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I bought this as a spare torch at home, having discovered it on sale for £7.99. The unconventional design of the torch and the retro 'wind-up' factor of it was very appealing. The lantern like design is not flimsy, as is usually the case with these novelty looking type torches. The winding up the torch is not over strenous (winding up for only a few seconds to get light for quite a few minutes) and also helps reduce your carbon footprint (as the torch does not use up too much battery and uses energy saving LED light). However, I don't think that this torch was suited to the use I bought it for. It does not work well as a spare torch at home. The LED lights are way too bright, and not in a complementary way. It does help light up a room but its difficult to see because of the weird white glow that the torch creates. Nevertheless, I do not want to criticise this torch too negatively as I'm sure it'd have a better use somewhere else- maybe outside, camping? It is a good torch, sturdy, durable and energy saving.
Like most men I'm a sucker for gadgets, and for a change this Uni-Com lantern was both practical and useful. It needs to be wound up for a few minutes, and gives around ten minutes of reasonably bright light, after that it gradually dulls, so it could be a pain, but you need to wind it up about every 15 minutes. The handle is small, it stores the electricity in the base, and it has 3 LED lights well spaced out to spread the light in a plastic top. This has obvious uses in camping, and you don't need to worry about carrying batteries, or the batteries running out in the middle of nowhere. Another useful point is it would be handy to have at home in the event of a power cut. I think it is reasonable value for money, and it's light to carry amongst your camping gear. It is also green, so you could say it helps to save the environment.
If you're looking for something practical and battery free to take with you on a camping trip, then this sort of thing may be the exact sort of thing you need. As the days get longer and promises of warmer weather start creeping in to the daily forecasts, no doubt those not hardy enough to brave these icy conditions but still keen on a tent in a field will be looking to equip themselves for such an occasion. This Uni Com torch is something well worth adding to your list. It's a wind up lantern that seem ideally suited for use in a tent, without having to rely on your batteries lasting. It's a small lantern that tapers more towards the top, giving it ballast at the bottom and a wider stance to stand it up, while also providing a thin handle at the top for transport as well as hanging. The base is firm but not excessively hard, with a slight give meaning that it's less likely to slide on a surface, maybe even with a fair amount of grip although I haven't tested this yet. Folding into the side of this base unit is the handle, which is easy to pull out and turn in order to power the lantern. It's a very light handle to turn, with little or no resistance when you start to wind it up, so don't try to go too fast. Nor do you need to wind it up for long. Manufacturers boast being able to get half an hour's light from a minute's winding, and although this may be true to a certain extent, you're unlikely to get full brightness for this length of time. You probably get two thirds at decent light levels before the quality of the light starts diminishing to the point where it gets harder to do things by, especially if you want to read or need to do something fiddly, or even find something in your pack. The initial light that it gives off is very impressive. Quite often these sorts of lanterns and even some wind up torches give off light that can only be described as disappointing, but this gives strong illumination that beams around giving plenty of vision. It reminds me somewhat of the high battery powered multi functional torch my dad used to have when I was a kid and we got power cuts. We'd switch it from torch to lantern and it would provide strong light good enough for our large front room. This does very much the same thing, with the top of the lantern a plastic casing housing a number of LED lights emitting the lantern light. It's too bright to look at directly, although not so bright it makes every single corner completely bathed in light - somewhere in between. It's quite a sturdy little device as well. Normally, you may find something like this is flimsy and would not withstand bashing, but somehow its rubber-like base and well used materials make it rather durable. I guess it's designed to be taken on things like camping trips and for this reason it'd be rather silly to not make it durable. It's not even particularly costly. Its retail price can often be close on £20, but it's easy enough to get hold of for under £10, and I'd consider this a bit of a bargain, to tell the truth. I had expected less of a powerful light and perhaps something a bit flimsier, but this does the job very well indeed, and is something I'd happily recommend for camping, caravanning or just to have at home for fun. Recommended.
