A few months ago, my neighborhood had a blackout. And true to Murphyâ€™s Law, I had a much harder time than necessary finding any of my flashlights or candles. It took some irritating groping in the dark – and I donâ€™t mean the fun kind – before I found a flashlight.
This got me thinking that I need to have some light sources around in conspicuous places. I headed to a few outdoor stores to pick up compact camping lantern sampler. I wanted to see which ones would be good for stashing around the house, stuffing in a backpack/car or even doing both. I wound up with a UCO (pronounced â€œyou-coe,â€ which I get wrong in the video below) Clarus lantern/flashlight combo, the tiny little NEBO Tools LUMO and the MPOWERD Luci Solar Light. Each one has multiple light levels and easy ways to attach a carabiner so you can dangle it from a handy spot inside your house or the roof of your tent.
Before you watch the video, be aware that I could see better than the GoPro camera could. So the tent appears brighter in person than in the video. ANOTHER NOTE ON THE VIDEO: ANY AND ALL LENS FLARE IS ACCIDENTAL – I AM NOT CHANNELING JAR-JAR ABRAMS!
Letâ€™s take a quick run through each camping lantern. The Clarus has a neat metal loop in the handle. Clip it to a carabiner and hang it from the rough of your tent, give it a little downward tug and it expands into a mini camping lantern. Push it back in, and it focuses the beam flashlight style. For $19.99, itâ€™s hard to argue with the value of having one of these. 150 lumens, 3 AAA batteries.
The tiny little LUMO is quite a deal. For $5.99, why not have one of these in every room of the house, in your car an in your backpack? Itâ€™s not the sort of gizmo youâ€™ll regret buying. Itâ€™s the least-bright camping lantern of the three, but itâ€™s also unbelievably small and inexpensive and comes with its own little carabiner. Itâ€™s only 25 lumens, but thatâ€™s better than zero lumens while fumbling in the dark for a 300-lumen flashlight you canâ€™t find.
As you can tell, I really like the Clarus and the LUMO. But itâ€™s the Luci that blows my mind. And why not? I mean, itâ€™s an inflatable, waterproof, solar-powered camping lantern. Attach it to your backpack to charge, which it will in about 8 hours. Itâ€™ll then give you about 12 hours of light, or you can let it sit somewhere and hold its charge for a year until you need it.
MPOWERD is also positioning Luci as a serious helping hand to bring lighting to people in areas that donâ€™t have reliable – or any – access to electricity. What I think of as a camping lantern is a primary lighting source to some people around the world. Iâ€™d say get a bunch for yourself and as gifts for your outdoorsy friends, and maybe throw a few bucks at MPOWERD to put a Luci in the hands of a family in need of some light. $10 – $25, lumens not listed. Or I missed it.
Honestly, each camping lantern in this post deserves a place in your gear stash. Any of them will also make a great gift for anyone, even those who think “If the outdoors are so great, why did we invent the indoors?”.
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