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We’re fans of LED lanterns for camping as well as emergencies. They’re safer around kids and pets than gas lanterns, and generally more durable then fluorescent lanterns, which don’t perform as well in lower temps either. A good LED lantern should provide bright area lighting for cooking and similar activities, and have the capability to be dimmed for close up work and reading. It should be rugged enough for outdoor use, reasonably water-resistant, have one or more hooks for hanging, and the batteries should last for at least three days of intermittent use.
Eureka!’s Warrior 230 IR does all that, plus a bit more. This compact (3.4″ x 3.4″ x 7.3″) lantern not only has all the features we look for in an LED lantern, it even comes with a remote control that turns it on and off, or dims it, from up to twenty five feet away! There’s a single button on the Warrior 230 that performs multiple functions. Press it once, and it lights up at full power, which is 230 lumens. Once on, hold the button down to dim it as low as 15 lumens. Press it twice to put it in SOS flashing mode. Three clicks of the button illuminates a small blue LED just above it to let you know that it’s now in IR standby mode, and can be activated by the handy remote. The remote itself has two buttons. One controls the built in LED that makes the remote a handy flashlight. It’s got a steady and flashing mode as well. The other button duplicates the first two functions of the lantern’s button, allowing you to turn it on, off, dim it, or set it to flashing.
Although the remote comes with two AAA batteries, the lantern does not include the necessary three D cells. Installing them requires a simple twist to remove the base. Once they’re in, two arrows need to be lined so that the pieces lock into each other before twisting it back together. There’s no visible o-ring, but it snaps together snug enough to earn an IPX-4 rating, meaning it offers protection against splashing water. It should be noted that the removable globe does have an o-ring.
In use, the Warrior 230 offers plenty of flexibility. At a bit under two pounds, it’s not too heavy for children to carry for a bit. The top handle is sized for smaller hands as well. But this lantern is really designed for stationary use. In addition to the handle on top, there’s a smaller hook recessed into the base, and the packaging includes a fully articulating “S” hook that folds down pretty compact. This allows it to hang from a branch, line, post, or the loop inside your tent. Even if it’s slightly out of reach, the remote provides easy access to the various settings. It’s worth mentioning that not only does the remote work at wide angles outdoors, but we were able to use it with the lantern’s receiver facing away from us indoors. The ability to dim the light as necessary should extend battery life, and if the light isn’t bright enough at the highest setting, remove the globe (which diffuses the light somewhat) for a little extra reach.
The Warrior 230 IR impressed us with its solid feel. Most of the plastic is encased in durable rubber, which provides protection and all-weather grip. One of our staff pointed out that the vertical lines in the globe make it look like a very small blender, which is admittedly true. But those lines create a softer light without much loss. The expected run time on a set of fresh batteries should be somewhere around 200 hours on low, or 50 hours on high, which more then meets our needs for shorter camping trips or an emergency kit. Other than struggling to replace the base when we first installed the batteries, we could find no flaws in the design or operation of the Warrior 230. Its suggested retail of $64.99 might be a bit on the high side, but that’s for a lantern, a remote with built-in flashlight, plus an impressive amount of light and versatility in a compact light. As always, you can probably find it somewhere for a bit less, but it’s a good value either way.