When considering your outdoor lighting options for your caravan holidays, maybe it’s worth buying a camping lantern?

While many people choose campsites with electric hook-ups, here at Practical Caravan we think that it is still very important to take some kind of portable lighting away with us on our caravan holidays. If you need to go to your campsite’s amenities block after dark you’ll need a hand held light to show you the way. They are also useful to have if you need to pitch your van after dark.

Your campsite’s power supply might have a problem, in which case you’d be very grateful for a camping lantern to keep your caravan illuminated. They are also efficient ways to light your van, plus they are safer than candles and less messy, too.

You might also need camping lights if you want to sit outside in the long, summer evenings or you’d like to use your awning in the evenings, after the sun has gone down. Again, these lamps are more safe, more efficient and create less mess than candles.

What things do you need to bear in mind when looking to buy a camping lantern? The light output of the product is, of course, very important. However, as some very powerful lights quickly drain their batteries and you don’t want to have to change the batteries every single day, something with a variable light setting that consumes less power can be an advantage.

One of the things that makes camping lanterns super handy and versatile is that they can be carried around, hung up, or stood on a floor or a table. This means that size is key. If a lantern is too heavy, you’ll only be able to hang it in some places, plus it will be harder to carry and stow. Some traditional lanterns are bulky, which can also make them awkward to use, so you might want to consider a newer design that is easier to carry and might even fit in your pocket.

So, what did we think of the SunnCamp Lantern? With most lanterns using batteries and LEDs, this butane-powered model feels like a blast from the past. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the brightest we tested, with only Outwell’s winning Carnelian beating it. We also like the way the output is variable, which allows the small gas cylinder shown in the picture above to give up to seven hours of illumination. And while the unit isn’t especially compact, the lack of batteries keeps its weight down, which aids positioning, particularly when hanging it up.

Don’t forget, that all gas lamps, barbecues, candles and anything that burns oxygen needs to be used outside or in a well ventilated area to avoid all risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Nostalgia and bright light aside, though, the need for ventilation and the continual hiss from this butane-powered light remind us why LED lanterns became popular. At the time of writing, this product was available from £10.99.

As we said above, the winning lantern in our group test was the Outwell Carnelian 400 Lantern which scored five out of five. We also reviewed the affordable Kampa Zebedee, which received a five-star rating, too.