This App Connected Lantern Is a Camping Game Changer


Having recently introduced a suite of products that provide light, fire, and energy to users who like to venture off-the-grid, BioLite is back with yet another innovative creation: the world’s first flatpack lantern, known as the BioLite BaseLantern.

The Kickstarter campaign for the product launched today and has been well received by supporters. More than just another high-powered flashlight, the BioLite BaseLantern is a lighting and energy solution that packs a lot of power into a portable and lightweight package (1.3 pounds and just over five inches at its widest). Super bright at 500 lumens, the compact lantern uses edge lighting technology to illuminate a wider area instead of delivering a focused beam as it stands on its stainless steel folding legs.

Product designer Mike Kneupfel tells mental_floss that the BaseLantern went through four or five iterations during the development stage. "We wanted to make something that was small and compact but that could also replace old-school lanterns as the center of your campsite," he said. "We started with Frankenstein prototypes (LED strips on a block of cardboard), making refinements with each round of prototyping and testing. Once we had a size, shape, and feature set for the design we entered the design for manufacturing (DFM) phase of the project."

Design sketches, Kickstarter

The lantern can be controlled remotely using the BaseLantern Bluetooth LE Mobile App. Added functions with the app include dimming and color controls, real-time battery level monitoring and calibration, and various smart functions, including the ability to have the BaseLantern turn on or off when you enter or leave a specified range. "This is our first-ever connected product, so ability to use your phone as a remote control was a totally new approach for us," design director Anton Ljunggren told mental_floss. "It enabled us to unlock a whole host of features, turning the BaseLantern into a mini smartgrid."

Ljunggren added that while the design and functions of the BaseLantern are new, there are some things that the lantern has in common with other BioLite products, including a "design that is meant to be intuitive and approachable to the user" and the ability to provide "off-grid energy that empowers the user to choose how to best use their energy supplies."

The BioLite BaseLantern was also designed with two special ports so that users can connect and string BioLite SiteLights together for a modified lighting environment. The 7000 mAh battery keeps the light beaming for up to 52 hours on its low setting, while its big brother, the BioLite BaseLantern XL contains a 12,000 mAh battery that will last nearly five full days on a single charge (114 hours). As with previous BioLite products, the BaseLantern gives users the ability to use its internal battery as a power source to charge other devices several times via two USB charging ports.

"Each new product takes us a step further in accomplishing our promise of Energy Everywhere," BioLite CEO and founder Jonathan Cedar tells mental_floss. "We [set] out to create an entire ecosystem of off-grid energy products that give you complete control on a personal scale. More importantly, the revenue from each product gets reinvested back into our work in emerging markets where we are on a mission to provide safe and affordable energy access to families who are living off-the-grid not by choice but by circumstance."

Less than 24 hours after its launch on Kickstarter, the BaseLantern campaign has already met and exceeded its $75,000 goal, but there is still time to pledge and pre-order one of the models (expected to deliver as soon as October).

[Images via BioLite]