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 Lantern 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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