Whether your campsite light source is a full moon or a headlamp, part of the charm and appeal of camping is getting around after dark.
I have no problem with the darkness part of camping. It's why I go in the first place. Street lights can be soul-depleting. But I still have to get around after dark to clean up after dinner, trek to the facilities or batten down the hatches if inclement weather looks imminent.
The Kelty LumaPivot lantern is like having a full moon with you on every camping trip. The design blends the best of high-tech portability and ergonomics. It features two swivel LED panels that contain 15 5-mm Nichia LED bulbs that rotate and pivot 360 degrees. It's RoboCop meets Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines.
The pivoting arms are very functional for many different camping scenarios. I tested this lantern while camping at St. Croix State Park. The campground's biffy was a bit of a trek from my campsite. No worries with the LumaPivot. I directed one LED plate on the ground so I could see what I was about to step on and directed the other plate directly in front of me so I could avoid stepping on something that I didn't want to.
At camp, I direct both plates downward to prepare meals and to assist in cleaning up after dark. At the campsite's picnic table, my husband and I sat on opposite sides and could read our respective reading materials with the light plates turned the opposite way and facing down. When it was time to call it a night, I aligned both plates with the lantern and walked around camp to make sure no food or trash was left behind that might attract wild things in the night.
Inside my tent was where I really appreciated this lantern. It doesn't matter if I'm on a thru hike or in a state campground, getting nested and situated for the night is an ordeal. I'll spare you the details, but I do need light for them. I rigged the lantern so that it hung from the top of the tent inside and pointed the two light plates downward so that I could see where everything was (pajamas, ear plugs, emergency socks, glasses, water bottle, book, etc.).
The LumaPivot is powered by six AA batteries (not included) and has two modes: low (60 lumens) and high (110 lumens). Kelty says that the six AA batteries on high will net you about six hours of light. On low, you'll get about 12 hours.
When it comes to dispersing the light, Kelty says that on high, the lantern illuminates up to 20 feet and then gets a little dimmer past that. My distance perception is questionable even in the daylight, but without getting out a tape measure and measuring, I feel comfortable with Kelty's pr?cis.
A lot of people aren't fans of batteries that have to be replaced, and understandably so. Pitching dead batteries into the trash is an environmental calamity; and then there's just the cost of replacing batteries. A work-around is to buy rechargeable batteries, but that opens the door for the question, "How do you recharge the rechargeable batteries if you have no power supply at camp?"
Most tent sites don't have electric hook ups and letting your car idle for an hour or so just to recharge batteries is hardly prudent. The answer, I believe, is to just use replaceable batteries and dispose of the old ones via the environmentally-approved avenues of battery recycling.
Given its size and weight (16 ounces), the LumaPivot is best suited for car camping. If you're a weight-and-space-weenie on your thru-hiking trips (like I am), you will definitely want to leave this in your car camping bin.
Kelty did use extruded aluminum rods and lightweight plastic for the body of the lantern, so it's most likely the lightest lantern you'll ever encounter (and most versatile!). Other cool features are a three-way switch (off, both wings, one wing) to regulate how much light you need, sturdy and well-designed with a convenient carry handle and weather-resistant for rainy camping trips.
Where to Get OneYour best bet is to buy it online in the Active Gear Store.
Light up the sky at your next campsite.
Minneapolis Outdoor Recreation Examiner Marie Malinowski is an Eagan-based white water kayaker, sea kayaker, mountain biker, rock climber, backpacker, and skier.
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