Best Solar Lanterns for Backpacking and Hiking - 2018 Buyer’s Guide

  • Aug 20th 2018

When you are backpacking or hiking you want to travel as light as possible. There are still a few items worth carrying. Traditionally outdoor lanterns used gas or kerosene as fuel and were quite heavy and bulky to carry around everywhere. With today's technology, we have the environmentally friendly option of using a rechargeable solar lantern. The best solar lanterns for backpacking and hiking are now also very compact and lightweight. Besides being a green option solar power technology also equals free electricity.

We have done extensive research to find the best solar lanterns suited for backpacking and hiking and this article reveals the top picks.

Quick Navigation

  1. The best solar powered backpacking and hiking lanterns
  2. Things to consider when buying a portable solar lantern for backpacking and hiking
  3. Comparison table
  4. Moses Solar Powered Lantern
  5. Odoland Solar Lantern
  6. Kizen Solar Lantern
  7. SUAOKI Collapsible Clover Style
  8. Conclusion
There are two types of solar lanterns suitable for backpacking and hiking: lanterns with a built-in solar charger and lanterns that requires an external solar charger. Both types can typically also be charged by other means as well. In this article we mostly look at the first type of solar lanterns with a focus on portability. We believe that alongside brightness and capacity, portability is the most important property a backpacking or hiking lantern can have. The type that have a built-in solar charger is often less powerful than the other type of lanterns. If brightness and power is the most important property for you, or if you already are carrying a portable solar charger you should read this article about the most powerful solar lanterns instead.

Things to consider when buying a portable solar lantern for backpacking and hiking

Size and weight - The more compact and lightweight the solar lantern is the better.

Quality - this is alway on our list, good quality pays for itself in the long run and you will save both money and time. High quality materials and LED lamps are of course important but it is also important that the solar lamp got a high quality battery. A Li-ion battery is prefered and it should be able to handle around 500 recharges.

Brightness - You want a lantern that is bright. The very best option is a lantern that have adjustable brightness so it can be either very bright or dimmed down. A lamps brightness is declared in Lumen. The more Lumen the lamp got the brighter it is and we recommend at least 50 Lumen.

Capacity - How long can the lantern emit light before it needs to be recharged, the longer the better. Also important to consider is the recharge time of the batteries. It is desirable to be able to fully charge the batteries in less than eight hours of sunlight.

Functionality - Usability and extra features such as adjustable brightness, USB output and input etc.

Weatherproof - The lantern should at least be able to withstand light rain. A solar lantern that can survive being dropped or submerged in water is even better. To discern how well the lantern can withstand water you can look at it’s IPX certification.

Comparison Table

Moses Solar Powered Lantern


The Moses solar powered lantern is an excellent pick for backpacking and hiking. We love the ultra compact size and weight. This collapsible lantern is the smallest and most lightweight we have found. It has 3 output modes including a blinking SOS mode which can be great for emergencies. An other innovative feature is that it got a flashlight mode where the light is concentrated in a beam instead of 360 degrees. The Moses solar lantern is very similar to the Kizen lantern but a bit more expensive.

Specification

Brightness: 25, 65 Lumen
Size: 3.5 x 2 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
Duration: 5-10 hours
charge time: 4-6 hours

Pros

  • Most compact
  • Most lightweight
  • 3 output modes
  • Waterproof IPX4
  • Flashlight functionality
  • collapsible

Cons

  • Less bright
  • Less duration

Check out Moses Solar Powered Lantern on Amazon

Odoland Solar Lantern


The collapsible solar lantern from Odoland is our favorite lantern with built-in solar charger suited for backpacking and hiking. It has all the features you want except for a flashlight function. Despite this this is the one we think is the best pick. Compared to the other lanterns it is the brightest by far and still has better duration. It is not the smallest or most lightweight but the difference is negligible.

Specification

Brightness: 20, 90 and 150 Lumen
Size: 3.4 x 2.2 inches
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Duration: 5-20 hours
charge time: 4-5 hours

Pros

  • Brightest
  • Longest duration
  • collapsible
  • Waterproof
  • 3 output modes

Cons

  • No SOS output mode
  • least lightweight

Check out Odoland Solar Lantern on Amazon

Kizen Solar Lantern


The Kizen solar powered lantern is our second favorite pick for backpacking and hiking. We love the ultra compact size and weight. This collapsible lantern is the smallest and most lightweight we have found. It has 3 output modes including a blinking SOS mode which can be great for emergencies. An other innovative feature is that it got a flashlight mode where the light is concentrated in a beam instead of 360 degrees. This solar lantern is very similar to the Moses lantern but it is a bit more affordable.

Specification

Brightness: 25, 65 Lumen
Size: 3.5 x 2 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
Duration: 5-10 hours
charge time: 4-6 hours

Pros

  • Most compact
  • Most lightweight
  • 3 output modes
  • Waterproof IPX4
  • Flashlight functionality
  • collapsible

Cons

  • Less bright
  • Less duration

Check out Kizen Solar Lantern on Amazon

SUAOKI Collapsible Clover Style


SUAOKI's solar lantern got a different design with it's collapsible clover style. This design can be preferable if you want more light directed downward instead of to the sides. It makes it perfect for reading maps or preparing food etc. The built-in solar charger in this lantern is also the most powerful compared to the other lanterns and it got the fastest recharge times. It is not the most lightweight and have a rather short duration but we still feel that it deserves a spot on our list because of the innovative design.

Specification

Brightness: unspecified
Size: 2.5 x 5.9 inches
Weight: 5.9 ounces
Duration: 2-4 hours
charge time: 3-4 hours

Pros

  • Fastest solar charging
  • Collapsible
  • 3 output modes

Cons

  • Smallest duration
  • less compact

Check out SUAOKI Collapsible Clover Style on Amazon

Conclusion

We have two favorite picks in this list and which one is the best choice for you depends on if you want the most compact or the most powerful rechargeable solar lantern when you go backpacking or hiking. The Odoland Solar Lantern is the most powerful and durable. Our other favorite is the Kizen Solar Lantern because of it's ultra-compact size and weight combined with the great flashlight feature.