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Zippo Rugged Lantern

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I don’t think it’s any big secret that the guys here at Wired2Fish sport an unquenchable thirst for the outdoors. We tend to work a lot, so sometimes our outdoor hobbies extend far past daylight hours. Whether we’re night fishing for bass, bluegill or crappie or camping with our families, we never let the absence of sunlight hamper our fun.

I’ve been using and abusing the Zippo Rugged Lantern for several months and I’ll be totally honest with you—this thing is the coolest, most functional lantern I’ve ever used. If you’re an avid outdoorsman like me, you may want to check ‘em out.

Here are some things I really like about it:

  • I can’t break it
  • It floats
  • Detachable and flexible handle
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Excellent battery life

Finally—something I can’t break

I’ve never understood the point of owning wussy outdoor gear. I’m always on the run fishing and hunting, so I need something that can endure a lot of abuse. After using—and breaking—several lanterns in the past few years, I decided to give the Zippo Rugged Lantern a try. As it turns out, I’m really glad I did.

The main structure of this lantern is comprised of four stainless steel tubes and heavy-duty rubber corners. It’s built to withstand a 5-foot drop without any loss of mechanical or structural integrity. I’ve probably dropped it upwards of 25 times and I can’t even find any scratches on it.

Just this past week, I was grabbing some bottled water out of my truck bed in preparation to fish some dock lights and I accidentally slung the Zippo Rugged Lantern across the boat ramp parking lot. It bounced a solid 10 feet without any sign of damage whatsoever. It still worked perfectly and looked brand new. The steel tubes protected the lens and the rubber corners did an excellent job protecting the battery compartment.

I’ve also been impressed by how easy it is to transport. A lot of lanterns I’ve used are made of fragile glass that will shatter upon the smallest impacts, but the lens of the Rugged Lantern is shatterproof. It feels nice not having to wrap my lantern in a pile of hoodies or jackets to protect it in the backseat of my truck—now I can just toss it anywhere and get on the road.

It floats

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You’ll hear a lot about waterproof gear and accessories in the outdoor industry, but there’s no point in them if they don’t float. It doesn’t do you any good to have your lantern shining like a beacon in 20 feet of water. The Rugged Lantern is very waterproof and it floats like a bobber.

In my opinion, this is a huge “plus” for anglers. If you’re night fishing or doing some early morning rigging before blast off, the last thing you want is to knock your lantern off your boat and watch it sink to the bottom. If the Rugged Lantern goes overboard, there’s absolutely no need to panic. It floats every time and the inside components will be totally unharmed.

Excellent handle design

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A lot of lanterns I’ve used in the past have been pretty darn irritating. Whether you’re on the water or at the campsite, it seems like you’re constantly tripping over it. I’m pleased to say, however, that Zippo’s handle design has alleviated those common frustrations.

The Rugged Lantern’s handle gives you the option to carry and hang the lantern with ease. You don’t need to find a branch or limb on which to hang it—just unsnap the button and thread it anywhere. I really like to hang it on the grab-handle on my bass boat’s console. I do a lot of late-night rigging the nights before guide trips and this allows me to free-up my floor space so I can get everything done quickly and efficiently.

Adjustable brightness

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Everyone’s eyes have different light sensitivity, so Zippo integrated an adjustable brightness feature on the Rugged Lantern. There’s no little switches you’ll have to fumble around to find, either—just press the big red button to scroll through the three different brightness levels until you find the one that works best for you.

When the Rugged Lantern is on “high”, it seems like everyone in the surrounding counties can see it. It features a 220 lumen LED light tube, so it doesn’t really matter how dark it is—you’ll be able to see your surroundings without any problems.

Another cool feature is the emergency SOS setting. If you’re out night fishing and you start having motor problems, you can set the lantern on your front deck and it will blink the SOS code to alert nearby boaters or landowners of your presence. This is also very handy to avoid on-the-water collisions. Of course you should always use your legal navigation lights, but the Rugged Lantern gives you a some extra “insurance” out there.

Ridiculous battery life

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I’ve been hugely surprised by the Rugged Lantern’s battery life. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery that charges very quickly and will last an entire night, even when used on its highest power setting. I’ve been stuck in some pretty dark and precarious situations when my previous lanterns have died, so I really enjoy the peace of mind the Rugged Lantern provides.

The battery life is as follows:

  • Low—59 hour runtime
  • Medium—18 hour runtime
  • High—12 hour runtime

If you still like to enjoy the outdoors after-hours, I suggest taking a long look at the Zippo Rugged Lantern. I use it all the time and I couldn’t be any happier with it.

The Zippo Rugged Lantern is available at Zippo.com.