This kerosene lantern by Stansport is a viable option for the budget-minded prepper and was recently included in this lantern comparison. While I prefer LED lanterns for the safety concerns (especially with having young children) and propane lanterns for the sheer convenience and brightness (particularly while camping) the lowly kerosene lantern certainly has it’s place in your emergency preps.
No doubt there are far better kerosene lantern options out there if you expect to use it regularly, however, this budget model could serve the average suburban prepper well enough. I purchased a few of these from Walmart a while back since kerosene is a relative last resort in lanterns for me.
As for this lantern, it’s what you would expect… not the best of construction but I don’t expect it to fall apart after one use either and it hasn’t. Of course, it is made of thin metal and a glass globe so I wouldn’t want to drop it. As expected, it includes an adjustable wick. I think it holds up to 8 ounces of kerosene fuel which will last for a few nights without refilling.
If you fiddle with it for a few minutes, you’ll easily understand how it all goes together and comes apart. Before first use you need to insert a wick, which requires you to remove the glass globe. Fortunately, this is very easy to do. Filling the lantern is (strangely) a bit more challenging as the fill cap is difficult to remove and requires you to “push to remove” and is a little tricky at first.
Once everything is together you need to let the wick soak up kerosene for a while and then you can light it. With the adjustable wick you can increase or decrease the brightness of the lantern with a knob; too much and it starts to smoke badly, too little and it eventually goes out.
The lantern does what I expect it to… it lights up a small room at least enough to see what you’re doing without tripping over everything, but it’s not going to be like you’ve turned on the kitchen lights either. This is where propane (and even LED) lanterns excel as compared to kerosene lanterns… they’re quite a bit brighter but not as easy on the fuel resources (propane that is). I know preppers aren’t often fans of battery-powered lanterns but I like them for short-term emergencies most of all. Regardless, a simple kerosene lantern such as this one will see you through most shor term situations. Include several bottles of kerosene (or better yet buy in bulk) and you’ll be set for a while.
I did notice that even when I tried to keep the flame down to avoid smoking–and therefore suit build-up on the glass inner–it was difficult to do. I would imagine better kerosene lanterns are better at avoiding suit build-up. As such, chances are you’re going have to remove the glass to clean it after each use for sure. The other thing I noticed with this lantern is that the handle seemed to get caught between the glass globe and wire rack whenever I removed the glass globe for cleaning or inserting the wick. This should be chalked up to user error. So long as I pay attention when I put the glass globe back that shouldn’t happen but it did occur the first few times.
The last significant concern is that of having an open flame indoors, so be cognizant of this fact. Ensure you have CO detectors, smoke alarms, and practice general flame safety at all times. Heck, crack a window just to be sure.
You’re also going to need some lantern wicks too…
One last point I haven’t brought up yet is that of using lamp oil instead of kerosene. Because lamp oil is more purified than kerosene, using it should allow for a cleaner burn and, therefore, less suit build up. The only problem is that it’s more expensive than kerosene and, in my opinion, the whole purpose of using said kerosene lantern is because it can be done so cost-effectively. Anyway, all things considered, kerosene lanterns do have their place in your preps and have proven themselves for many years. My suggestion would be to spend the money on a quality lantern and leave the budget ones (such as this one) on the store shelves.