Monday, January 14, 2013

Types Of Outdoor Lanterns

Lantern (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)
Camping has come a long way from the days of two-man tents and candles or campfires for lighting. Compactness is another technological advantage we have today, especially with outdoor lanterns used for camping, as well as any outdoor activities. Excellent liquid fuel lanterns are still available, as well as pressurized gas lanterns and battery-powered lamps. Todays innovations have also given us hand-cranked solar lanterns with extended life built in. Let's discuss a few of the different lanterns available, as well as their good and not-so-good points.

Battery powered electric lanterns
These lanterns are available in three different types; LED, which gives the user a good light output and long battery life. They also stand up to rough use. Fluorescent lanterns, while having a higher light output pose a problem with disposal of the tubes. The incandescent lantern has good light output, but only a so-so battery life. The bulbs are more fragile than LED's.

The only negative issue with these lanterns is battery usage and disposal. On the positive side, they are quiet, and have no exhaust to worry about. No heat is produced, making them safe around children and safe for use inside a tent.

Fuel burning lanternsThese lanterns run on several different fuel sources. Refillable white-gas tanks contain a liquid fuel that gives off a powerful light. They are also fuel efficient. Refillable propane gas tanks are also very fuel efficient and give off a powerful light. Disposable butane containers are compact, easy to use and store, but have only a moderate light output.

On a positive note, all the fuel-burning lanterns give off more light than most electric models. On the down-side, they are noisy, and they must be in an area with good ventilation. They can pose a danger in small, confined spaces, and they do generate heat, making them dangerous around children.

Candle lanterns
When all else fails, or there is nothing else to use, a candle in the darkness is better than nothing, or so we are told. Candles provide a soft, ambient glowing light. They are not noisy, and are fairly good for close-up work. Reflectors can be purchased, and they will increase the light output by reflection.

Candles are to be used with extreme caution. They are dangerous in a tent, and of course, fire and burns are a big hazard when using them.
Comparison shopping
The type of lantern purchased will depend on several things. Light intensity, or wattage and battery duration. Size and weight are also important factors to consider. How the lantern will be used is another consideration to take into account before making a final decision.