Gelert 12 LED Wind-up Mini Lantern

Lanterns. Dead handy for seeing things in the dark. Much like carrots, really.

This offering from Gelert is my first ever foray in to the world of wind-up stuff, having been satisfied for many-a-year with those magical cells of energy which service stations flog at prices varying in line with how gullible you look. 

The first thing to note is that this lantern is far from ‘mini’. If I see the word ‘mini’ I’d expect it to relate to something small, something… mini. This is literally the size of my head. I’ve even stood in front of a mirror to check.
I’m reliably informed by Mrs Muz that it’s small when compared to other lanterns, but never having had one before (I’m a torch kind of bloke) I’m not all that impressed with its mininess. 

Anyway, as the name suggests, this has 12 white LEDs nestling behind a clear plastic metal-ring-protected tube which allows light to do its thing around 360 degrees. This is ideal in a group setting, but perhaps a slide-up mirrored screen of some kind might be handy if you want to stick it in a corner without wasting precious illumination on the wall and project it back in to the room instead. 

Still on the subject of light, there’s the option to switch between four LEDs or 12, depending on whether you want the mood soft and romantic or full-on police helicopteresque. Sadly, there’s not a lot of difference between the two. Switching from four to 12 in our three-man tent goes by practically unnoticed, although the light is fairly decent anyway, if a little stark. You can read or play cards by it without problem, so there’s something in its favour. 

The construction of the thing is also decent. With a tough, thick plastic body and tough clear plastic tube for the LEDs, you could probably drop it from waist height without too much going wrong. I wouldn’t recommend this – just in case, and I haven’t tried it either. I’m just guessing here. Mine has also done nigh-on 2,000 miles on the back of a motorbike without dropping to bits, so that has to be in its favour too. 

A handy foldaway hook on the carrying handle is, as I said, handy, and I can vouch for Gelert’s assurance that the mini lantern is water resistant. Having left it outside following a cider-fuelled evening in France, I awoke to find it dripping in dew but reassuringly unharmed. 

Finally, and not surprisingly, this lantern winds up. You can tease it about its mum if you want, but the best way is to use the sturdy clip-away handle on the body. A minute of winding translates to 15 minutes of light thanks to the rechargeable cells within, and you can also pop in three AAA batteries for effort-free light if you’re bone idle like me. A supplied A/C adapter (which I lost as soon as I got the thing) also means you can charge the cells at home to save you the effort during your first evening under canvas. 

I did find the instructions a little confusing though, but that’s just me. Do I wind it up while it’s switched ‘off’ or ‘on’? What about when it’s ‘on’ – is it using the rechargeable cells or the ludicrously-expensive AAAs inside? Should it be ‘off’ or ‘on’ when it’s plugged in with the adapter that I can’t find? 

I don’t do instructions. Too many things to remember.

SUMMARY: Gelert’s 12 LED Wind-up Mini Lantern is okay. It lights up, you can wind it up and you can hang it off stuff. Its size lets it down a little though, as do the poor lighting options, but it does a reasonable job regardless.

Price – £22.99 SRP

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  • Marcus

    To be fair to Gelert, the On/Off dilemma is solved not by reading acres of hard copy, but by the teensy label next to the switch.

    To be fair to the rest of the world, the rechargeable batteries in this lamp have a very short shelf life, and it looks like I need to crack the thing open with tools to replace them. Luckily, I have a 9 year old son, who seems to enjoy winding it up every fifteen seconds, so I remain illuminated.


  • Wim

    This is the worst latern I’ve ever seen. The light output is so low that i’m not able to see my own toes in a tent.