Coleman Lantern

Photo of a Coleman lantern

Get a deal on the classic Coleman camping lantern.

This essential piece of camping equipment sips gasoline and turns a mere 1.3 pints of fuel (about half a liter or 2.5 cups)  into 14 hours of light, or 7 hours of brilliant light.

The Coleman lantern is a camping icon, and not just because it’s been around for decades.

The Coleman lantern has been around for decades because the technology works!

The Coleman 285-700 Two-mantle Dual-Fuel Lantern is the classic gas lantern that will burn either official Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline, thus the “dual fuel” name.

The brilliant light of the lantern comes from Coleman “mantles.”  I have a mantle over my fireplace but these are different.

Coleman lantern “mantles” are cloth bags that you light on fire and turn into ash.  That fragile ash turns into a glowing filament.  

The mantles glow brightly as the gasoline vapor flame passes through them.  It’s amazing to watch.

But break the mantle and all you see is a dull blue flame (kind of like a Coleman stove).  Without the fragile ash mantles, the Coleman lamp is more of a heater than a lantern.  

The Coleman now has rust-proof porcelain ventilators.  Those are the vents on top that get cooked by the hot exhaust leaving the lantern.  Regular painted metal that gets roasted is prone to rust.  Not porcelain.

The “high” versus “low” settings might lead you to believe that the Coleman lantern has two settings.  Not true.

Actually the main valve sets the light level by controlling the flow of gas vapor like a faucet.  That means the lantern has nearly infinite settings, limited only by the precision of your valve control.  You can even set the flow very low to change the color to a dull orange glow and set the mood.

When it comes to fuel, there’s no need for heavy pressurized cylinders.  You pump up the lantern by hand.  A single pumping, especially if the fuel tank isn’t quite full, lasts for hours.

Cons: Coleman lantern mantles are fragile

Get a couple of extra mantles.  No matter how careful you are, sooner or later the flimsy ashen bag of the Coleman lantern mantle will get jarred and crack or break off.  

The mantles are therefore the Achilles’ heels of a Coleman lantern.  But they last a long, long time if you don’t drop the lantern or bang it into a tree.

Why we recommend the Coleman liquid fuel lantern

Pound-for-pound nothing beats the classic Coleman “gas” lantern. Not batteries or propane. Why?  Gasoline simply stores more energy for its weight.

There’s a reason that we use gasoline to fuel cars, motorcycles . . . and Coleman lamps.

Once upon a time, unleaded gas was hard to find.  Now unleaded gasoline is readily available.

Your car’s gas tank is a source of light in an emergency.  When the power goes out, if you have a Coleman lantern, a length of hose and know how to siphon, you have a source of hours and hours of light (and a fair amount of heat). 

While you’re at it, pick up a hard case.  

You will want a box to transport your lantern.  

Now it’s possible to paint wax or polyurethane on the cardboard box and keep it for quite awile — that’s the old school method.  

A hard case protects your lantern longer and better than a cardboard box, and stores extra mantles and matches.  

Either way, cardboard box or hard case, if you throw it around, expect to replace your mantles!  As mentioned, its fragile ash mantles are the Coleman lantern’s Achilles heel.

Consider getting a lantern and case together (and don’t forget the mantles).  Click here to read reviews.

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