Those who love the outdoors will agree that a durable and bright lantern is an essential piece of equipment. From camping and hillwalking to those who simply like to run at night, there are a variety of outdoor activities that require a sturdy light that won’t cost the earth or take up too much space in the backpack. That is where a gadget like the Flextail Helio lantern will come in handy.
It was recently on Kickstarter and has so far amassed over $58,000 in pledges and is touted as one of the best, most energy efficient lanterns on the market. If so many people believe in this item, it must be good, right? I had the chance to try one for myself and I was impressed.
The first thing I should say about this is that it will stand out even when it’s switched off. Despite being smaller than a hen’s egg and just as light at 45g, it is easily found at the bottom of your bag due to its bright colour. Although the one featured on the Kickstarter page is white and orange, mine was predominantly orange. The Kickstarter video also shows a red and a blue version.
It has a handy metal hook on one end, curved for ease of hanging in a tent or for clipping to your backpack. This part of the lantern also features a magnet so it’s easy to clip to the bonnet of your car if you’re working on the engine. The opposite end is where the lamp is. In fact, the whole of one end is a white panel that emits dazzling white light of 200+ lumens.
It switches off and on by clicking a soft button on one side of the lantern. You must press quite hard to do this. One of my concerns was that it would be too easy to accidentally switch on while inside your bag and the battery would be easily depleted but that won’t be an issue due to the pressure needed to operate it. If you were unlucky enough to have that happen, the lantern only takes 20 minutes to charge so it wouldn’t be a huge problem.
The Helio is also waterproof, although given that this was a review item, I did not test this but having seen the item up close I would be confident of taking it out in the rain.
The lantern splits to reveal a USB for easy charging. There’s also another connection available so if you’re on the move it would be easy to top the power up with a power bank. It provides up to 400 hours of uninterrupted light when using a 10000 mAh power bank. It can also last 6 hours on its own without a power bank. The light distance can reach up to 20 metres which is more than adequate for outdoor use.
My verdict is that this is a great little lantern and it’s one that I will definitely be purchasing for my family. We aren’t outdoor enthusiasts so we will probably use it as an emergency flashlight in the car. It would also be handy to have attached to a bag for dog-walking in the winter months or at night.
If you would like to read more about the Helio, you can view their Kickstarter page.