A Candle lantern for your tent!! Surely that’s dangerous, and what’s the point??
The UCO candle lantern is designed to be safe for use inside tents, offering a warm glowing light, reducing damp/condensation and acting as an insect repellent too (when using citronella candles).
I had never heard of these lanterns before the very nice people at Prepare For Adventure asked if they could send us one for use when we camped during our West Highland Way charity hike.
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Are they safe?
I was a bit dubious as having a flame inside the tent was not something I would have ever considered doing before. But having got my hands on one and doing a bit of research online, I thought we would give it a try.
I don’t want to get into an argument about whether you feel it is safe or not to use one of these candle lanterns inside a tent, I just want to report our experience and findings when using it.
The UCO candle lantern was used by us for 2 nights and we didn’t experience any safety problems with it. Clearly you have to act appropriately around it and not bash into it, but from our perspective it was safe. The lantern hangs on a metal chain so that it is away from the ceiling of the tent and there wasn’t any hot liquid wax pouring out of the bottom, it was all rather uneventful (despite my initial concerns).
We were in our 3 man tent, so had plenty of space to move around. If we had been in a smaller tent then we would have had to be a bit more cautious about not knocking into the lantern. What about Carbon Monoxide (CO)? You should always make sure there is adequate ventilation when the lantern is being used. The backpacking that we were in (MSR Mutha Hubba) had more than adequate ventilation, the inner layer is about 50% mesh so there was definitely plenty of fresh air circulating.
Common sense is the key, and it is down you if you choose to use it inside or outside, but with adequate ventilation and keeping it away from the tent walls then there shouldn’t be any problems.
So what’s it like having a candle burning in your tent?
A bit weird at first coming from a safety perspective, but it didn’t take long to become comfortable around it and more confident that nothing dangerous was likely to occur.
The UCO candle lantern is very well made, it collapses down small and it’s lightweight too.
The candle burns slowly and efficiently as it sits in a spring loaded tube that gently pushes the candle upwards as it burns. I felt that it did take the chill off the inside of the tent a little, but in all honestly the warmth that was felt was probably more psychological than physical.
The natural light that this lantern gives off is just lovely. When wild camping, we normally hang up a head torch which gives off a super white light, even on it’s low setting. But the UCO gives off a very nice warm glow that makes you feel rather cosy. It gives off enough light
The UCO candle lantern also claims that it will reduce damp and condensation in your tent. I can’t really comment on this as I haven’t used it for long enough yet. I have experienced condensation inside a tent, even ice but the temperatures we experienced in Scotland did not cause us any condensation problems.
The candles are said to last for 9 hours, we can vouch for this as we did sleep one night with it still lit (not recommended) and when we awoke early the next morning it was still burning.
Looking online you can also purchase spares for it such as replacement glass, so if you do happen to break something then you should be able to repair it and not have to buy a complete new lantern. This lantern is said to also acts as an insect repellent too if you use the citronella candles.
Do note that the lantern will get hot and remain hot after the flame has been extinguished. Something I learned the hard way when trying to close it back up a little too soon - the top section was particularly hot (obviously, genius :o)
I’m looking forward to using the UCO candle lantern in the tent again as soon as I can. I’m actually quite looking forward to using it wild camping over the winter months during those early long dark evenings, I’m sure it will make us feel really cosy, warm and maybe even damp free.