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Which Fuel is Right for Your Coleman Lantern

by Craig Blake

Camping with a Coleman lantern

When the sun goes down on your camping trip, you won't have to be in the dark. A Coleman lantern ensures the fun can continue safely into the night. But how can you know which Coleman lantern will work best for you? While you'll want to consider several options, many will be dictated by the type of fuel you choose. There are Coleman lanterns that run on many different kinds of fuel, all with different benefits. Here is some information to help you pick the one best suited for your camping trip.

Fuel for Coleman Lanterns:

  1. Butane-propane mix: For diehard backpackers, a fuel mix of butane and propane is an excellent lightweight option. The next time you are hiking the switchbacks of Havasupai, trekking through the Subway or embarking on any other hiking trip not for the faint of heart, you'll appreciate the pounds you'll save with butane-propane mix canisters. Plus, butane-propane fuel canisters can easily attach to your Coleman lantern in seconds. On the other hand, cold weather makes this fuel difficult or impossible to use, so it is best for camping in moderate weather. The canisters also cannot be recycled.

  2. Coleman fuel: If reliability is your largest concern, a Coleman camping lantern that runs on Coleman fuel is the way to go. Also known as white gas or camping fuel, this fuel keeps Coleman lanterns lit even at subzero temperatures or at high altitudes. Coleman fuel canisters are reusable and fairly lightweight, making them a good option for high-altitude hikers. Instead of buying brand-new canisters for every trip, you can just refill them inexpensively and cut back on waste at the same time. However, campers will need to pump the canisters occasionally to ensure their reliability.

  3. Kerosene: Cheap and widely available, Coleman kerosene lanterns are also very dependable. Unfortunately, kerosene lanterns do have a noticeable smell, and can be smoky. Once the go-to fuel for camping trips, kerosene has waned in popularity with the increasing availability of other fuels. Still, kerosene is a good, reliable fuel for your Coleman lantern.

  4. Powermax fuel: This high-performance butane-propane mix is exclusive to Coleman. Powermax fuel has all the benefits of lightweight butane-propane mix canisters but minus many of the limitations. Cold weather and high altitudes are no problem for Powermax fuel, and the canisters are recyclable. Powermax fuel canisters are reliable regardless of the fuel pressure in the canister and are easy to disconnect and reconnect to your Coleman lantern.

  5. Propane: Propane is one of the most widely available fuels and is very easy to use. There is no pouring or pumping necessary with a Coleman propane lantern; just attach the fuel cylinder and let there be light. Propane lanterns are generally very reliable, but this fuel can struggle in subfreezing temperatures. Fuel cylinders will weigh somewhere between two and three pounds, so they might not be the best fit for your long-distance backpacking trip. Although propane isn't the cheapest fuel option, buying a large, refillable tank for longer camping trip can be very affordable.

  6. Unleaded Gasoline: Coleman lanterns with the DuelFuel feature are designed to run on the same unleaded gasoline used to fuel your vehicle. Perfect for emergency situations, you can use the gas in your automobile to fuel your lantern in a tight squeeze. Unleaded gasoline is also much cheaper than other fuels. And because Duelfuel Coleman lanterns also run on Coleman fuel, you can use whichever you choose. Using Coleman fuel will extend the life of your Coleman lantern, but the option to use cheap and readily available unleaded gasoline is a welcome addition.

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