Eric Crosby was first introduced to the wilderness through a NOLS Semester in the Rockies, and soon after he became a Graduate of Colorado Mountain College’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership program. Eric wants to pass along this type of experiential learning to students of all ages and demographics. For four years he has worked for a YMCA non-profit, the B.O.L.D. and G.O.L.D. Mountain School (boys and girls outdoor leadership development) based out of Seattle, WA. This year Eric will be working for the Colorado Outward Bound School based in Leadville, CO.
The first thing I noticed about this lantern is the many rigging options for lighting. There are tie loops for cord, legs that fold out for a stand, a hook that flips out from the top, and even a powerful magnet on the bottom of the lantern for mounting on metal surfaces. It’s fun to experiment with the versatility.
The Lighthouse Mini has a built-in USB plug and port making it easy to charge in your house, your car, or with a Goal Zero panel. The USB port lets you charge devices, and the Lighthouse holds the equivalent of one full cell phone charge. I like pairing the Lighthouse and the Nomad 7 Plus solar panel. The New Nomad 7 Plus has one USB port that connects to the lantern’s USB Plug, a functional setup with minimal wires.
The Lighthouse charges off a wall outlet and a panel with high solar intensity in roughly four hours as Goal Zero advertises. There are four small blue LED lights that indicate the amount of power left on the lantern’s battery. The battery is interchangeable, possibly providing more cycles of life for the lantern if the main lights do not degrade. The interchangeable battery also offers the option to switch out batteries for different charging setups.
The main LED lights of this lantern have an opaque casing that is not harsh on the eyes. The lights in the casing are separated into halves for different lighting options. The lighting options are controlled by an easy-to-use dial on the side of the lantern.
One direction controls one half of the lights and the other direction controls both halves from dim to full power. It’s simple and easy to use with no button mechanisms to wear out. It will be interesting to see how a dial switch compares to a button’s longevity.
The Lighthouse Mini has powerful lights: 210 lumens is what Goal Zero advertises. The battery lasts four hours on full power with both halves cranking. I took this lantern on a canyoneering course recently, and a full battery lasted five nights of cooking, reading, and playing with only half the battery life gone. I was impressed with this showing of battery life.
The Lighthouse Mini may not the best piece for fast-and-light backpacking due to the size and weight (8oz). For car camping, base camping or working in the field, this lantern excels. It provides a range of lighting options when cooking, reading, or teaching a class at night. The versatile nature of this lantern combined with an effective external battery pack makes this Lighthouse Mini a multi-purpose piece of equipment, and a great buy. I am excited to continue using the Lighthouse Mini.