Gadget-tastic. This lantern looks like it’s come off the set of Iron Man and it could well be a Transformer. The days of simply lighting your tent with a kerosene lantern – That’s Coleman’s history, in fact – are long gone, and this bad-boy could just about be the only light you need for camping.
It runs on Coleman’s CPX6 battery pack, which drops in and out of the bottom in a self-contained unit. Straight from the box it runs on 4 D-Cell batteries, but you can also get yourself a rechargable pack that can be juiced-up from the car or at home. We’ve tested ours on the standard battery pack, which we’ve been interchanging with the two other CPX lanterns we’ve tested, here and here.
You get a large, (it’s about the size of a big Coke bottle) well-made and pretty life-proof lantern which runs on LEDs and throws out a nice, pleasing light. It’s not too cold a light, like some LED lanterns.
There are two buttons on the top. The rubberised black one turns it on and it greets you with a friendly glowing ring of light. The kind of light you want turned on if you wake up needing a wee and can’t find your shoes. The kind of light that spares your retinas and won’t wake up the rest of the campsite.
If you press the button again, you get the campsite-rousing 200 Lumen chorus of LEDs going up the sides of the Hybrid. That’ll certainly help you find your shoes, and is bright enough to cook or read a book by. Press that button again and you get the combination of glowing ring and the LED strips, which will make your tent look like some small festival is happening inside.
But it’s only when you press the OTHER button on the top that you realise what the Hybrid’s party-piece is. Rising like an enthusiastic child who knows the answer to teacher’s question, up shoots a red… thing from the centre of the lantern. And like Arthur and the sword in the stone, you prise it out to reveal a handheld torch. Genius!
I have to say that the one down-side to this lantern is that the torch sometimes sticks inside it, like there’s a retaining spring blocking its exit, and that can be annoying.
But, assuming that’s a one-off glitch on our sample, the idea is amazing, and you get a torch to accompany on your trip for a wee. You will also notice, however, that the nice low-glow created by the lantern is actually coming from the torch, so once you remove it your tent companions have a choice of dark, or LIGHT!
I have to say that I really like this lantern. It’s clever, in a way that sort of suits our camping style. And it looks great.
I’m not a massive fan of D Cells – they’re expensive and cumbersome – and the extra charge for a CPX rechargeable pack is a bit of a bore, but with an LED life of many years, it could be a sound investment for regular campers.