Light Your Camp is a series of reviews by Alan Kesselheim about lighting solutions for paddlers.
5.11 Tactical TMT Penlight
Weight: 3 oz. with batteries; 5" long; 4 hours battery life; LED light; water resistant; $26.99; www.511tactical.com
Ignore what I just said about lanterns for the moment. If you still like the standard flashlight, the TMT 'Pen' is your baby. It's stout, it's compact, it clips to a shirt pocket, and it casts a dazzling, 40-meter cone of light in a small package. No fuss, no muss. Depress the button halfway for momentary light, click it hard for a continuous beam. It uses 2 AAA batteries and slides into a dry box like an extra pen. When you're rummaging around at midnight looking for that warm hat, this is the simplest solution.
Princeton Tec Amp 1L Kayak Deck Light/Flashlight
Weight: 2 oz. with batteries; 2 AAA batteries; waterproof; 72-hour life; fixed or track mounts; $14.99; www.princetontec.com (mount kit sold separately)
A bit of an outlier, the Amp 1L serves as a flashlight in a pinch, but its best application is as a mounted lantern on the deck of a kayak, where it sheds a 90-lumen, 360 degree light and can be swiveled to illuminate a map, serve as a beacon in the darkness or light the way. A loop at the tail of the light allows for hanging from a carabiner (like a lantern) and a spiffy bottle opener handles Happy Hour.
Gear Aid Spark
Weight: 3 oz.; 3.5"x2.5"x1"; rechargeable battery; $49.95; www.gearaid.com
Another slightly out-of-the box piece of equipment. The Spark is the size of a thin deck of cards and puts out a brilliant panel of 15 LED lights, up to 160 lumens that can last 25 hours; plenty to patch a sleeping pad or rig a tarp in the dark. Simple on/off switch with three brightness settings. The swivel kickstand allows for multiple adjustment, along with a detachable rubber hook for overhead hanging and a threaded mount for tripods. If you like the thought of having a shop light for camp in a really compact size, this is it. Comes with a translucent fabric bag for more diffused hung lighting.
Click the links below to read about more camp lighting solutions:
No-frills headlamps that get the job done.
Diffuse lighting solutions to brighten up your campsite.
Alan Kesselheim reviews nine lighting solutions for camping adventures.