Have you ever noticed that your smartphone isn’t really used much as a phone any more? Surfing the web, checking and composing email, playing games, tweeting, playing music, texting. Every now and then you’ll use the phone part, but it’s almost like a last resort. Brunton has just created the camping lantern equivalent of that, though you’ll be hard-pressed to not use its lighting functions when camping. But make no mistake, the Lightwave Amp is probably the last camping lamp you’ll ever need to buy.
At 11 inches tall, 6.5 inches in diameter and three pounds in weight, the Lightwave Amp is a force to be reckoned with. With those specs, it should be obvious that it’s not designed for backpacking, though it’s perfectly suited for car camping or outdoor parties. The Lightwave Amp isn’t just big for big’s sake, though; it packs a whole bunch of functionality into that hulking frame.
For starters, Brunton equipped it with a 20,000 mAh micro USB-rechargeable battery. For those of you taking notes at home, 20,000 mAh is a massive battery. But that size serves several awesome purposes. First, it enables the LED light to have 62 hours of continuous light on its night-vision-like “red light” setting, up to 29 hours of continuous light on its “low” setting, and up to 13 hours of continuous light on “high.” And when I say high, I’m not messing around. The Lightwave Amp gives off up to 700 lumens of brightness. If you use this lamp camping and trip on something, it won’t be due to lack of light.
That gargantuan battery also provides power for two USB ports in the back that enable you to recharge that smartphone that isn’t really a phone anymore. How often have you been camping and powered-down your phone prematurely just to conserve battery for the next couple of days? With the Lightwave Amp, you won’t need to do that. The ports obviously support charging anything with a USB connection, so for those of us who get cold easily, it’s nice to note that you can also use the Lightwave Amp to recharge the batteries on your electrically powered gloves and handwarmers, too.
Although I didn’t test all the settings, Brunton says a fully charged Lightwave Amp can recharge 12 smartphones, 6.5 tablets, 18 action cameras, 50 MP3 players, 90 smartwatches or 13 portable gaming systems. Look, if you’re outdoors you shouldn’t have all those electronics around anyway. But if you do, at least the Lightwave Amp will let you recharge them while you’re experiencing Mother Nature. The charging capability for a smartphone is also remarkably fast. I found that it charged my LG G Vista just as fast as a wall outlet, even when I was using the speakerphone and streaming music to the lamp. That’s impressive.
The third benefit of the 20,000 mAh battery really makes the Lightwave Amp jump the proverbial shark: its base is a Bluetooth speaker. The sound quality is surprisingly good for a product that’s technically supposed to be a camping lamp, though its bass leaves a bit to be desired. It does have good range, though, and having the speaker built into the lamp is a sweet bonus for people who want to jam outdoors but don’t want to pack a stand-alone speaker.
What good is a party without disco lighting? Don’t worry, the Lightwave Amp has you covered there, too. The lantern is powered by LED lights that can change to any color you want or cycle through the full spectrum. This functionality is managed using the B-Sync smartphone App, which allows you to stream music, turn the lamp on and off, and adjust the color selection. My kids liked the multicolored lights more than I did, to be honest, though it’s somewhat miraculous that a lamp could keep my kids’ attention for more than 90 seconds.
While they were fascinated by the rainbow settings, I was won over by the incredible battery life, the brightness of the Lightwave Amp on high, and the ability to recharge my phone while camping. The fact that it’s also IPX4 water resistant was just gravy for life here in the rainy Northwest. If you’re looking for a new lamp to add to your arsenal this year, I can’t think of a better choice for the modern smart device-equipped camper.
The Brunton Lightwave Amp was provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Brunton Lightwave Amp
- Very bright light, and for hours at a time
- Recharging smart devices is easy and a great feature
- Bluetooth speaker is a nice add-on
- No really, the battery lasts forever
- Heavy for any use other than car camping
- Speaker's a bit light on bass -- but c'mon, it's a lamp!
- A bit spendy, but it's the only lamp you'll ever need to own