Late February, early March, 2013. My wife and I are busily preparing our gear and making our camper ready for our first and longest campout of the year, Practice What You Preach (PWYP) on Terrill Hoffman’s Chestnut Mountain Proving Grounds, North Carolina. We’ll be on a mountain top, thirteen miles from anywhere, with only the amenities we carry up the hill. Gear selection is pretty important to us. Simplicity and reliability is paramount. Gear that performs multiple functions is preferred as long as nothing is sacrificed to meet an end.
I’m making ready our lighting arrangements and getting pretty frustrated with having to replace numerous battery types. I’m concerned with the overall weight of the lights and batteries necessary to last the week plus that we’d be away. I’m also concerned with the space that they would all take up in our Aliner camper.
At just about that time, I get a message from our Editor asking if I would consider taking another light to review for Woods Monkey. Great. I can’t say no and I can’t convince him that Woods Monkey would need it for their display at PWYP. A week later, sitting on my doorstep as I return home from work is a box containing a new Uco Lumora LED Lantern. At first glance, I see that it does double duty as both lantern and flashlight. Interest peaks. I head to the den to look up the Lumora online and to find some batteries to load it up with. Here’s the features and specs that I found from Uco:
•Durable base with extendable feet for additional stability.
•Collapsible lantern is rugged, water resistant, and easy to transport.
•Bright R3 XP-G CREE LED provides a diffused white light, in lantern mode, up to 180 lumens.
•Frosted globe slides up and down easily to allow use as lantern or flashlight.
•Dimming switch controls on/off and switching from bright to low light to conserve batteries.
•Attaches to any device with a 1/4-20 mounting screw.
•Includes a dual hook for hanging.
•Battery Type (not included): Four 1.5V AA alkaline
•Battery Life—up to 190 hours on low, up to 8 hours on high
•Bulb Type: Super bright R3 XP-G CREE LED
•Highly water resistant: IPX 6 (IPX6 Waterproof Standard – withstands heavy splashing and rain)
•Flashlight mode Beam Projection: 250 ft. (75 m)
•Dimensions—open: 8.0″ high x 2.5″ diameter (20.5 cm x 6.5 cm)
•Dimensions—closed: 5.5″ high x 2.5″ diameter (14 cm x 6.5 cm)
•Weight (w/ batteries): 8.0 oz. (228 g)
I loaded up the Lumora with the only batteries left in the house, some fresh Energizer AA Ultimate Lithiums. Doing so lightened up the overall weight as posted above by nearly an ounce. Loading the batteries is super simple due to Uco’s incorporating a clearly labeled cartridge style battery holder to load the light with.
Once darkness fell, I head to the only room in the house absent any ambient light. I turn on the Lumora and nearly blind myself. It lights up a 150+ square foot room like midday – I have to wonder what it’s going to do on full power inside my tiny Aliner camper. Outside, in flashlight mode, it clearly illuminates the back of the neighbor’s garage and house on the next street over, a distance of nearly 100 yards.
Time warp forward a couple weeks and we’re making camp on the Chestnut Mountain Proving Grounds, North Carolina. I again make all lights ready, but only put the Uco Lumora out for use. As we head into the camper later that night to call it a day, I turn on the Lumora. OH MY GOD! It was as if I looked into a nuclear blast. The white interior of my 78 square foot Aliner burst alive in light that was actually too bright to be useable. I had to turn the light down to about half power to comfortably light up the interior. I took the Lumora outside to our 12’ x 12’ canopy. Full power lit it up nicely, with all sorts of light to perform kitchen and cooking chores by. Back in the camper, we decided to try the Lumora out on its lowest setting as a night light. It was too bright and I couldn’t get to sleep. I broke out our old green Krill light for use as a night light and retired the Lumora for the night. We repeated that test protocol nightly for a little better than a week with no perceivable power loss after around 8-12 hours of total use.
On the final night of PWYP, we have a mass gathering at the main council fire pit. We do a drawing for door prizes, announce contest winners and acknowledge and give thanks to our sponsors. Darkness fell a little more quickly than we were immediately prepared for and it was becoming increasingly difficult to conduct the drawing. I headed to the camper and brought out the Lumora. I hung it in a tree behind the announcers and with its light output, we were able to successfully conclude the event. The Lumora sufficiently lit up the entire council fire area to allow for easy recognition of both people and tripping hazards. It also allowed for some lucky winners to ogle their newly won door prizes. After the ceremonies were over, Care and I used the Lumora in flashlight mode to stroll through camp to say our good byes. The Lumora put out way more light than was necessary on high, half power drew some comments from folks who accidently got the beam shot into their face and somewhere in between half power and the lowest setting made do for the trip around camp and navigating through the maze of campsites and guy lines. The Lumora has proven to be a very valuable addition to our gear.
We were packing up our gear for the trip home and I was in the process of packing up the Lumora, my wife turned to me and said, “You are NOT sending that back! Get me a second one for the camp kitchen!” Yes, Dear. I’ve since acquired two more, one for Care’s camp kitchen and one for our basement storm shelter. Our emergency lighting is now all AA battery and 9V battery powered. The other lights have been stored or given away to other folks who had a need. Between the Uco Lumoras, a couple Krill lights and a pair of PAL lights, we can handle all of our camp and emergency lighting needs quite nicely. Battery shopping just got a lot cheaper. Battery storage a lot simpler and more convenient. I am more than just very pleased with the Uco Lumora. I highly recommend it.
Need more info? Go to www.ucogear.com . Tell ‘em the Monkey sent you…
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