When it comes to choosing camping equipment for our caravan holidays, we like to buy the best, but we won’t take things at face value, and in the course of our test bench product reviews we’re often surprised to find that received wisdom can be wrong. ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ and ‘You get what you pay for’ are popular clichés, but they’re not infallible. That’s why we get batches of rival camping equipment in to test thoroughly, putting them through identical demands on the Practical Caravan test bench.  

We tested 10 rival camping lanterns and you can see the pros, cons and verdict with star ratings here on the Practical Caravan website.

Let’s look at one of the more expensive camping lights available at the time of our group test. When we got the Vango 24 LED Rechargeable Lantern with Remote on the Practical Caravan test bench it looked pretty good at first. This was the second most expensive camping lantern tested, so we were expecting great things. 

There are many good things about this Vango camping lamp. It hasd a plastic case with a stainless steel cover, so it won’t rust when it gets damp. It comes with the protected lens, handle, hook and sturdy base that all good camping lanterns should have, and it’s also more sophisticated than you might think. 

The Vango 24 LED Lantern comes with a remote-control fob, allowing it to be switched on from your van or awning! This unique selling point makes it pretty cool camping gear to own.

Internally, there’s a high-density battery that provides 20 hours of light from just 10 hours of charging. Moreover, mains and 12V chargers are supplied, so you can charge it up using a normal UK plug socket at home, or a cigarette lighter on the road. Unfortunately, though, the 70 lumens of light that the Vango generates seems a little feeble for a lamp at this price.

The best camping light that we tested was the Outwell Carnelian 400 Lantern, from £24.99. It thoroughly deserves its five-star rating, and gives out far more light than its rivals. We also awarded five stars to the Outwell Morion, £11.50 and the Kampa Zebedee, from £4.99.

We awarded our only four-star rating to the SunnCamp Lantern, from £10.99, a handy little retro-style gas cylinder camping light giving out loads of light. If you use a gas camping light, make sure there is plenty of ventilation to avoid any danger of carbon monoxide poisoning while you’re enjoying evenings in your caravan or awning. If in doubt, keep a carbon monoxide detector handy. 

Three stars went to four worthy rival camping lights that we tested. They are the Halfords S88899, (its full name is the Halfords Advanced LED Spotlight Lantern 588899), from £19.99, the Gelert 7W Lantern, from £13.50 and the Powerplus 3 in 1, from £21.99.

Two stars each went to the final two camping lanterns we tested. This didn’t mean they were awful, by any means, because in fact we only test the best brands and products that we think deserve a good look. The two-star camping lights are the Gelert 7W Rechargeable Remote Controlled Lantern, from £19.99, and the Vango Light Barrel, the most expensive camping light tested, from £32.50. 

Vango is a well established brand in the UK and there are stockists all over England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Eire, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can easily find your nearest Vango stockist on the firm’s own website, or shop for your camping lights online with any number of online camping equipment shops. 

For more tests of camping equipment, from sleeping bags to portable heaters, battery chargers and more, check out our Practical Caravan accessory reviews