During the past two months the Orbit
was used on two backpacking trips, two hiking trips, a
night beach BBQ, and in my home for two nights when the
power was out.
La Jolla, California: I
used the Orbit on my first night in La Jolla. I used it
walking on the beach path and on the beach at around midnight
to look for Grunion. The temperature was in the upper
50's F (10 C).
Corona del Mar, California: I
used the Orbit on the beach for a fire pit BBQ.
San Gorgonio Wilderness, California:
This was an overnight backpacking trip. Camp was at about
8,400 ft (2,560 m) of elevation. The temperature was around
40 F (4 C).
San Jacinto State Park, California:
I used the Orbit on an overnight backpacking
trip. The low temperature was around 40 F (7 C).
Wasatch-Cache Mountain National
Forest, Utah: I used the lantern on an early
morning day-hike before the sun came up. The temperatures
were in the mid 40's (7 C) with light rain.
in the Field
I must say that this
is one bright little lantern. I was quite surprised
that there is so much light from this small compact
lantern. The Orbit illuminates a tent brightly on
both high and low power. For walking outside and
completing camp chores the lantern was used on high
power. I found this gave the most adequate illumination.
There are no shadows when using the lantern and
the light has an even illumination. I like the functionality
of the dimmer switch. This enabled me to get a larger
range of brightness than just a high and low setting.
Upon receiving the Orbit one of
the battery terminal connection coils broke off
the alkaline battery holder. I emailed Black Diamond
and they quickly sent me a new alkaline battery
holder with no questions asked.
I have used the lantern with the
rechargeable battery on high power for about 8 hours
and on low power for about three hours. After my
last use of the lantern I tried to turn it on and
the globe light was flashing. I could not switch
it to low power, so I assumed the battery was drained.
I recharged it and the Orbit is working fine. I
wish there was an indicator when the battery power
was getting low.
I love the hooks on the lantern. They
can be easily positioned to hang the lantern on the gear
hooks in a tent or from a tree or shrub branch. It would
be nice if the hooks rotated instead of just extending
upward and collapsing. This would add more versatility
to where I can hang the lantern.
There has not been any difficulty finding
the switch to operate the light in the dark. I believe
this is because the orange button is darker in color than
my lantern and the texture of the button is softer than
the plastic housing. Plus the button is set in from the
rest of the base. This area also has a small ridge surrounding
it, which heightens my tactile sensation when trying to
find the switch.
The globe has not become stuck when expanding
it to expose the on/off switch or when collapsing it.
However, I do have a grippe about collapsing the globe.
If the Orbit is turned on when the globe is collapsed
it remains on. This can be a major drain on the batteries
if I forget to turn off the Orbit before collapsing the
globe. I like that the switch is protected from being
accidentally turned on when the globe is collapsed. I
would like to see an automatic shut off function when
the globe is collapsed.
The lantern is stable on flat surfaces.
However, on rocky or uneven surfaces it tends to want
to tip over. The lantern base is stable in sand when pushed
down slightly. The rubber feet help the lantern from sliding
on smooth surfaces as they provide some friction. When
on a flat surface, the Orbit balances well enough on its
three feet to withstand a light tap or bump. However,
it rocks back and forth for a few moments before regaining
its balance. Any amount of force will push the lantern
After the Orbit is on for a period of
time the rubber ring at the base of the globe and the
plastic housing surrounding the switch becomes warm to
the touch. This is not an issue as far as I am concerned.
At no point did the Orbit overheat and shut off.
The Orbit was used on a pre-dawn day
hike in a light rain. The lantern worked fine and no water
leaked into globe or any other part of the lantern.
The Orbit is showing some small scratches
on the globe and they mostly appear to be on the inside.
They are straight lines and this makes me believe the
scratches are from extending and retracting the globe.
They do not seem to be interfering with the light projection.
Other than these scratches the Orbit looks and operates
like it is just out of the box.
During the past two months the Orbit
was used on one backpacking trip, two hiking trips,
and around the outside of my home at night.
Wasatch-Cache Mountain National
Forest, Utah: I used the Orbit here on two day
hikes that turned into night hikes. There were downpours
of heavy rain in the area and the Orbit became wet. On
one of the hikes I used the Orbit as a flashlight. The
hikes ranged from 4 to 6 mi (6 to 10 km) in length. The
temperatures ranged from the upper 50 F (10 C) range to
the upper 60 F (16 C) range.
San Jacinto State Park, California: This
was originally a backpacking trip that turned into a
day hike, due to me having an injured toe. The high temperature
was 78 F (26 C). I carried the lantern in my backpack
that was ready for an overnight trip.
Yosemite National Park, California: Three
days backpacking in Yosemite National Park. The temperatures
ranged from 43 to 80 F (6 to 27 C) mostly sunny skies
except for a thunder, rain, and graupel
storm our first afternoon. The trails were mostly dirt,
rock, and wet rock down the Mist Trail. The trip was
approximately 20 mi (32 km).
During the entire testing period I enjoyed
using the Orbit. The Orbit illuminates well enough for
me to see in the dark at camp, in a tent, and on the
trail. I have enough light from the Orbit to read at
camp and in my tent. The battery life proved long enough
to last on a three day backpacking trip with some extra
battery life remaining. The Orbit was used on the backpacking
trip for two to three hours per night on both the high
and low setting.
I have found some new functionality
with the Orbit that I no longer have the fear of not
having a headlamp with me. This is what I would call
the flashlight functionality. In Utah during my evening
hike it was raining, actually it was more like a downpour.
The Orbit became wet, and I failed to completely dry
the cylindrical base when I collapsed the globe. There
were water droplets inside the globe and that concerned
me. I extended the globe and pulled it completely off
the base. This enabled me to dry the inside of the globe.
I then turned on the Orbit without the globe in place
and I discovered that I could use it as a flashlight.
As a flashlight the Orbit was more functional for me
to use while hiking at night. It gave me a more pointed
light like my headlamps. This enabled me to better navigate
terrain at night and better see rocks and shadowed areas.
Globe removed. Instant
While using the Orbit in
the downpour I encountered an issue. Some water leaked
inside the rechargeable battery port and the battery
indicator light was flashing red and the lantern would
not light. Then it would stop. I shook the water out
of the port. I then waited about 30 minutes and the lantern
worked fine. I am perplexed as to how water got into
the port when the rubber seal was fully covering the
The Orbit was used at camp
to illuminate a table while five of us were hanging out
by the fire and some of the group was preparing a meal.
The Orbit was placed in the center of the table and the
entire table was illuminated.
I am very happy with
the Orbit lantern. It is a small compact lantern that
has a significant output of light for my backpacking
needs. One of my favorite features is the hooks. This
allows me to hang the Orbit in my tent to read or
just have comfort of the light in my tent. Even though
I encountered a few minor issues with the Orbit (the
battery terminal connection coil and water entering the
rechargeable battery port), I find the Orbit to be a
durable lantern. I plan on using this product for many
years to come.
Things That Rock:
- Hooks to hang the lantern
- No shadows
- Makes a great flashlight
Things That Are
- The lantern does not turn off when
it is collapsed
- Unstable on uneven surfaces
- There is no battery indicator to tell
how much power is remaining
- The rechargeable base power port
did not seal properly in the rain
concludes my reporting on the Orbit. Thank you
Black Diamond and backpackgeartest.org
for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.