Goal Zero Lighthouse

Review: Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern

A super bright, lightweight, rechargeable camping lantern that can power your devices too!

Light up your camping life with the mega bright yet ambient glow of the Goal Zero Lighthouse 400. With adjustable light settings, collapsible legs and a USB port to charge up your devices, this is one versatile lantern for all your camping adventures. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also rechargeable via USB, solar panel or a dynamo hand crank? Yep, drained batteries are well and truly a thing of the past. Never get left in the dark again.

Goal Zero Lighthouse 400: The stats

Lumens:400
Battery type:Rechargeable li-ion NMC
Battery life:2.5 – 48 hours
Weight:1.1 lbs (498g)
Size:4.5 x 5 x 6.5 in (11.4 x 12.7 x 16.5 cm)

Design features of the Goal Zero Lighthouse 400

Light controller

On off buttonThe large on/off knob on the front of the lantern is really easy to locate (even when you can’t see it!). It turns to the right to light up the whole lantern or to the left to save the battery and only light up one half of it. Whether on full or half mode, the light can be adjusted from very to dim to very bright, and the knob clicks loudly when turned off to ensure that you don’t accidentally leave it on very dim mode!

Foldable legs

LanternThe wire legs fold up and sit neatly around the top of the lantern making it more streamlined for hanging, or to keep the centre of gravity lower on uneven surfaces. Although the legs don’t lock when they are folded out, they still provide a really stable base that elevates the light helping it to reach further.

Carry handle

Hanging lanternThis simple metal D handle sits flush with the top rim of the lantern when not in use, and pivots loosely in its fixing when held or hung up.

Dynamo hand crank

Lantern hand crankOn top of the lantern is a handle that turns an internal dynamo to top up the charge of the battery. 1 minute of cranking (in either direction) charges the battery up enough to give 10 minutes of light time. When not in use the handle folds down and is embedded into the top of the lantern.

Battery indicator

Battery indicatorThere are four blue lights on the control panel of the lantern that indicate how much the battery is charged. All four lights will be blue if it is fully charged, and the lights flash on and off when the battery is being charged.

USB port

USB PortThe 1.5 amp USB port is a really useful feature and enables you to top up the charge on your phone, gps device, headlamp, camera etc out at camp.

Built in USB cord

Lantern chargingThe cord wraps around the lantern and slots neatly into its housing when not in use. The fact that it is built in is a really nice feature as little wires like this can easily get lost or left behind. The battery is charged by connecting this cord to the mains, your laptop, or a compatible solar panel.

Emergency red light

Red lights on lanternThe little red triangle on the control panel turns on the flashing red emergency lights that run around the top of the lantern. This can be used at the same time as the main light.


Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 review

The Lighthouse 400 is one bright lantern! Even when on the half setting, this bad boy really puts out some light, and I like how the half setting allows the glow to be directed to where you need it (and not back at the rest of the campsite, or towards tents with little ones in etc).

Once tucked into my tent for the night, it puts out plenty of light on half mode dimmed half way that is good enough to read by but not too blinding at close range. Turn it up a bit and the whole tent is totally illuminated making tent admin so much easier than with a headlamp.

As well as being mega bright, the Lighthouse is also light in weight. And although there are camping lanterns that weigh less, they certainly don’t compare to the light output offered by the Lighthouse. It’s also nice and compact for such a powerful little light and with a robust and tough plastic casing it can be thrown into the car with the rest of your gear with no worries about breaking it.

I’d forgotten to charge it up before my last camping trip but it was no problem – I just plugged it into my USB port in the car and by the time I arrived at camp it was nicely topped up. Genius!

Night camping

What I love the most about the Goal Zero Lighthouse 400

I love the warmth of the light. Although it’s bright (like really bright) when on full mode, it’s not in your face fluorescent bright, and it creates a really nice ambiance around camp.

But I think it’s the backup dynamo charge that I love the most about the Lighthouse. It means that you never have to worry about ever being left totally in the dark, no matter how long you may end up away from a power source. Plus, just when you think it’s getting too chilly to stay out any longer, a minute of cranking that thing soon warms you up!

What I don’t love so much about the Goal Zero Lighthouse 400

The collapsible legs would be slightly more useful if they locked out. They’re actually pretty sturdy when on a good surface, but when you move the lantern from one spot to another the legs can move out of position and you can end up putting the lantern back down on wonky legs. Not a biggie, and only really an issue if you are moving the lantern with one hand.


Verdict

From a light quality point of view, you will struggle to find anything that compares to the Goal Zero Lighthouse 400, especially for such a lightweight unit. And the adjustable light settings makes it really appealing for use both in and out of the tent, (and indeed around the house when the power dies!).

But what really sets this robust little lantern apart from others around right now, is its ability to recharge other devices, and to recharge itself with the dynamo hand crank. These features really raise the bar in terms of versatility making it well worth spending the extra compared with its competitors.

A big thumbs up from a very happy, well lit camper!

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

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