Black Diamond Orbit

19 reviews
5-star:   10
4-star:   7
3-star:   1
2-star:   1
1-star:   0

Reviews

3

This review is for the older 45 lumen Orbit model.

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 20 bucks

Summary

This review is for the older 45 lumen Orbit model. The new models are rated at 60 lumen with a flashlight option. I'll be honest... this doesn't go on every backpacking trip because it's a little redundant when you have a headlamp. However, the Orbit does provide nice ambient light when backpacking with groups and is a definite "must pack" when car camping.

Pros

  • It provides ambient light.
  • It helped provide memories (this claim has yet to be confirmed)???

Cons

  • Do you really need it?
  • Is it really worth the money?
  • Is it really worth the weight?

So about two years ago, on a spontaneous trip to Joshua Tree, my friend bought this lantern at a local store, Joshua Tree Outfitters. Being a sucker for gear and a person who will have acute bouts of "gear envy" I bought one too.  

I can't say that I've taken the Orbit on every backpacking trip... since packing a headlamp would pretty much make this item dead weight. But, if you like ambient light when camping in a group (especially when camping at high-altitudes where fires aren't allowed), it's worth its weight and a space in your pack.

Range: It's not far. But then again, it's a lantern and not a headlamp. I wouldn't use it as my only source of light and definitely not as a main source when walking/hiking in the dark. We used two recently when car camping at Crane Flat in Yosemite at opposite ends of the picnic table when playing poker. It was light enough to see my pocket 10s that I completely overplayed on a terrible flop.

In the picture below, we used it to help cut up some tri-tip that we finished grilling (that was DELICIOUS).

bd3.jpg

Beam & Brightness: There's no real beam (I'm interested in trying out the new models though, which include a flashlight option) and it's not spectacularly bright. However, it provides great ambient light, especially in the tent.  

When camping in Sawyer Lake in Wisconsin, the lamp allowed me to stay up and read while my girlfriend slept (I use a Sierra Designs Lightning HT 2 tent that provides 40 in of head room and 28.5 sq ft of floor space if that's helpful).  Furthermore, when camping in the high country, where fires aren't allowed, it provides a nice alternative to just using a headlamp for light.

Burn Time/Power Source: I've never taken the Orbit on extended outings so I cannot comment on the burn time.  I do remember that it was at least a year plus before I had to change the originally packaged batteries, though.

Ease of Use: This thing's extremely easy. There's one button. Press it to turn it on. Hold it down to dim. The light will blink to let you know you reached the lowest setting. Press it again to turn it off.

Weather: The lowest temperatures I've used the Orbit was in the high 30s/low 40s, so I cannot attest to its abilities in cold weather. I've also only used the Orbit in dry conditions so I cannot attest to how it would operate in wet conditions.

FeaturesThe light can telescope to ease in packability. There are also two metal D style rings that allow the Orbit to be hung from the loops at the roof of my tent. The feature of the flashlight, coupled with the higher lumen count, seems quite intriguing in the new models.. but sadly, I have the old one =(.

Modes: The dimmer's a nice option when your tent-mate wants to sleep but you'd like to stay up.. just that while longer. I did wish it was a little brighter though.

Construction & Durability: I've had no problems with the construction and durability of the Orbit. The rubber bumpers of the base makes the product feel real solid. I've knocked it off tables and haven't been that careful with it, but everything seems to work just fine.

Conditions: I've only used it on a handful of group backpacking trips and only a couple of solo trips because the Orbit is a little bit redundant when you're carrying a headlamp. I've definitely brought it on all my car camping trips.

Best For: So, do you really need an Orbit? No. Do you really need to pack an extra light source on top of a headlamp that uses an additional 4 AAA batteries (on top of whatever batteries you packed with your headlamp)? No. Do you really need to spend 20 bucks on this thing when you have much brighter alternatives? No. I didn't really need the Orbit. It's more luxury than utilitarian. And its benefits doesn't necessarily justify the extra weight in your pack. But.. what I do remember about the Orbit was:

  • Using it out in Joshua Tree while playing Don't Think Twice It's Alright on my guitar and watching the night stars at Jumbo Rocks.
  • Reading Vonnegut write about Eliot Rosewater and his "ridiculous" ideas with the assistance of the Orbit.
  • Camping for the first time with my significant other as the Orbit lit the inside of our tent.
  • Seeing the two Orbits light up the flop as I caught an open ended straight draw and then catching the straight on the turn in the same aforementioned poker game in Yosemite.
  • Laying around near the shores of Moraine Lake in the Cascades as we looked up to the Milky Way (I don't even think I paid all that much attention to draining the batteries of the Orbit at that point as it laid next to me).

