With 300 lumens to light up your whole camp area and the capacity to charge your phone and other devices via USB, Dan Parkes decides the Lander Cairn Lantern is a luxury he often doesn’t want to be without.
The Lander Cairn Lantern
I have decided 2018 is the year for overnighters. This means seeing cracker sunsets and sunrises from all my favourite places. With this plan in mind I must be able to sustain my technological devices (e.g. phone and headlamp) for longer durations.
On previous overnighters I have carried a portable phone charger with me to keep my phone operational. This year, however, I have been rolling with a Lander Cairn Lantern which differs from the usual run-of-the-mill portable chargers, as it comes with the added bonus of providing one hell of a bright light mounted on an ever-so-convenient anchor system.
Over the past few months I’ve been taking the lantern into the mountains of the Scenic Rim to see how it runs when hanging from a tree and illuminating our bush cooking set ups. I’ve tested its design and build, brightness and (the most anticipated feature for me) battery life.
Design And Build (85%)
The Lander Cairn Lantern is a compact, palm-sized, half-dome shaped gadget that, by comparison with other products that do a similar job, is similar in weight (161g). The design of this lantern oozes practicality and my initial fascination with it involved how it would make my life in the bush just that little bit easier.
Well did it? In short, yes.
The multi-axis tether anchor system was especially helpful in assisting me with bush cooking and setting up a spot to rack out for the night. I could attach it to trees (even the smaller branches thanks to its light weight), which then projected a decent illuminated area to work in.
The external case boasts a waterproof rating that encompasses, in layman’s terms, resistance from directional and pressurised water jets (or rain) but not full submersion. This feature was tested after I was shrouded in cloud for many hours, leaving all my kit very moist. To my satisfaction, the lantern survived (tick).
Another feature, which I would consider an unsung hero (due to the lack of promotion it received on the packaging), are the five little lights on the side of the device that indicate the amount of juice it has left to give – this feature was especially useful when rationing power between my headlamp and phone.
Battery Life (85%)
This is what I would consider the make or break criteria. As a portable charger I was intrigued to see how many phone charges I could get out of the Lander Cairn Lantern. I ran a series of tests at home and out in the bush to see how this feature stacked up. Here are my notes on a series of operational capability tests so you can see how this device works for different uses.
The Light (No External Device Charging)
On average, I could get 3 hours of constant light when the Lander Cairn Lantern is set on its brightest setting (300 lumens), without charging an external device. This time is longer than is claimed on the device’s packaging – so I have been scoring a bonus 30 minutes of bright light (300 lumens) each use. After the 3 hours elapses, the lantern automatically dims to its lowest setting (10 lumens) and can remain on for a further 12+ hours.
The Light And External Device Charging
I charged a phone from being dead flat and had the light on its brightest setting (300 lumens) and was able to extract (in total) 71% in phone battery and 1 hour and 20 minutes of light. Closer observations revealed that 46% of the phone battery was extracted in 55 minutes with the brightest light (300 lumens) and with the remaining battery (25%) and time (25 minutes) extracted when the light was at its dimmest (10 lumens) before the lantern ran completely out of juice.
Charging An External Device (No Light)
On average, I have been able to source around 50% of phone battery per hour of charging on an iPhone. It has been difficult, however, to gauge the amount of battery power I have been able to source on my headlamp as the headlamp doesn’t give specific percentages like an iPhone. The Lander Cairn Lantern has, on average, offered 1 and ¼ (or 125%) iPhone charges which has been more than enough for a multiday trek, definitely less than what I was expecting, but still competitive with other recharging devices.
Re-Charging The Lander
From dead flat to full charge the Lander Cairn Lantern recharges in, on average, 2 hours. So here is my percentile breakdown using the blue lights on the side of the device as a guide;
5% charged: 28 minutes
25% charged: 59 minutes
50% charged: 81 minutes
75% charged: 100 minutes
100% charged: 119 minutes
In a traditional camping setting with the device set at around 150 lumens I would expect it to last around 6 hours* under constant use. That’s plenty of time and light to last you at least a four-day long Easter weekend – even serving as a decent nightlight for the kids.
You have full control over the brightness of the light, meaning that you can dim the light to suit your need. The brightest setting (300 lumens) on the lantern came in quite useful when it came to cooking time out in the bush. My mates and I were constantly amazed at how bright and how wide the light shone, which meant that we could all ditch our headlamps while cooking. I used the light’s full spectrum of capabilities, except the lowest setting (10 lumens) which I found difficult to see, even in the dark of the night.
The Lander Cairn Lantern retails for $79.95 which, considering that you are getting both light and charge power, is very reasonable. If this price doesn’t suit you there is also a Cairn Mini option in the Lander Lantern range that’s about half the price, so both products offer good bang for your buck!
The Lander Cairn Lantern is a great lantern as it provides its users with both a solid light source and a device that offers power to all other devices.
Although I have loved using the Lander Cairn, I would have to admit that for hike-in camping it is a luxury product. I say this because I still have to carry a headlamp on overnight trips, so it hasn’t completely negated the use of that device.
I reckon this device would be more suited to traditional camping settings where it can be used as a room light (or should I say tent light) and hung up while cooking on the gas cooker. I’ll definitely be using it this way.
This review was not paid for but the author was allowed to keep the Lander Cairn lantern after the review.
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