I go camping every so often and when we go we take a caravan and tent. We are always on the look out for camping gadgets and the Unicom wind up lantern was one that caught my eye. It looked ideal, a handy light source that did not require batteries. It cost around £6 from a camping supply store. The wind up lantern feels very cheap and flimsy when you take it out of the packaging. The internal dynamo is powered up by winding up a handle which stores away in the body of the base when not in use, the tiny handle makes it relatively fiddly to wind and it only takes a minute or so to fully charge the battery. The light source comes from 4 LED lights inside a clear plastic dome on the top of the lamp. The beauty of the lamp design means that the light is spread out in all directions unlike a torch which only shines where you point it. The light is not particularly bright, it is adequate for reading by if you are really close to it but you would need more than one to properly light a caravan's tiny living room. The fact that the handle is reasonably thin makes it easy to hang from any hooks which is handy but we normally put it on a table. The makers claim that the light will shine for a full 30 minutes but I have found this to be untrue, yes there will probably be some light for the full 30 minutes but after the first 10 or 15 minutes the lamp starts to dull really quickly. This means that the lamp has to be constantly recharged which is really annoying. This camping light is ok, despite the poor time the light source lasts it is still reasonably handy to have on camping trips as an extra source of light. I am going to invest in a better quality wind up lantern at some point as this one is not great and I would like one that is more sturdy and gives longer between charges.
I bought this LED camping-style lantern when I was in dire straits, looking for an extra birthday present at a moment's notice for my partner. My choice of shops at the time was limited to the local Tesco supermarket, and a small independent hardware store nearby, which is where I found the camping lantern. As he is currently quite keen on LED-powered lights in general, and on rechargeable-type torches in particular, this, being a wind-up / rechargeable item seemed ideal. This particular Uni-com lantern is based on the shape of an old-fashioned gas pressure-lantern and is of similar dimensions to an old-fashioned glass Coke bottle: so it's wider at the bottom and tapering towards the top, where the light part is. Because of this it has a slightly bottom-heavy appearance - probably due to the size of the rechargeable battery in the base. This has the added advantage of lowering the centre of gravity of the light however - and though it's lightweight to carry, the weight and relative broadness of the lamp's base give is extra stability, so if you were standing it on the ground (eg. in your tent while camping) it would be less likely to topple over. The bottom section is made of slightly rubberized-feeling plastic - so it's like a non-slip surface and is presumably proofed against being knocked. The top part is a cylinder of transparent plastic, with a flattened 'cap' and a curved wire carrying-handle / handle over the top that can be used to hang it up. Inside the cylinder - which is fixed shut - are an array of LEDs that produce an intensely bright, clear, blue-white light. I can't comment on the power / wattage of the LEDs (as for this type of bulb, I don't think wattage relates well to the brightness of the light produced) but the light from the LEDs is so intense that it's inadvisable to look directly at them, or you end up with after-images of the light burned onto your retinas for some time afterwards. Recharging is done by means of a turning handle that slots flat into the black base-part of the light when it's not in use. This is very easy to rotate, so easy in fact the (very brief) instructions for use that come with the light tell you not to rotate it too fast - at no more than one revolution per second. One minute of turning the handle gives you 30 minutes of light from the lantern, which is a pretty impressive turnover rate. As mentioned above, the light is very bright given the small size of the lantern in general. We haven't used this while out camping as yet (as it's winter!) but I would say that the light produced is easily enough to illuminate the inside of a tent well enough that you'd be able to find your way about. The ambient light produced by the lamp might not be enough to read easily by if you were any distance from it, but if, say you had hung it up and were sitting under it or with it over your shoulder, you'd probably get by. Similarly, it's portable enough that if you were using it to find your way in the dark the light should be adequate for that. The main drawback to this light is that the LEDs are so bright that you can't look directly at them, and because of this, it would useful if the lamp incorporated some sort of diffuser (maybe a slightly frosted-effect plastic on the shade). If you were using one of these a lot, you'd probably want to fashion some kind of make-shift shade for it, the LEDs are so bright. The other drawback I found personally is that by buying the light at a small hardware shop, I paid more than twice the RRP of it! Mine cost £20 whereas exactly the same model is currently available from eg. amazon.co.uk for less than a tenner. But, as I say, at the time I bought it I was desperate to buy a generic present - anything at all would've done by that stage!