Black Diamond Orbit
Source: bought it new
Lightweight, bright, and cleverly-designed, this lantern makes excellent use of diffused light, compacts so that it won't accidentally turn on, and adds a cool secondary light source as backup to a headlamp and/or campfire. Recommended for backpackers who enjoy a supplementary light to give a dark campsite more illuminated texture.
- Great design
- Battery life
I bought this lantern to replace my old single-mantle white gas lantern which was enormous, heavy, fragile, and occasionally dangerous. The amount of light that the Orbit emits is quite impressive for its size and weight.
I use this lantern primarily as a supplementary light to our headlamps and/or the campfire. 95% of the time we keep it on low to conserve battery life and to help preserve our night vision. Used this way, for 2-4 hours per night, the batteries last through a long weekend (I'm using the 1st generation Orbit — the newer models advertise longer burn times). I should also mention that I use rechargeable batteries, which really don't last as long as your standard non-rechargeables.
The design is very clever. The base of the lantern is slim, so that diffused light is reflected all around and down. So if you hang this lantern high, you'll be able to see directly beneath the lantern. The loop on top of the lantern is really two metal hooks that come together as a loop, so you can essentially hang this anywhere without needing to thread something through a solid loop (this is easier to see than to explain — it's actually a very simple setup).
If there's a tree branch hanging low, you don't need to attach it from the end of the branch — you can enclose the loop at any point along the branch. Pretty groovy. When the light is not in use it collapses down and becomes almost 1/2 size, completely securing the on/off button from accidental trigger. The single button also serves as a dimmer switch when you hold it down. Again, very simple and intuitive.
Just when I thought I couldn't possibly love this thing more deeply, I had a couple sips of camp whiskey and went for a midnight swim, and the lantern got knocked into the lake. It slowly sank and filled up with water — never turning off or going out! I quickly rescued the Orbit, disassembled it, wiped it dry and left it in a tent pocket overnight. The next morning it was thoroughly dry, so I reassembled it and pressed the button. It worked like a charm and hasn't quit on me yet.
This has been a staple in my pack since 2009. If you require a major lantern to brightly light up an entire campsite (as for a group of campers), then maybe a more powerful torch would be a better option. This light, even on low, will give some extra local light to a campsite, but will not overpower the landscape.
Recommended for weight-conscious backpackers who want a supplementary light to enrich, not drown out, a campsite or tent. Great for picnic tables and lean-to's.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: php 1592
The last lantern you'll ever need.
- Analog adjustable brightness
- Small size
- Multimodal hook
- Wide illumination angle
- Not rectangular (for easier packing)
- Holds only 3 batteries at a time
- White light only
- No flash mode
Visible distance is as advertised. Even better if at an elevated position. I usually prop this using a hiking stick.
Very easy to use (lanterns generally are).
Unique hook can be made into a loop for added security. this, together with its small size, makes it a viable alternative to a headlamp when attached to the shoulder straps of a backpack. just make sure it doesn't swing (easily accomplished by tape or rope).
Collapses for compact storage.
Seems to be durable, but not waterproof.
Hopefully it can show red light, as an alternative for star map reading using headlamps.
Wide brightness adjustment range. but the brightest setting uses up battery juice quite fast.
It's a very good basic lantern. but as a headlamp alternate, it can be lacking. especially if you're looking for red light, flash mode, and waterproofing.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20 (on sale)
Great little lantern for backpacking! Lightweight, compact, great light output.
- Light output great
- Dimmable feature
- Has issues staying on in cold weather
I bought this lantern from REI (in the green color) at the end of last summer as a way to be able to stay up later on the trail with my fellow backpackers without us wasting our headlamps.
First impressions: The size is great and it "folds" up into itself to take up less space in your pack. Simple plastic construction, but seems very durable. Plastic that covers the light is translucent so you aren't staring at the bulb. There are hooks at the top, so you can hang the lantern, either inside your tent, or in the leanto, on a tree, wherever!
The light output, in my opinion, is perfect. It's not too bright, but offers just enough light to do simple things like cook, play cards, etc. If you hold down the button, the light dims, which I love, not only for a softer light feel, but also to help conserve batteries.
When I took the lantern out in cooler weather, I started to have some problems with it kicking off after 20-30 minutes of being on. Swapped the batteries out for some lithium batteries, and have had much better luck. It will still turn off after being on for awhile, but I suspect that's a battery save feature, and not a defect in the lantern. The last trip I took was out in the Catskills, temperatures were hovering around 15 degrees or so, and the lamp kicked off probably after about 2 or so hours. And it turned right back on.
