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Friday Gear Report: 4/22/11

I don’t often get excited about survival gear – anymore. When searching for products to talk about for the Friday Gear Report it’s typically the most boring part of my week, “Oh gee, another blue survival widget. Ho hum… ” However, this is one of those rare times in recent memory I actually became giddy while looking at a product.

I have spent the last six months looking at vintage pressurized lanterns. Sure, Coleman lanterns work, but what about style and quality. When I look at them I don’t think the person that designed them or the person that made them cared about what they were making. I see no passion and lack of passion produces a blah outcome.

Have I ever mentioned I am a little OCD?

Recently, while browsing some of the sites that sell vintage pressurized lanterns like Petromax, Hipolito, Aida, and Geniol I stumbled upon a US company that is bringing back the Petromax brand and improving on it.

Meet the new Petromax

BriteLyt Petromax Pressurized LanternFounded in 1998 with the idea that the world needed a better pressurized lantern, BriteLyt takes the Petromax brand to new heights.

How does one improve on a pressurized lantern? For starters you make them the old fashion way – with quality and customer satisfaction in mind. Then you make them better by improving the efficiency. Next you design and produce a whole bunch of relevant accessories like: cook top attachment, heater attachment, wire mesh guard that can replace the glass, a valve that can take a bicycle pump instead of pushing over and over and over on a built in tiny pump. You offer it in Brass, Nickel plate, and a military matte finish. You create a metal case that can protect and hold it all. Finally, and most importantly, you make them truly multi-fuel!

When BriteLyt says multi-fuel, they mean multi-fuel: all Jp fuels, White Gas, Mineral Spirits, Charcoal Lighter fluid, lamp oils, Coleman fuel, Gasoline, E85 Gasoline, Kerosene, Diesel, Biodiesel, Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol – requires attachment). Conversely, the best you can get out of other lanterns are duel fuel – Coleman fuel and Unleaded Gas.

How durable are these things? Eddie – of BriteLyt – told us:

I had one out in a Florida Hurricane. Took 40 mile per hour wind and rain with a reflector on – no problem. They are very sturdy. If a part does break or wear out, replacement parts are very inexpensive. The replacement parts and new parts we sell will always work with older models. We always keep being fair to the customer in mind. No over blown prices to fix what you have already paid for and no making it so you have to buy a whole new one just to get an upgrade.

How bright are they?

A single mantel BriteLyt Petromax Lantern has approximately the same output as 4 – 5 double mantel Coleman Lanterns. Using one of our new stainless steal nozzles ($24.99) will increase that output further by 10 – 20%.

I was also informed that Stock is low now, but BriteLyt expects to start shipping again in a month or two. Right now they are running a discount for people that preorder.

UPDATE ***** BriteLyt Lantern ***** UPDATE 5/16/2012

It’s sad when we have to retract almost everything nice we had to say about a product or company. We ordered a lantern from BriteLyt (without letting them know who was ordering it) untlimately it ended up being a pretty miserrable experiance. And it would seem they were misleading–if not flat out lying–about whether or not PetroMax was still producing lanterns. (PetroMax Germany is still in business and was pretty upset to hear anyone was saying otherwise.)

When we ordered one to test and review we were told there was a three month wait. Five months later we sent in an inquire as to when our order would be shipping. We received back a reply stating it would be another two to three months. This reply with out explanation or even an apology.

In a follow up email we requested that our original order be refunded. A response was received several days later telling us we would need to contact another person at the company. Not, “We’re really sorry about the delay–here’s what’s going on–is there anything we can do to make it better?–not even I’ll forward your request to the right department and we’ll get right back with you.”

Begrudgingly we then sent an email to the person indicated. Within two days we received an email letting us know that our order had been refunded–and they had. But still no apology–no nothing.

We would have loved to have given a positive review of this company and product. We really wanted it to be as advertised. But in the end all we’re able to review is just how crappy BriteLyt is as a company.

If you’re looking for a lantern of this type we would HIGHLY recommend to look elsewhere.

In his free time, he enjoys hogging the remote, surfing, scotch, mental masturbation and debate over philosophical topics, and shooting stuff--usually not all at the same time.

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