BioLite's BaseCamp stove is one of Kickstarter's many success stories, and after releasing a handful of follow-up outdoors products, the company is returning to Kickstarter again for its new flatpack Bluetooth LED lantern that can be completely customised using a smartphone app.
The days of leaving all of your technology at home when you head out into the wilderness might soon be long gone — but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of relying on a can of propane in your backpack, the slim, easy-to-pack BaseLantern comes with a 7,800 mAh rechargeable battery that powers its LEDs for up to 54 hours on its lowest setting, or six hours if you need to crank the brightness to its full 500 lumens which is comparable to the 40-watt bulb in a bedroom lamp. An XL version will also be available, boosting the battery to 12,000 mAh and maxing out its run time to 114 hours.
It charges via a microUSB connection which can be tethered to the company's solar charger for topping it off while you're far away from power outlets. And the BaseLantern is also able to share it's power using a pair of full-sized USB ports that can keep other gadgets like a smartphone charged while you're out adventuring.
That's an especially important feature for the BaseLantern because in addition to a multi-function power button letting users switch between its various lighting modes, it can also connect to BioLite's smartphone app (a first for the company) that provides more precise control over its brightness and other settings.
Need to protect your night vision with a red or orange hue? There's the app for that. Want your lantern to automatically turn on when you get back to basecamp and your smartphone is in range again? There's the app for that.
It can also tell you how many hours you've got left before the BaseLantern's battery is completely dead, which may or may not signal the end of your camping trip depending on how you feel about the dark. And in addition to controlling the BaseLantern's LEDs, the new app can also control a set of BioLite's hanging SiteLights when they're connected to one of its USB ports.
To help the company fund the development of its first mobile app, BioLite is launching the BaseLantern through its second Kickstarter campaign that's hoping to raise some $US75,000 ($102,557). The lantern can be pre-ordered with an early bird donation of $US79 ($108), or $US99 ($135) for the XL, with delivery expected sometime in the fall of this year. So unless you like sleeping in a tent when temperatures fall below the freezing mark, this is going to be a gear investment for next summer's outdoor adventures.
The usual Kickstarter risks apply here, even for a company that's successfully brought a crowdfunded product to the market before. But having been through this all before, several times, BioLite understands the challenges of design and production, so the biggest risk here might be a delayed delivery, putting a pause on your snow camping plans.