OWNER REVIEW - Coleman Pack-Away Lantern R Lyon
- For your editing pleasure. HTML in Tests folder at
COLEMAN EXPONENT 4AA PACK-AWAY LANTERN
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
October 30, 2007
Personal Details and Backpacking Background
Male, 61 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
Home: Dallas, Texas USA
I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the
Rockies since 1986. I do a week long trip every summer, and often
take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at
altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp
backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my
share of forced marches too. Though always looking for ways to
reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose
a bit more weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to
The Coleman exponent 4AA Pack-Away Lantern is an LED lantern
powered, as might be expected, by four AA alkaline batteries. Its
distinguishing feature is its small size; when packed up it's about
the size of a pack of cigarettes. Coleman achieves this by
designing the product so that the user may push the top portion of
the Lantern, which includes the bulb and reflector, down into the
lower "metalized" plastic case for compact and secure storage.
When extended for use, by pushing a button on the top plastic piece
the Lantern will go through four settings, in the following order:
high, low, strobe, and off. According to Coleman the Lantern
features a "Cree XLamp® XR-E LED" bulb than generates 95 lumens of
light on the high setting. The top section includes a small handle
that folds down into a slot cut for it. Both button and stowed
handle lie flush with the top. The top section, with the bulb,
slides up easily when I pull on the top; it's not necessary to use
the handle. I've done it one-handed with mittens on. There's a
faint hydraulic sound when the Lantern is opened or closed.
Manufacturer: The Coleman Company, Inc. Quotations in this review,
and the photo at left, come from this website.
Year Purchased: 2007
Size, listed: Closed: 3.2 x 2.7 x 1.9 in (8.1 x 6.9 x 4.8 cm); Open:
4.875 x 2.7 x 1.9 in (12.4 x 6.9 x 4.8 cm)
Size, measured: Closed: 3.1 x 2.7 x 1.8 in (7.9 x 6.9 x 4.6 cm);
Open: 4.75 x 2.7 x 1.8 in (12.1 x 6.9 x 4.6 cm)
Weight, listed: 8 oz (227 g) with batteries
Weight, measured: 8.25 oz (234 g) with batteries
Illumination time, listed: 12 hours on low or 5 hours on high
MSRP: $34.95 US (including four AA batteries)
I have taken the Lantern on two week-long trips, one in the
Scapegoat Wilderness, Montana, in early August and a trek from the
Lone Star trailhead to the Bechler Ranger Station in Yellowstone
Park, Wyoming and Idaho, in mid-September. On the Scapegoat trip
conditions were warm, with temperatures ranging from about 40 F (5
C) in early morning to 90 F (32 C) during the day at about 6500 feet
(2000 m). In Yellowstone our first day and night were cold, a high
of about 40 F (5 C) and a nighttime low of 12 F (-11 C). Typical
autumn weather for the Park returned the next day and stayed with us
for the balance of our trip: sunny and clear during the day, with
highs about 70 F (21 C), and clear and cold (~25 F/-4 C) at night.
Elevation ranged from 8500 to 7500 feet (2700 2200 m) as we
gradually descended through the Bechler River Canyon and meadows.
I took the Lantern on a solo overnight in southern Oklahoma at the
beginning of September. Mild elevation, maybe 1000 ft (300 m), and
temperatures from 60-95 F (16-34 C).
On each trip I camped by myself in a two-person tent and mostly used
the Lantern in two ways. I clipped the Lantern to the interior
poles of my tent with a small carabiner for overhead illumination in
the tent, and when I was ready for some bedtime reading I'd place
the Lantern on the page of the open book that I wasn't reading to
keep the book flat and to provide enough light to read without my
glasses. Occasionally in the early morning, and once in the early
evening, I placed the Lantern on a nearby surface for extra
illumination when I was working in the camp kitchen in low light.
One such morning was at the 12 F (-11 C) low in Yellowstone, and the
Lantern performed without any delay or reduced output.
I also used the Pack-Away for emergency light when I lost power for
a few hours at my house.
First and best of all, this lantern is indeed small. I don't have a
special place for it in my pack, it just goes in wherever there's
space. The corners are slightly rounded, so I needn't worry about
scraping or denting adjacent objects. Its size alone has changed my
thinking about packing a lantern. Almost all of my tents are not
fire-retardant, immediately ruling out gas or candle lanterns. I've
shied away from electric lanterns because of bulk, figuring that I
could get all the light I needed from a headlamp and that
convenience didn't justify the extra weight. Not any more. The
Pack-Away is now a regular and welcome part of my backpacking kit.
