Blue Flower

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GOGO Lantern 10Here’s a strange idea for you. Put a flashlight inside a bucket. Under normal conditions that would seem pretty nonsensical. But the GOGO Lantern takes a different approach that does make some sense even if it’s not for everyone.

What is it?

The GoGo Lantern is 2 things combined. First there’s the bucket which is translucent and foldable. In practice that means you can twist the top and bottom rings that connect the plastic wall of the bucket and it will collapse into a very thin (less than 2 inches) container that you can put in a backpack till you need it to carry water to your campsite. I said campsite, right? The makers of this product fully expect that you’re a camping enthusiast who will want both the bucket and the second part of the package.

Which is… an LED flashlight. It isn’t a typical flashlight though. This one is a flat disk about 1 inch thick and exactly the size of the diameter of the bucket. When you’re carrying the 2 parts, the light snaps into the bottom of the bucket. But you can separate them and use them separately… or together depending on your need.

Here’s what it looks like folded.

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Here it is expanded.

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And here are the 2 parts separated.

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The bucket part is pretty simple and it does hold water (or whatever else you want to put in it). It’s strong enough and some models of this can be ordered preprinted with whatever design or logo you want. Or you can have your child draw their own designs on it, though you don’t have to be a child to draw on it.

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The lantern part is a bit more interesting. It has a circle of bright LED lights and a rechargable battery. You can charge it by connecting it to a USB port or by laying it upside down and letting the sun charge it up through its built in solar collectors. Charging via USB took about 3 hours and the web site says sunlight will charge it in 8 hours. I haven’t tried that yet.

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One annoyance is that the USB connector uses a proprietary plug. That means that when I loose the special cable I’m out of luck as far as charging it by USB. I’m not sure why the developers picked a pointy connector like one on an ancient cell phone rather than a micro-usb connector. That would have made more sense to me. But the choice may have had something to do with the fact that…

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It’s waterproof. The lantern part sports an IP67 waterproof rating (protected from dust and capable of withstanding water immersion between 15 cm and 1 meter for 30 minutes) meaning you can dump the bucket with the lantern attached to the bottom right into the river to collect water and it will still work. Even more interesting is that if you just dunk the lamp into water it will automatically turn on. That can be nice if you want to use it as a safety float.

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It will also turn on automatically if you use the magnets on the back of the lamp to attach it to a steel surface. The other way to turn the thing on (or off) is to touch the touch sensitive switch for a few seconds. There’s one on the front and another on the rear of the lamp. That will let you attach the lamp to the bottom of the bucket with the light shining up through the water (cool effect!) and turn it on and off from underneath.

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The light has 3 different settings. The first is normal brightness. Touching the switch a second time turns up the intensity to what looks like about 2x. And a third touch makes the lights flash. One more touch turns them off completely.

The kit comes in a nice cloth bag with a drawstring and includes a lanyard so you can really geek out and hang the lamp from around your neck (or from a hook on a wall). I do wish there was some kind of strap to keep the bucket folded when not in use and when the cloth bag isn’t available.

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I’ve had fun with the GOGO Lantern. My camping days are long over but I can see using it around the house and in the car. I think it might make a great travel water dish for a dog though it may not really need the light.