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Last week, we talked to you about something that I would consider a “standard” camping/emergency lantern, in terms of overall design and the fact that it uses standard D-cell batteries. Today, we’re going to go through something that is very much a modern take on a camping (or backyard) lantern, the BioLite Alpenglow.

As you no doubt recall, we first brought you word on the BioLite Alpenglow last month, and it’s something that I’ve been eagerly awaiting to see in person from when we first caught wind of it. On one hand, sure, it’s “just” another LED lantern with an internal rechargeable battery pack. However, that battery pack (either 3,200 mAh or 6,400 mAh) can also output power, charging up your phone or even powering, say, some string lights, while also powering the lantern itself. So, you can think of it as a battery pack with a really big light on it, if you want.

While the battery packs inside are different, and the two lanterns are sized differently, the two BioLite Alpenglow do have some similarities. For one, they have the same run times – 5 hours at high or 200 hours at low, with a one-hour power reserve. This is because the larger one, the BioLite Alpenglow 500, has a max lumen output of 500 (the smaller one tops out at – you guessed it – 250). They both offer IPX4 water resistance (so, safe from splashes), both have a hook on the underside to hang them up, and they both are interacted with via a large button on top. Or, you know, if you’re feeling chaotic, just give the lantern a quick shake (after it’s on) and it will cycle through it’s modes automatically.

It’s in the lighting modes that the two lanterns really differentiate themselves. You can see the full list of the various modes down in the tech specs, but there’s an easier way to separate them, as there are a LOT of similarities. The smaller BioLite Alpenglow 250 can do dual color display, but it’s split in half vertically (IE, by the teal lines that separate the shade). On the other hand, the BioLite Alpenglow 500 has both halves showing the same thing, but it can start blending colors from top to bottom. So, in essence, you’ve got different styles of LED arrays inside the casing. Both offer interesting effects, but it’s safe to say that the BioLite Alpenglow 500’s method of displaying multiple colors at once is really quite cool, especially if you get it into the mode where it’s cycling things through.

For looking at these for camping purposes, it’s probably the non-color lighting that’s going to be the most interesting. You’ve got the cool white when you’re just looking for task lighting, and warm white when it’s time to chill out. Of course, these are dimmable as well. If it’s more of a party atmosphere, that’s where all those other colors can be quite fun.

Or, as I found out in our house, those cycling colors are something that the kids liked quite well, especially when it came to bed time. The lighting can be set so it’s not so crazily bright, and they liked having all the colors cycling through. You’ll just want to remember to turn them off after they’re asleep, or the lantern will be going all night long and you’ll be blasting through those electrons. That is one setting I wouldn’t mind them seeing incorporate into a future model, an auto shut-off after an hour or two, which would be perfect for this sort of nightlight usage, whether at home or while off in the woods.

Suffice to say, the BioLite Alpenglow lanterns are unique, and rather unlike the standard camping lantern you’ve got kicking around in the basement. It’s worth noting, BioLite currently has their Labor Day sale on. Now through September 6, you can save 20% off everything, no code required. This means the BioLite Alpenglow 500 ($79.95) is just $63.96, while the BioLite Alpenglow 250 ($59.95) is on sale at $47.96. You can check them out, and all their other items on sale (we like their firepit a good bit, among other items) directly over at biolitenergy.com

Tech Specs from BioLite

AlpenGlow 250 Technical Specifications:

  • Lumen Output: 250 HIGH, 2.5 LOW
  • 7 Light Modes: Cool White + Dim, Warm White + Dim, Single Color + Dim, Single Color Cycling +, Dual-Color (complimentary) + Dim, Candle Flicker, Party Mode (Dynamic Cycling)
  • Light mode speed settings: 3
  • Weight: 7.4oz (210g)
  • Dimensions: 3.7” x 3” diameter
  • 1 USB-A battery output at 3,200 mAh
  • Rechargeable via Micro USB
  • ChromaReal Technology – Broad-spectrum lighting producing daylight-quality illumination
  • Cool, Warm, & Color Modes
  • Controls: Press, Press and Hold, Shake (Accelerometer)
  • IPX4 Waterproof Rating
  • Hangable via nested hook
  • Textured gripper ring for no-slip bottom
  • Runtime: 5 HIGH, 200 LO, 1 Hour Power Reserve
  • $59.95

AlpenGlow 500 Technical Specifications:

  • Lumen Output: 500 HIGH, 2.5 LOW
  • 8 Light Modes: Cool White + Dim, Warm White + Dim, Single Color + Dim, Multicolor + Dim, Candle Flicker, Party Mode, Multicolor Mode, Fireworks Mode
  • Light mode speed settings: 3
  • Weight: 13.4oz (380g)
  • Dimensions: 5.4” x 3.8” diameter
  • 1 USB-A battery output at 6,400 mAh
  • Rechargeable via Micro USB
  • ChromaReal Technology – Broad-spectrum lighting producing daylight-quality illumination
  • Cool, Warm, & Color Modes
  • Controls: Press, Press and Hold, Shake (Accelerometer)
  • IPX4 Waterproof Rating
  • Hangable via nested hook
  • Textured gripper ring for no-slip bottom
  • Runtime: 5 HIGH, 200 LO, 1 Hour Power Reserve
  • $79.95

By Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.