Gear Survival Gear

Survival Gear Review: Zippo Rugged Lantern

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Unless you’ve learned to see in the dark (unlikely), then having a dependable source of light is critical. Emergency situations, campouts, and off-grid living all require some form of lighting when the sun goes down, or when you get stuck in a dark place. Zippo has come out with a waterproof rechargeable lantern, which could be a fit for all the scenarios listed above—if it holds up. Let’s find out.

My three biggest points of interest in the Zippo Rugged Lantern were the light output, the burn time on the batteries, and of course, the durability.

After a two-hour charging of the lithium-ion battery with the included 120V AC wall charger, I hit the easy-to-find red button (the only switch on the device). The first lighting option was the SOS flashing function. This was very bright and rated to blink for 20 hours. In my test, it went almost 20 hours.

After the next recharge, I hit the red button twice to activate the high intensity setting. On this maximum output, the lantern’s LED bulbs put out about 220 lumens, which lasted just under 10 hours. The lantern has two other lighting features, medium light with an 18 hour burn time and low light with a burn time of almost 60 hours.

As for durability, I was pleased to see so much stainless steel and rubber on the unit. The rubber corners provide great protection from hits and falls, and the light is built to handle drops up to five feet. It’s also extremely water resistant, and capable of floating. This feature makes it a great choice for use on watercraft or around water. I let it bob in the bathtub for an hour, and left it out in the rain for one day. The Rugged Lantern came through with flying colors.


-Built with a lithium-ion battery for recharging
-The detachable nylon webbing strap allows you to carry lantern, or hang it up
-The lantern floats in water and has an IPX7 rating
-11.75 x 5.75 x 5.75 inches
-Weighs 4 pounds, 3 ounces
-The MSRP is $89.95


Well sure, nothing’s perfect. It’s a little on the big and heavy side. It’s made in China. And I wish it had the option to take standard batteries. I’d also rather see a switch instead of a button. I can imagine the button being hit during transport, running the battery down.

But ultimately this is a really cool light that can take a beating and keep on performing. This would be best suited as an emergency vehicle light or car camping lantern, and a car charger is available as an accessory.

Have you tried the Zippo Rugged lantern? What about a different lantern? Tell us your thoughts on it by leaving a comment.