A Nice Little Lantern.
I have to admit, at first glance (Via reviews), I thought the Black Diamond Apollo was going to be just a tad bigger. Don't let it's compact size fool you. I had the pleasure of using this out on the job, and in the field, considering that's what my "office" is (Yes, I work out in a field. Weird job.). These are my impressions of the lantern.
First of all, for being such a compact lantern, it puts out a decent amount of light. Elevation is the key to this lantern, seeing as at about 30 degrees from the top, the light casts downward. The higher you hang it, the more area the light will cover. At about a 10 foot height, you'll get 10 meters, or so (As advertised with the lantern), but it's faint. As a matter of fact, the "usable" light is probably good at around a 10-15 foot radius.
The frosted globe could use some work. The light is bright, but at certain angles the glare from the reflector can by annoying. Don't get me wrong, the soft-white light is awesome, but I think the globe could have been frosted white just a touch more. If anything, for that radius "glow" effect that casts more outward than downward.
The dimmer function is great. I used this light for most of the night, switching between brightness levels, and it lasted me without flaw (So far). The battery indicator light is also a nice feature, and what's nicer is that the light actually goes out after about a minute, so it's not sapping up your batteries. The placement of the indicator is odd (It hides under the lip of the globe), but turning the lantern on and not sliding the globe all the way up fixes that issue.
The weight of the lantern is decent, and allows it to be carried in a pack, or what have you. The housing seems pretty durable, and took a moderate amount of jossling around in my pack without leaving a scratch. One of the neat features of the lantern are the extendable legs. With the legs out, and using the lantern on a table, I found that I had a good 3 foot radius of usable light, if not 4 or 5.
One thing that bugged me about the Black Diamond Apollo was the dimmer switch. No matter what level you turn it off at, it'll always retrun to it's highest setting. That's a feature I like, and I'm just throwing that out there if it hasn't already been addressed. Another neat feature about the lantern is the little "flick" of light, when adjusting the brightness, to inform you that you've reached the highest, or lowest, setting.
I really wish the lantern came with a handle, as I've found out that it makes a GREAT handheld lantern, as well. At waist-to-chest height, I could navigate trails without any visual problems, even though it seems the lantern was made to be stationary (The hooks and legs kind of give that away, if you ask me).
Overall, I could see this lantern being a little brighter for it's size, but I can certainly see myself ordering another one for my vehicle, and possibly my home. A great product!
Does the trick,
something I haven't noticed in other reviews is the size of the pool of light. using it's tripod, on full power, it'll cast a spot around two feet in diameter, on the floor. Set on the corner of a table, tripod-wise, it'll go about a yard.
The spot is bright enough for writing or other 'finer' tasks, with enough of an area that you won't be stumbling about in a smallish camp.
Hanging on a line will increase the size of that pool, but at the cost of overall brightness. It's certainly bright enough to fill a tent, and with the split-ring-dohicky, I feel like it's easy enough to move it about camp as needed.
The tripod is remarkably stable, considering, and it collapses to a rather compact size. (fits in a cupholder). I was afraid it might be a bit top-heavy, though that isn't the case.
My complaints would be that the battery-compartment's cap strikes me as being a bit... unsecure. It has a (small) rubber gasket, but it strikes me as easy enough to fall off, bouncing about in a pack, and the gasket as not being able to keep out the weather.
Also, the battery indicator is covered by the slide when it's fully out and running.I have to say it was a bit... odd... in it's placement.
The irony being that you need to open the slide up at least partway to turn the thing on in the first place. I thought that just as braindead as where they put the indicator, but then realized that in storage, the plastic slide keeps it from being activated inside the backpack.
I've always felt like gas lantern's light was too... something, it never seemed to cast enough, but yet also was blinding. here, it casts enough light, without that harsh glare.
it's also nice not to have to deal with mantles, or the risk of fire, carbon dioxide in a tent, or burning yourself.
My advice is, for a general camp light, get the apollo, for a group setting, where you need to fill an entire campground, go up to the titan (or the..uh...other brand w/e it was. The two looked comparable), and if all you're going to do is use it in a tent, go down to the orbit. They're all great lights.
