Best Overall Lantern
Black Diamond Apollo
The Black Diamond Apollo
's innovative design and reliable performance earned it our Editors' Choice Award. The versatility quickly made it our go-to on camping trips and during power outages. Though not the lightest or brightest, it makes a great multipurpose option without sacrificing quality. Our favorite use for it was camping, but it would be great for larger backpacking groups or as a base camp light. In addition, Black Diamond offers an eco-friendly and money saving Black Diamond NRG Rechargeable Battery Kit
and Black Diamond NRG / NRG2 Car Charger Kit
that recharges the battery similar to a cell phone charger. If you are looking for a product that excels in every category, we highly recommend the Apollo.
Best for Budget-Minded and Eco-Friendly
MPOWERD Luci Original
The Luci Original
is the lightest product that we tested and it is also the only light tested that is solar powered. It only costs $15 and could be a great product for camping or backpacking. Several Lucis together make great backyard party decorations. It takes a full eight hours to charge but the charge lasts about 12 hours on high. This light packs down very small when deflated. The Luci is also waterproof and floats.
MPOWERED Luci Lights floating on Janie's pond. Napa, Ca.
Top Pick for Backcountry Enthusiasts
Black Diamond Voyager
For our Top Pick Award we wanted to recommend a product for backcountry enthusiasts. The Black Diamond Voyager
is light and extremely compact. As the little brother to the Black Diamond Apollo, we found ourselves reaching for the Orbit almost as much as the Editors' Choice winner. The Voyager also conveniently offers the Black Diamond NRG2 Rechargeable Battery Kit
sold separately. We loved the flashlight feature on this product and the fact that it is small and lightweight. Before embarking on this review, we had never backpacked with lanterns, preferring headlamps for our evening activities. Though we still bring headlamps, this review demonstrated the beauty of collecting around a central light source, particularly in areas where fires are prohibited. Of all the products we tested, the Voyager is the only one we would take into the backcountry.