Camping 101: How Many Lumens for Camping Lantern?

Camping 101 How Many Lumens for Camping Lantern

One cardinal rule when you go out on a camping is to be ready with your light source. A campfire is good for heat, cooking, and lighting but it can only reach so far and it will only last if there are logs to burn.

Another downside of a campfire is its fixed location – you cannot carry it around with you. So when you have to light an area far from a camp fire, relying on a campfire alone is not enough. To do the job well, you will need a portable camping lantern with you.

When you search the market now for camping lanterns, you will find yourself swamped with different brands, in different sizes, various features, all boasting of a certain number of lumens and degree of brightness.

But how do you know which type is ideal for outdoor camping? And how many lumens are needed for a camping lantern? Let us find out in this article.

All About Lumens And Brightness

You would probably often, if not always, come across the word “lumen” when looking for a camping lantern to buy on the internet.

It is not a word that you always encounter in your day-to-day activities but it is important when it comes to lanterns and flashlights. But what does lumen mean exactly and how does it affect a camping lantern’s performance?

A lumen is a unit of measurement used to determine the total amount of visible light a flashlight or lantern can emit in any one direction.

A device can be used to measure the light energy and the total light output of a certain lighting apparatus. However, the number of lumens does not necessarily equate to the level of brightness a lantern can create.

Otherwise stated, if a certain camping lantern has several lumens, let say 100 lumens, compared to another lantern that has only 80 lumens, it does not automatically mean that the lantern that has 100 lumens provides brighter light than the 80-lumen camping lantern.

It is rather the optics and design – that utilize and project the lighting capacity of a camping lantern – that determine the brightness.

How Many Lumens for a Camping Lantern?

So how many lumens are needed from a camping lantern? The answer to that depends on how you are going to use the camping lantern.

There is no hard and fast rule for this but, if you are planning to go on camping with two or three people, a camping lantern with 100 lumens, as a rule, is sufficient to cover the participants and the area.

If your party is composed of more than three (3) people, a camping lantern with a higher number of lumens is recommended. This is mainly because the more lumens a camping lantern has, the wider the scope of illumination you can get.

In reverse, if you plan to go for a solitary activity, a lantern with lower number of lumens will do the job well enough.

The purpose of using the lantern will determine how any lumens you need to have. If you are indoors or in a closed quarter, 10 to 35 lumens will do the work fine.

It would be a different story when you have to go on a search and rescue activity – a lantern that can cover a wider space and with a higher number of lumens is necessary. For example, a typical lantern with 260 lumens has the capacity to cast a beam around its area as far as 656 feet.

It should be noted, however, that the more lumens a camping lantern has, the faster it drains the battery or power reserve because it consumes more energy.

Lumen Options

Since different purposes necessitate different numbers of lumens, it is more convenient to buy a camping lantern that allows you to choose between several brightness and lumen settings. There are camping lanterns available that allow you to choose between low, high and strobe settings.

The high mode provides the highest lumen capacity of a lantern and the low mode it the minimum lumen it creates when turned on. An additional strobe option can be quite handy as well especially when you are in emergency situations.

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