Certain pieces of gear evoke memories. A feeling of nostalgia for a particular time and place in one’s life.
A Coleman lantern is a piece of gear I look back on fondly as one example.
The soft glow of the light, that slight and constant hiss, and the small amount of heat generated by the lantern brings up memories. Memories of being under a large canvas tent with the cold air outside on a cold New Hampshire October night during my brief, but life-altering, time in Boy Scouts. Dad did not work overtime that weekend. He took me camping and hiking. And my life has not been the same since.
And there are candle lanterns. Another piece of gear I used in the past and sometimes even now. Something I still use on winter backpacks. A comforting light during the long winter nights. And also helps mitigate condensation a bit.
But nostalgia only goes so far. Coleman white gas lanterns can be finicky. And propane lanterns are easy to use but require more space, care, and fuel than I care to worry about.
So I grab a battery equivalent. Or do without and go by headlamp as another piece of gear to purchase batteries for is a pain at times.
And while candle lanterns do have their place when winter backpacking, and does help to get rid of condensation, they do require some TLC. Wax can be spilled and the glass globe is prone to breaking if you are not careful.
Then a few years ago, I saw more of my friends bringing various versions of Luci lights on camping trips.
An inflatable lantern with various light settings last about 8-12 hours on a full charge depending on settings and re-charged by solar. Intriguing! No batteries needed, you can recharge during the day, and the lantern folds up quickly once you finish the trip.
I purchased the Luci Lux with a diffused and soft light reminiscent of the Coleman lantern I wax nostalgia for at times. Except there are no hiss, fumes, or maintenance issues (or a bit of useful heat at times. Alas.) to worry about. I prefer the diffused light to the harsh light as I find the glow is more welcoming.
I keep one in my perma-camping kit that is always in the back of my car. And found the Luci light a handy item during my road trip. Hanging from my liftgate with a small bungee cord via a handy, built-in strap, more than enough light is provided to cook and see by at night. And I can take the light to the tent when I am ready to call it a night. If I do need a little extra light to look off while cooking or even relaxing in camp, the red light provided by my rechargeable headlamp proves to be more than adequate.
At 4.5 oz, it weighs as much as the smaller candle lantern. But again, without the ability to help get rid of condensation when initially in the tent and taking off my day-use layers. But I find the primary use of the candle lantern is to provide a bit of light during the cold nights. Without as much of the fuss or worries, the Luci Light gives off enough light before I doze off during the long nights.
I do recognize that 4.5 oz is a bit of a luxury item. It is perhaps mitigated somewhat if hauling in by a pulk. But imagine a smaller light with a red light setting that is appropriate for my small winter backpacking tent? I recently purchased the 2.5 oz Luci EMRG. Even more compact than the Luci Lux, and with a red light setting, the specs claim seven hours of direct use. More than enough for my typical time awake in a tent. Even in winter.
Will I use the Luci Lights for three season backpacking? Probably not. But for car camping or truck bivvy’s, the Luci Lux is a handy item and one I will continue to use going forward. And we’ve already made good use of the Luci Lux when backpacking in the Moab area this past November and December. The Luci EMRG will no doubt be just as useful at even at a less of weight and size penalty. Finally, I find that the Luci Lights are an excellent item to have on hand if there is a blizzard, flood, or other natural disaster and the power cuts out. And at $14 and $20 depending on type, rather affordable.
Overall, I am pleased with this item that I never thought I’d purchase. But now I find myself using almost every trip in one way or another from the Fall to the early Spring. Luci Lights are now an important part of my kit.
Disclosure: I purchased the Luci Lights with my funds.