How to Choose a Camping Lantern

by PennPaddler

colemanlanternCamping requires some type of lantern. Options are gas, battery, or candle. They all have advantages and disadvantages.

Gas camping lanterns are probably the most common type of lantern in use for various reasons. One reason is that it’s one of the oldest types of lantern and many campers are familiar with the liquid and propane gas stoves; therefore it is convenient to use the gas type lanterns along side the gas stove.

Gas lanterns are very efficient, especially liquid gas, and they work well in almost any weather condition. Gas lanterns give off a lot of light and last for many years, if proper care is taken. But there are some disadvantages of the gas lantern. They are fragile and require more maintenance than other type of lanterns. They do require parts replacement, such as mantel and occasional globe, but if care is taken gas lanterns are less expensive in the long term. They are slightly noisy around a quiet campfire, and for gas propane lanterns you may have to pack extra propane bottles, but the propone bottles are interchangable with a propane camping stove.

Battery lanterns are very simple to operate, easy to light, provide plenty of light and work well in most conditions. They very durable, quiet and don’t require as much maintenance as the gas lanterns. They do not burn as hot and are safer than gas lanterns. Negatives are they will need to have spare batteries on multiday trips. Rechargeable lanterns do not last as long as a battery type. And although durable, battery lanterns just do not last as long as the gas type lanterns.

Inside the Tent
Some campers choose to take the gas lantern the tent. This isn’t a good idea for obvious reasons. Carbon monoxide and the danger or fire are serious hazards that result in deaths every year. Battery lanterns are the best type of light source inside the tent.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns consumers that each year there are about 30 deaths and 450 injuries because of carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of portable camping heaters, lanterns, or stoves inside tents, campers, and vehicles. Follow these guidelines to prevent this colorless, odorless gas from poisoning you and your family.

  1. Do not use portable heaters or lanterns while sleeping in enclosed areas such as tents, campers, and other vehicles. This is especially important at high altitudes, where the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is increased.
  2. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Low blood oxygen levels can result in loss of consciousness and death.
  3. See a doctor if you or a member of your family develops cold or flu-like symptoms while camping. Carbon monoxide poisoning, which can easily be mistaken for a cold or flu, is often detected too late.
  4. Alcohol consumption and drug use increase the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  5. Carbon monoxide is especially toxic to mother and child during pregnancy, infants, the elderly, smokers, and people with blood or circulatory system problems, such as anemia, or heart disease.
  6. CPSC is working with the camping equipment industry to limit the amount of carbon monoxide produced by portable heaters, lanterns, and stoves. Labels warning campers about carbon monoxide poisoning are being developed for these products.
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