Some of us are old enough to remember when LED camping lanterns were the primary (only) source of light, especially in rural areas before electricity was widely available. The lantern lit the way to the barn and down the path to that special little "out house". A lantern can be classed as any portable lighting device used to light large areas. LED camping lanterns are used in signaling, and widely used for camping.
The simplest form of a LED camping lantern, and most likely the first, is the candle lantern. A candle is placed in a metal box with glass sides and an open top. We all know of the kerosene lantern, also referred to as a "hurricane lantern". This type lantern was commonly used from the 19th century into the middle of the 20th century. This lantern, or a version of, is still used by campers and other outdoorsmen. The kerosene LED camping lantern is ruggedly built for portability. The metal chimney and side tubes support the glass globe and enhance the draft of air reaching the flame. Horse drawn carriages, railroad cars and ships were other early uses of the kerosene LED camping lantern.
The use of the kerosene lantern declined after electricity became widely available and improvements to battery operated devices were made. Today, the kerosene lantern is largely a collector’s item and is never lit. The kerosene lantern of the 19th century has largely been replaced by modern fueled lanterns and battery operated fluorescent lamp models. Because handling liquid fuel is dangerous, most modern LED camping lanterns use a small disposable steel cylinder to enclose the fuel and are simply disposed of when empty. This fuel is most likely propane. Of course, there are LED camping lanterns in use today that use kerosene, diesel and ethanol.
Modern electric LED camping lanterns have become very popular because they are safer to use, easier to use, and advancements have made them more durable. Some use a simple light bulb, while others use a more efficient fluorescent fixture. These LED camping lanterns use either disposable battery, rechargeable batteries that must eventually be replaced, or permanently installed rechargeable batteries.
Beyond the fueled LED camping lantern and the battery powered lantern is the LED camping lantern. Due to advancements in technology and a reduction in cost the LED camping lantern is widely available. LEDs have become brighter, more rugged and usually run longer than fluorescent and other bulbs.