One word about people complaining about it's battery time: I've been using it as a desk lamp at work, (running for eight hours) at a normal room temperature, and it's still showing a light on the indicator. Cold weather will reduce runtime- it's a function of the batteries, not the device. (something to keep in mind.)
A little too dim for my liking.
I bought this knowing what the challenges would be. For base camp, inside my tent, this will do or my black diamond headlamp. On backpacking trips, this stays home.
The design was a good first try for black diamond. But the light even with the legs deployed, casts downwards, presenting a dissappointing dispersion of light.
By now, "they" should have made adjustments, instead of having their customers suffer the insufferable.
Had "they" made a reflector back shield as an accessory, the available light could have been harnessed; for a better set of intended uses.
To get any sort specific lighting out of this unit, one must hang the unit up higher, in order to have the light cascade with a level of clarity. This, at least could be considered as being relatively useful.
I'll never use this for cooking at night, since the level of light is too low to determine when dinner is done properly.
What you can do at a campsite, providing you're not using your trekking pole(s) for a tent tarp, is to set "one" up at an angle, and hang the light from it.
Having done this as a test at night, the results are somewhat better.
What I really don't like is the weight. The light is single purpose, taking four batteries, which when expended; are entering the waste stream.
To avoid this, you must spend an exhorbitant amount of money for a rechargeable battery setup.
As justification for the price, you are given every sort of plug adapter one could imagine.
Have you ever seen a tree with an outlet installed in its' trunk?
The device is not hard working, it's hardly working. I can't cook with the batteries. Neither can you nor anyone else.
It's off to the snow peak giga lantern for me. This will give off enough lumens to see by when cooking. At least, the isobutane - propane cylander, has more than one use.
It's a fuel supply, which justifies its weight and presence. And yes, this enters the waste stream as well, but nothing in life is perfect.
The appollo Lantern is marginal utility at best, with a price point / profit margin which justfies its' existence.
Look elsewhere, and decide for yourself.
Happy hiking, tekking and camping
GREAT LANTERN... but....
I took this Apollo out for a test drive this weekend and it performed admirably. Before I took it the backcountry, I tested it out in my own home for which batteries to stuff into the lantern that would give me the most out of the lantern in a single charge. This would help keep pack weight down. If you're reading this, you're either on the same boat as me. You'll also agree that the new version (80 lumens) is quite bright which it is. Performance wise, this little lantern, which I stuff in a Snow Peak 450 Ti Cup when packed, works out quite well and is very durable, recommended.I found my testing of batteries to be as follows:Eneloop Rechargable batteries: 5hrs 5minKirkland ([@]) batteries: 7hrs Duracell (standard) batteries: 7hrs*note: These tests were with the lantern in a 68-degree home, and were powered at FULL power. I stopped timing when the lantern was noticeably NOT FULL power, however, there is still runtime on the batteries (just not at full power).All in all, I used the Eneloop batteries on a 2-night backcountry excursion and never had a single set dip below Full power. I did have a spare but didn't need to switch out batteries. I guess you can try to measure run time, but until it is in the "real world" you can't really tell. My only real DISAPPOINTMENT, would be the use of the Fuel Gauge is only usable with the NRG rechargeable battery pack. Very cool but $30 for rechargeable battery is a bit expensive for my taste.
A luxurious lantern for a backpack
This lantern has served me well in many situations. One of its first uses was hung inside a covered shelter and gave plenty of room for our group to cook and eat with. I've also used it around the house as an impromptu nightlight for the bathroom.
The dimmer function is great and intuitive. I try to avoid keeping it on maximum setting so I don't drain the batteries.
My most frequent use has been on 2-person backpacking trips, but in this case its weight seems a bit much. With NiMH rechargeable batteries, the lantern weighs 11.7 oz according to my scale. That's a lot for a light, and hard to justify keeping in my pack. With a small screwdriver, you can remove the metal legs and reduce the weight by 1.8 oz (be careful when opening, there are small springs and ball bearings inside). I'm considering looking for a lighter lantern to use on trips with smaller groups where I don't want to carry as much weight.
