CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Atomic Beam Lantern claims it's the brightest lantern you'll ever own, but does it work?
We tested the products claims in three categories: brightness, visibility and durability.
Our first test involved a grandfather-grandson camping duo down by Elks Lake in Cape Girardeau.
Calvin Brennan said he and grandson Stratton Williams love to camp, but there is one major drawback to roughing it.
"It gets really dark," said Brennan. "That's great if you're trying to sleep, but not nice if you're trying to see your way around, or trying to find something – or trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night."
The makers of the Atomic Beam Lantern claim their tough-grade lantern is stronger and brighter than other lanterns and mimics the technology used by U.S. Special Forces.
"It puts out a lot of light," Brennan said. "If you just wanted a little, you could just open it a little bit, but it's a pretty good light."
We tapped the talents of a group of guys who know the value of a good light. The Cape Girardeau Fire Department took us out on the department's swift water rescue boat on a clear, but moonless night.
"The darkness is going to severely hamper your ability to thoroughly check the area," said master firefighter Matt Mittrucker. "If there's a situation where we're on the Mississippi River we'd be on a larger vessel with built-in lighting capabilities. But if we're in a situation like this we would be using hand lights to search for the person."
Luckily, no one was missing on our Atomic Beam Lantern test because once we were on the water, Mittrucker quickly learned the lantern isn't something he'd use to find a missing person.
"There is a blinding factor to it," said Mittrucker. "That's probably the biggest drawback. If it had a shield or something it'd be great. if I was looking for something in the boat it'd be great to have, but as far as us using it a search capacity, it's not something I can see us using."
The Atomic Beam Lantern did outshine the firefighter's headlamps in one category. It could be seen much clearer from a distance.
"We watched you all the way across the lake here," said Battalion Chief Brad Dillow. "We estimated you were probably 200 yards away from us, and we had no problem whatsoever seeing you… I would venture to say we could probably see this 1000 yards away easy."
The firefighters assisted with our third test, too - in broad daylight.
The product's commercial says it is so strong it can survive a 50-foot fall, so firefighter Jason Poole will use the department's ladder truck to test that claim. Poole did not expect it to survive.
Firefighter Poole used a 50-foot utility rope as a guide so he wouldn't raise the truck's ladder higher than 50 feet. Then, he dropped it.
The Atomic Beam Lantern crashes on the concrete and breaks into several pieces. The batteries flew out, and the base cracked.
However, when the firefighters put the batteries back in the Atomic Beam Lantern – the light shined brightly once again.
"Going from 50 feet up to solid concrete and being able to put the batteries back in it, and it work - that's impressive," said Poole. "It's a little busted, but in an emergency situation - tornado, earthquake, whatever – light is light. For someone having it in their home – it'd be great because you know it can withstand a little damage, and still be able to rely on it."
Our testers gave the Atomic Beam Lantern four stars on this Does It Work test.
The Atomic Beam Lantern is available for $19.99 on the product website, or online at Target and Ace Hardware.