April 25, 2018
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Gear Box: UCO Micro Candle lantern

Jeff Strout | BDN
Jeff Strout | BDN
The Uco family of candle lanterns includes the Micro (front), the traditional one-candle (left rear) and the Chandlelier three-candle model (right rear).
By Jeff Strout, BDN Staff

Candles have been around for centuries, providing soft illumination and lighting for all occasions. They’ve even found their way into the outdoors camping kit.

And why not? They provide a warm glow that most flashlights can’t match. They’re silent and relatively odor-free. They have a charm that no gas lantern can match. Their orange-yellow flame provides a certain comfort and primeval fascination that no LED lamp can hope to copy.

There are no batteries to worry about, and they’re easy on the environment.

But they blow out in the breeze.

Not if you burn them in a candle lantern. Modern-day campers have twigged to these beauties, such as the ones produced by UCO. Many outdoor companies have placed their name on the UCO lanterns, companies such as REI, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and others.

What some may not know is that in addition to providing a warm glow of light, they can be hung inside your tent to reduce the evening condensation. It works in small, one- and two-person tents as well as in larger six- to eight-person tents (you may have to hang a couple of them inside). Just be careful to keep the lantern well away from tent surfaces. I’ve found that if I hang one of them in the tent when it gets dark, by the time I’m ready to crawl in there’s a warm glow and the sleeping bag’s surface is nice and dry.

The original candle lantern from UCO has a candle that will burn for about nine hours. It’s spring-loaded from the bottom, so as it burns the flame remains in the same plane.

Then there’s the Chandelier Lantern that uses three of the single-candle lanterns in one fixture, providing three times the light, some warmth, and a surface on which you could keep a meal warm.

UCO has two smaller versions of the single lantern. The Mini Lantern is 4 inches tall and 3.5 ounces. It burns tea light “tub” candles, the ones with the aluminum cup. UCO claims a 3- to 4-hour burn time.

But the cutest of all is the new Micro Lantern, which is 3½ inches tall when opened and 2½ inches when closed. It too uses the tea light candles and there’s storage in the base for an extra one. It weighs 4.2 ounces with both candles aboard. Again, UCO claims 3-4 hours of light, but I’ve had one burn more than six hours indoors.

Like its big brothers, it comes with a chain and a bail and hook with which to hang it. There are six colors available — orange, lime, blue, purple, yellow and red. Retail price: $12.89.

— Jeff Strout, BDN

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