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I SNEER AT HURRICANES!
on October 9, 2008
Well, O.K., I don't sneer at hurricanes. But after Hurricane Ike and a week without power, we decided to upgrade our emergency lighting to more than flashlights, candles and chemical light sticks.
I bought three of these family-sized Coleman lanterns and three MicroPacker lanterns (also reviewed). The first time I turned on this family-sized lantern I said "WOW!" This is a serious light! I measured the light output of this lantern (I'm a photojournalist) and discovered it puts out half the light of a bare 40 watt bulb, but much, much more light than a 25 watt bulb. That is plenty of light for reading and walking around like a human being instead of stumbling around with flashlights.
The "low" setting is almost as bright as the "high" setting (only one-half stop dimmer), but extends the battery life from 17 hours to a fantastic 28 hours! I figure one set (8) of fresh "D" cells should last though a week of dark nights.
The family-sized lantern is tough and well-made. It's not waterproof, but I wouldn't worry about taking it out into the rain. It doesn't have rubber seals, but the nice, tight fittings should keep it dry.
One minor point: the large clear housing is a Coleman tradition, but a simple clear cylinder would be more streamlined and compact. The lantern is about the size of a full-sized gas mantle unit. I wouldn't backpack with it, but it is a great unit for emergencies and base camps. Now if Coleman only made a battery-powered air conditioner . . .