I’m a big fan of Mr. Beams. My UltraBright LED motion detection spotlight is still doing its job and lighting up the 20′ area around my home’s back door with an amazingly bright set of LEDs. And the Wireless Power Outage Lighting System has been useful more than once since I installed it, turning on a bright LED in my basement and a matching flashlight/emergency light upstairs when the base unit detects a loss of power. Suffice to say, I think they’ve got a great array of products that all use the energy efficient LEDs for path lighting, stick-anywhere-lighting, and three different spotlights.
Recently I got a chance to check out their latest product, the UltraBright LED Lantern. The name says it all — this thing is BRIGHT. At 260 lumens (from 3 LEDs), the Lantern can light up 900 square feet. Thankfully, it also has a second, lower level that tones down the light quite a bit to 20 lumens. The Lantern uses four D cells, and I imagine given its an LED light source that the batteries will last some time (I use rechargeable anyway, so I just try to always have some on hand). The documentation states over 30 hours of lighting which is pretty awesome — that’s a week or more’s worth of camping if you’re not staying up too late!
Just above the power button is a USB port that can also be used to charge your phone or other devices in an emergency. Keep in mind that while the Lantern is great for camping, it’s also very useful as an emergency lighting source. It’s rugged and weatherproof, and I’m very impressed with its design. The rubberized handle tucks into the body when not in use, and you can even flip the thing upside down and use a built-in hook on the bottom to hang it upside down — the hook clicks into the body to prevent it from getting broken off when not in use.
Two rubber grips on the sides of the Lantern allow for a solid hold on the Lantern when not using the handle, and the rubberized surface extends to the base to help prevent it from sliding. The plastic surrounding the LEDs feels strong — I didn’t feel like doing any drop tests, but I imagine it could handle some rough handling without cracking or breaking.
The Lantern has definitely been one useful tool these past few weeks, and I’ve made it a point to put it in a place where my wife and I know it will always be available. I don’t do much camping, but I sure appreciate it as an emergency lighting source and a possible charging station.
I’ve only got one small complaint, and it’s something I imagine could easily be fixed. When you press the power button, it goes to full brightness. Another press takes it to the lower, 20 lumens setting. I think this should be reversed. A single press should go low lighting and another press to high. This would keep a camper from waking up a tent-mate… possibly even the other campers within that 900 square foot distance. Like I said… this thing is BRIGHT!
Note: I’d like to thank the folks at Mr. Beams for providing a test unit.