Sometimes a piece of gear boasts a claim that is so definitive, that the only way to test it is to call them out on that claim. So we stuck some batteries â€“ an honourable mention must go toÂ Vartaâ€™s High Energy Alkaline AAsÂ â€“ in USTâ€™s 10-day lantern and turned it on.
24 days later, it finally went out.
Twenty Four days. Constant light. In an unheated house.
Thatâ€™s seriously impressive.
OK, so if weâ€™re completely honest, for the last 10 days of that it was little bright enough to be anything more than a night-light for us to see our way to the loo for that 3am annoying wee which interrupts a good nightâ€™s sleep. But for the first 14 days, it was as bright as it was when we turned it on in its Low mode. (It also has a High mode, which gives you a stated 26 hours of 250 Lumens).
Iâ€™ll admit that weâ€™ve had the lantern with us for months and Iâ€™ve been avoiding testing it because it takes a whopping 6 AA batteries. SIX! But eventually we got donated some of Vartaâ€™s batteries to test along with it, and the reluctance waned. Iâ€™m glad we got around to it eventually because it turned in to something of an excitement every morning. Would the lantern still be alight? We had a small wake with cubes of cheese and a little tipple when it finally bit the dust.
Aside from its luminant prowess, the lantern is fairly unremarkable but definitely rugged. It is about the size of a coke can in diameter, and a little taller. The handle on top is metal covered with plastic, so itâ€™s not going to snap unless youâ€™re trying hard. And the LEDs are housed in a small dome, which in turn is hidden inside a diffuser. You can remove the diffuser to use it more like a torch, but it throws out an odd light pattern and thatâ€™s not really its fortÃ©.
It has a rubberised top and bottom which suggests itâ€™s bash-proof, and thereâ€™s a recessed hanging hook in the base so it can be used in a tent.
But to compare it to many other camping lanterns is probably unfair. This thing is designed for blackouts. For Zombie Apocolyse scenarios. For off-grid houses or for expeditions. Itâ€™s the kind of thing that sits around until you need it, and then just does its thing and keeps you lit for a couple of weeks.
In fact, bloody hell, Iâ€™ve just turned it back on and itâ€™s flashing away on SOS mode merrily. Amazing.
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