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  1. #1
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    Default UCO candle lantern?? Any users?

    I have to buy a candle lantern for an expedition style sup race this March. It's part of a required hypothermia kit....I've never even considered using something like this...but does it really add warmth in an enclosed tent? Worth the weight backpacking? I'm intrigued.....winter warmth might be worth a few extra oz.....


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    In the old Boy Scout days we got educated for winter camping to first set up the tent, and place a burning candle in it (of course be very carful with burning material and wax drops), and then continue with outside camp chores.
    The tent was supposed be cozy after you finally creep into it.
    I never tried to find out the real difference with vs. without candle, but still carry one in my emergencies just for this purpose - but due to all the modern plastic items I will never try the old Boy Scout trick, leaving an unattended burning candle in the tent.
    I think in case of an emergency the candle will not only help you by providing (if little) warmth and light, but may also help greatly in a psychological way.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Good for warming your hands if they get stiff from the cold.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  4. #4
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    A single candle lantern adds a very modest amount of warmth, but the real benefits are mainly


    • Helps cut down on condensation in the tent or snow shelter
    • A psychological boost. Winter nights are very long in a tent. A simple candle lantern adds a warm and inviting glow that is cheery.


    Don't know which one you need, but there are two popular ones for backpacking. There is the mini one that hold two tea light candles (4 hrs ea., 8 hrs total) and the larger one that puts out more light with a larger 9 hr candle.

    FWIW, well known polar explorer Erik Larsen is all about candle lanterns.

    I've been going on more winter backpacking trips this past season, so I've rediscovered them for myself.
    Last edited by Mags; 01-26-2016 at 12:33.
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  5. #5

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    I love my candle lantern. It was left me by my dad - so some of the attachment is sentimental, but also is helpful with condensation and provides some warmth.

    I've done some frigid trips in my old tent that was NOT a "winter tent" and the fly did not come down very far over the mesh windows. I've had snow gust under the fly and blow a fine mist of snow on me until the mesh froze over enough to block this from happening.

    I had to hunker down in - degree storm with snow and wind for 12 hours and having my candle was good for my spirits, provided warmth, reduced condensation and MOST importantly - since I had all that time to kill I was able to dry my SmartWool mitten inserts over the candle. The dry inserts were then placed in my bag with me and made a worlds of difference the next morning.

    The candle is worth the weight to me always in my kit.

  6. #6

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    You definitely don't need a regular "candle lantern" for in-tent "warmth" but most especially need one for Marta's advice to use the flame for finger warmth on butt cold mornings or nights. All you need is a quality small 3 inch/3 hour candle---the best I have found are the Manischewitz shabbat candles available at most grocery stores. I always take about 4 to 6 on my winter trips and each one lasts 3 hours. And the flame never sinks into a pool of wax offering minimal heat and flame and light like with some longer burning larger candles.

    71V6ZGAgF9L._SY355AA355_PIbundle-8,TopRight,0,0_AA355_SH20_.jpg

    Here is my set up---


    Here is my set up---get a used Blistex lip balm container for a stand and melt candle bottom into it and place on your lap as you sit up on the pad partially under your bag. Use common sense and don't be a fidgety monkey idiot and let it burn down your tent otherwise it works well. You don't need an actual lantern---which has a bad tendency to fill with impossible to clean hard wax after the candle burns down to nothing and goes out.

    Plus, candles are heavy and are vital to keep fingers warm when using them to read or write in your journal at night---and so they are used only for hand warmth as they are limited and precious. In other words, I won't burn a candle for 8 hours in my tent just to reduce tent condensation---it's not designed for this.

    And if I did carry such long-use candles for a 21 day winter trip, well, I'd have to hump out at least 60 of them---absurd.

    I consider them survival items to keep the hands working at -10F and not needed for "tent warmth" or "mental assurance" or "light to read by" as my headlamp works significantly better. Tent condensation is a non-issue on winter trips if you use a double wall tent.

  7. #7
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post

    I consider them survival items to keep the hands working at -10F and not needed for "tent warmth" or "mental assurance" or "light to read by" as my headlamp works significantly better. Tent condensation is a non-issue on winter trips if you use a double wall tent.

    ..some of us camp in snow shelters.
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  8. #8

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    if the requirement is for hypothermia kit, then they are probably thinking about something called a Palmer Furnace.

    similar to a Scout Fire, where the need is to build a small fire and avoid detection, the Palmer Furnace is for rapid body warming.

    to do this, sit down cross-legged with a blanket (reflective Space Blanket works good) around your shoulders and set a lit candle on the ground between your legs. you can completely close off the space and a couple of tea-light candles will warm you in a hurry.

    here's a pic of a Scout Fire.




    the Palmer Furnace is done similarly but with a candle, or originally, a carbide miner's lamp.

    I think it goes without saying that since you are setting a fire between your legs, inside what is essentially your shelter, for safety you should remain very cautious. I suspect that is why they recommend you use the UCO lantern instead of an open flame...

  9. #9
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    I once tried every candle lantern I could find. As a piece of kit they were uniformly trash.
    A lit flame in a nylon tent? Risky.
    Miles to go before I sleep. R. Frost

  10. #10

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    I am not a big fan of a candle in most tents but have made them work. They will help with condensation in colder weather. Back in the day I used them in snow caves that we dug out. They were a big help in the snow caves but you had to be cautious and allow for ventilation.