Not sure of the weight, obviously if you're an ultralight backpacker, which I aspire to on some trips, this is just a luxury item. It takes 4 AAA batteries, which is annoying, but at least it's triples! I'm told there is a special Black Diamond battery pack that you can use with the lantern that I believe are rechargeable, but I have zero knowledge on that, and especially not how it compares to the lithium batteries.
Overall, a great little lamp that has come with me on several trips throughout the past year. Definitely spend the extra money for the lithium batteries, even if you don't plan to use it in cold weather.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $28
Awesome little lantern!!
Perfect little lantern. Light, tough and gives out great light. The battery life is great. Definitely good for a 4-night trip. Every backcountry camper should have one of these to supplement the headlamp. Worth the weight and space.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25
This little guy is lightweight, powerful, and bright. Can't beat it with a stick!
- Can't think of any—unless you're an ultralight packer
There isn't much negative to say about this lantern, unless you are going ultralight. For car camping, Scout trips and short backpacking where weight isn't as much of an issue, this product is outstanding.
It is tiny, lightweight, and bright. It has two small hooks which make hanging it from rope at dinner or the inside of a tent a breeze. Battery life isn't much of an issue, especially if you use the dimming feature...just hold the button for your desired brightness.
You'll want to bring it on every trip!
Here's my review of Black Diamond's Orbit lantern:
Price Paid: $29.95
BRILLIANT, yeah it is bright
- Doubly adjustable, by using the adjustment button and gently/slightly collapsing will furthermore reduce the light output to a bare minimal light.
- Excellent in the tent, on the table, in the field. When I arrive at a campsite in the dark this is one of the first things I pull out, turn it on along with my headlamp and find the area to pitch the tent. Then place it right next to that area while setting up.
- This smaller version of lamp has been by far enough for the minimalist camping that I like doing.
- Nice and small to hang inside tent BUT don't be fooled as it puts out lots of light in the tent.
- Good diffusement of good light.
- Packs real small and it quite light.
- When packed down the on/off button is protected from an accidental turn on.
- Not waterproof, but doesn't really need to be.
- The two overlapping double hooks for hanging would be better being longer.
This is one of only a few luxuries I take and it is well worth the small room and tiny amount of weight.
Yes, I do recommend and would buy this model again from REI.
Price Paid: $29.99
Love this light, small but BRIGHT!!! I almost didn't buy it, once I got it I waited till dark then went to the basement and wow!!! Folks get one!!
I had to even post it on my page, and I'm taking it out 1-27-12 for an overnight hike on the AT and staying at Peters Mountain Shelter.
facebook appalachian trail pennsylvania
Price Paid: $25
Fantastic little product at a great price.
The light output isn't going to fill a campsite; but it is ideal if you want some light to cook by or a tent light for playing cards or reading (hanging from a center loop gear loft easily illuminates an entire 3-person tent and the double hook design makes sure it stays in place). The Orbit Lantern is ESPECIALLY perfect if you'd like to shave ounces and minimize pack space.
All around an excellent product. Well built, lightweight, acceptable battery consumption, good light output.
On my last backpacking trip, I used this little guy to light up our campsite. At 45 lumens, it puts out a pretty good amount of light at its maximum setting. I hung it from a tree, about 7 feet up, and that seemed to be where it worked the best.
I've also used it at its minimum setting for a night light in a tent or cabin. Its adjustable light settings make it extremely versatile. Its compressibility make it fairly small to pack.
Price Paid: $30
Originally I thought that this was a waste of space and money. Why do I need a lantern when I have a headlamp? Well, my girlfriend kept saying how much she wanted one and would go on and on about a lantern for the tent so one day I went to a local outdoor gear shop and picked up the orbit.
WOW! What an amazing product. The amount of gentle light output for its size is amazing. It more than lights up my tent and works great as a cooking light. It illuminates a large area and if set on top of a 1L water bottle is at the perfect height for cooking and playing cards.
Honestly it is one of my (and definitely my girlfriend's) favorite purchases. I would definitely buy one again. It is well worth the $30 and 5 oz.
Price Paid: $26
I began using the Coleman Peak1 white gas lantern, then started using small single mantle canister fueled lanterns, then finally settled on a ten dollar LED lantern that I picked up because it was kind of neat. The ten dollar lantern (Eddie Bauer) was great, but the light it threw out was partially blocked by a large base.
So long story short - I picked up the Orbit a couple of weeks ago, and it's marvelous. The design is very creative and thoughtful, and the light output is great. The light is much more useful and crisp than my EB lantern. At under 5 ounces, and being so small, you can't beat it.
Also, with having gone from gas-fueled lanterns to battery-fueled, there's no competition with my canister stove for those last precious breaths of fuel.
Price Paid: 33 dollars
Nice features: tiny size and weight, dimmer function.
Not well constructed. I have to struggle to line up the charging jack. Light fails me in critical situations.
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