The air is getting crisp and temperatures are starting to drop. It’s fall and that means it’s a great time of year to get out and camp! Whether you’re doing a backyard camping outing like Jason recommended or you’re going to a campground to get away for the weekend, you need some assistance once the natural light starts to fade. This is especially true if you are camping with kids! Camping is a great time to let them feel “big” and let them stay up late (Pro tip: even if it is only 9 pm, you can always tell them it’s midnight). While camping is a perfect time to huddle around a campfire for a while, as you start winding down for bed, it’s helpful to have a light to ease the bedtime routine along. My kids and I did a late summer backyard camping outing several weeks back, and reading Harry Potter by lantern while we were all relaxing in our sleeping bags was an excellent way to end the night.

We were aided by the Coleman Rugged Rechargeable Lithium-ion Lantern. My wife actually bought this one time we were expecting major thunderstorms and wanted something more than just flashlights in case the power went out. Ever since then, this has been an excellent piece of gear that we always keep charged for any event that might require additional lighting. Overall, I think this is an excellent and affordable option, but it certainly has its limits and drawbacks. I’ll get into all of those in due course.

The Coleman rugged rechargeable lithium-ion lantern. It’s a pretty good choice when balancing features and price, but it falls a little short on durability.

The Design:

The Coleman rugged lithium-ion lantern has a handle and a classic lantern sillouete. It’s simple and unapologetic. This lantern is not pushing any design barriers or bringing in a modern twist, but that’s not meant to be a slight against the lantern.

As far as functionality goes, the lantern has 3 settings: off, low, and high. Even on low, the lantern puts out a good amount of lighting for most camping adventures. Plus if your kids sleep better with a nightlight on, I’ve found that the low setting will last all night, no problem. High provides greater output if you’re trying to use it to light your way outside and make yourself more visible. Keep in mind, this is no replacement for a flashlight or headlamp.

Another design feature that I like about the Coleman lithium-ion lantern is the convenience and flexibility of charging options. The charging cable and plug fit in the base and are easily accessible by twisting the bottom of the lantern off. This is super convenient way of making sure you always have a charging option. Since the cable is separate from the wall plug, you could always charge the lantern with a rechargeable battery pack, solar array, or with your car! Even better, you can use the battery inside to charge your devices if you’re really in a pinch. A lantern thst doubles as a battery pack, now I’ve seen it all!

Charging cable and plug fit neatly in the base!

One design feature I don’t really like is the charging port. It feels cheap and actually came loose from the housing over time. This makes charging the lantern tricky and I have to wiggle the cord around sometimes to get it to charge these days.

The Size:

If you’re looking for a portable lantern, this is not it. You’re not going to take the Coleman lithium-ion lantern on a backpacking trip because it’s bulky. To be clear, this lantern is not intended for the ultralight crowd, but it’s something to consider. Overall dimensions are 11” tall and almost 6” in diameter. It’s also about 1.5 pounds, so while not a huge burden for carrying around the camp sight; it’s not ultra portable. This lantern is great for around the house or car camping, period.


This is a really affordable lantern, so it’s almost a no-brainer if you’re looking for something simple to get the job done. For the price, it’s pretty hard to beat.


The lantern itself feels a little cheap. It’s plastic and lightweight, so it just doesn’t feel as “rugged” as the name implies. I mentioned the charging port earlier because this really has not seen any extreme use and is starting to fail after a few years of use. At a certain point, it’s going to be even harder to charge and then it becomes just another item for the trash bin. I think I speak for both Jason and myself, when I say we value durability above most all things. We try to find a niche of good products that are both durable and affordable, and this one falls a little short in the durability realm.

The charging port is loose and kind of tricky to recharge these days.


  • Long battery life, especially on low setting
  • Charging cable nests in the base so it is hard to lose


  • Feels cheap and the charging port is loose after just a few years of light usage
  • Fairly bulky, so mostly good for car camping or backyard adventures

Rating: 3/5

At three stars, I don’t mean to say this product is not worth buying. Overall, I think the Coleman rugged lithium-ion lantern is a good lantern. You get great runtime on the battery and its simplicity is well executed. I just couldn’t overlook some of the durability aspects and when this one dies, I’m going to be searching for a new one that’s more rugged and maybe a bit more portable to give myself more flexibility for future camping trips.

What do you think? Was I too hard on the Coleman? Think I missed a great feature? Let us know in the comments.