Two things bring campers together at the end of the day, after the sun sets and the twilight solidifies into the thick inky darkness of nighttime proper: sources of light and happy sounds. The Coleman 360 Light and Sound (which has an RRP of £69.99 in the UK and $64.99 in the US) delivers both with aplomb, while taking up next to no room in the boot of the car or the corner of the tent, making it one of the best camping lanterns out there. But let’s take a closer look at how it performs in the field.
Weighing a pretty reasonable 620g, the Coleman 360 Light and Sound lantern features a carry handle, which can be used to hang the device from a tree or a hook on the ceiling of your tent, enabling you to enjoy ambient light with musical accompaniment.
Camping is fantastic, but once darkness descends around your site and dinner is done and dusted, you need a little entertainment to properly enjoy the evening, especially if the weather isn’t with you and you’re confined to the living area of your tent. The rechargeable Coleman 360 Light and Sound Lantern provides plenty of illumination to play games or read, and can also be simultaneously used as a wireless sound system. It’s basically everything you need in one compact tubular package – just remember to keep it charged.
The Coleman 360 Light and Sound lantern is powered by a rechargeable battery – you simply plug it in using the USB port and a light indicates when it’s charged.
With a waterproof rating of IPX4, this robust lantern-come-sound system can survive a few splashes and a little light rain, so you don’t have to be super precious about it, but don’t go dropping it into rivers, lakes or the sea – it won’t like that.
With three brightness settings, the lantern throws out an impressive level of light in all directions that will see you right whether you’re walking across a pitch-black site and trying to find the toilet, or sitting around a camping table playing cards or just chatting.
Fully charged, the 400-lumen light will last 7 hours on the high setting, 16 on the middle one and 40 on the lowest, projecting its glow from between 2 and 8 metres.
Having used it several times on star-spangled evenings, my main criticism with the light element of the 360 is that there is no red setting, which would be really useful if you wanted enough illumination to locate something without completely blowing your night vision.
One other criticism is that the lowest setting is still a bit too bright to be used as a nightlight if you have young children who want a bit of reassurance during the hours of deep darkness in the tent. However, the main reason for this is probably because the lantern is primarily designed for those who want to crank out a few tunes of an evening, rather than sit quietly outside the tent while children sleep.
I found it really easy to pair the Coleman 360 Light and Sound Lantern with my iPhone using Bluetooth, and once this is done you can play tunes, podcasts or whatever audio you want through the speaker. You can adjust the volume via your phone, or on the plus and minus buttons atop the speaker itself.
While not quite at the Bang and Olufsen level, the sound quality of the speaker is reasonable, with only a touch of muddiness coming through when the volume gets cranked up. Like the light waves, the sound waves are projected across 360 degrees, so this is something to be conscious of.
On a full battery, you can get up to 20 hours of tunes from the speaker, but this will obviously be reduced if you’re using the light at the same time, especially if it’s on a high brightness setting.
Like moths, campers gravitate towards light when night falls, and this lantern helps keep you entertained as well as providing illumination, with a good-quality speaker. Both sound and light are projected in all directions and the lantern/sound system is robust and very easy to use. It’s an excellent addition to your camping kit – just don’t get carried away and keep the rest the site awake with your al fresco disco.