New lantern packs big light and features into sandwich-sized package
If you're a camper, chances are good you've heard of BioLite. It's the company that created a portable wood-burning stove that generates enough electricity to fuel your devices when you're off-grid. The firm has also made some pretty impressive camp lights – everything from small hanging pendants that can be daisy-chained together to a mini rectangular number that can clip on a shirt pocket. Now BioLite is seeking funding on Kickstarter for a new source of light called BaseLantern, which not only provides Bluetooth-controlled light, but also packs in some other handy features.
Like the mini Lantern the company came out with last year, the BaseLantern uses an edge lighting technology that basically blasts out as much light as possible from its enclosed LEDs.
If you find that light is a little too bright, you can control it through the accompanying app on your smartphone, which lets you run through a series of color and brightness adjustments until you get the light just right.
And if you're worried about draining the precious battery life on your smartphone while you're out in the wilderness, it helps to know that the BaseLantern can charge it back up thanks to its two USB ports. You can also run the light through its cycles by pressing a button on the lantern itself.
The BaseLantern will come with one of two different battery sizes – 7,800 mAH or 12,000 mAH. You can choose to use up that battery bank in a variety of ways. Running the more powerful lantern on its own on a medium setting will provide 13.5 hours of light, for example. Using some of that juice to charge up your phone will decrease the light you get. If you decide to daisy chain the company's SiteLite pendants to your BaseLantern, they too will use up power.
So you basically have to decide how long you're camping, have a good sense of the power usage of various devices, and decide how best to spend the BaseLantern's battery bank. Of course, you can always use other battery packs or solar chargers to recharge the lantern itself through its micro USB port.
Another hugely helpful feature of the BaseLantern is that it has a built-in proximity sensor. So when you approach your campsite with your phone in your pocket, the lantern will know and turn itself on. As any camper knows, getting back to a dark campsite can be tough; this solves the problem.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the BaseLantern is its form factor. It measures a nearly perfect square at 5.1 x 5 inches (129 x 127 mm) and is just 1.7 inches (44 mm) thick. That makes it about the size of a sandwich. The lantern with the larger battery has the same dimensions but weighs a little more than its less robust cousin at 1.42 lb (644 g). BaseLantern has two handles that fit neatly around its edges that can be folded down for placing on a table or flipped up for hanging.
The Kickstarter campaign is off to a good start, having nearly reached its goal of US$75,000 on its first day online. The campaign still has 31 days left to continue raising funds. After the few remaining early bird rewards run out, you can grab a kit containing the lantern with the 7,800 mAH battery and two SiteLites for $99. The same kit with the larger battery costs $129.
If all goes well, the lanterns are expected to ship in October.