REVIEW: Fenix CL30R Camping Lantern
Considering a new camping lantern? The Fenix CL30R Camping Lantern has everything a camper could possibly want.
I started testing by comparing the Fenix CL30R with my normal lantern, a well-known brand. The CL30R is about one-third the size, feels like it’s 1/10th the weight (speculation, not an actual measurement), and gives off noticeably more light. In the photo below, my green lantern is on the brightest of two settings, while the Fenix CL30R can go one setting brighter. It literally and figuratively outshines my normal lantern.
The Fenix CL30R’s size and weight make it easily stowable in an overnight pack. In the weeks I tested this lantern, it joined me on two camping trips, the first of which was car camping. Even though size or weight aren’t critical in this scenario, I still noticed and appreciated its general makeup. Measuring 5.4 inches tall by 3.7 inches wide, and weighing in at 14.5 ounces, I’ll go so far as to call it a fun sidekick around camp.
Its five main settings allow you to adjust the amount of light, so it is always the perfect brightness for what you need. The CL30R has a sixth setting of a blinking light signal, achieved by double tapping the orange button.
Already having fun with the lantern, I packed it for the second camping trip. This was more rugged than car camping, but not a backpacking trip by purist standards either. Still, it was the kind of outing that required fitting all of my belongings for the weekend into a single pack. I never would consider packing my heavy, clunky green lantern for such a trip. But, this lantern, by contrast, packed well and easily among my other gear.
Perhaps the most fantastic feature a lantern can possess is its ability to charge electronics. On my second trip, I had no cell signal the entire time, but that didn’t stop me from trying – repeatedly. My phone finally died at the campfire on Saturday night. No worries, I plugged it into the lantern before I went to sleep and was delighted with the 100% charge I had by morning.
Rechargeable batteries are another great features about the lantern. No more stocking up on giant batteries. My green lantern calls for six D batteries. The CL30R uses three small lightweight batteries. I’m not sure how long the CL30R provides light without recharging. But, it stood up to the rigors of long weekends outside, including keeping my phone charged, even when the temperature dipped into the 40s.
The CL30R is built to attach to a tripod, which is does nicely. It also hangs well when attached with a carabiner.
With its feather weight, tiny size, and impressive functionality, the Fenix CL30R Camping Lantern is not only a prudent purchase, it’s a fun piece of gear to have around camp.
Mini Focus Group of Outdoor Enthusiasts
One of my camping trips was with a group of 33 other outdoor enthusiasts. I didn’t parade the lantern around camp, but those who organically saw it would stop me to comment on how highly impressed they were with the same features that excited me. Campers expressed particular enthusiasm for the brightness, size/weight, and built-in electronics charging station. One person even commented of “lantern envy.” The only feedback for improvement from the outdoor gurus would be an easier to remember product name, so they can more easily purchase one once out of the wilderness.
One Note about the Setup
Before you begin using your lantern, you’ll need to remove the insulator tab. This involves unscrewing the top cap, removing the batteries, and allowing a black plastic disc to drop out. Once you replace the batteries, you need to secure the top TIGHTLY. If you think you’ve screwed it on as tight as you should, but your light will not turn on when unplugged, tighten it more. I assure you, it can go farther. The cap is sensitive, so you don’t have a wide margin. But, the good news is that once it’s in place, you won’t have to worry about it again.
✅ Small and lightweight – fits well for backpacking trips
✅ Five main brightness settings to customize to your need (plus a flashing mode)
✅ Charges your electronics when you’re in the backwoods!!
✅ Rechargeable batteries
✅ Attaches to a tripod for stability in camp; also hangs well with a carabiner
✖ Set-up might give you initial difficulty – read my note above and life will be good
Also check out my review of the Fenix HL60R Rechargeable Headlamp.