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Kelty Lumapivot Lantern : A Bright Idea for Camp Lighting

My car camping light bit the dust this year, and in a stroke of great timing, Kelty’s new LED Lumapivot Lantern arrived shortly thereafter for me to test. This thing’s great. It’s bright, efficient, lightweight, and it runs on rechargeable AA batteries

The first time I used this little gem was on climbing trip to Colorado’s Penitente Canyon. It’s a great climbing area but it’s decidedly not an adventure zone; when you climb there, you car camp and walk about 5 minutes to the crags. It’s one of my favorite places on earth, and I have a crate of goodies specifically for making my life easier when I’m there (or somewhere similar). Kelty’s Lumapivot LED Lantern is now permanently in that crate, along with a moka pot for espresso, stackable cook gear, camp towels, and a bunch of other indispensable items.

I like the Kelty Lumapivot Lantern for many reasons, the first being its brightness. Its 30 5mm LED bulbs crank out an astonishing 110 lumens – that’s nearly three times brighter than my head lamp. That means I can hang it in a tree or place it higher than the camp table and I can enjoy nice, even lighting instead of little head lamp spotlights here and there. I have no trouble seeing where I’m going at night – either back to the car, to another campsite, or to the bathroom. It’s more than bright enough.

What’s unique about the lantern: its two light panels that pivot, enabling me to point light in every possible direction. I have the option of using full power (i.e., both panels), or half power (i.e., one panel). The design is way better than my old camp lantern, which just spilled light in 360 degrees. I find that when I direct light to where I need it, I don’t always need to run the lantern on full power, and can therefore run it longer.

Kelty’s Lumapivot Lantern runs for six hours at full power, but runs for a whopping 12 hours at half power. That’s more than enough for a weekend camping and climbing trip. If I’m gone for longer, I’ll bring an extra half dozen or dozen rechargeable AA batteries, and if I’m on a road trip, I’ll just bring along a charger.

Kelty’s Lumapivot Lantern (with batteries) weighs about a pound, which is light enough to hang from the top of my tent. That’s fantastic. If my wife is sleeping I can run just one panel and point it toward my book so I can read and she can sleep. If we’re both reading, we run both panels and point each one directly at each book. The lantern provides even light so we can see the whole page, as opposed to head lamps that light only part of a page.

What was especially handy was being able to point both panels down at opposite ends of the tent, which enabled us to see everything inside the tent at night. Ever tried to find your lip balm at night in a messy tent with just a head lamp? It’s a major pain. Way easier when the whole tent is lit up.

In a happy accident, we left the Kelty Lumapivot out on our camp table one night at Penitente and awoke to discover that the lantern is weather resistant. It had survived an intense evening thunderstorm thanks to its sealing. Thanks to Kelty for making the light idiot proof!

I can’t imagine a smarter way to light my campsite, my cook table, my backyard barbecue, or my latest book while I’m in bed in my tent.

Bottom Line: A bright, energy-efficient AA-compatible camp light that lets me cook and read well into the night.--N.W. (August 2011)

BUY ONLINE: $49.99, on sale for less at Amazon.

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.