Sometimes a piece of gear boasts a claim that is so definitive, that the only way to test it is to call them out on that claim. So we stuck some batteries – an honourable mention must go to Varta’s High Energy Alkaline AAs – in UST’s 10-day lantern and turned it on.
24 days later, it finally went out.
Twenty Four days. Constant light. In an unheated house.
That’s seriously impressive.
OK, so if we’re completely honest, for the last 10 days of that it was little bright enough to be anything more than a night-light for us to see our way to the loo for that 3am annoying wee which interrupts a good night’s sleep. But for the first 14 days, it was as bright as it was when we turned it on in its Low mode. (It also has a High mode, which gives you a stated 26 hours of 250 Lumens).
I’ll admit that we’ve had the lantern with us for months and I’ve been avoiding testing it because it takes a whopping 6 AA batteries. SIX! But eventually we got donated some of Varta’s batteries to test along with it, and the reluctance waned. I’m glad we got around to it eventually because it turned in to something of an excitement every morning. Would the lantern still be alight? We had a small wake with cubes of cheese and a little tipple when it finally bit the dust.
Aside from its luminant prowess, the lantern is fairly unremarkable but definitely rugged. It is about the size of a coke can in diameter, and a little taller. The handle on top is metal covered with plastic, so it’s not going to snap unless you’re trying hard. And the LEDs are housed in a small dome, which in turn is hidden inside a diffuser. You can remove the diffuser to use it more like a torch, but it throws out an odd light pattern and that’s not really its forté.
It has a rubberised top and bottom which suggests it’s bash-proof, and there’s a recessed hanging hook in the base so it can be used in a tent.
But to compare it to many other camping lanterns is probably unfair. This thing is designed for blackouts. For Zombie Apocolyse scenarios. For off-grid houses or for expeditions. It’s the kind of thing that sits around until you need it, and then just does its thing and keeps you lit for a couple of weeks.
In fact, bloody hell, I’ve just turned it back on and it’s flashing away on SOS mode merrilly. Amazing.
More: Whitby and Co