Flashlight Review: Fenix CL30R Camping Lantern

Flashlight Review: Fenix CL30R Camping Lantern

Ok, you bunch of pedants: I know this isn’t strictly speaking a flashlight. Bear with me here. 

As I’ve observed elsewhere, gun people tend to be gear nerds, with ample opinions about the various holsters/belts/magazines/gun safes/range bags/grips/drop-in trigger groups/plasma-rifles-in-the-40-watt-range on the market. Flashlights certainly fall within that scope; just look at all the booth selling them at any gun show. However, we never think about lanterns, in large part I believe because while flashlights can be sexy and tactical, lanterns are plodding and dull and domestic.

Well then, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the Fenix CL30R.

I’ll say right off the bat: if you are of a survivalist or prepper bent, this may be a piece of gear you need. Fenix has packed a lot of performance, features and flexibility into one very small space, making this a lantern that does far more than just illuminate a space. However, while we’re on that . . .

The factory specs say that the CL30R can light up a space up to 115 feet in diameter. I can tell you that when on high mode this is absolutely correct—this little thing shines like the sun.  The ultra-simple control input handled through the single button allow you to toggle between six modes of use, which I would describe as ranging from “nightlight” to “supernova”, plus a strobe function for signaling. Mounting functions include a stable base, a hanging loop handle, and a threaded tripod socket, so pick your poison when it comes to setup.

Construction seems rock solid, though I haven’t had the chance to torture test it yet. Caveat emptor: make sure that you read and follow the instructions during your initial assembly of the light, and then make sure that the top is screwed down to finger tight—ie it shouldn’t be able to move.  If it’s still loose the light won’t work.

The power supply and charging/recharging are other places in which this lantern really shines for me. An independent circuit design means that the CL30R can be powered by anywhere from one to three 18650 rechargeable cells, depending on what you have available. And, if you use 18650 as your standard rechargeable battery, the CL30R can happily function as a charger via its charging port. And thanks to the inclusion of a micro-USB compatible discharge port, you can in turn charge other compatible devices off of your CL30R.

Fenix CL30R

Oh, and of course the CL30R is cold and water resistant, impact resistant, and rugged enough to avoid mechanical failure. I wish I had this thing during Hurricane Matthew. Let’s leave it there.

The only downsides I can see are the aforementioned issues with the top during my initial use of the lantern, and the fact that to folks like me who grew up on old fashioned switches the single-button control input may take a few tries to master.  However, those are both easily surmountable, and I’m damn glad to have this lantern in my emergency kit at home.

FEATURES:

  • Max 650 lumens, wide-range and high-intensity illumination
  • Powered by one, two or three 18650 rechargeable Li-ion batteries
  • Serves as a portable power bank
  • Excellent cold-resistant design
  • Integrated Micro-USB charging with battery level indicator and low-voltage warning function
  • 35 meter diameter wide-range beam
  • Water-resistant to IPX7 standard
  • Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
  • Tripod socket for easy attachment
  • Single button switch for easy and fast operation

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Output modes: 2600mAh (included)(3500mAh)
    Eco: 10 lumens/300hr (400hr)
    Low: 50 lumens/70hr (93hr)
    Med: 100 lumens/38hr (51hr)
    High: 350 lumens/9hr (12hr)
    Turbo: 650 lumens/4hr 30min (6hr)
  • Peak beam distance: 115ft (35m)
  • Impact resistance: 1m
  • Water-resistance: IPX7 (underwater 1m for 30 minutes)
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 5.4” (136mm)
    Diameter: 3.7” (93mm)
  • Weight: 14.5oz (412g)(excluding battery)
  • Included: Micro-USB charging cable, 3 ARB-L18-2600 batteries, spare O-ring

This light was provided by the good folks at Best Light. If you’re looking for a flashlight, lantern, or batteries, they’re currently offering a 10% discount if you use the promo code USACARRYJENKS. Please take a look at their site and all they have to offer—I guarantee there’s something for you!

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