Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Prudent Prepping: Etekcity Portable LED Camping Lantern

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.  

Some time after I wrote the Pleasant Nature lantern review, I remembered a Christmas gift Erin gave me a few years back: the Etekcity Portable LED Camping Lantern.

This is a very cool lantern, and not just because it was a gift from our Editrix; it's cool because of what it is and does. The light output is variable not by pushing buttons multiple times, but by pulling up on the handles and exposing more of the LED bulbs!

One very important dimension not mentioned last week is the diameter of both lights. The Etekcity lantern is just under 3 1/2" (fractionally larger than a soda can), and the Pleasant Nature is just slightly bigger at a bit over 3 1/2". Neither measurement is a deal breaker in my book.

Here is more information from the Amazon page:
  • ULTRA BRIGHT: Includes 30 individual low powered LED bulbs, designed for a longer lifespan. Carry 360° of luminous light while saving energy(batteries included)
  • DEPENDABLE BUILD: Constructed with military grade; promising long-time durability, no matter where you go
  • DESIGNED FOR CONVENIENCE: The extremely lightweight build allows you to take your lantern on the go with ease. When not in use collapse the lantern to a smaller size; store it effortlessly, taking little space
  • LOW CONSUMPTION: Light up to 12 hours of regular, continuous use with enough battery capacity
  • BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: 90-day return refund guarantee, 10-year warranty and lifetime supported by Etekcity. FCC, ROHS certified

Slightly open

The lantern's light output is very bright at full extension, with 30 LED bulbs mounted in three stacks of ten to give even light distribution. There seems to be some confusion on the output of this lantern, and answers to question posted on Amazon still aren't very clear to me, but when I compare this lantern to the one from last week the Eketcity puts out more and brighter light.

Here is the lantern (left) open to the point where it just lights up. From what I can tell, all the LED bulbs are lit right now but not exposed, so I believe the listed run times will not be affected by partially opening the lantern.
Wide open

The light output is very impressive when fully open! With all the LEDs exposed, there is much less distortion compared to partial settings. I would have no problem reading a book with this light or doing other work where a bright light is needed.

The only downside with the Etekcity lantern is that it's not solar rechargeable like the Pleasant Nature, instead needing three AA batteries to operate

There is a bit of effort needed to open the lantern and also to close it, so maintaining a setting  is not going to be a problem to me. Still, if I were packing this with the batteries installed*, I'd be tempted to wrap a heavy rubber band around it to prevent accidental activation.

* Pull your batteries, just to be safe; I've ruined nearly $100 worth of flashlights through battery corrosion. Erin recommends (and I use) cases like these for AA and AAA batteries, and there are similar containers for CR123 and 18650's.

The Takeaway
  • PRO: A compact, bright lantern in a durable aluminum body. 
  • CON: It needs batteries and is approximately the size of a soda can.

The Recap

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If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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