styles of camping. The best solar-powered camping lantern for you will be the one that suits your individual needs.
That said, our favorite out of the options on this list is definitely the AGPTEK Solar Lantern. This light is the best for emergency scenarios, with 5 different charging options that will never fail. It is also great for a camping trip. The only case it does not work well for is more serious backpacking – you may want to look for something a little smaller and collapsible for longer backpacking trips.
Whichever light you choose, make sure that it is portable, durable, and bright. The right solar powered camping lantern can make a huge difference on your next camping trip.