I’ve been out of the light hobby for a while, but wanted to replace my Coleman two mantle with an LED lantern for camping trips with the family.
I was set to grab the Fenix 30R, but then ran across the LT1. How do you NOT go with the LT1 given all the positive hype? It came in yesterday, and I had a chance to play with it some last night.
My first thought is that the form factor is kind of odd for a lantern. The height, relative to the small foot print just doesn’t seem like the best idea for a lantern. Uneven and crooked picnic tables, wobbly camping tables, and uneven forest floor are going to test its ability to remain upright it seems. The hard aluminum base could also be improved by adding plastic or rubber to aid with traction. I think I’m going to have to find a solution for this.
As far as lighting performance, the variable tint is awesome, and the smooth ramping is spot-on for a lantern (mimicking a gas lanterns ability). That said, I guess I was expecting the 600 lumens (assuming that’s what I’m getting) to feel like a little more output outdoors. It simply does not light an outdoor area on the same level as my Coleman. While I don’t use the Coleman wide open all the time, and I won’t use the LT1 on high all the time, when setting up or tearing down camp in the dark, or when fixing meals for the kids, etc… it’s nice to be able to flood the area. The LT1 is a really nice light, just not as powerful as I was hoping. (I know I can bridge for more output, but runtime is important)
One other thing (and maybe someone can explain why?) even though the LT1 doesn’t seem to light an area quite as much as my Coleman, it seems to be harsher on your eyes for some reason? More glare or something? It seems like the Coleman doesn’t blind you as badly when it catches your eyes? Is this just the difference in the way the light is emitted from a mantle VS the led or something? How the light is diffused?
The LT1 is no doubt the coolest LED lantern available though.
But I do wonder if it was really necessary to have the LED and giant chunk of metal at the top of the light.
Suppose the LED was mounted in the bottom of the light like a traditional flashlight and all the shroud contained was a cylindrical diffuser plus a lightweight conical reflector at the top to divert the light sideways into the diffuser and partially downward. The diffuser wouldn’t even need to be a separate piece… just use frosted plastic for the shroud:
The heatsink above the shroud would be unnecessary so the center of gravity of the lantern would be much lower.
The lantern also would have been able to use much of the head and body tube for heatsinking so less overall mass would be needed. The light would probably weigh less.
It might even be possible to unscrew and remove the shroud and use the light like a conventional flashlight or mule giving added functionality.
I know at this point the thread is a bit long to go through, but DBSAR went through a lot of iterations. The “conical reflector at the top” and variations thereof have been done to death and he wasn’t getting the performance (not necessarily in terms of light output as we traditionally use the term, but in terms of glare and light angles) out of those configurations that he wanted.
That said, it seems like he came up with something interesting for the LT1 Mini that uses TIRs on the bottom and a flat mirror on the top. It does kind of make me wonder if something like that would have worked better for the LT1? Certainly a configuration with LEDs on the bottom would have provided for a much higher thermally stable output, as evidenced by other soda-can lights like the BLF Q8.
Oh I’ve read (most) of it, and I’m up to date on everything.
I still think a squattier design, and a higher traction base would be better. I realize it uses an existing (Q8?) tube, I just don’t think it’s the perfect form factor for a recreational use lantern.
Any thoughts on why the light from the lantern feels harsher than the Coleman? It’s odd to me. Just seems to blind me more than the Coleman.
Oh I definitely hear you re: form factor. I think something shaped like the Fenix 30R you mentioned is probably a better form factor, if all else were equal. As it is, I usually prefer to hang my LT1 rather than stand it.
As for harshness, I’m not sure. It’s been awhile since I’ve used a Coleman (over ten years now? oof). It could be partly color temperature, and it could have something to do with the size of the light-emitting surface.
My other gripe is that it doesn’t have a dedicated 1x7135 channel (or some other moonlight-mode alternative), so the lowest output isn’t as low as I’d like. Limits its usefulness to me as a nightstand light or tent light.
I too replaced my Colemans with a pair of LT1s. I have taken them out 5-6 times this last year (hunting mostly) and I wouldn’t think of going back to the Colemans. The small form-factor is a “factor”, BUT I found I can put an LT1 where a Coleman was TOO fat on the bottom to otherwise fit- like the back bumper of my Tahoe (my official hunting vehicle) and it fits nicely into the cup holders formed into my cooler too ;).
One thing I did was grab a neodymium base (slightly larger in diameter that the LT1’s base) and I can stick it anywhere on my truck now (and hang three more lanters off it!) As my Tahoe is 21 years old, I’m not too worried about scratching the paint either ;).
But not having to bring white gas (which is stoopid expensive these days), and pumping every few hours, makes the LT1 attractive to me. My two lanterns also fit in a smaller space and although I’ve taken spare 18650s along, I’ve never needed them for 3-4 days out. I would like to find a plastic doodad I could use as a stand- I admit… the LT1 has fallen over a few times on rougher ground and slick surfaces.
My pair two weeks ago went through a rain (turned to snow) night where we had to bug-out to higher ground at 2AM. We broke down camp, in the middle of the downpour of rain and sleet, and the LT1’s both ran flawlessly though it all. It was nice to put them (throw them!) anywhere light was needed (or to move something they were on that needed loading) without worry of burning anything while we moved them around as we loaded out (again the bumper of the truck is a great spot for an LT1!).
I’ve camped professionally as a BLM wilderness tech for years, and have been an avid hunter since I was raised on ranches (often without electricity) and the Colemans were essential tools to me for MANY years of my life. But I spent MANY summers cleaning (and rebuilding) my Colemans and they were a chore to keep up to 100% reliability; while the LT1 is maintenance free, small, and is plenty bright for any camp I’ve been at. The added bonus is I can also grab it at the end of the night and take it into the tent/tahoe where I’m sleeping without worry of a fire or melting a jacket or bag.
Funny thing is my wife started playing with the LT1s which soon ended up on each of our night stands! We each use them every night as the moonlight level is perfect (IMHO) for not waking up the wife when clicked on for a bathroom run in the middle of the night.
I bought one of the collapsable silicone bowls (in white colour) and cut a circle in the top, slipped into the upper O ring slot around the top, it forms a really nice shade. Only regret is making the hole slightly too big, I’d have preffered a tighter friction fit.
Just reminding everyone that with the standard 1/4” tap on the bottom of the lantern, there are mods available and pretty cheap as I continue to cruise Amazon and eBay.
I already have a neo (no rubber) under one of my lanterns and it’s too powerful. So I’m now trying to find one of these rubber sanding backers with some room underneath for this current magnet to fit so it doesn’t physically contact the metal surface (truck hood). Probably won’t find a perfect fit, but that’s what razor blades are for.
The flat rubber covered magnet is the obvious easy route (and my next project for my other LT1). Given it’s wide enough, it will provide a stable base with or without metal underneath it. Harder to find wide rubber cover magnets, but there are a few out there.