Winter is coming, and with that comes longer, darker nights, making illumination and battery reserves all the more important. The Radiant 300 from Nite Ize is a powerful, 300 lumen lantern that not only lights up camp, but recharges your fading USB devices on the go.
The Radiant 300 is a compact lantern, standing at only 6.85 inches tall with a diameter of 2.83 inches. One powerful center LED is located at it’s core, well as 6 softer red LEDs (for preserving night vision) are all housed within a durable, reinforced plastic shell. The body houses a 2600 mAh rechargeable battery to both power the lamp itself and any USB compatible devices you may connect to it. The USB ports (one for power input and one for power output) are located near the bottom of the unit with a rubber weather proof cover that can be pealed back to reveal the ports or pushed down to protect the innards from rain and dirt. The top of the lantern has a convenient built in carabiner style clip for attaching it to backpacks, trees, or the accessory loops found inside most tents. The lantern weighs 8.9 oz, retails for $44.99, includes a USB cable and a nifty diffusion sleeve to soften the glow of the LEDs.
What I liked
Where the Radiant 300 really shines is in it’s light output (hah!). 300 lumens is bright enough to completely illuminate most campsites and more than enough, even on it’s lowest setting, to light up the interior of a large car camping tent. The light shines in all directions as the single white LED is beamed straight up onto a reflective cone that evenly distributes glorious photos in all directions. This is equally true of the 6 red LEDs, as they produce more red light than any device I’ve ever tested. This is helpful for when you need to grab a single item in the dark as the red glow won’t negate your night vision,unlike white LEDs. I found myself leaving the lantern inside my tent and often under a vestibule at night, creating a great lighthouse effect, allowing me to easily find my way back to camp when wandering off at night.
The included diffusion sleeve does an excellent job of softening the impressively bright glow of the relatively harsh white light . Pairing it with the sleeve has so far been my preferred way to use the lantern in all conditions as it has minimal effect on brigthness, but makes working near the lamp much more enjoyable. It slides on and off easily and produces a very comfortable output when in closed spaces, making the lantern ideal as a hanging tent lamp. The carabiner and power button can both be accessed while it’s in the sleeve also, so it’s not going to get in the way of usage. The sleeve sports a small sewn in pocket too, just large enough to pack in the included USB cable, keeping things tidy and making it convenient to carry around.
The battery life is quite good on the lantern, running for a full 27 hours on the lowest setting, and 5 hours at maximum brightness. I normally find the lowest setting to be more than enough light to read and work around camp, making the battery life even more appreciable. The included 2600 mAh battery is powerful enough to recharge devices like phones, handhelds or cameras, but not quite enough to cover a tablet or other large device. It recharges fully in about 3 hours via the included USB cable.
Using the lantern is pleasantly simple, with a large, tactile button located conveniently on the side of the unit. Depressing the button produces a satisfying click, and is easy to do with gloves on or even in the dark as it stands out from the rest of the unit in both texture and shape. A single click cycles through the three brightness settings, while briefly holding the button down enables the red LEDs. Straight forward, obvious, and easy to use, that’s the way I like my lamps.
Build quality is overall pretty good. The body and clear shell that houses the LEDs are both well constructed, with a bit of extra emphasis on protecting the internal battery and USB ports, which is appreciated. The carbabiner is a bit mixed in quality, with a nice steel sprung clip paired with a set of plastic arms that come across a bit thinner than I would prefer, but so far no issues. Water resistance has been good, with no issues during my stress test, a 20 minute water apocalypse under my high pressure shower head. In all, it’s built quite well with a solid feel and quality materials used all around.
What I didn’t like
I’m a big fan of how easy the power button is to operate, it does however stand out enough to risk an accidental activation. I would have preferred if the button was a bit more recessed to help prevent this. There is also no lock function, so those who are backpacking with the lantern and stuffing it in with other gear might consider how they pack it. I find that keeping it packed with clothing prevents activation and also protects the clear shell around the LEDs.
There is no dimming function for the LED lights, meaning you only have low, medium and high brightness. This has been fine for my usage, but the ability to fine tune my glow would have been nice.
The Radiant 300 provides a few solutions to modern backpacking problems. It provides an excellent light source, while also utilizing the same battery to provide additional power to devices if need be. In the event of an emergency, having the ability to top up a phone at the expense of some light reserve is a nice inclusion. It’s built quite well for the most part and the included diffusion sleeve makes a huge difference when hanging the lamp inside my tent at night. It’s easy to use, light enough for camping or even light backpacking, and the weather resistance construction ensures a long, reliable future in the woods. If you want a multipurpose lantern that doubles as a power bank, this is an excellent option at a fair price.
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I want to extend a huge thanks Nite Ize for providing this headlamp for review. We couldn’t do it without their help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
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