Gear Review: Zippo Outdoors Rugged Lantern

Let’s face it – every outdoorsman needs a good, durable, lantern. For those of us who spend time on the water at in the dark, wouldn’t a waterproof lantern that floats be just ticket? A lantern that floats. Sound like I am I asking for too much?

Well, the Zippo Rugged Lantern fills that need without problem. Thanks to my friend Krissie Mason from Scratch+Holler who hooked me up at the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) Conference, I had a chance to put the lantern to the test.

Gear Review Zippo Outdoors Rugged Lantern 1First and foremost is that this lantern is not only waterproof, it floats. Yes, you heard me, it FLOATS. It stays lit, and FLOATS when that overly exuberant lab in the duck boat sends it flying over board, when one of those darned flying silver carp hit it and send it sailing into the river, when your uncoordinated trot line partner slaps it with a string of fish and sends it tumbling. Not only does it float and continue to stay lit, the term rugged is not used loosely.

Gear Review Zippo Outdoors Rugged Lantern 5Zippo claims it can withstand a five foot drop. Thanks to a pair of those overly exuberant labs, I can personally attest that it will survive a roughly 8 foot drop with no issues. The lantern also took several tumbles out of the hatch, off the back of the truck, and off the shooting deck of the bowfishing boat onto concrete boat ramps and suffered absolutely zero damage.

Gear Review Zippo Outdoors Rugged Lantern 2A few features that I especially liked.
• One big red button, for power and settings; just one button that is large and easy to manage with gloves on or wet hands.
• A metal support cage and rubberized corners that protect and cushion the blows from everyday use.
• Ability to control the brightness from 100% (high) to 50% (medium) to 10% (low), and conserve batteries accordingly. High is bright 200 lumens from the single LED source.
• Rechargeable
• Incorporates a flashing S.O.S. feature should an emergency arise in camp or out in the field.
Gear Review Zippo Outdoors Rugged Lantern 3• A flexible and detachable pop-up handle that lets owners hang it on tree branches or carry without loss of circulation in ones hands.
The only grumble I have for this lantern is that it would be great if it also had an option for regular batteries, since charging may not always be an option when afield.

No matter what your favorite outdoor pursuit might be this one item of equipment I definitely recommend that you have.

Product Rating

(Click here for rating definitions)

Overall Rating: 5

MSRP: $89.95 – can purchased direct from Zippo at or found at any number of outdoor and sporting goods stores.

Performance: I tried – and tried hard to, as my mother would say, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”. I tried valiantly to wreck this lantern – usually something that takes a minimum of a day or two afield with me – and it simply would not falter. As with all Zippo products, this lantern was engineered and built with durability, performance and reliability in mind.

Ease of Use: The large single button operation makes turning the lantern off and on or adjusting the brightness easy, even with wet hands, or while wearing gloves. The snap detachable handle makes it super easy to hang from structures or tree branches. Just unsnap, loop over whatever you want to hang it from and resnap. Far easier than regular lanterns that require tying or threading over a tree branch. Essentially this lantern can be hung from anything.

Features: LED light that won’t cause fires or emit terrible odors, metal support cage and rubberized corners, can survive drops up to five feet. It floats, is waterproof and meets IPX7 industry standards for water immersion. Rechargeable with 3 levels of lighting and a flashing S.O.S setting.


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