Fenix CL09 200 Lumen Micro Lantern (Review)
The benefits of having proper lighting while you’re rummaging through your hiking pack, setting up your camping gear, or just simply on the trails in complete darkness in a forest area is HUGE advantage for any Outdoorsman!
Most people who hike with a backpack on tend to keep their packs as light as possible so their back and knees aren’t killing them by the time they get to camp. I didn’t know the value in lightweight gear when I was younger, so the first lantern I ever used was an old Coleman butane lantern with it’s own plastic carrying case. It lasted into my married life, when I was finally ready to upgrade my lantern in 2012. I decided for the smallest and lightest camp lantern I could find at the time, so I went with the Apollo lantern from Black Diamond. For the time, it was a great lantern and lasted a couple of years before something with the electronics went awry and the lantern itself started showing that the batteries were almost dead, even with a brand new fresh pair. Alas, my dear Apollo lantern went into the recesses of my gear storage closet.
Fast forward to about a month ago when I was introduced to a brand new micro lantern called the CL09 by Fenix Lighting USA! As I’ve said in my previous post, I have had the opportunity to partner with them as a Brand Ambassador… and in doing so, I am able to test and review their excellent products and tell you where they excel and if there are any areas for improvement.
With this particular lantern, my first thoughts when opening the box and seeing it in the packaging was the incredibly TINY size of it! My old Apollo lantern had a 200 lumen max output with a product size of about a soda can when compressed (weighing 7.8 oz – without the needed 4 AA batteries), and a max size similar to that of a Nalgene bottle when extended. This new Fenix CL09 lantern is about 3 inches, so about the size of an eraser or a small little key chain flashlight. I was amazed by the size, and somewhat unsure about its claim to have a 200 max lumen in such a small package. But after putting the included rechargeable USB 16340 battery into the light and cycling through the light settings, I can confidently say that their claims are absolutely spot-on! Every time I use the light, I’m still in disbelief of not only how bright this light is, but all of the many options this lantern has. The CL09 lantern has 4 different white light brightness levels, along with a solid green and solid red light, and a flashing red light for signaling. Fenix has also included a keyring on the magnetic bottom of their light. While I love the keyring option, the magnetic bottom constantly sticks to every ferrous metal object in my pack, and I also have to take care not to store it near any of my electronic items or my battery power banks. I totally get why the magnetic feature was added, as you can attach it to so many places to give yourself light… possibly even the metal coupler of the top center tent pole, if your tent doesn’t already have a lantern attachment point.
Since we’re still running pretty high temperatures and lots of thunderstorms from our hurricane season this year down here in Florida, this really isn’t the best time to go camping. The bugs will literally eat you alive! So to avoid those little flying demons, I decided to go out fishing at some windy coastal locations on a few separate trips over the last month. To gauge how useful the CL09 lantern was, I also chose to do something I NEVER do and leave behind my headlamp (Fenix HL60R) and go at all of my tasks with nothing more than an area light! This proved to be a successful choice for each trip!
The lowest of the white light settings did not really find a place for proper illumination, though I could see where it would be very useful if you just needed a very low light to read a book by or something. This left the other 3 white light settings to choose from. I found the two most used settings were the 3rd and 4th white light options, as they provided an ample amount of light to see my tackle or lines while tying my circle hooks or mono leaders onto my braided fishing line. The highest white light setting was perfect for lighting up the entire fishing area and all of our gear, especially when packing at all back up! I did use the red & green light options a little, just to play with it… but it wasn’t as particularly useful (for fishing anyway) during these trips. I used the magnet end of the lantern quite a bit to stick to the most random metal areas, like the railings or the metal handle of my fishing bucket. I also attached a small aluminum carabiner (because it’s not magnetic!) to the attachment loop on the lantern and clipped it to my shirt, belt, backpack shoulder straps, the eyelets of my fishing rod, the edge of my bucket, the bait bucket, and so many other spots. I love how versatile the CL09 lantern is because of it’s light weight and tiny size! The battery life is awesome as well and has yet to run all the way down. I did charge it up to full capacity upon receiving it, which familiarized myself with the amazing new micro-USB technology built INTO the battery. This is genius technology! There is a red LED light in the top of the battery when it is charging, and it will change to a blue light once fully charged. I now only need to get a second backup battery so I can have light for extended periods!
I can’t wait until our weather cools down and our “camping season” here in the South begins! I will definitely be packing this tiny, lightweight lantern with on every single trip. If you’re interested in this link, you can find more information here on the Fenix Lighting website!
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