Lighting is important when you’re out in the wilderness. Flashlights are a must, and headlamps are handy, but you need options that aren’t just burning-the-eyes-out bright.
I tested three new lighting gadgets on a recent road trip through the northwestern US and found each of them handy.
Brunton Lightwave Amp Speaker & Lantern
When camping, you need to minimize gear, so it helps if you have gadgets that do double-duty. The Brunton Lightwave Amp is both a lantern and a portable speaker. The lantern part of it has a fully bright or dimmed white light, plus it connects to your smartphone so you can also change its colour to any hue you choose. The free app is also used to connect to the speaker that’s built into the base of the lamp. The audio quality isn’t what you’d call pristine, but for something you’re taking on the road or into the woods, it sounds just fine to my ears.
The lantern part is a good sized device; it’s abut the same size as a ‘standard’ Coleman lantern. I really liked the colour changing abilities of the lantern and often put it on a subtle purple, or red or blue, which seemed not to draw bugs. The brightest setting was enough to cook or even read by, while the dim setting cast a subtle glow.
This tiny light resembling a light sabre from Star Wars is light, portable and provides enough light for tasks that need more subtle illumination. I found it infinitely handy for taking night photos, as it lights up the camera body well so I can read the buttons, without the bright eye-searing glare of a traditional white flashlight. The Glowstick base twists to turn it on and off and it has a long lasting LED bulb, so it won’t drain the battery too quickly. I used it on a two week roadtrip nightly and it’s still going strong. NiteIze says it’ll run 60 hours on the 4 included AG-3 batteries, which you can replace when they die. They come in several colours and for the whopping $3 they cost, you can get a set and hand them out to the family.
BONUS! I also was able to use these sticks to do some interesting night photos. If you’ve ever heard of the steel wool light trick, you can do something similar with the Glowstick; just clip the included caribiner on one of these to a rope and spin it for some fun photo opportunities!
Biolite NanoGrid multi-light kit
This genius device is two lights on one… well, maybe even three. The nerve centre of the gadget is the small lantern. It has a soft rounded shape that distributes light evenly and without bright spots. Then, in the flat base of the lantern, a directional flashlight that casts a bright beam over a good long distance. You can even have both ends of the lantern on at the same time.
The other part of the light that I absolutely love is a pair of overhead lamps that you can string on a clothesline or a tree to provide overhead light easily. I found this section and its long braided cable very handy for suspending over a picnic table during food prep. It give you more of a flood of light as opposed to narrower glaringly bright areas with some camp lanterns. The NanoGrid is also available from Best Buy .
Biolite’s super-versatile CampStove lets you cook, generate heat, or create your own portable power all with sticks, twigs and biomass that you can find at any camp spot. The ultra-portable stove can boil water in about 6 minutes, and with different adaptive pieces (not included) you can even grill on it. A handy light on a flexible gooseneck shaft helps you see what you’re doing in the dark, and it’s powered by the heat generated by the stove. It’s great for backpackers, or campers who aren’t ready or willing to invest in a big heavy Coleman-type stove yet.
Need to see for yourself how it works? Watch the video!
Do you know of a camping gadget or lighting option I should check out on my next visit to the forest? Let me know in comments below!