How do lightweight gas lanterns compare to using one of the many compact battery powered models and are they cheaper to run. Batteries can be heavy items especially when there’s enough of them but is it possible to offset the weight by switching over to a fuel burning camping light instead?

We are going to look at two lanterns from Coleman and see how they stack up against some of their popular battery powered camp light range, along with the operating costs involved in keeping these camping essentials working in the long term.

Coleman Two-Mantle Dual Fuel Powerhouse Lantern

Coleman Two-Mantle Dual Fuel Powerhouse Lantern

Coleman Two-Mantle Dual Fuel Powerhouse Lantern
Click Picture for Full Details and Reviews

With a 7 hour burn time on the highest setting from a full tank (14 hours low) this Coleman lantern has a versatility that a dedicated cylinder light just doesn’t give.

The dual fuel option does go a long why to keeping down running cost along with making it more useable on longer trips. Your more likely to find unleaded gas than the correct cylinder of gas no matter where you. The lantern ships with two mantles and a funnel to take all the spillage out of filling the fuel reservoir up.

Additional Items Needed

Coleman Fuel 1Gallon

Fuel 1Gallon

Buying fuel in bulk quantities helps to keep the running costs down over time.

This one gallon tin of fuel from Coleman allows for multiple refills of the lantern. Click Here for More Details

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Coleman QuickPack 810 Lumens Lantern

Coleman QuickPack 810 Lumens Lantern

Coleman QuickPack 810 Lumens Lantern
Click Picture for Full Details and Reviews

A bright lantern with a maximum 810 lumen output the Coleman Quickpack is fueled by a 16.4 oz propane cylinder which unsurprisingly can be bought From Coleman Themselves.

Retailing for around the $4 mark (at the moment) there is as with most items a cost saving if purchased in bulk. If you planning to use the lantern regularly it may be a good idea to keep at least two spares hanging around for those spontaneous camping trips, emergencies and it makes one less item to go hunting around for before you go on vacation.

With a maximum burn time of 7 hours (high setting) and 13 hours (low setting) one canister of gas will see you through all but the longest nights comfortably.

To save on that all important pack space the lantern nests away with the burner placed where the case cylinder usually is and the housing fits over the top to keep everything in place. While this does help to reduce its height when not is use you still have to find somewhere to store the almost as wide gas cylinder among your belongings.

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Battery and Fuel Lanterns Comparison Chart

Coleman ModelPowered ByHigh/Low Times
Two-Mantle Dual Fuel Powerhouse LanternColeman Fuel or Unleaded Gas7 Hours/14 Hours
QuickPack 810 Lumens LanternPropane Cylinder7 Hours/13 Hours
MicroPacker Compact Battery Lantern3 x AA Cell Batteries15 Hours/92 Hours
Family Size Lantern8 x D Cell Batteries32 Hours/66 Hours
Twin LED Lantern8 x D Cell Batteries16 Hours/150 Hours

Different Burn Times Between Battery and Fuel Lanterns

One thing to keep in mind with the maximum times on battery lanterns is that from the moment you switch them on the light output will begin to fall as the batteries drain. At what light level the manufactures consider its not working and the point it becomes unusable in various outdoor conditions are two entirely separate things.

The very nature of the way gas lanterns operate means any noticeable decrease in light output will only occur shortly before it exhausts all available fuel.

This does raise some crucial points about the quality of batteries used in lanterns and running costs compared to gas models.

If you can power a cylinder gas lantern for 7 hours at its highest setting for the price of $4 (cost of cylinder) and an 8 “D” cell battery lantern for 32 hours on full whack when does the high quality of the batteries needed to get that level of performance start to cost more than the gas (hope that makes sense).

Cheap batteries can be bought in huge quantities very cheaply but we have never come across any that can handle being used long term in high current devices.

Safety Considerations

The chances of any safety problems with battery lanterns are slim with directly shorting out the batteries the only circumstance that could present a fire risk. The same cannot be said of gas lanterns but by following safety guidelines with a big dollop of commonsense thrown on top its more than possible to use one for years without encountering a problem.

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