Very versatile, efficient light
Written: Aug 1, 2012 (Updated Nov 2, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Versatile, LEDs use less battery power, 3 lights in one. Intuitive on/off system.
Cons:LEDs shed a "cold" light.
The Bottom Line: If you camp, the Coleman Duo is a lantern and two area/flashlights in one convenient system.
I purchased the Coleman Duo lantern for a versatile campsite light on clearance from Target for $20. This is the Duo version with two removable sides. Coleman also has a Quad version with four removable sides. Coleman claims this lantern throws 150 lumens for approximately 75 hrs on just 4 D-size batteries. While I cannot attest if the lantern throws 150 or 145 lumens in the real world, I do know that it provides bright light on 4 D batteries for multiple weekends camping.
While the whole lantern is a bit hefty at 3.2 lbs (because the main unit houses either 4 D batteries or a rechargable power cell), the side lamps are detatchable and contain their own internal rechargable AA batteries. There is an additional flip-out handle to carry, or hang the lantern by the base-station.
Coleman sells an optional interchangeable, rechargeable battery pack for this series of lantern. But the Coleman rechargeable battery is expensive ($25+ at my local stores) and I have no complaints whatsoever using regular D batteries. For additional power I may consider getting individual D rechargeable batteries, but LEDs simply do not seem to take much juice to operate even with cheap D batteries.
The two sides receive power from the 4 D batteries when connected and the internal batteries of the sides are charged so they can be un-clipped and used separately. I have often used them as portable directional lights around the campsite at night.
When detached, the sides can be used as directional options for reading a book in a camper or tent, playing cards at a table at night, or as a non-traditional flashlight around the campsite. They have easy to grab handles. Additionally, there is a little flip-out half-circle on the base of each side lantern which adds stability when setting the lights on a table or mattress. I have also hung mine from the support poles inside a pop-up camper.
Interestingly, the side lights always take on the last setting of the base-station, even though they have their own respective power buttons on the back. Essentially it works like a 3-way switch in a home. In other words if the main switch on the base-station was "on" when you removed the sides, if you subsequently turn off the sides and re-attach them to the base-station, the sides will turn on without pressing any more buttons. Conversely, if the main switch on the base is "off", a side lantern that is on will turn off when attached to the base. I like this feature. I don't know why but it makes perfect sense when you are actually using it. You could leave the base-station in your tent/camper in the "on" setting in the dark, and regardless of whether your side lamp is on or off, attaching it to the base turns it on. It makes for a lot less button pushing. Whoever thought of this at Coleman is a genius.
I will say that LED lights, while very efficient do not shed the same bright, warm light as a regular Coleman 2-Mantle Dual Fuel Lantern. But the Duo is much more versatile in that it can be used inside a tent or camper as well at outdoors.
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