Lanterns and flashlights are something that every family will need on a family camping trip.  You can pretty much count on having to leave a lit lantern as a “night light” in the kids’ tent if your kids are young, and there should always be a lantern around for someone to take to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  So what type of lantern is the best to take on a family camping vacation? Here’s a brief look at your choices:

Solar powered

Solar powered lanterns are a great choice for family vacations because you won’t have to worry about a battery dying in the middle of the night or having the kids around fuel like gas or propane.  It is also the most environmentally friendly and non-toxic lantern option. The biggest problem with solar lanterns is that if the day is not sunny, then you won’t have a working lantern at night.  If you’re going to rely on solar lanterns, make sure the weather forecast says sun or bring a battery backup.

Battery powered

Battery powered lanterns are also a great choice for family camping because they are safe, easy to use, and won’t run out of power unless you forget to bring the backup batteries.  The biggest disadvantage of using battery powered lanterns is the cost of the batteries. When you’re packing for your family camping trip if you’re using battery powered lanterns always get at least twice as many batteries as you think you’ll need, just in case you can’t find batteries when you’re out camping.

If you are worried about the cost of the batteries you can get rechargeable battery lanterns and you can plug the charger into your car battery to get enough power to recharge all the lantern batteries.

Gas powered lanterns

Though traditionally used, generally gas powered lanterns are not a good choice when you’re camping with kids. Gas powered lanterns are dangerous – they can tip over and spill fuel or even start a fire. Any type of liquid fuel lantern is generally not recommended for family camping.  Stick with battery or solar powered lanterns to make sure that everyone stays safe.

There is another alternative when it comes to camping lights.  For kids that are scared of the dark and want a night light in their tents or don’t feel comfortable walking around with a lantern but don’t want to be  in the dark stick glow sticks are great.  The same glow sticks that are used to light up the night for kids at Halloween can be the perfect camping accessory. They burn for hours without getting hot and will eventually go out on their own.

Glow sticks are cheap, and you can get hundreds of them in many different colors for under $50. Look online or in party supply shops to find them in the spring and the summer.  Glow stick bracelets, necklaces and anklets are also a fun alternative.

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