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Helio Camping Lantern Review: Tiny Light, Plenty Bright

by Shane McGlaun
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I love to be in the great outdoors, hiking around Colorado. If you are ever backpacking or trying to hike with as little weight as possible, you have to watch everything you put in your pack. You must have a flashlight for overnight excursions and as an emergency device if you get lost. The problem is that most of us don’t want to carry some big old fashioned lantern, packed with heavy batteries.

Flextail has some very cool products for fans of the outdoors, and the latest product from the company is called the Flextail Helio. This is a tiny camping lantern that is extremely bright and lightweight.

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Helio comes with a D-ring attached to it to allow you to hang the lantern from the poles inside your tent or to clip it onto a belt loop or your backpack. The top of the lantern has a magnet inside so you can simply attach it to metal surfaces. The coolest part is that the Helio is so light you literally won’t know it is there. Helio weighs in at 45g making it lighter than an egg.

While it’s very light, it’s still able to produce 220 lumens of light making it brighter than some lanterns you will find at the camping store. It has two brightness settings, and to activate the brighter setting you simply hold the power button for a few seconds when the lamp is on. The lantern is rechargeable, which can be a bad thing in some instances because you can’t just carry extra batteries with you. Fortunately, you can at least charge it up via an ordinary USB port.

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The cool part is that the USB connector is built into the inside of the Helio and all you need to do is open the hinged design and plug the USB connector into a portable battery or solar panel (not included) to recharge in the outdoors. I’d wager many campers are already carrying a battery pack of some sort with them to keep phones and other gadgets charged up. However, the Helio won’t run when the USB port is exposed, you have to remove it from charging and close the lid to make the light function.

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For charging at home you can plug that integrated USB port into your computer or a wall charger, but the design makes it a bit awkward for some outlets. The Helio also has a micro USB port inside that allows you to connect the same charger you use for many Android phone.

Helio uses LEDs making it power miserly, Flextail claims that the light can last for up to 400 hours when you are using it with a 10,000 mAh powerbank. The internal battery inside Helio is good for ten hours of use after about a 20 minute charge according to the company.

If you are wondering how much Helio costs, that is a mystery right now. The lantern will be on Kickstarter raising money soon and if you go to the Flextail website you can sign up to be notified when the crowdfunding campaign starts. This is a very cool camping lantern for outdoorsy types who want as little weight as possible

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