Thursday, May 14, 2009

camp lantern: to be plastic or not to be plastic, that is the question

I am going camping this coming weekend and thinking of buying my own camp lantern. (I'll probably just borrow one from a friend again this trip, but in the near future I do need/want to purchase my own). So, I have been looking into my options.

There is the good old metal and glass option (which uses butane/kerosene/unleaded gas as fuel).

Then there is the modern plastic and CFL option.

I have borrowed a friend’s CFL lantern a few times recently and really liked it, but it's a whole lotta plastic for a plastic dieter to buy. Obviously the plastic reductionism in me says "No way" to the plastic CFL version, but having used one I must say it is very nice and it is by no means throw away plastic—I'd be using it for years and years and years. But there is something to be said for a good old fashion lantern—like my family used camping when I was growing up. I just remember it is tricky to light the mantle (the white part that glows) and I wonder how easy it will be to find butane or kerosene... You would think I have nothing to do with my time (which just isn't true) if I told you how much time I have spent debating which type of lantern to buy. I even had a 20-minute conversation with my mother about it the other day. We weighed the pros and cons, she did not offer to give me my parent’s lantern (which was what I was really hoping for :), and then I told her how I wanted a lantern that would pass my worst case scenario test, i.e. if all hell breaks loose from a natural disaster/nuclear meltdown I want a lantern that will get me through. Well, decidedly neither will get me that far without a working infrastructure, but the CFL one will go first if there is no electric grid for me to plug into to recharge. Although I would also need an infrastructure to find butane or other fuel. My mother's last words on the debate were “at least if something like that did happened you may be able to walk all the way across country [CA to VT] to get to us on one gallon of butane, just keep a gallon on hand for emergencies." Done. Glass and metal win out-yet again-over plastic and technology.

2 comments:

Lisa Sharp said...

Have you read reviews on it? That is what I would do because there will be a lot of waste from the butane one as well.

I think the first thing I would do is make sure it seems to hold up well.

Bob said...

I think you might not want to use any of those.

If anyone has see trevor balis's wind up camp lanterns they would know what I am talking about.

Way more eco friendly and you don't have to worry about plastic or glass or old or new.

I have seen it here so see for yourself: Dynamo Lantern