After hearing about our upcoming outing down in North Carolina, a rep from Energizer offered up their new Outdoor Area Lantern for review during the event. Not having used this type of lighting before, I was curious to gauge its performance and utility in the outdoors. Needless to say, I was pretty well satisfied especially when I saw the welcoming glow at my camp at the end of each fun-filled day.
To be honest, my camp needs have been very basic in the years past. Recently, I talked about my introducition into real outdoors cooking, and now I’ve stepped outside my basic “need” zone when it comes to lighting for the camp. Usually, I keep a small LED flashlight in a pocket for general use and at the end of each day when I’m getting changed, visiting the restroom, and making preparations for bed, I’ve always had some sort of LED headlamp to assist and keep my hands free. But, I’ve never committed to using a lantern on a regular basis for some reason. Well, the new Outdoor Area Lantern just released by Energizer has added a new dimension to my nightly camp activities.
The Area Lantern has two flourescent 9 watt bulbs for the primary light source and you can use both bulbs (high setting) or just one bulb (low setting) to conserve energy. If you use the lamp on its high setting, you get a maximum of 300 lumens of area light that spread out to almost 40 feet. Granted, you’re not getting a lot of light at the end of that radius, but the lamp provides a very nice swath of light for you to go about your tasks and chores in the evening. The operation of just one bulb provides 180 lumens and that’s a good amount for you to kick back and do some reading or just enjoy some general relaxation. And, while I used the area lantern in my tent most of the time, it comes with a weatherproof housing and shatterproof lens so it will stand up to the elements and being knocked around a bit during transport.
Operation of the Area Lantern is very simple. You’ve got four positions for the dial that regulates the light output. You’ve got a position for high, low, and then a separate setting for an amber night light that you can keep on for long periods of time. And, of course, you’ve got the off position. Power for the Area Lantern is provided by the 8 D cell batteries installed in the base of the lantern. Not only does this provide a good amount of run time for the lamp, but it also adds a good amount of weight at the bottom of the lantern to keep it stable as well. I was surprised by the amount of time the lamp ran on one set of batteries. If you operate the lantern only in the high mode, you’ll get around 15 hours of light and stepping down to low mode will provide approximately 40 hours in this setting. There was no runtime provided for the LED night light, but it draws much less power than the regular bulbs, so I would imagine 150-200 hours would not be out of the question, though I can’t say for sure.
The handle of the area lantern is comfortable and it was easy enough to hang the lantern overhead. During one instance, I hung the lantern from a provided loop on a tent that I was reviewing, and then on another occasion, I simply made a loop in a piece of paracord and hung it from a tree limb to provide some light just outside the tent. Moving the light back and forth was easy once these pieces were in place. Now the area lantern isn’t a backpacking type lamp. It has considerable bulk and weight once the batteries are in place, but it’s a great companion to bring along on your next car camping trip or to keep at your “basecamp”.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of “tests” to conduct with this type of product. It does one thing–provide light. The only real thing to check out was the runtime of the bulbs while using the lamp. I didn’t run the lamp full-tilt boogie just to verify the figures provided by Energizer. But, I did use the lamp every night and morning for an hour or two at a time for a period of a week. There didn’t appear to be any dimishment of light and the lamp is running even still on the same set of batteries. I would estimate that I’ve used the lamp on both the high and low setting for close to forty hours already. Given that some of those hours were on the high setting, I’ve been impressed by how long the batteries have lasted. It also confirms that Energizer is providing pretty realistic figures in their literature for the lantern.
During the course of the outing, I used only three lighting solutions. First was the Energizer Ultimate Lithium headlamp that we’ve been reviewing, a penlight, and also the Outdoor Area Lantern. Out of the three, it quickly became apparent that I was using the Area Lantern more than the others. First, I spent more time in camp of course, and second, I just liked the addition of area light for the camp and in the tent. This was a new experience for me and provided a little more “warmth” to my outdoors home than a headlamp can provide. All in all, I was pretty pleased with the setup and enjoyed using the Area Lantern during the review. If you’re in the market for such a product, the price is reasonable at an MSRP of $39.00 and you can find it a bit cheaper than that if you do some judicious surfing. It’s a good solution for someone who doesn’t want to mess with propane type lanterns and it becomes an even better solution if you use rechargeable batteries to cut down on the expense of additional batteries.
If you’re looking for lighting solutions for your next campout or adventure, check out the new Outdoor Area Lantern to see if it meets your needs. Energizer also provides other solutions as well if this product doesn’t meet a specific need.