A second reason for this change of mind is the Lantern's
illuminating power. The LED bulb sits atop a cylindrical metal
reflector with a shiny cone-shaped feature at the bottom, and this
combination generates ample bright white light for dressing,
packing, and other "bedroom" activities. If I've brought my reading
glasses I can leave the Lantern hung from the tent dome for bedtime
reading, even at the Low setting. On High my tent is brightly lit.
The reflector causes streaks or fingers of light, rather than the
uniform glow of a standalone incandescent bulb or gas mantle,
requiring some care in placement when I place the Lantern on my book
The batteries are seated in the lower section of the Lantern, in a
chamber accessed by turning a small screw on the bottom. The screw
has an indentation into which I place a coin or the screwdriver
blade of my knife and turn clockwise. The lid fits very tightly and
I couldn't unscrew the compartment without an implement.
I've used only the batteries supplied by Coleman, which are everyday
alkaline AAs, not anything special. Though I haven't been keeping
time I strongly suspect I've exceeded the five hours' capacity on
high beam, without any noticeable dimming.
It's easy to turn the Lantern on in the dark. I stash the Lantern
(in the open position) in the tent pocket closest to my head.
Though the button lies flush with the top I can find it by feel in
complete darkness. I haven't yet tried to change the batteries in
The Lantern has a suicide feature the light goes out automatically
whenever I push the top section back into its nest.
So far I've had only one issue with the Lantern. Once in a while
the light will go out when I move the Lantern slightly or knock it
over, requiring that I re-push the button. After this happened a
couple of times I re-seated the batteries, which seemed to solve the
problem for that evening. But not permanently, as the same thing
happened the following night. Perhaps something's slightly out of
What I Like
Small size makes it easy to pack.
Power it packs a wallop.
What I Don't
Occasional failure when jostled.
If the hook were on the bottom instead of the top I'd get more light
when the Lantern's hanging in my tent. That might, however, require
inverting the reflector.
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Edit Administration Manager
- Hi Richard,
Another fine review. Just a couple edits and you are good to place it
Comment: I noticed that you capitalized Lantern throughout. I do not
really know that that is proper as it is not the name without Coleman
or Pack-Away in front of it. At least you are consistent with it. I
won't make an edit out of it but a higher pay-grade may say something
***According to Coleman the Lantern features a "Cree XLamp® XR-E LED"
EDIT: I realize that this is a direct quote but we are asked to
remove trademark, copyright, etc. symbols from our reviews.
EDIT: the URL is not clickable in the HTML version
***I'd place the Lantern on the page of the open book that I wasn't
reading to keep the book flat
Edit: I think you mean; "I'd place the Lantern on my open book,
placing it on the page that I wasn't reading to keep the book flat."
The way it is now reads funny, like you have another book there you
are not reading.
***After this happened a couple of times I re-seated the batteries,
which seemed to solve the problem for that evening. But not
permanently, as the same thing happened the following night. Perhaps
something's slightly out of place inside.
Comment: I have had that happen too. I took a cork screw and threaded
it onto the little spring that contacts the negative end of the
batteries and pulled it slightly out a bit.
- Ray, Revised and uploaded. I also fixed some spacing problems. A
couple of comments below. Regards, Richard
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
> Hi Richard,
> Comment: I noticed that you capitalized Lantern throughout. I do
> really know that that is proper as it is not the name withoutColeman
> or Pack-Away in front of it. At least you are consistent with it.I
> won't make an edit out of it but a higher pay-grade may saysomething
> later.--- I do this often, as you do after a (hereinafter the Lantern) in
your reports. I do parenthetical defined terms all day long in my
work and I don't think it's needed for clarity, but of course I'll
abide the higher-ups.
> Edit: I think you mean; "I'd place the Lantern on my open book,
> placing it on the page that I wasn't reading to keep the book
> The way it is now reads funny, like you have another book thereyou
> are not reading.batteries,
> --------- Much better, thanks.
> ***After this happened a couple of times I re-seated the
> which seemed to solve the problem for that evening. But notPerhaps
> permanently, as the same thing happened the following night.
> something's slightly out of place inside.threaded
> Comment: I have had that happen too. I took a cork screw and
> it onto the little spring that contacts the negative end of the--------I'll try it.
> batteries and pulled it slightly out a bit.