  11. #11
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    Own one but have never used it in a modern silnylon tent. I used to do it in older traditional nylon tents, ones that were made of materials that were fire retardant. I have been told that silnylon is not generally treated with fire retardant and I am very cautious not to find out first hand how well it burns.

    As others have mentioned the popular spring loaded lantern that uses nine hour candles has an unfortunate tendency to more often or not fill itself with wax as the candle burns.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  12. #12
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    As a defense against hypothermia, I think it's a bit absurd. For the same weight, more insulation and more stove fuel - a warm (but not too hot) drink will warm both your insides and your hands (as you hold the container) more than any open candle flame, over mitts, etc. are a far better "weight investment" in preventing hypothermia. The notion of an open candle flame and numb shaky hands knocking over the candle and igniting your nylon tent further exposing you to the elements just doesn't seem like a good "don't get hypothermia plan" either. And for the same weight even a liquid or solid fuel flameless hand warmer would transfer more actual heat to your hands or body and not be lost to convection inside the tent. For actual task lighting, a headlamp or mini LED lantern is better. Perhaps an argument can be made from a reliability/simplicity or even psychological standpoint.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 01-26-2016 at 20:40.
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    Ooh, I forgot that I wanted to try a candle lantern out this winter... I like having a battery powered LED lantern in my tent, and can tell you that firing up a tiny alcohol stove in a vestibule will really warm up the inside of the tent, if only temporarily. I imagine a candle would be a nice long-burning warmth-adding option. And they are pretty failsafe and easy to replace.

  14. #14
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    BTW, with two people in a tent, even a double wall one, condensation can happen.. Just sayin'....

    I respect Walter's camping experience in the winter, on the other hand, I know what works for me as well and what I enjoy.

    It really does help with condensation (see Eric Larsen. I suspect he has a bit of experience in the winter. ) And I put it in the same category as a campfire or a wee nip of alcohol...a little bit of luxury when I am doing more camping rather than skiing.

    When the Mrs and I were winter camping, the candle lantern was wonderful. A warm glow, the condensation was noticeably less and it made the long winter night cheery. The blue-white glow of a LED headlamp was not the same.

    If the outdoors was just about gear and merely doing what is the most efficient, it would be an engineering exercise.

    Walter, I would think you of all people would understand this concept?
    Last edited by Mags; 01-27-2016 at 00:44.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Secondmouse View Post
    if the requirement is for hypothermia kit, then they are probably thinking about something called a Palmer Furnace.

    similar to a Scout Fire, where the need is to build a small fire and avoid detection, the Palmer Furnace is for rapid body warming.

    to do this, sit down cross-legged with a blanket (reflective Space Blanket works good) around your shoulders and set a lit candle on the ground between your legs. you can completely close off the space and a couple of tea-light candles will warm you in a hurry.

    here's a pic of a Scout Fire.




    the Palmer Furnace is done similarly but with a candle, or originally, a carbide miner's lamp.

    I think it goes without saying that since you are setting a fire between your legs, inside what is essentially your shelter, for safety you should remain very cautious. I suspect that is why they recommend you use the UCO lantern instead of an open flame...
    Yep...the Mylar blanket is also part of that kit with storm matches, tinder etc.


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  16. #16
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    Thx all for the great info....tipi, I don't think I have the balls to have a free standing candle in my tent as usually have the dog and or kid.....guaranteed to get knocked over! Mags besides meeting a requirement I was thinking about the winter benefits as being worth a few oz especially with my son along on winter trips..


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  17. #17

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    I've brought tea lights before, I like the flicker of candle light to read by.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Secondmouse View Post
    if the requirement is for hypothermia kit, then they are probably thinking about something called a Palmer Furnace.

    similar to a Scout Fire, where the need is to build a small fire and avoid detection, the Palmer Furnace is for rapid body warming.

    to do this, sit down cross-legged with a blanket (reflective Space Blanket works good) around your shoulders and set a lit candle on the ground between your legs. you can completely close off the space and a couple of tea-light candles will warm you in a hurry.

    here's a pic of a Scout Fire.




    the Palmer Furnace is done similarly but with a candle, or originally, a carbide miner's lamp.

    I think it goes without saying that since you are setting a fire between your legs, inside what is essentially your shelter, for safety you should remain very cautious. I suspect that is why they recommend you use the UCO lantern instead of an open flame...
    A guy I know told me about staking his poncho out around himself (not in a tent) and burning two fuel tabs to dry out in Vietnam.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mags View Post

    If the outdoors was just about gear and merely doing what is the most efficient, it would be an engineering exercise.

    Walter, I would think you of all people would understand this concept?
    I think I understand your point---we're not robots and we take out stuff (like a candle lantern) that doesn't always make sense. I definitely understand this concept as I take out a radio and several books and overkill comfort items and a large solo tent etc.

    It's not efficient for me to take out dozens of candles on a long winter trip just to make in-tent living more enjoyable. For the weight I'd rather have minimal candles for hand warmth and bring my microspikes and snow shovel and down parka etc instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    A guy I know told me about staking his poncho out around himself (not in a tent) and burning two fuel tabs to dry out in Vietnam.
    Such a technique reminds me of the Donner Party in the Sierras when they were caught in a terrible snowstorm in 1846. In very crappy weather with severely low temps and deep snow, the group would all sit on the ground in a circle and wrap either animal hides or canvas around the entire group and form a sort of human tipi. Body heat would keep them alive thru the night.

  20. #20
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    Mags besides meeting a requirement I was thinking about the winter benefits as being worth a few oz especially with my son along on winter trips..


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    I've been finding it useful for the long bag nights.
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