Packing light and being prepared have one major thing in common: it makes sense to find products that can fill multiple roles, even if one of those uses is just back-up for another specialized piece of equipment. This is where the UCO Candle Lantern plus LED light, like most of UCO’s other products, excels.
The Candle Lantern plus LED is a fusion of high-tech and low-tech lighting devices made specifically for emergency preparedness, but it would be right at home in your camping gear too. With specially designed candles that can burn for up to 9 hours, and an LED with a battery life of 40 hours, it provides plenty of light for most power outages or local emergencies, and more than enough for your average camping trip. A thoughtful design feature of this lantern is the chimney that collapses into the main body when not in use, saving space and protecting the glass. There’s also a spring system that pushes the candle up as it melts, providing consistent lighting. The bail (otherwise known as the handle) does double-duty and serves to keep the chimney from accidentally extending out of the protective shell as well as being used to hold and hang the lantern from. The LED light snaps into the bottom of the lantern housing, but can easily be taken out to be used as a table-top light or hooked onto clothing, offering even more versatility. Considering all these features, plus the fact that the whole setup – including the candle – weighs in at 7.5 ounces and takes up about as much space as a standard flashlight, and the UCO Candle Lantern plus LED sounds like it would fit well into a 72-hour kit.
After spending some time with the Candle Lantern, we have found that it is the multi-tool of outdoor lighting. It is not going to be the best at performing any single task, but it will fill a number of different roles well. Sure, it may not be the most powerful or compact flashlight out there, but it will do the job. The fact that the LED light can be removed from the base and employed as a small area or safety light as well as a whole host of other things adds a huge amount of diversity to this product. The lantern will not dazzle you with brightness, but it will allow you to perform essential tasks in the dark. Also, the candle itself adds another use (besides area lighting) to the mix: a small but constant source of heat. You won’t be cooking meals or boiling water with it, but in a safely ventilated and enclosed space (like a car or a tent), the steady amount of extra heat could mean the difference between surviving and becoming a popsicle. We do have a couple of gripes, however. It is difficult to light the candle without taking the base of the lantern completely off.* Not a deal-breaker by any means, but slightly annoying. Also, because everything is so compact, all of the metal surfaces get extremely hot very quickly. As with any piece of equipment using an open flame, make sure to take special care, particularly around children. Other than that, the UCO Candle Lantern plus LED light is a great way to cover a lot of bases without taking up too much room.
The UCO Candle Lantern plus LED is available in a variety of colors. (We received a yellow one for testing, but used the image supplied by UCO for this article) Check out the Industrial Revolution website to see their selection of accessories and other similar products. And don’t forget to order extra candles, too.
*It’s been brought to our attention that there is another, easier way to light the candle – grasp the glass chimney gently and slide it down into the frame, light the candle, then slide it back up.