Okay, y’all…let’s get this out of the way right up front. This little lantern is relatively expensive when compared to the likes of a Rayovac or Streamlight. With all due respect I suggest that you stop reading now if you are not of a mind to spend a bit more for what this little light offers.
Okay? Are you still there?
If you are still reading you are likely curious as about this little lantern so I will do my level best to provide you with an unbiased assessment of the R-PAL lantern from RTG. I must confess that when I first received the test sample I thought, “Really? $129 for this little lantern?” I have a history of purchasing very expensive flashlights, but LED lanterns are fairly inexpensive.
As I have used it over the past few weeks it has really grown on me, and it really impressed me during last night’s power failure in my neighborhood. I will almost surely buy one – this sample is strictly on loan and I have grown accustomed to having one around.
This light differs in many ways from the ubiquitous LED lantern: it’s VERY small, it’s VERY bright, it has 15 brightness levels (2.3 to 300 lumen), it uses 3 state-of-the-art Cree XLamp XB-D emitters with a very nice 3000k color temperature (think incandescent light bulb tint). It uses rechargeable li-ion batteries, specifically 18650, rather than the more typical C or D cells (or even AA.) While that might be a hassle for some, the benefit is that the 18650 cell produces ~3.7V in a form factor not much larger than an AA cell and can be recharged many times. The 30 hour run time is also impressive. Solid construction and good sealing – light is claimed to be waterproof to IPX67 standards
|Weight||3.0 oz / 86 g (without battery)4.7 oz / 134 g (with battery)|
|Dimensions||Diameter = 1.6 in / 42 mmLength = 4.1 in / 104 mm|
|Mounting Holes (2)||1/4″-20 x 0.28″ (For Tripod or Camera D-Ring)|
|O-Rings (2)||AS568A-024Fractional Size: Width = 1/16″, Inner Diameter = 1 1/8″, Outer Diameter = 1 1/4″|
|Battery (not included)||Lithium-Ion 18650 Protected 3.7V|
|Average Battery Life||30 hours|
|LED||Cree XLamp XB-D|
|LED CCT Range||3000K|
|LED Typical CRI||>80|
|Light Output||2.3 – 300 lumens|
|Brightness Settings||15 logarithmic settings|
|Modes||Normal, Flashing, SOS|
|Automatic Shut-Off Capable||Yes|
|Automatic Shut-Off Time||18 min|
|Waterproof / Dustproof Rating||IP67 (Protected against water immersion – Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter)|
|Temperature Rating||-4 to 104°F / -20 to 40°C (limited by battery)|
|Impact Resistance||5 ft / 1.5m (excludes scuffing)|
RTG’s web site identifies the company as a “microchip” company that (paraphrasing) couldn’t find a small, variable brightness lantern – so they made their own. In conversations with the company you quickly discover the pride they take in this little product (rightly so.) It has state-of-the-art controls and construction – and RTG is an American company (30 years in California) and this is an American made product.
I mentioned the power failure last night. Being a pseudo prepper and flashlight nerd ensures that there is no shortage of lights around the house. I have 2 LED lanterns on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen and flashlights everywhere, but I chose this little lantern to light up the bathroom area – it was so small that it sat on top of the shower door and illuminated the sink / bathroom area as my wife and I got ourselves ready for bed.
(I apologize for the impromptu lousy iPhone photo…)
It has standard ¼ inch tripod style holes on each end – and includes a D-Ring that can be installed on either end – ideal for hanging inside a tent or from a tree in a camp site – and the light is small enough that you could attach it with a carabiner to your backpack.
As mentioned earlier, the quality of light is very nice. You don’t want to stare at the darn thing when it is on ‘high’, but for a larger area the high level projects a nice, warm glow.
The levels are adjusted by either holding the ‘up’ or ‘down’ button or repeatedly pressing them.
What would I change? I wished out loud for a ‘frosted’ LED cover that would diffuse the light. RTG’s logical answer is that such a cover would reduce the output…frankly I wouldn’t care. It would still likely be bright enough. And mentioning that cover, it concerns me how easy it is to remove and expose the bare LEDs. It might be good to have some way to secure the lens/cover – screw it into the base or something. Or maybe protect the LEDs with a thin layer of epoxy or something. RTG indicated that they are constantly seeking ways to improve the product, so who knows what the future holds…
Meanwhile, is this little lantern ‘worth’ $129? Only the market can answer that question – RTG indicated that they are aware that it is a premium price but at a level necessary to cover their costs and make a small profit. I believe that.
My personal opinion is that, compared to all the choices, it is worth it.