The Olantern Mini is a durable lantern that boasts long battery life and high light output for its size. This is literally a mini lantern as it is about the size of a deck of cards.
Overall rating: Neutral (purchase for specific applications)
Conclusion: While the Olantern Mini is a solidly built product that provides over 12 hours of light, it is a lantern that is searching for a perfect application. For backpacking, the Olantern Mini is too heavy (~8.5 oz) to recommend, especially since backpackers will already have their headlamp on hand. For car campers, the light output may be reduced when compared to a Coleman gas lantern or a full-size electric lantern.
In my opinion, the best use case for the Olantern Mini is for car campers that wish to reduce the size of their gear to make packing and unpacking easier. Using this mini lantern instead of a full size lantern can save you space and some weight.
Other use cases include as an emergency light that is compact enough to fit in a vehicle glovebox or in a small Go bag. If you prefer a lantern for these applications instead of or in addition to a flash light, the Olantern Mini would work well.
Additionally this little lantern is super cute, so it would be fun for kids to play with or for use in a child’s small tent. It is rated for 1 meter drops and is water resistant, so it should survive most adventures with children!
Where to purchase:
- Olantern Mini Grey – purchase at the online Olightstore
- Olantern Mini Jet Black – purchase at the online Olightstore
Appearance: The Olantern Mini is composed mostly of metal and feels very solid in your hand. Overall the build quality and appearance are great. Despite being very small and looking a bit like a toy, the lantern is sturdy and seems durable. The bottom and top of the lantern are covered in non-slip rubber, so the lantern should nicely sit on level or moderately sloped surfaces. There is also a metal hanger attached to the top of the lantern that can be used to hang the lantern up or used as a stand if you want to put the lantern on its side (without it rolling).
The lantern is just under 4 inches tall and weighs 8.5 oz. Given the small size, I was impressed by the light output.
Performance: This lantern has 4 different light output modes – white light at low, medium, and high power and a red light at low power. The low power white light is likely too dim for most applications, so you will probably stick to using the medium and high power modes. In my testing, the lantern lasted for over 12 hours when operating at medium power and lasted for 5 hours at high power. High power mode provides enough light that you could play cards with a several friends when sitting at a picnic table at night. Medium also provides a good amount of light, but is 30-50% as powerful as high power. Which power you use likely will depend on how many nights you are camping and whether you have the opportunity to recharge the lantern during your trip or not. While I appreciate the inclusion of a red light (I love this feature on my headlamps), it is simply much too dim with this lantern to have much utility. The red light on many headlamps is powerful enough to illuminate the ground several feet in front of you. The red light on this lantern can hardly illuminate your shoes.
Features: The lantern comes with an easy-to-use charging cable that connects to the bottom of the lantern. Charging is simply and takes about 3-4 hours. The rechargeable battery is a great idea that prevents you from wasting money on AAA or AA batteries.
I mentioned the different light output modes above, but will just note that you can easily switch between modes by either holding the power button for a second or double clicking it. It is an intuitive system and was easy to learn and use. The power button feels sturdy and has a nice click when you press it.
The lantern also has a “motion-sensitive battery indicator.” Essentially, there is a small light around the power button that lights up when the lantern is moved. It will be red, orange, or green depending on the battery level. While neat, this feature is not the most useful. It would have been great if the lantern could detect motion in front of it and turn on the battery light (this way you could easily find the lantern at night). Instead motion is only detected if the lantern actually moves. Thus, it only helps you find the power button and doesn’t really help you find the actual lantern at night.