The only other problem I've had is with trying to use the metal rings on top to attach the lantern to the outside of a backpack. When swinging, the lantern usually works its way off whatever you attach it to in this way. I have to use a piece of tape to keep the loops together.
Great backpacking lantern
Have owned this product for several months. Just got back from a backpacking trip across Catalina Island where is poured rain Friday night and Saturday morning. We had to relocate our tent in the middle of the night due to flooding, and had to rely on this little lantern for light. I thought it was going to short out due to getting soaked in the rain, but it just kept going and ended up working for the rest of the weekend. It is now one week later and it still works fine. Besides providing light in the rain, we used to it light up our tent and to cook food by. It is not adequate to light up an entire campsite, but is a great lantern for backpackers looking for a small, light, dependable lantern. It casts the widest light when hung from something up high. I attached a small carabiner to the handle and it made it easy to hang on branches and other objects. The only negative is that the springs in the legs are not terrible strong. They are adequate for holding it up on a solid surface, but I found that after putting it on my head while walking the legs would sometimes fold up. Not a huge deal, but a little annoying.
My friend brought one of these during a 9 day trip to Joshua Tree where you get the blessing of no city lights. It was bright enough to light up our picnic table for cooking and general hanging out. If you want something that lights up a larger area, look for a larger light. The folding legs are very handy. Would be even better if it came with a solar power top to charge batteries during the day and not have to rely on throw aways that cost more and litter our landfills. I like the adjustable dimmer as well. I liked this enough to get one myself. Backcountry.com had a nice sale for under $30 so I couldn't pass it up. But one big reason I love to buy from Backcountry.com is the customer service. Twice I have called to exchange gear for sizing and they are some of the most helpful people I have talked to in a gear shop. Both on gear and on returns. Something the rest of the industry can strive for as well. Great job BC!
I was very excited when I got this lantern to replace my cumbersome older battery opperated lantern. I do believe that the light output is sufficient for 10x10 tent space. I was disappointed in the short run time my first time out camping so I tested it out as a night light and it still didn't last long. However that being said I did purchase another because of all the other great features...such as adjustable legs, awesome dimming feature. It also has a battery indicator which is not placed well as others have noted but if you know this than you will be mindful to turn on the lantern before fully extending it. It also has a great little hook on top that works well with the hanging loops at the entry of my tent. The two changes I would like to see is a longer battery run time, and change the position of the battery indicator- but despite what I'd like to change I use the light almost every night at work (poorly placed light switches).
Nice Base Camp or Bigger BP'ing Lantern
My Brunton Glorb LED XB died suddenly and I stopped my local REI to pick up another or a BD Orbit. I happened to see the new Apollo next to the older Apollos which were on sale. I made an impulse purchase and picked up the new Apollo. I have used this lantern at our annual block party, car camping; and, backpacking. I really wasn't expecting to like the lantern but I do. It ran for hours on high at the block party, went camping a couple of times before I decided to change the batteries. It is bright and well-designed. I can see why folks complain about the on-off/dimmer switch and the power indicator LED's. Frankly, it's a great design, I don't need huge power indicators weighing down the lantern and it's great that the Apollo has them at all. This is a great lantern to use in a 3 - 4 person tent, on picnic tables, around a multi-person camp, etc. Nice one-two combo with a lantern like the Orbit for individual backpacking.
great little light
I actually own the previous model which is only different from this one by the lantern handle (the split handle is nice for hanging on tent ceiling loops). I bought this because I was moving to an island in the west indies where there are a lot of brown outs, I used it several times to eat and study by when the electricity went out and it puts out enough light to be useful.
It's fold up size makes it compact enough to travel with and I most recently brought it on a trip to Nigeria, where again it was used to eat meals and light my room during brown outs.
Can't say how well it works camping as I haven't taken it hiking yet, but I anticipate it being just as useful. I love this lamp, and so does everyone else who sees it!