Petromax Lanterns
Hiking Gear - Lighting

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Petromax Lanterns
Reviewed by:
Joe Ames
Where to buy: Mail Order, Internet
Cost: $140

The Petromax lantern is the Mercedes of lanterns. Designed in Germany almost one-hundred years ago, it is used by military units, hard-core expeditions, and explorers the world 'round. 

I have the 500 candle power model, although it is available in two smaller versions as well. It is a single mantle design, but it works so well that it outshines conventional dual mantle lanterns. The Petromax is known for its stunning, nickel-plated brass construction, but it is also available in olive-drab green and new for 2001, polished brass.

The Petromax is a pressurized, multi-fuel design that works on kerosene/lamp oil, white gas, Coleman fuel, gasoline, diesel fuel, and probably your favorite hooch.

Please note that this is more of a machine than an appliance, and you MUST study the device thoroughly before using it, or you will never get it to function properly. Also, there are numerous maintenance procedures that must be followed or your light will go out!

The instructions are terrible, being as they have been translated from the original German by the American distributor, BriteLyt owned and operated by Diana Clifton. I believe she is a German immigrant, which explains the translation. On the plus side, however, BriteLyt's website, , has a good technical support area with a useful discussion board.

The light is impressive from one of these units, and the optional "lampshade" reflector works well. They also kick-off a lot of heat, and a cook stove adapter is available for those who want to pack one less item.

Supposedly, once the intricacies are mastered, the Petromax is unstoppable. Look to this space for updates as my experience grows.