The Fenix CL30R camping lantern is more than just a light source. The lantern can also be used as a power source to charge your USB powered devices, including cell phones, tablets, and MP3 players. Just connect your device to the lantern’s USB output port and press the power button to charge your device. You can even use the light while your device is charging, although this will obviously consume your batteries faster. I love having items that serve multiple uses, especially for camping when I don’t want to haul around more stuff than is absolutely necessary.
While the CL30R isn’t well-suited to backpacking (it weighs nearly 20 ounces with all 3 batteries installed), it is a fantastic addition to your car-camping equipment. I love the fact that it runs on rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries so I don’t need to buy expensive and environmentally unfriendly disposable batteries. The Li-ion batteries can be charged within the lantern itself so you don’t need a separate charger (although you can get one if you want).
It uses a standard mini USB cable (one is included with the lantern), which was perfect for us as it’s the same cable that our Android cell phones use. We were able to use all our existing cables and car chargers with the lantern and not need to worry about managing additional cables. An LED indicator on top of the lantern shows you the lantern’s current charge.
The lantern has 5 different brightness levels, ranging from the low “eco” mode, perfect for finding your way to the bathroom in the dark without tripping over a log, to the powerful “turbo” mode, which emits a supernova-like 650 lumens with a 115-feet illumination diameter. Seriously, turbo mode is like broad daylight. I think you could safely guide ships into harbor with this thing.
In addition to the 5 output levels, there’s a “flash” setting that can be used to signal for help in case of emergency. Outside of camping, the lantern would be a valuable addition to your car or home emergency kit if you keep it charged.
The Fenix CL30R camping lantern is solidly built with a rugged, plastic exterior that will stand up to dirt and abuse while camping. It is also highly water resistant and cold-resistant so it can be used in all manner of weather conditions. It has a handy metal handle that can be used for hanging the lantern inside your tent, as well as a tripod mount so you can have steady light when needed.
For me, one of the best parts about camping is that I get away from all the electronic gadgets that clutter up modern life so I can focus on enjoying nature. But its nice to keep my phone charged for emergencies, and we always need a light source now and then. The Fenix CL30R camping lantern conveniently and reliably provides both these functions with one simple device. And for me, less stuff means more enjoyment.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the CL30R camping lantern for free from Fenix in consideration for a gear review.