A Coleman Lantern: 3 reasons you must have one for a military surplus tent adventure

June 9, 2018

I love to camp out with my family in an old surplus Army tent that my Grandpa Howard left to me, and which he used for many years for camping trips, deer camp, walnut harvest, and other forays into the wilderness that were common when I was a boy.

Grandpa had stayed in one similar during WWII when he was stationed in Europe during the Allied advance across Normandy. Something happened to him over there to where he always felt more comfortable and alive when he was living in an OD green canvas tent. He liked being in his tent way more than he liked being in the house it seemed, and he was always happiest when planning a camping trip.

One of the things that Grandpa always took with us on these camping trips, regardless of the weather or event, was an old kerosene Coleman lantern. It was amazing the uses he had for this lantern. It was definitely his most used tool, beyond having it for just light. He would tie off fishing line or nylon cordage and burn the ends of the twine to prevent fraying for instance; also he'd always light his Camel cigarette with the Coleman at night. He'd never use his Zippo. He also had three specific uses for the old Coleman, uses that have convinced me you should never go tent camping without a Coleman... Here they are:

1. Heat for the tent. While it might not sound like much to you, on a cold winter's night, the Coleman's heat made a big difference in the Army tent and grandpa would always set it on the ground between our cots so we could each get a bit of the warm glow put off by the globe.

2. Cooking Many mornings Grandpa would throw his half coffee can on the Coleman and cook oatmeal or an egg for me for my breakfast. Sometimes doing it right from his cot if he wasn't ready to get up just yet.

3. Making coffee. Grandpa's Coleman was put to work in the morning to cook the camp coffee if it was moist and hard to get the campfire going.

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