2012 Camping Lights & Lanterns
April 3, 2012
Filed under Lights & Lamps
The basic battery-powered light source was a game changer for campers who were tired of changing mantles and carrying fuel cans. But, in an age where going mobile and not being slowed down to recharge are the driving forces behind gadgets, the makers of camp lighting are ahead of the trend with new lanterns, flashlights, headlamps, and, many times combinations thereof that are more portable, have longer running times and better performance. We spoke to some of the top makers of outdoor lighting gear to get the insider’s view on what drove the development for this year’s lights and lanterns.
According to Norm Krantz, vice president of product development for Goal Zero, “One of the most exciting changes in camp lighting to me is the development of new phosphors for LED lights. These phosphors make white light from LEDs more palatable than in the past and in many cases the colors are indistinguishable from traditional incandescent lights.”
Johnson Outdoors’ designers also see LEDs continuing to gain traction, because of energy efficiency and lifespan, according to the brand’s Product Manager in lighting, Linda Grebe. On other trends, she adds, “Durability, run time and light output all continue to be key features that consumers are looking for. Some new features that are gaining in popularity, and we are starting to see more of, are multi- or dual-function lights and lights with a dimming function (versus just a high/low setting).”
Energizer Lighting is also advancing LED technology in its products for the year ahead, making for brighter and higher performing lighting for consumers.
“One high brightness LED can easily replace five lamp-type traditional LEDs in a flashlight or lantern. In addition to a reduced complexity of design, high brightness technology provides more design options, including smaller form factors, increased brightness and the potential for added features without increasing the size or weight of the product,” comments Steve Einig, director of marketing for Energizer.
“The days of taking heaps of spare batteries on a trip are gone. Adventurers now have the option of bringing rechargeable power packs and batteries that can be recharged from the sun and then in turn be used to power everything from flashlights to cell phones and even laptops. Using chainable lights that can be strung around a campground and powered from one rechargeable power source completely changes the atmosphere of an adventure. They shift one from having tunnel vision of what can be see within the cone of their personal headlamp to opening up the entire area to all the features around them, including their friends. It transforms the whole experience of being outdoors at night,” says Krantz.
If you can talk hands-free – why not enjoy the same benefit with outdoor lighting gear? Such a feature comes standard with the futuristic Gorillatorch LED Light by Joby ($29.95). In an outdoor scene, this flashlight’s flexible, wrappable legs and magnetic feet allow it to easily attach to interior or exterior tent poles or the back of a tailgating folding chair. The light’s rubberized ring and foot grips clip on with a sound hold to uneven or slick surfaces and won’t scratch paint. Water-resistant and durable, the Gorillatorch’s brightness is also adjustable up to 65 lumens. It runs on three AA batteries, lasting from 20 to 80 hours if used on more economical settings. www.joby.com.
Speaking of hands-free – whether on an evening hike or scaling a mountainside – having a headlamp that’s dependably functional doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice cool gadget factors. Black Diamond Equipment offers three new products that offer both. The new Icon ($79.95), an aluminum-colored, professional-level headlamp with a massive 200-lumen output, waterproof construction and batteries-in-the-back design, will keep your path lit even 1 meter under water with one QuadPower LED spotlight, two SinglePower white LEDs and two SinglePower red LEDs emitting 200 lumens (max setting). Also new this year is the Sprinter ($63.95), a versatile, rechargeable-only headlamp that helps you to reduce battery waste. Its super low-profile design and excellent fore-aft balance make it ideal for high-impact activities. Also new is the full-featured Spot – a headlamp that comes in handy if you’re packing so light you have room for only one lamp. It offers an array of lighting modes that can be customized to suit any activity. 801-278-5552, www.blackdiamondequipment.com.
Eureka! may be well known to family campers for its tents, but if you need a light that serves both the home base and adventure waiting for you on the trail, their lighting gear will serve either function. Its portable lanterns and flashlights provide high-output lighting with maximum run times through the use of LED lighting. The new Warrior 230 Lantern ($64.99) comes with a remote control that also functions as a flashlight. It features directional white and red LED lights and can be hung with the use of a carabineer hook. It runs on three D-size batteries with a life of 50 hours on high or 200 hours on low or flashing. 800-572-8822. www.eurekacamping.com.
Goal Zero is the maker of an array of full solar power system kits and accessories. Each kit consists of a solar panel and a battery that can be used to power nearly any electronic device anywhere, anytime, regardless of whether or not you are or will be near a normal/traditional electricity source or outlet. In 2012, Goal Zero introduces a full line of lighting accessories that includes the Lighthouse Lantern ($54.99), a USB power hub that can be charged up via solar panel, AC/DC or crank. Once charged, it can be used to store the power inside it to charge up other USB devices on the campsite. Its battery will run for 6 hours after being charged up for about 4 hours. Also new this year are the Spot Rechargeable Light ($39.99), a powerful 3-watt spotlight with range over 500 meters and illumination of 180 lumens; and the Bolt Focus Light ($49.99), a USB rechargeable flashlight. 888-794-6250, www.goalzero.com.
