Ever since the Black Diamond Orbit Lantern hit TMS’s shelves, I had my eye on it. 4 compact inches, 45 lumens, a mere 3 ounces in weight… I had to have it. So buy it I did, right before a big camping/backpacking trip to Southern Utah. You can see the BD Orbit above in a photo I took of it in our tent set up down in Coyote Gulch, right by the impressive Jacob Hamblin arch, in Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. This little lantern lived up to my expectations; here’s my Orbit lantern review:
The Black Diamond Orbit Lantern provides ample light for reading, lounging and searching for items in your tent at night. It really makes your tent feel more like a little home with that perfect amount of ambient lighting. We also used it when car camping in Zion National Park for additional camp kitchen light and the BD Orbit worked great for this. Sometimes the laser beam of your headlamp isn’t exactly flattering to your food, so the Orbit provides enough light to see but not too much concentrated directly on your plate. Its dimming ability is really a bonus. You can take it from a mellow 10 lumens up to 45 lumens. Using its minimum setting, the Orbit can last for 24 hours on one set of batteries! The collapsible hooks make it ultra easy to affix to the top of your tent or a branch, and the dimming button and extendable nature of the lantern make it mighty despite its small stature.
The only issues I found were: 1) It’s hard to read lying on your back as the Obit shines down on you making it a little hard on your eyes. Headlamps are better for back-readers. 2) The collapsible hooks are easy to open, which is good and bad. Bad when you’re in an ultralight/small backpacking tent and don’t have much space to move and thus knock it off. A way to remedy this would be to use a small caribiner in addition to the collapsible hooks BUT then this would put the lantern even lower so you’ll have to do this on a case-by-case basis. We’d need a extra small caribiner for our tiny tent. 3) It’s not the best camp kitchen light for backpacking since it needs to be hung/elevated to provide the best use of the light. If you happen to camp under a good tree, then it’d work great. We never had a spot that it could work in, especially because it was caterpillar season for Utah’s cottonwoods. I’m sure there are some clever ways to elevate it. When car camping we perched it up on a few items on a picnic table, but when backpacking, there just wasn’t enough cook space to warrant using it. Plus, we were in the tent by dark anyways so there was really no need!
The Orbit’s weight is hard to beat. 3 ounces w/o batteries, so it’s barely noticeable in your pack. I will definitely bring this lantern on any future trips.
OFF THE SHELF:
Unlike Black Diamond Equipment headlamps, this little camp light doesn’t come equipped with batteries. So keep that in mind if you’re buying it on the go. Be sure to buy the four AAA batteries, or grab a Black Diamond rechargeable kit; the Orbit is compatible with the NRG2. Black Diamond Equipment does a great job with minimal packaging. Similar to buying an Apple product, you feel good with your purchase: very little packaging trash, easy to open (unlike those awful sealed plastic packages some brands use) and the lantern feels light and high quality in your hand.
At $29.95, it’s a bargain. This is a lantern that will last a lifetime so I highly recommend it for the price.
Me and my camping partner brought along the Black Diamond Storm and Spot headlamps. The Storm is waterproof and a bit more burly, which was good to have in our packs since we were hiking miles through a stream.
If you have a Black Diamond Orbit Lantern review of your own, let us know in the comments.
Black Diamond Orbit LED Lantern
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
I’m Tahoe Mountain Sports’ web editor and a 6-year Tahoe resident. Yep, I live the life, with a lake view from my desk, lunch breaks on the beach with my dog, and morning powder runs when the snow’s good. I ski, snowboard, skate ski, and cross-country ski in winter, and hike, mountain bike, backpack, and lay around on Tahoe’s beaches in summer.