Price | $49.95
Light is symbolic of everything good in our world, not to mention that it’s useful. We pragmatic, weight-conscious, nit picky, gear-snobby climbers now have two new pocket lights to help us get through the darkest moments of our pointless existences: the Black Diamond Apollo Lantern. and the Coleman Exponent Lithium Pack-Away Lantern (not pictured).
The Apollo Lantern is my new favorite piece of gear, a compact, long-lasting, super-nifty 3-watt light that I will take wherever I go climbing and camping.
Folded up, the Apollo is about the size of a soup can, five inches tall, three inches thick, and only eight ounces in weight. Unfold the lantern’s tripod legs and slide casing up and a sturdy little 9.5-inch-tall powerhouse casts a nice, even light. It is bright, but due to its dual-reflector system not blinding to look at, making it perfect for illuminating a dinner table, tent or cooking area. You can also adjust the brightness level by sliding the casing, but I preferred the Apollo on full blast. A metal ring atop the lantern lets you hang it from a tent or anywhere else, in this set up, you can also clip random stuff to the legs.
The Apollo runs on four AA batteries and has a battery meter that lets you know when you’re low on the juice. For a few extra bucks, you can outfit the Apollo with an NRG rechargeable battery (not tested).
The Coleman Exponent Lantern (rated 3 stars), at 4.8 ounces, is much smaller and lighter than the BD Apollo. The triangular-shaped Exponent packs down and can fit in the palm of my hand. The Exponent’s LED light is also much brighter (100 lumens), but it burned my retinas to look at directly in the dark. If size and weight are your priorities, go with the Coleman Exponent (www.coleman.com). However, I recommend the BD Apollo as it is cheaper and ultimately delivers a better, more pleasant blow to the evil darkness.