Hate mosquitoes? So does the Thermacell camp lantern.
August can have some of the best camping weather of the year. It’s still warm during the day, but it cools off nicely at night. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are still out and bloodthirsty as ever.
Sure, you could douse yourself with potentially harmful and sticky chemicals like DEET. Or you could take the time to make a DIY mosquito repellent. Or stay in your tent all night. But sometimes you just don’t want to deal with all that.
That, my friends, is why the Thermacell camp lantern is your new go-to mosquito repellent device.
The Thermacell camp lantern works like the other great Thermacell products. The secret is in the chemical mats, which are saturated with a synthetic chemical that deters insects by mimicking chrysanthemum flowers.
Simply insert the chemical mat in the designated slot, which is heated by a small, contained flame fueled by the butane cartridge. The unit is said to produce a 15-foot x 15-foot zone (225 square feet) of protection.
Each butane cartridge runs for the duration of three mats – so we’re talking about 9 to 12 hours total. Refill kits can be used for any of the Thermacell products. You can use the mat until it turns from blue to white, and then switch it out.
Regarding the light itself, it can be used as a regular lantern, or separate from the top portion to be used as a hanging tent light. The 300 lumens produced by the LED lights will last for 50 hours on its brightest setting using four D batteries.
I was able to get my hands on one of these units recently. Right out of the box, I could tell that the Thermacell camp lantern would live up to its reputation.
It felt solid and of high quality construction. It came with the butane cartridge, three repellent mats, and a very clear and thorough instruction manual. The camp lantern was easy to disassemble to insert the butane cartridge and batteries, as well.
The lantern portion has three brightness settings, in addition to a SOS blinking setting. The light produced by this lantern is crazy! It was easy enough to see my entire living room at night, making it useful on its own in power outages and emergency situations.
I went on a camping trip recently and brought it with us. I also brought some sprays to test out and compare performance. As a Minnesotan, I knew I would be able to effectively test this thing out.
Fun fact: mosquitoes were considered in the running for our state bird. Alright, while that may be bogus, trust us when we say they’re bad.
The first night, I tried the typical sprays to get a baseline reading. Verdict: all clothing areas that were not sprayed with chemical were viciously attacked. Even my legs and arms that were sprayed still received several bites. And after all this, I still had to go to bed sticky and reeking of DEET.
The next night, I turned on the Thermacell camp lantern at around 6 P.M. According to the manual, each repellent mat lasts for around four hours, so I thought this would cover the period of the day when mosquitoes are most active.
It also takes 10 to 30 minutes to become effective as the butane cartridge heats the mat, which slowly spreads the scent around your area. Sure, it takes a little more planning than just spraying yourself. But it’s as simple as turning a dial.
We sat down by the fire, like we had the previous night, to await the bloodsuckers’ arrival. Around 7:30 P.M., someone finally asked when the mosquitoes would come out. We realized that we hadn’t seen any up until that point, which is long after they had come out the night before.
As soon as you stepped away from the unit to run back to the tent, however, they were waiting. It didn’t become clear to me how effective the unit was until I did this.
Certainly, a rogue mosquito would enter within this hostile airspace once in a while. But by and large, the mosquitoes just weren’t coming into our area like they had the night before. We ended up having a very pleasant evening by the fire, without any chemical sprays.
If you’ve been wondering about its effectiveness, I’m happy to report that the Thermacell camp lantern flat out works, just like the other great Thermacell products. While I initially wished the mats would last a little longer than four hours, it proved to be perfect for dusk when the mosquitoes are most annoying anyway.
It worked at our campsite, so it’s certainly not too late to grab one for this year. And with hunting seasons approaching, it would work wonderful at the shack or base camp as well.
All images, unless otherwise specified, via Ryan Lisson
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