Sometimes you just have to see WTF is going on. There’s been a wind storm, you forgot to test your Maglite ahead of time, and now you’re in the dark with your woman. Normally this would be awesome, but you’re right in the middle of Ticket to Ride and you’re about to win. What do you do? Reach for your trusty crank-powered LED lantern made by North Point.
The North Point lantern has a few nifty features that impressed me right out of the box. It’s lightweight, has a rubberized body, and a plastic handle with a folding hook on it so that you can hang the lantern. Operation is simple: there’s one button that turns on four, eight, all twelve lights, and then turns all of the lights off. There’s a gimmicky compass on the top of the lantern hood. I guess it works well enough, but I’m not entirely sure why it was included. There is a plug for an AC adapter, but again I’m a bit baffled by this product feature. If there’s power, wouldn’t one use more powerful lights instead?
I like hand-cranked gadgets, because no matter how out of shape you are you can always turn a plastic handle for sixty seconds. The product packaging reports twenty minutes of light for every minute, but as with my other hand-crank emergency goodies the run time is usually under-estimated on the product description. My lantern ran for over two hours before the LEDs completely died out.
Unfortunately, the North Point lantern may run so long because the light output is very, very, low. Even with all twelve LEDs on, the lantern didn’t give off enough light to read by, even at distances as close as two feet. I would rate the output of the lantern as “useless” unless you are afraid of the dark and just need a comfort light. I wouldn’t count on the lantern to illuminate anything, even at full brightness. Looks like we’ll use our Braille skills to finish that game of Ticket to Ride.
I bought two of these from Tanga for about $15 each after shipping. I don’t think these are worth even fifteen dollars. The light output is too low, and I would have MUCH rather had more light than a longer run-time. I don’t need an hour of dim light; I want twenty minutes of bright light. After all, I’m about to claim a route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.