Over the Melbourne Cup long weekend the family and I headed out of town for a camping trip down along the Victorian west coast. OK, it wasn’t a rugged camping trip off the beaten track, but a simple pitch the tent at a powered site in a caravan park type trip. Now the car was packed with a number of Costco purchases for the trip including the tent, the chairs and an air mattress, but more on those in later articles. The one item we picked up at Costco I want to tell you about was the GE Chromalit 3D Lantern.
There are many camping lanterns on the market and more and more of them are using LEDs as their light source. This GE product is a little different than those you will typically find in your average camping store as it uses Chromalit technology by Intermatix. Now I can go into the detailed technical reasons why this is good (my day job involves engineering of lamps) but I don’t want to bore you.
What I can tell you about this lantern is the manufacture’s claims include that this lantern will put out 260 lumens of light in full power mode (trust me, that’s a good amount of light) and will last up to 200 hours in low powered mode on 8 ‘D’ sized batteries or 100 hours on full power. I can also tell you from experience that the amount of light, the color of the light, the quality of the light and the direction of the light this lantern puts out is fantastic. We have only ever ran this on low power, both camping and around the house, but if you are truly out in the wilderness with only the stars for light this lantern packs plenty of punch on full power.
I can also tell you that Costco is selling this lantern in Australia for an awesome price. They have it for $25.59…that’s Australian dollars. A quick look on Amazon.com shows that they one seller has it at US$40.47. So much for a retailer in Australia not being able to beat some of the cheapest prices online for the same product.
Our family have had many lanterns over the years from retailers like Rays Outdoors, Super Cheap Auto and Bunnings. Most of those lanterns at or below this price really don’t have the build quality or light output of the GE Chromalit 3D lantern.
One competitor that might come close for quality is the Coleman LED Rugged Lantern. That lantern offers 190 lumens of light output, and on 4 ‘D’ size batteries you get 25 hours of run time. So for the equivalent 8 ‘D’ sized batteries at 190 lumens you will get 50 hours of run time from the Coleman at 190 lumen output. Thats less light and half the run time. Rays Outdoors is selling the non-rechargeable version of that lantern that takes the ‘D’ size batteries for $29.99.
Do yourself a favour, if you are going camping or spending any time outdoors this summer, or even if you just need an emergency lamp for around the house, pick yourself up one of these GE Chromalit 3D lanterns at Costco. It won’t disappoint.