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Reviews > Lighting > Lanterns > REI Mini Candle Lantern > Owner Review by Dawn Larsen

REI Mini Candle Lantern

Date:  5 June 2008

Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 47
Gender: female
Height: 5’ 4” (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (74 kg)
Email address:
Florence, South Carolina USA

Backpacking Background:

I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just recently (in the last year) backpacked some private trails twice in Tennessee.  I have been an avid car-camper for ten years and I have kayak/canoe camped for three years, both mostly in Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.  I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Tennessee and Missouri.  I just moved to South Carolina and am planning to check out the terrain here with my fourteen year-old son, who also kayaks and camps.

Product Details

Manufacturer:   REI
Year of manufacture: purchased in 2007
Listed weight of lantern without candle: 3.7 oz (105 g)
Weight as delivered without packaging and candle: 3.7 oz (105 g)
Measured weight with candle (1 aluminum tealight) 3.9 oz (111 g)
Dimensions:  4” (102 mm) high x 8.5” (216mm) around
MSRP:  $10.95 USD
Burn time per candle (tealight):  4 hours approx.


Product Description

Lightweight candle lantern good for backpacking and emergency home use.  These lanterns have an aluminum housing with glass shield and plastic bottom.  It has aluminum prongs in the bottom to hold any common tealight candle. I can store up to four extra tealights in the lantern while it is not in use.  It has a reservoir to catch any liquid wax that might spill (if I was to bump it).  It has a wire hanger attached. It comes in a plastic cylindrical case.

Field Experience

I have owned two of these, both purchased at an REI store. The first came with just the lantern and a candle, no packaging or instructions (except what was printed on the lantern).  The second came in a plastic cylindrical case with instructions and a tealight candle.  The first one of these lanterns I had (the first time I used it), I left burning by my tent on a rock(s) one night and the black plastic bottom melted to the aluminum case.  I think the black plastic may have partially ignited, as well. Yikes!

I bought another thinking that the first one was defective.  So far, the second one has worked fine.  I have used it for about two years at least ten times per year. I have used this lantern mainly in the summer in Tennessee (hot and humid), but also a few times in colder spring weather (below freezing). It worked in all temperatures. I have also used it in fairly high wind and it works fine. It worked for me in light rainshowers.  I’ve never used it in a downpour.  

Because of the experience with the first one, I have been very careful to watch it and not let it burn long. It’s probably burned only an hour or two at any one time. I do know from experience that regular tealight candles burn about 4 hours.  The instructions told me you to make sure there was airflow under the lantern.  I don’t remember if the first lantern was sitting on a rock or gravel and that may have been why it melted/ignited. It does get very hot to the touch after about 15 minutes.  It depends on the temperature, but in hot weather (90 F or 32 C), it takes about 10 minutes for it to cool down.

I use it as a “guide” light to set near my tent while setting up.  I use it as “atmosphere” because the light is low and it doesn’t hurt my eyes. I would not use it as an inside the tent light only because of the problem with the first lantern. It is not very bright.  I have had lasik surgery and don’t see well in low light, so I could not read by it. I have boiled water by its light and I had to move it around a great deal because the throw of the light is very limited.  


I still carry the second lantern and probably will continue to do so, but I use caution because of the previous melting experience from the first one.

Things I like:
1.    lightweight
2.    small and compact, can store extra candles in it
3.    no batteries
4.    sort of cool “atmospherey” low light

Things I don’t like:
1.    might melt and ignite
2.    really low light (no reflector)
3.    hot to the touch

Read more reviews of REI gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Lighting > Lanterns > REI Mini Candle Lantern > Owner Review by Dawn Larsen

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