Remember when a trusty Coleman lantern was the absolute best way to light up your campsite? Introduced in 1914, those kerosene-burning lamps were a mainstay with outdoor enthusiasts for decades. But nowadays there are tons of slick, new gadgets for outdoor illumination.
Here are the ones you'll want for your next camping excursion.
Gear Aid – a company that is best known for making stuff that repairs or enhances your existing outdoor gear – also made a pair of rugged camp lights. The most intriguing, called the FLUX, is built like a tank and comes with a massive 20,800 mAh rechargeable battery. That's enough power for 13 to 192 hours of light, depending on whether you're operating at firelight dim or eye-melting brightness.
Better yet, the FLUX comes with two USB ports so that massive battery can get to work recharging your phone, tablet, GoPro, or whatever outdoor gear you might have. Gear Aid also created a variety of mounts for the FLUX lantern, so you can pretty much put this thing anywhere you need it.
When it comes to camp lights loaded with cool features, it's tough to top the new Base Lantern from BioLite. Capable of pumping out 500 lumens, these lamps are water-resistant, durable, and designed to power BioLite's smaller SiteLight system. What sets the Base Lantern apart is the ability to control it from your tablet or smartphone, so you can set sleep timers, turn it on/off remotely, and choose the color and level of brightness. The lamp also has proximity sensors that turn it on when you wander into camp.
Available in November, the BioLite Base Lantern comes in two models, standard (7800 mAh battery) and XL (12000 mAh battery). Prices start at $100.
When setting out to create the Packlite Max, the designers at LuminAID wanted to make a camp light that is bright, simple to use, affordable, and highly packable (hence the name). This lantern features five levels of brightness with up to 150 lumens of light and a burn time of 50 hours. Its internal battery can be recharged using a USB adapter or a built-in solar panel.
As with other lights from LuminAid, the Packlite Max features an inflatable design that makes it easy to stuff into your backpack and inflate to its full size once you reach camp. The best part? It only weighs 6.8 ounces
Motorola isn't a company that usually comes to mind when you're talking camping gear, but it has designed an intriguing and versatile lantern. The LUMO Hybrid, which launches later this year, puts out 150 lumens of light and can quickly transform into a flashlight.
What makes this lantern shine through the crowd is a series of add-on modules that can attach to its base, extending its usefulness. Those modules include a Bluetooth wireless speaker, USB power bank, a digital weather station, and even a device to keep biting insects at bay. The lantern will sell for about $30 with each add-on module costing an additional $20-$30.
Capable of producing up to 300 lumens of light, the Madrona Hang-Out Lantern can quickly illuminate just about any campsite. A handy dial on the front of the light allows you to set the exact brightness you need, and a soft blue-light provides a more subtle glow when sitting around a campfire.
But this lantern's best feature is its magnetic hanging system, so you can suspend it from trees, the roof of your tent, or just about anywhere else. At just $40, it's one of the cheaper lamps out there.