Designed as a replacement for hazardous and costly kerosene lanterns in the developing world, the d.light S20 Solar LED Area Lantern is both inexpensive and durable (the company calls it water-resistant) and makes a great camping accessory. Charged by a solar panel mounted on the top of the lantern, the light flicks on with the push of a glow-in-the-dark button.
While not originally intended for camping, the design translates seamlessly to the outdoors market.
I tested the light for a couple nights camping and hiking and am already hooked. For such an inexpensive and simple device, it works like a champ. It’s also remarkably light, weighing in at 7 ounces.
The single LED kicks out a decent amount of diffused light, enough to illuminate a forest trail for an average walking pace, the inside of a tent or a picnic table at night. It’s not super bright or a replacement for a headlamp or flashlight for a directional beam, but is a nice supplemental light for things like playing cards, reading or cooking.
A smartly designed metal handle allows the lantern to be hung or propped at various angles to help direct the light where needed. The handle also makes a perfect attachment to hang it on the back of a pack to charge while in daylight.
The lantern has two power settings and a run time of 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low. I find these numbers impressive, especially given that the low power setting gives a useful amount of light.
It charges from dead to full power in about 6-8 hours depending on the brightness of the sun, but seems to charge well even on cloudy days. For those who don’t want to wait for the solar panel to charge it, an included USB cable can quickly power up the lantern through wall outlets, computers or other USB chargers.
Products from d.light are available for purchase at Amazon.com
With a price of just $20, a two year replacement warranty and claimed five year maintenance free life, this mighty little lantern is a sweet deal.