No batteries? No problem. Mountain Warehouse's Wind Up camping lantern runs on elbow grease instead. So how does this affordable, straightforward lamp match up to the rest of the best camping lanterns? We tested it out in the (camping) field to find out. Here's our Mountain Warehouse's Wind Up camping lantern review.
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- ... or go hands-free with one of the best head torches
Mountain Warehouse Wind Up camping lantern review: design and features
We often find ourselves forgetting to bring spare batteries on camping trips, or to keep recharging our camping lanterns regularly, and are often suddenly plunged into darkness as a result. So it's very handy to be able to pack a lantern that's always ready to go – just unfold the winding arm of the Mountain Warehouse Wind Up lantern, turn it for a minute and you'll be rewarded with a good few hours of illumination in return for some elbow grease, no other power source required. The fact that you can always reach for a lantern that's ready to use is very handy for storing at home or in the car, too, especially if you live somewhere rural or with frequent power cuts.
We also thought the Wind Up lantern looked rather smart, a modern take on old-fashioned storm lanterns. It's not small, packable or lightweight, so it won't work for wild campers, but this lantern is a great choice for car camping or campervans. The lantern's outer plastic casing feels tough enough to take knocks and scrapes, if not as high-quality as the bodies of more expensive camping lanterns.
It's also water-resistant, and a metal cage around the light section further protects the LED bulbs on your adventures. The curved top handle means the lantern can be hung up from trees or used with a carabiner to attach to tent hooks, and the wide base makes this sturdy lantern easy to place on the ground or on a fold-out table.
Mountain Warehouse Wind Up camping lantern review: performance
Mountain Warehouse state that one minute of winding this lantern provides just 20 minutes of light – perhaps they are erring on the side of caution, as we found that by turning the lantern's handle for just a few minutes, we reliably had light all evening long, even when using the higher two settings. The lantern's light isn't very strong compared to some brighter LED lanterns we've tested, but its max setting of 45 lumens is more than enough to read, play cards or cook by in your camp.
The only real downside here is that the light from Mountain Warehouse's Wind Up lantern is a cool blue rather than a warmer yellow light, so it doesn't create a very cosy ambience. The on-off button is also surprisingly fiddly to press when you're flicking between the three settings, which don't offer a massive difference in light. But then again, this isn't a top-of-the-range camping lantern – it's been designed as an affordable but handy light source.
Mountain Warehouse Wind Up camping lantern review: verdict
The Mountain Warehouse Wind Up is an affordable and functional lantern with the big bonus of being wound by hand instead of needing batteries or USB charging: you'll never be without a light source whether you're camping in the wild or just dealing with a power cut at home. We liked how sturdy and reliable this storm lantern-style light was – this is a very handy purchase, especially at its modest price point. It's just a pity the light itself isn't a touch warmer.