So, you’ve got your nice big tent, your barbeque is charring the sausages nicely and the sun has set leaving you to your warm white wine and the sound of things in the hedgerow doing what hedgerow things do. But there’s something missing. Something which is a fundamental part of the camping experience. Bugs.
Fear not, as you twist the chunky on-switch which sits atop of the Outwell Colima and it’s 20 bright white LEDs kick in, your tent lights up like something out of Close Encounters, and every bug for miles around stops navigating by the moon and is drawn as if by tractor-beam to the glow. This thing is impressively bright for an LED lantern.
Styled in a deliberate homage to gas lanterns of old, the Colima doesn’t get hot in use, so it’s a darn site safer to have around kids, pets and drunkards than a mantle-lamp. But it does have the same weighty feel and chunkiness to it. It’s really quite big – standing the same height as 3 tins of beans and weighs 1.2kg, which is also about the same as 3 tins of beans. This is a car-camping lantern.
Most of that weight is due to the hefty rechargeable battery in the base of the Colima. Supplied with both a normal socket and car charger, the Colima will pump out light for up to 8 hours, which in practice was plenty for a full weekend of summer camping. And when it’s charging it has a fool-proof red and green LED display to let you know how it’s going.
Back to brightness for a moment. The Colima kicks out 50 Lumens of light. (Read more on what a Lumen is in our guide here) In practice, this is far less bright than a mantle-lamp, but we found that it is enough to see by quite easily. I don’t think you could read by it, unless you were sat right next to it, but for moving around a tent and finding things it is more than adequate. As with all white LED lights, it’s quite a cold light and not the easiest on the eye.
The Colima comes with a tough carrying handle and a flip-out hanging hook to suspend from a tent roof. This works quite well, unless you walk into it, releasing a dull ‘thunk’ sound and several newly conceived swear words.
Outwell are a company that like to add little ‘bonus’ features here and there, and they’ve included a compass in the top of the Colima. All well and good, but I’m not sure why.
SUMMARY: The Outwell Colima is a chunky, weighty piece of kit which kicks out an impressive glow for an LED lantern. It’s nowhere near as bright as a gas lantern, but still usable in practice, and far safer. The 8 hours of bright light from one charge is impressive. If we had a power-cut at home, this is the lantern I’d get out to light the whole room. Build quality and finish seem good. Only downside is a subjective one – I’m not a fan of white LED light.