If you want good camping equipment, the Gelert 7W Lantern seems as good as expensive camping lights – but there's a catch, says Practical Caravan's review

Overview

The Gelert 7W Lantern looks most like a typical camping lantern and the firm has got the important bits right with this practical design. 

Before you buy any camping equipment you need to know that it will withstand a few knocks bumping around in a caravan locker during your drive to the campsite. In this camping light the lens is well protected by ringed bars, so it should prove to be robust in use.

There’s a decent-sized handle so that you can carry this camping light easily, and the pop-up hook makes hanging the unit up in the awning or from a tree branch a doddle. It gives 360 degree illumination, and it's water resistant, which could be handy if the heavens open and you dash inside without it!

But this camping light is almost 1kg in weight — by the time the four hefty D batteries have been inserted — so it means that whatever you use to suspend the lantern from must be sturdy. 

The highly efficient fluorescent tube wrings up to 14 hours of light out of a set of batteries, but the light output is rather washed out, so it’s probably not a great loss that there isn’t a lower power mode you can use to make it last longer.

The other battery-powered camping lights we tested were the Outwell Carnelian 400 Lantern, from £24.99 (our Practical Caravan camping lantern test winner), Outwell Morion, £11.50, the Kampa Zebedee, from £4.99, Halfords S88899, from £19.99, Powerplus 3 in 1, from £21.99, Vango 24 LED Lantern, from £29, Gelert 7W Rechargeable Remote Controlled Lantern (also known as Gelert 7W U-Tube for short), from £19.99, and Vango Light Barrel, from £32.50. As you can see, the Gelert 7W Lantern, reviewed here, is one of the cheapest camping lights we tested, priced at £13.50 from Leisure Fayre at the time of the test. You can also buy it directly from Gelert and from time to time there are special offers on the Gelert website

Outdoor equipment company Gelert was founded in 1975 by Alastair and Jane Langdon in Beddgelert, a village in Snowdonia renowned for its proximity to the glorious mountains of North Wales. 

For traditionalists in the camping and caravanning world, we have also reviewed one camping light powered by a little butane gas canister. The SunnCamp Lantern, £10.99, delivered very bright light, but of course it does make a hissing noise and needs good ventilation, since it uses oxygen from the air in order to burn the gas.

If you are using any gas-powered camping lights or heaters in your awning, pup tent or caravan, you must allow plenty of ventilation in order to avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Modern caravans usually come with a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, and you can buy these handy little alarms cheaply from big supermarkets, hardware shops and camping equipment shops. It could save your life. 

For the same reason, the other things you should never use inside your caravan or any enclosed space, such as a zipped up awning, include gas, petrol and diesel-powered generators, as well as gas, charcoal, liquid or solid fuel barbecues and camping stoves. The built-in appliances in your caravan are fine, thanks to the manufacturers' careful designs incorporating proper ventilation. It's one of the things that need to be checked regularly, so it's wise to book your caravan in for a habitation service in the winter. 

We have reviewed many more electrical battery-powered camping lights and other items of camping equipment in Practical Caravan, so it's worth browsing through our product tests before deciding what camping accessories to buy.

Technical specs

Weight1 kg
Output14 hours of light
Power source4 x D batteries

Verdict

We like the Gelert 7W Lantern's stable base and the built-in protection for the lens. It's also water resistant and gives 360 degree illumination. The fluorescent tube is extremely efficient, delivering 14 hours of light from the four D batteries. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • It's the third cheapest out of the camping lights we reviewed
  • We got 14 hours of light from the four D batteries
  • This is a robust camping lantern
  • The hook on the handle fits over an awning pole or skinny tree branch

Cons

  • It's heavy – it weighs almost a kilo!
  • Weak light output
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