Available from £4.99 (at the time of writing), this Kampa Zebedee camping lantern looks like it could be a fantastic bargain, but is it a worthwhile purchase to brighten your caravan holidays? Indeed, in the 21st century when many campsites have excellent electric hook-ups, are portable camping lights like this still relevant?

Well, here at Practical Caravan, we think they are. Of course, a camping lantern – or a collection of them – will never serve as your only light sources, but, nevertheless, they are very useful camping accessories to pack when you head off on tour. If you arrive on site after dark, they’re handy when you’re pitching your van. And if you want to spend more time outside or in your awning after dark, they emit a much brighter light than candles, as well as being safer and less messy – they can also often spread the light further.

Then there are those after dark trips to the toilet and shower blocks, for which a handheld light is useful to stop you from tripping over and hurting yourself. And the power supply at your campsite could trip out, so in emergencies having good lights that do not rely on mains power can be very convenient.

How do you choose the best outdoor lighting products for your caravan holidays? Price is, of course, a key factor for many, as is size. A smaller, lighter item is easier to store and to carry, plus if a hang up lantern is too heavy it will limit where you can put it, so this is something that it is very important to bear in mind when making your decision. A lantern that is small enough – or can be folded – to make a torch is a bonus, as then you have two products in one and less kit to cart about and find storage space for.

Indeed, versatility is one of the reasons why lanterns are great. They can hang up so they’re out of the way, you can carry them about, or they can stand on a table or the floor.

Output is another crucial factor and a good product will produce a bright light and disperse it widely and evenly. However, some more powerful lights will drain their batteries quickly and because you don’t want to be replacing batteries on a daily basis, this is something to consider. Some camping lanterns will have multiple power settings, so you can have a bright light or a less power hungry light, according to your needs, helping to eke out the battery life.

Here we review the Kampa Zebedee. It may be small, but this is a stroke of genius. With a bit of a twist and a push, the base slots neatly into the top, and the unit becomes not only a bright torch — thanks to a lens built into the bottom of the base — but also one that’s capable of fitting in a coat pocket. 

When opened out, the combination of three AA batteries, a 1W LED and the light-diffusing material provides an acceptably bright, soft illumination. There’s also a low-output mode, which allows up to 10 hours of use from a set of batteries. The only feature missing is a hook, which arguably for a lantern would be more useful than the handle included. But given its price, this is an excellent product and worthy of its fantastic score of five out of five.

The winner of the Practical Caravan camping lantern group test was the Outwell Carnelian 400 Lantern which, like this lamp from Kampa, received a glowing five-star rating. In addition, we tested the SunnCamp Lantern and it scored a very respectable four out of five.