TBT Gear: Candle lantern

When I started backpacking, I bought many “doodads” that I really did not need.

Among the doodads:

All gear I no longer use for backpacking, or even have at all. The Rambo knife is floating around in someone’s junk drawer back in Rhode Island; think I gave away the match case a long time ago and the cook kit is now only used for road tripping and car camping.

Another doodad I bought, used, discarded, lost and then rediscovered was the simple candle lantern.

Since I’ve renewed my winter backpacking and camping  in the past four or five seasons (versus hut trips or day skis), I have grown to appreciate the candle lantern.

candle (1)
A warm glow inside our tent over Thanksgiving in Chaco Canyon.

Winter backpacking and camping can be rewarding, but the bag nights can be long.

A candle lantern does provide some extra warmth in a tent, but there are two reasons why a candle lantern is really useful for winter.

  • A candle lantern does help cut down condensation in the tent.  When I am up and reading (it is luxury to do nothing but read after a hectic week), the little bit of warmth cuts down on the icy breath a bit.
  • But I think the most noticeable effect is the psychological one. The warm, yellow glow of the candle lantern makes the winter night a bit cheerier and more welcome. A LED headlamp is more efficient. But it is not welcoming as a candle. CCR talked about putting a “candle in  the window” for a reason.

A candle lantern is safe to use versus a truly open flame, but care must still be taken. It is still a flame after all. Be sure you have adequate ventilation and that the candle is snuffed out before calling it a night.

But, if you plan on any extensive winter backpacking or camping, consider investing in some sort of candle lantern. A micro-one using a tea candle weighs a mere 4 oz with two candles. More efficient, but heavier, is the larger version at 11 oz. The micro one works well for solo trips; the larger one works well for camping and/or base camping trips when backpacking.

A nearly full moon rising over our tent lit up by a candle lantern in Chaco Canyon.

Either way, the candle lantern is a warm and welcoming glow on a dark winter night.

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