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Monday, May 11, 2009

Review: Black Diamond Orbit Lantern

I bought the Black Diamond Orbit Lantern during the REI 20% off period. I actually spent some time debating between that and the Apollo, but decided that the lighter weight of the Orbit would soon meet my needs.

Prior to this purchase, I always used a candle or a Coleman gas lantern, but the Stephenson did not come with straps for hanging the candle lantern, and the Coleman always had problems with use inside a tent --- not only is it dangerous, but a topple could burn up your tent!

The Orbit is tiny. It weighs 5 ounces with 4 AAA batteries. Each set of AAAs will go for about 10 hours, which is more than enough for a 5 day backpacking trip during the summer, or 2-3 days in the fall. It is bright!. With it fully lit, the inside of the tent feels very much like daylight. (that's an illusion, since it only has a 1W LED) It's so bright that your see white spots for a bit after you stare at the lantern directly.

As a reading light, it is so bright that I had to turn it down (fortunately it comes with a dimmer switch). I found a great way to use it, which is to lie it down on the side and then read on my back with the book (or Kindle) held up in my hands. For extra battery savings stick a mirror behind it, and use the dimmer.

Needless to say, this light is highly recommended. I'm retiring all my candle and gas lanterns as a result.

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