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Black Diamond Orbit Camping Lantern Review

Black Diamond Orbit Lantern

When the weather starts getting a little colder and darkness falls before 6PM, I add a few luxury items to my pack on overnight backpacking trips, like a mini-lantern and a paperback book to pass the time at night.

On my last backpacking trip, I tested a Black Diamond Orbit Lanter and really liked it. It weighs just 4.8 oz, including 4 AAA batteries, and retails for $29.95. I own other LED camping lanterns like the Brunton Lamplight, but the Orbit is a little better for reading at night because it has a built in dimmer switch and a frosted glass globe to diffuse light.

Rings at the top of the Orbit let you suspend it from the roof of your tent and it has a telescoping body that collapses when not in use. The manufacturer reports that battery life is 10-24 hours depending on dimmer usage. A rechargeable battery kit is also available including international power outlet adapters.

For larger groups, Black Diamond manufactures a larger lantern called the Apollo which lights a 10 meter circle, and the Titan (24 oz without batteries) intended for basecamps, which lights a 14 meter circle.

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  1. I read by the light of my headlamp and bring an extra set of batteries. I change positions while reading and found that the headlamp was the best way of dealing with that.

    In the winter, I also use a candle lantern that I hang from a tent loop for ambinet light. I always light it and raise the glass cover outside before bringing it into my tent. Friends of mine are very critical of a candle lantern in a tent and I understand their concerns but I am comfortable with this design. YMMV

  2. I used to use a head lamp for winter reading and it possible but not as convenient. Like I said it's a luxury. However, I am paranoid about any open flame near a tent. If you catch your tent on fire, you probably won't get out in time without serious burns or worse.

  3. Carrying the weight of another light source seems at odds with your obsession with equipment and pack weight. I have to say I'm surprised.

    A headlamp doesn't seem inconvenient to me- holding a flashlight in your teeth, like I did years ago, now that's inconvenient!

  4. I'm obsessed but it's seasonal! When there's less daylight, I break down and bring a few more luxuries.

  5. I have to say I'm surprised that you don't seem to use rechargeable batts…

  6. Bringing a book would seem excessive to anyone obsessed with weight but I seldom ever backpack without one! I work hard to get my gear weight down as much as possible so I CAN bring a few luxuries like a book along. Unfortunately on my last trip I brought along my Kindle and broke it when I rolled onto it and put too much weight on the screen before I realized what it was!

  7. I use rechargeable camera batteries but I have fallen away from other types, mainly because I don't use that many battery-powered devices to begin with. I use more in winter, but then you really want a lithium battery which can hold it's charge in the cold.

  8. Bummer about the kindle – the new international one looks like it's come down in weight too.

  9. I use a headlamp for night hiking, and late night bathroom runs. However, I don't use it to read, I try and save those batteries for when I really may need to use a headlamp when I need it the most. I do bring the Orbit on multi-night trips because I like to read a magazine at night. If those batteries die, then so be it. If my headlamp battery bites the dust….it will be that one night i need to get my butt down a mountain or something. The extra weight of the Orbit, batteries and one Magazine, doesn't seem to be to much of an extra item when I'm going to bed at 6:00PM in the Winter, or it's raining all night.

  10. I'm all for a headlamp too as an extra battery weighs less than just about anything out there, but I also like the 1.2 oz Glo Toob or the Brinkmann Waterproof GO-LED Mini Light. Both are pretty much indestructable, waterproof, etc.

  11. Impressive! I guess I've gotten lazy in scouring the web for lightweight winter lights. I will have to try these.

  12. I reviewed this little guy too and really like it. It's ideal for reading in the tent at night, but won't replace any directional flashlights or headlamp. Great for a small lantern alternative, and it allows you to share the light.

  13. I was wondering what are the best camping lights or lantern out there know? Just wanted to get the best light before I go camping. Thank you…

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