I use battery-powered lanterns for most of my nighttime camping activities because they are easy to use and inexpensive for the most part. But regardless of the price and ease of use what’s most important for me is the light spread of a lantern. I like and use Coleman Lanterns and, in this article, we are diving deep into their battery-powered lanterns to take a look at their various light spreads and as well as the duration of batteries for each lantern.
In general, a camping lantern is only as bright as the lumens it produces. The lumens per foot is the maximum effective range the light spreads that would allow you to see clearly enough to do things around your campsite or in your tent. This is usually between 80 and 1000 lumens. In addition to spreading enough light, a lantern must carry sufficient battery strength to allow enough time for a task to be completed.
The effective range of a lantern’s light can be measured by the distance in feet that the light spreads. This depends on the wattage of the bulb, the type of covering it has, and the strength of the batteries that power the bulb.
Think of it this way, one watt equals 15 lumens so if you needed a 40-watt bulb to give you enough light to see what you are doing then you would need a lantern that produces 600 lumens.
The Effective Distance of The Lantern Drops Over Larger Areas – As the light spreads, it gets dimmer and harder to see. When the light is under approximately 80 to 100 lumens, you can see but not enough to do a detailed task like assembling a tent or cooking. The numbers on the chart below are the effective distance of light spread need to do the average task around a campsite at night per Coleman battery powered lantern.
How Many Camping Lanterns Do I Need?
You need 4 types of camping lanterns. Most of the lighting needs around a campsite falls into four catagories:
1.General campsite lighting
2. Task lighting
3. Tent lighting
4. Chore lighting
General Campsite Lighting – Like your home when you are camping you may want to light up your entire campsite with enough light that you can walk about without a flashlight, see your family and friends faces and do fun things like sitting around the campfire, drinking a beverage or just chatting. This also allows you to see if any animals or unfamiliar people approach your campsite.
The light requirements for this would be 1000 lumens which equivalent to a 66 watt LED bulb. This would give an effect light spread of 39 feet based on our chart above. The Coleman OneSource 1000L or the Coleman 1000 Lumens LED Lantern with BatteryGuard would be the best choices to take care of this.
Task Lighting – If you are setting up your tent you will be fine with general light for your campsite, however if you are cleaning fish, cooking, cleaning your pistol or putting new line on your fishing rod you will need more concentrated light, but not necessarily stronger light.
Two hundred lumens is equal to 13 watts which placed with in 3 feet of the work you are doing will produce plenty of light and yet not blind you from the glare. The Coleman 2-in-1 Utility Light works really well.
I recommend that you place the light behind you at about 90 degrees and just off your right or left hand depending if you are right or left handed. This gives a better light spread for doing tedious work.
How many lumens does a tent lantern need?
Tent Lighting – A tent lantern needs 400 lumens. When I'm in my tent at night, I usually set up my cot and sleeping bag, change clothes and read. I don't do any detailed task in the tent unless it raining outside. So I like a 400 lumens lantern which is 26 watts. This is plenty of light to read and do about anything I need in my tent at night.
The Coleman Personal LED is perfect for use in your tent. It has a low and high settings. The low setting gives you about 70 hours of light on 4 D batteries which is great.
Chore Lighting – Chores are ongoing when campintg, even at night. If it's cold then you may be gathering firewood especially if you go to your site at the end of the day. Visits to your truck to gather items you could not carry to your site on the first or second trip and especially if you have to visit your portable toilet at night- you will need a personal light.
Since chores are different than task in that they do not require the same level of light to do meticulous work like measuring seasonings while cooking your favorite pot of campfire chili or threading a hook, you will not need as much focused light. But what you will need is 20 feet of light spread and a lantern light enough to carry while doing chores.
I like the Coleman CPX6 LED work light for chores. On the high setting it produces 600 lumens with a 39 foot light spread and has 100 lumens for lower light needs. It also comes with a rechargeable battery cartridge which I like a lot.
You can still use 4 D-batteries if you like and will get 55 hours of light time. It has a hook and loop handle for hanging which works nice in the toilet at night or on a tree limb.
I hope this help make your camping experience better.
All the best,