When I first started backpacking, back in the dark ages, there were not many choices for lights. You had heavy headlamps, that slid down into your glasses, lanterns that weighed a ton or flashlights that burned through batteries. I have felt for a long time that what really changed everything was LED bulbs finally being used. The first generations were not great, but were better than what we had before (I was in love with my first LED headlamp that I got in I think 2001).
Kirk and I love to travel, and more so like to car camp and cabin “camp”, along with hiking. I can attest that camping and cooking by headlamp isn’t fun. It only works if you are looking down (and heck, this sucks even with backpacking!) With the kids, the more light we can have, the better. Long-lasting, portable light? Even better. Add in a hand-crank? Keep talking! And Goal Zero has a lot of options.
The lantern charges via a USB port, that is installed permanently. No losing the cord, it is always there, carefully tucked in. No batteries to replace. With adapters you can charge this lantern in your car via your cigarette lighter as well (we have a USB port in our van).
Light levels are controlled by a large knob on front. To the left is one sided light, to the right is the full bulb. Each side allows various levels of light. Both sides lit up is a blazing 250 lumens.
Running a half side at low gives 48 hours of light, high gives 12, turbo 5 hours. Running both sides is low 24, high 6 and turbo 2.5 hours. That is quite a bit of light for the size of lantern.
Weight? Well, yes, you do pay for all that light: 1.1 pounds. If you are car camping or base camping, this isn’t a huge issue. Nor is it if you are sleeping in a 4 man tent with 2 small children who want the ENTIRE tent lit up.
Now then, the hand crank: 1 minute cranking gives about 10 minutes light. A fair trade off to me. Gives kids something to do. Bonus: the lantern has a “battery level” indicator in blue, that lights up as you crank it, showing that the battery is going up in charge. The same indicator also shows as you operate the lantern, showing the battery level, so you know when you are getting low.
The light has legs that pop down, allowing you to have the light higher up on a picnic table, in a tent or where ever. Meaning your lantern won’t get a wet bottom either, if the surface is nasty. The legs are dipped as well.
A side bonus is that it take a standard USB plug into it, in the front, and charge smartphones and whatever else you have along, that takes a USB cord. Now tell those kids to really get cranking if they want to watch a movie before bed 😉 It does connect as well to Goal Zero’s solar chargers as well, for a long-term solution.
This is a great addition to both a camping kit, but also for bug out kits.
FTC Disclosure: We received a copy for potential review.