Princeton Tec now gives consumers the opportunity to design, build and get feedback on making their very own lighting gear with a new headlamp customization program called the Spectrum. Providing a multitude of design options for Princeton Tec’s compact and bright Fuel ($35) headlamp, the program supplies you with creative control to self-select and design your personal headlamp by mixing and matching six headlamp parts with 10 different color choices. The brand’s Remix headlamp ($45) will also soon be available. 800-257-9080, www.princetontec.com.
New from Fenix Lighting this year is the technologically advanced TK21, a high intensity, compact flashlight that uses the XM-L LED. The TK21 features a powerful, tough and waterproof-to-IPX-8 standard design for extreme outdoor environments. Powered by two CR123A batteries or one 18650 rechargeable battery (Li-ion), TK21 features multiple brightness levels and conveniently combines extremely high intensity and ultra-long runtime lighting needs. 888-775-9996, www.fenixlighting.com.
Family campers have enough to pack up on a spring break adventure without needing to worry about bringing several different types of batteries to power their gear. Considering those needs and offering convenience, Coleman’s new Double-Edge Flashlight Lantern ($69.99) features a 300-lumen, Cree LED illuminated lantern. The aluminum-bodied, 100-lumen Cree LED flashlight loads into the lantern and recharges automatically – offering lantern and flashlight in one without the need to bring multiple battery sets. Featuring Coleman’s CPX Power System, the entire system can run from disposable D-batteries or the CPX 6 Rechargeable Power Cartridge. The flashlight can also be illuminated when placed inside the lantern for nightlight/low-power mode. Coleman also offers campers the new CPX 4.5 High Power LED Flashlight ($29.99) for performance and versatility. Users can select to use AAA batteries or the rechargeable CPX 4.5 cartridge – providing flexibility for unexpected occurrences. Outputs 126 lumens for a beam distance of 157 meters and runs 7 hours on one charge or set of batteries. 800-835-3278, www.coleman.com.
Brunton offers the unique Wow ($47) light. Combining a futuristic design with functionality, the three flexible, magnetic legs allow it to stick to any metal surface, stand on its own, wrap around a tree branch or hang from loops inside a tent. You can even remove the legs from the light and use them as a camera tripod. The Wow’s diffuser is removable for use as a flashlight and the product is SyncTech-enabled, featuring USB ports and rechargeable batteries to allow recharging from any USB-ready Brunton solar panel or power storage unit. 307-857-4700, www.brunton.com.
With the latest ThermaCELL lantern, Mosquito Repellent Patio Lantern, ($29.99), there’s no need to shelter behind protective netting at dusk and interrupt your outdoor fun due to pesky insects. ThermaCELL, makers of the portable, butane-operated, area insect repellent, offers a new lantern that is up to 98 percent effective at warding off mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-ums and other biting insects. The new dark bronze lantern has a cylinder shaped globe and three LED lights and can be used as a lantern year-round on the campsite or in the backyard. 866-753-3837, www.thermacell.com.
On the cutting edge of LED trends in lighting options for consumers, Coast Products offers outdoor adventurers the new HP7 LED Flashlight ($53) in 2012. Cased in a rugged 5.5-inch aluminum cylinder, this light projects 251 lumens running on AAA batteries for up to 5 hours and 45 minutes with a beam distance of up to 642 feet. The HP7 boasts Coast’s Pure Beam Focusing System – patent-pending optics that pro¬duce a pure, bright consistency across the entire beam as well as Fingertip Speed Focus Control, letting users keep one hand free while focus¬ing the flashlight with their thumb or finger, by moving the front bezel forward or back. Another cool feature exclusive to Coast is the Cyclone Heat Sink System, in which a cylindrical alumi¬num pedestal sits below the LEDs and decreases heat buildup, facilitating maximum light output and increas¬ing LED lifespan. 877-704-4545, www.coastportland.com.
Responding to consumer demands for smaller gadgets and gear that still perform equally or exceedingly to their larger sized predecessors, Energizer Lighting came out with the new Carabiner LED Area Light. Much lighter in weight and smaller than traditional lanterns, this outdoor lighting alternative offers hands-free illumination thanks to its clip-on carabineer, as well as three light modes: 360 degree area light, (high/low), and that of a flashlight with 19 meter beam distance. Shining at 50 lumens for up to 5 hours, the light comes packed with none other than 4 A/AA Energizer MAX Batteries. 800-383-7323, www.energizerlightingproducts.com.