When you cover a subject like green gadgets, it's inevitable that you get sent press releases for a lot of gadgets and tools that really miss the mark -- gadgets that just add to the sea of redundant electronics out there in the marketplace, ultimately destined to become e-waste. It's enough to make you shudder.
Luckily, there are some companies out there that are truly designing gadgets that help us lower our impact while making our lives easier. For the past few years, BioLite has been delivering camping and outdoor products that always feel super functional instead of superfluous. Like the CampStove (a clean-burning cooking stove that also generates electricity for charging devices), KettleCharge and others before it, the latest BioLite gadget, the BaseLantern, aims to streamline your pack while serving multiple purposes.
The BaseLantern just hit Kickstarter yesterday and, again like the other BioLite products before it, it has already well-surpassed its fundraising goal. The super bright LED lantern is compact at about the size of a sandwich and features Bluetooth connectivity so that it can be controlled with a smartphone app. Brightness, warmth and color can all be adjusted and the battery run time can be monitored in real time, allowing you to make changes to the brightness if you're running low.
Thanks to the built-in battery, the lantern also serves as a charging hub for smartphones, cameras, smart watches or whatever other devices you need to keep topped up.
There are two versions of the BaseLantern: original and XL. The original has a 7,800 mAh battery while the XL has a 12,000 mAH battery. Both are the same size and throw 500 lumens of light, but a fully charged original BaseLamp will charge an iPhone 6 four times or it can run at medium brightness for 8.75 hours, while the XL can charge it six times or run at medium brightness for 13.5 hours. Both weigh in at less than 1.5 pounds.
One of the cool added features of the BaseLantern is proximity activation. If you turn on that setting in the smartphone app, the lantern will turn on when you're within its proximity meaning that finding your way back to your tent in the dark will be much easier. As someone who often camps in state parks with my kids and has struggled to find our campsite when making the trek back from the bathroom in the dark, this is basically worth the price alone.
The BaseLantern can be charged off-grid with the BioLite CampStove or your favorite portable solar charger as well as by just plugging it in at home if those options aren't available.
The Kickstarter campaign has 30 days left and for $79 you'll receive the original BaseLantern when it ships in October of this year or there are several incrementally higher priced bundles that include the BaseLantern plus more BioLite gear. The sale of this product continues to support the company's mission to provide electricity-generating, clean-burning cooking stoves to areas where access to electricity is scarce.