So did I really need to purchase this thing? Probably not. But I couldn't let my buddy get away with buying the Orbit without having to buy one myself.

bd1.jpg

 

Orbit compared to a 2L Platypus:
bd2.jpg

 

Crane Flat, Yosemite:
bd4.jpg

G00SE MODERATOR

Nice review, Danny. Thanks for sharing it.


5 months ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

I've got an Orbit and feel the same way—no, I don't need it most of the time, but it's nice to have a little lantern if you're car camping, especially with kids.


5 months ago
Eric Labanauskas BRAND REP

Picked up the last one my local REI had - was on clearance for $16.83! This thing lit up a 3.5-person tent without a problem on my trip last weekend. Believe the updated version weighs more, because, well, flashlight - could only see this being a perk if you pack this instead of a headlamp? Also, props for having "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" as part of your rep - one of my fave tunes, and probably my fave from Dylan. Helps to see all 6 strings if you're fingerpicking especially! :) Nice review, dude!


5 months ago
Danny Wang

Thanks for the nice comments guys! @Eric I love early Dylan!


5 months ago
3

Here's my review of Black Diamond's Orbit lantern:…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars

Here's my review of Black Diamond's Orbit lantern:



Enjoy!

2

Lightweight, bright, and cleverly-designed, this lantern…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new

Summary

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.

Pros

  • Small
  • Light
  • Great design
  • Bright

Cons

  • Battery life


7360673270_cc1148bff0_c.jpg

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.

1

Great little backpacking light. Small but powerful.

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $13.50

Summary

Great little backpacking light. Small but powerful.

Pros

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Bright
  • Lasts a long time

Cons

  • None

My initial impressions upon taking the lantern out of the box was "IT'S SO TINY". I almost was disappointed by its size thinking it would be useless. BOY WAS I WRONG!

Once I put the batteries in and tested it out I was surprised by the amount of light given off. This is a great little lantern. It is very compact, I love the way the globe collapses down onto the base which makes this even smaller for when it comes time to put it away.  

I tested this out in a dark room and found that at full brightness I got about a 2 foot radius of usable light, probably closer to 2 and a half feet but I am not arguing. It was very bright and made everything easy to see. The frosting on the globe diffuses the light and makes it less harsh on the eyes.  

I have yet to change the batteries on this so I can't say for sure how long it lasts, but the lantern has been in use for several weekend trips now and it is still shining bright. I've used it to illuminate the cooking area while making dinner, the table at our campsite for a game of cards, and of course inside the tent. It lights up a 2-person tent perfectly and it has a nice little set of rings on the top for hanging the lantern in the tent.  

There is a dimmer built into the switch although it's not obvious at first. When you turn on the lantern it ALWAYS goes to full brightness, but if you click the switch and hold it then the light will cycle through a dimming setting. Once it gets to its dimmest the light will blink once and if you continue to hold the button it will start getting brighter again.  

The casing seems rugged and well made. The battery compartment is made of a strong plastic and the compartment door threads onto the base. The switch seems durable, and appears to be weather resistant, although the instructions state "Do not submerge".  

All in all this is a great little backpacking light. It would be well suited to backpacking camping since it is so small and lightweight. But it would also make a great emergency light for your home. At the price I paid it was a great bargain. Would definitely purchase another. Oh, and they come in some really great colors.  

1

Great little lantern for backpacking! Lightweight,…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20 (on sale)

Summary

Great little lantern for backpacking! Lightweight, compact, great light output.

Pros

  • Light output great
  • Dimmable feature
  • Compact

Cons

  • 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.    

1

BRILLIANT, yeah it is bright This is one of only a…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $29.95

Summary

BRILLIANT, yeah it is bright

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

0

Bright and compact! I love this little light. Worked…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $20

Summary

Bright and compact!

Pros

  • Compact
  • Adjustable light
  • Bright
  • Use as lantern OR flashlight
  • Hanging hook

Cons

  • Probably a bit heavy for backpacking
  • Pricey

I love this little light. Worked great on a canoe trip: hang it from the center tent roof, perfect lighting with ability to dim or brighten. Functions either as lantern or flashlight!

Small and compact. It might be heavy for backpackers, but for my outdoor activity, it is great. Takes a bit to figure out the on/off/adjust function but trial and error work, too.

Well constructed. I don't think it will break. Collapsible design saves space. A bit pricey for a little light, but I got mine gently used and saved about $10.

0

Very innovative style, copied by others. Simply pull…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new

Summary

Very innovative style, copied by others.

