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614 Black Diamond
Apollo Lantern

Black Diamond Apollo Lantern

On a solo trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, I stayed in an almost empty campground one fall. Using the campground as a basecamp I made daily trips to the mountains, then returned each night to camp. It was not overly cold during my stay, but as normal for the Park the wind was fierce, shaking my poor little tent much like a rag doll. The other problem I had was that it was getting dark early.

My only light source was a Petzl Micro headlamp. It used AA batteries and used them often. If I could get a couple of hours of light from the batteries, I almost felt lucky.

I limited myself to using only two batteries each night. The rest of the night, I sat in darkness and there was a lot of darkness with the shorter days.

After a couple of days or boredom, I decided to go to the hardware store and buy a lantern. I purchased a Coleman Backpacker Lantern. It was smaller than the big Coleman lights, but it was also not as powerful. I sat the small lantern just outside of the tent and was able to read all night for pennies of fuel. It was wonderful.

Then the winds returned. The winds shook my tent so violently, I would not dare set the lantern even close to the nylon shelter. So, I tried to sit outside away from the tent, but I was miserable and the lantern had difficulty staying lit. The next few nights were spent trying to get light without burning down the tent! I moved the tent, I moved the lantern, and I moved myself, but I could not escape the wind. Instead of spending nights reading, I spent them trying to make my lighting system work.

When the LED lights hit the market and the lighting revolution began, headlamps and flashlights were brighter and had much longer battery life. The lighting technology was also used to make LED lanterns.

For Christmas we purchased an Apollo Lantern by Black Diamond. It is the answer for most of our camp lighting needs.

A few Apollo tips ...

The lantern uses 4 AA batteries. We use rechargeable batteries with our lantern.

Black Diamond also makes a rechargeable battery pack to go with the lantern.

The battery compartment opens easily, even while wearing gloves. A plastic cassette houses the batteries. Take the cassette out, add batteries, and return it to the compartment. The lid to the battery compartment closes with a nice click.

By using a removable cassette, it is easier to read the battery loading directions.

The tripod legs of the lantern easily adjust to set on uneven surfaces.

The legs also have rubber feet.

At the top of the lantern is a unique hooking system for hanging the lantern.

The brightness is adjustable. At the brightest setting the light will burn 15 hours (from Black Diamond), ours only burned about 12 hours using rechargeable batteries.

There are battery charge indicator lights.

The light compacts for storage.

The lantern is best used for small sized, car camping trips. If you need to light the world for a crowd, you need a big gas lantern.

The lantern would be easily transportable by plane.

Our only complaint is for longer battery life. For example, our Spot (Black Diamond) headlamps burn on high beam for around sixty hours on three AAA batteries. We use the same batteries all summer in our headlamps.

Gone are the days of the gas lantern being the only lighting option - the Apollo has landed!

Happy Apollo trails


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