How You Can Light A Coleman Lantern With Skill – Guide

Green Coleman fuel lantern is fixed on a tree during the daylight next to still river forest

I used to spend so much money on testing and owning several battery-powered LED lanterns. Sure, they are inexpensive, but they did not last long. So I had to keep replacing them. Everyone says that LED is the way to go.

But having finally purchased my first Coleman lantern, I have to disagree. Yes, for the uninitiated, lighting a Coleman lantern is no picnic.

Lighting A Coleman Lantern Is A Skill That Should Be Passed Down.

But if you are willing to learn how to light one up, its a handy skill that will say with you. Also, it won’t take you long to appreciate the history, design, and functionality of Coleman lanterns.

The company has a pretty strong customer base these days, having sold millions of lanterns over the years. If Coleman lanterns are new to you, let me tell you what I have learned.

The term refers to a line of lanterns produced by Coleman, a company famous for tents that came into existence in 1914. Their pressure lamps were initially designed for use with kerosene.

But the models that came after switched to gasolene and coleman propane lantern; though, they still make kerosene-powered lamps.

Green Coleman fuel lantern is fixed on a tree during the daylight next to still river forest

Types of Coleman Lanterns

You cannot buy a Coleman lantern without first identifying the type of lantern you want. Coleman lanterns are differentiated by the type of fuel they use, namely:

1. Kerosene

Some lanterns use kerosene, which is cheaper and safer than camp fuel. Such lanterns require less maintenance. People are drawn to kerosene lamps because they have a stylish look complimented by classic colors.

However, they are a little inconvenient because they require preheating with denatured alcohol. The case is also sold separately.

2. Camp fuel

These lanterns also feature a classic design. Their construction is quite sturdy. Not only is camp fuel cheaper than batteries, but the lanterns produce a warm and sufficiently bright light.

Any complaints you hear about these lanterns emanate from the fact that the fuel must be stored and transported separately.

The lanterns also require a little more work to start.

3. Coleman propane lantern

A propane lantern is cheap and easily accessible. If you want an exceptionally bright lantern, the coleman propane lantern option has you covered. The fact that they are so easy to light and operate only makes them more appealing.

Then again, you cannot ignore the recycling difficulty that propane tanks present. It is also worth noting that a propane lantern can be loud when raised to the highest setting.

Premium Powerhouse Dual Fuel Lantern By Coleman
With its dual fuel lanterns, the Coleman PowerHouse offers campers light for their tents at night. With dual fuel technology, you get the convenience of using Coleman liquid fuel, unleaded gasoline or regular gas.

Why you need a lantern?

Every camper understands the importance of keeping a Coleman Lantern on hand. You need them to keep your campsite lit. The gas-powered bright glow it produces is warm and inviting, creating a sense of nostalgia and comfort.

It is far more reliable than an ordinary flashlight or a smartphone, especially for people that require illumination on long trips.

Camper in the outback at night holds fuel latern to see trail

What you will need to light a Coleman lantern:

Before you can light your Coleman lantern, you must first gather all the essential items, namely:

1. A Coleman lantern

This goes without saying. Before you can light a Coleman lantern, you must first buy a Coleman lantern.

2. Two Mantles

A mantle is a device that generates bright white light. To guarantee your safety, you are encouraged to use Coleman mantles rather than their off-brand counterparts.

3. Fuel

You can’t light the lamp without fuel. You are better off using Coleman fuel, though various other options can work just as effectively.

4. Matches

You need a fire source. This is where matches enter the picture, though you can also use a lighter.

Precautions to take before lighting a Coleman lantern.

Vintage coleman red fuel tin battered showing warning labels
Campers are steadily moving towards propane lanterns rather than unleaded gasoline. This is because propane lanterns will acheive maximum brightness and the white gas burns cleaner without the mess of liquid.

Once you have all your equipment on hand, take some of these precautions into account before proceeding with the lighting of the lantern. They will keep you safe:

  1. As was mentioned above, endeavor to use Coleman fuel. It will burn steady and cleaner because there are no additives. It will extend the lifespan of your generator.
  2. As was also mentioned above, stick with Coleman mantles. They use Yttrium, which isn’t radioactive like the Thorium found in other mantles.
  3. Work from outside, especially if you have no experience lighting a lantern. When it comes to filling the lantern with fuel, use a funnel. This will avoid spillage.
  4. If the fuel splashes on your body, wash it off before proceeding. Don’t strike any matches near open fuel containers or spills.
  5. Do not pressurize until the filler cap is on tight. You should also ensure that the valve is shut off. The cap should stay in place when the lantern is hot and operational.
  6. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case things go wrong.
  7. Be sure to clean lanterns that haven’t been in use for a long time.
  8. The most crucial point is to follow fire laws and safety precautions as laid out by your wildlife or parks and rangers council. We want everybody to be safe, and we also want the natural habitat to be left as we had found it.
Fatwood Natural Pine Firestarter (1 Pack) for Campfire, BBQ, or Pellet Stove
BetterWood Products are safe, non-toxic, 100 percent all-natural firestarter made from natural pine stump resin. The firestarters are harvested from logging waste, no live nor endangered tree species.

Steps to follow when lighting a Coleman lantern.

Once you have taken all the necessary precautions, you can proceed with the lighting of the lantern, a process that involves the following:

  1. Start by opening the fuel cap and listening for the pressure as it releases. The objective here is to check whether there is pressure in the tank.
  2. To create pressure, turn the pump counter-clockwise before opening and pumping it ten to fifteen times.
  3. Make a quarter turn on the dial.
  4. Light a match and bring the flame to a hole under the globe. The lantern should light immediately.
  5. If the lantern fails to light, turn the prick cleaner 360 degrees. You have to do this a few times to clean the generator. For the lantern to light, the prick cleaner should be pointed down. Keep that in mind.
  6. Once the mantle is lit, put the match out and open the dial all the way. It should take twenty or so pumps to get the lantern shining adequately.
Dark fuel lantern position on floor in backcountry

Tips to keep in mind.

  1. When screwing the top bolt, do not screw it all the way down. It will crack the paint when the lantern heats up, and the lid expands.
  2. Don’t touch the mantle. You will make holes that will redirect the Coleman lantern flames up towards the glass of the globe.
  3. In situations where the pump isn’t producing pressure, soak the leather in olive oil.
  4. Don’t wax the lantern. The heat will destroy the wax.


Camper using fuel latern at dusk in snowy wooded area

It is difficult to argue against the iconic Coleman lantern. The designs are attractive, the light is intense, and there is a consistency in its operations that you just don’t see in most sources of camping light.

Not to mention a Coleman lantern light is warm, ambient and nostalgic. You can’t ask for a more reliable camping companion.