Pros

  • Lights up a small area like a backpacking tent
  • Very light, portable for a lantern

Cons

  • Light can be blinding if not placed above and behind you
  • Burn time is shorter than my headlamp
  • Heavier and more bulky than a headlamp

Simply pull the top and bottom to extend and reveal the on/off dim switch. After several years of use my first did pull apart (it sticks until enough force is applied and then releases with a bit too much force).

Unfold the two half (quarter actually) rings to form a ring around whatever you want hang it to, no tying required.

I take it on shorter trips and/or longer nights when it will get a lot of use. And of course car camping.

0

I recommend this lantern, especially for backpacking.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20

Summary

I recommend this lantern, especially for backpacking.

Pros

  • Price
  • Size
  • Amount of light

Cons

  • Weight

I went on a few trips last year and used this lantern that someone else brought. On my last trip to BWCA this year, the group used it extensively and I borrowed it several time to get some tent-glow pictures at sunset. Afterwards, I decided to buy my own and as luck would have it I nabbed one from the REI outlet for about $20 a few weeks later. 

Mine works like the other models I used in the past and I frequently used it in the North Cascades last month. For the size and price it puts out plenty of light to be able to cook or find things in the tent etc. The two foldable hooks on the top are perfect for hanging in the tent. It even dims to save battery life etc. I've used it to get tent-glow pictures at sunset (I've only been able to get about 20-30' away from the lit tent to get a good shot). 

About my only complaint is that it takes 4 AAA batteries so its a little heavy for a non-essential backpacking accessory. However it made the cut when I backpacked up to Sahale Glacier camp and was worth it!

0

The Black Diamond Orbit lantern is tiny (think one…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $17.99 (closeout)

Summary

The Black Diamond Orbit lantern is tiny (think one of those small cans of V8), and if that weren't enough, it's also a fantastic light. It offers plenty of illumination in front or backcountry campsites, and the intuitive dimming functionality makes it perfect both outside and inside your shelter.

Pros

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Light output
  • Ease of use
  • Durability
  • Battery life

Cons

  • Suspension system
  • Button placement

This lantern found a permanent place in my pack after my first outing with it in tow. Its maiden trip was a car-camping weekend with substantial downpours. The light spent most of its time suspended by its two folding metal half loops from some utility cord above the picnic table (more on this later). From there it provided ample light for preparing nighttime snacks, playing board games, and cleanup before hitting the hay.

We had always brought our trusty Coleman PerfectFlow for these purposes, but enjoyed the ease of use of the Orbit quite a bit more. We like to keep light sources as dim as possible in the evening so as not to disturb other campers, and I found that the Orbit outperformed the Coleman in this regard, especially thanks to the ability of the lantern to be collapsed for added dimness. T

he control for dimming and increasing the light should be immediately familiar to anyone who owns a Black Diamond headlamp, and while it is certainly easy, the placement of the button to operate the control can be a bit tedious to find by touch.

The only other minor gripe I have with the lantern is its odd suspension rig. It consists of two half D rings that when both folded up form a loop for hanging. This system is just a little odd to me as it takes a bit of finagling to get it looped onto anything, though I suppose that increases its security. The real "problem" is hanging it on an already taut horizontal line, because the light will slide freely and readily along said line. There are any number of simple fixes for this though, and I can't really fault the light for it.

Overall, this light is small enough, light enough, and useful enough that I can't imagine any of my outdoor adventures excluding it.

0

The last lantern you'll ever need. Visible distance…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: php 1592

Summary

The last lantern you'll ever need.

Pros

  • Analog adjustable brightness
  • Small size
  • Multimodal hook
  • Wide illumination angle
  • Collapsible

Cons

  • 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.

0

Awesome little lantern!! Perfect little lantern. Light,…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $28

Summary

Awesome little lantern!!

Pros

  • Light
  • Compact
  • Tough

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.  

0

This little guy is lightweight, powerful, and bright.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25

Summary

This little guy is lightweight, powerful, and bright. Can't beat it with a stick!

Pros

  • Compact
  • Bright
  • Dimming
  • Versatile

Cons

  • 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!

0

Love this light, small but BRIGHT!!! I almost didn't…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
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

Boogman

0

Fantastic little product at a great price. The light…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
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.

0

On my last backpacking trip, I used this little guy…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars

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.

0

Originally I thought that this was a waste of space…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
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.

0

I began using the Coleman Peak1 white gas lantern,…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
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.

-3

Nice features: tiny size and weight, dimmer function.

Rating: rated 2.5 of 5 stars
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.