A Lantern For Families – Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 – A Review

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Goal Zero Lantern: Solar Powered & Rechargable Baby!

Anyone in need of a solar powered, rechargeable lantern? Maybe that’s why you’ve stopped in? Look no further. This beauty came into our lives when we were in the market for a new lantern to take camping and have as part of our emergency gear. I was tired of the huge, overly heavy lanterns that took massive batteries. We knew we wanted something dimmable for tent camping. Something easy for the kids to use was an added bonus. Did some digging and voila! This Goal Zero lantern came into the picture. It’s beautiful isn’t it?

As I was researching I also knew we wanted something with a hand crank. If nothing goes to plan in an emergency and we do not have access to a generator we wanted something that would provide light easily. And what about if you are on the move and can’t bring that generator with you?

Anyone part of the California black outs going on right now? My parents happen to be, along with millions of others without power for days at a time. My sister and her family lived through Hurricane Harvey in Texas two years ago and saw lots of devastation. Situations like these and others call for generators or, as an alternative, a lantern like this. Reading some other reviews for this lantern, I’ve seen that some people who live off grid use these (and other products) as their primary light source in the evenings.

Lighthouse 400 Fully Lit
Lighthouse 400 Lantern shown fully lit.

Jumping right into the things we love about this lantern:

  • Size/Weight: This thing is small and very lightweight. It’s 5 x 4 x 6 inches, about the size of a small canteloupe, but much lighter at a little over a pound. On some reviews for this lantern people did not like how small it was because the carrying handle on top is smaller as well. However Alex is a big guy with large hands at 6’5″ and he actually enjoys the smaller handle. It’s still easy and comfortable to carry. While it’s not the smallest lantern for backpacking, if we were taking a shorter, less intense backpacking trip with the kids and I wasn’t so worried about every last pound in my pack, this lantern would certainly come along for the adventure.
  • Hand Crank: The hand crank you can pop up easily and it is a breeze to maneuver. When I was a kid I remember we had some type of light that was rechargeable with a hand crank. Sounded great until you actually had to do it. It was like trying to churn a bucket full of rocks. This crank is very smooth and easy to turn. We like this because the kids can do it (they love it) and save us parents from doing all the work. Sound ridiculous? Maybe, but we will take all the breaks we can get. One minute of cranking equals ten minutes of light on low.
Lighthouse 400 Half Lit
Lighthouse 400, half lit & standing.
  • Light- It is a LED light which for me is too bright on the highest setting (but nice to have in case of emergency). My happy setting is on low for most situations. When it’s dimmed it really gives off a nice glow. However, I wouldn’t say that I am super sensitive to different lights as some people are, so if that’s you then you’ll just have to see how you like it. It’s a LED that cranks up to 400 lumens which in case you aren’t familiar- that is very bright. Lights up a large room fairly well.
  • Dimmable Switch- Ahhh, the dimmable switch. This was a feature we really wanted (and who else doesn’t). It’s so nice to have that option in any situation. If you turn this switch to the right it lights up the full lantern. Turn it to the left and if lights up half. Half lit lasts for 48 hours on low, 6 hours on high. Fully lit lasts for 24 hours on low, 2.5 hours on high. We’ve found this to be pretty accurate to our usage.
Lighthouse 400 Turned Off
Lighthouse 400 turned off and standing.
  • USB Connections- The USB connections we’ve only used a handful of times, so we cannot attest to long term use, but the experiences we’ve had have been great. The external cord is for attaching to a USB port to charge the lantern OR to their Goal Zero Nomad Solar Panels. We have charged the lantern, but do not yet have the solar panels. The cord wraps and unwraps very easily. Once done using, the USB port clicks snugly back into place. The USB port to the right of the dim switch is for charging your phone, tablet or GoPro. Their site claims “Internal lithium battery boasts 4,400mAh with a 1.5A USB output, enough power to recharge phones and tablets even off grid. Charge a smartphone 1.5x times or a GoPro 3 times.”. We’ve charged our phones no problem but haven’t had a need to charge the tablet.
  • Metal Stand- The two legs pull down on the right and left side and making a little “click” down into place. They have a little wiggle to them, which again, some people complained about. However, as we’ve used it, I appreciate that they have a little leeway because some surfaces are not completely level, especially if setting it on the rocky ground, grass or boulder. They have the green sleeves along the bottom which provide extra grip. Once done using they easily pop back into place (“click”).
USB Cord Unwrapped
The USB cord unwrapped.
Legs Up, Held By Handle
Legs up, held by handle. Take note of the size.
  • Durability- Our kids do a pretty good job of not throwing things around. So, I cannot give feedback on how this thing performs after it’s been cast down a stairwell or dropped into a toilet. But, we feel that its really well made and feels durable. It definitely feels solid and ready for regular use. I certainly feel comfortable letting the kids use it and put it to the test the way kids naturally do.
  • Emergency Light- See the red along the top? When you push in the red triangle button to the left of the dim switch the top lights up. It’s a red light that circles around the top counterclockwise (see original featured image). One of those extra features that you’ll hardly use but nice to have.
Hand Crank Pulled Out
Hand crank pulled out.
Top of Lantern
Top of lantern.
Bottom of Base
Bottom of base.

Overall, we love this Goal Zero lantern. It’s worked great for us camping, trips up the canyon, during a power outage and out in the yard on summer nights. We’re looking forward to taking it on its first backpacking trip once our baby gets a bit older. We feel it’s a fantastic addition to our emergency gear along with basic camping supplies.

If you’re in the market for a new lantern, we definitely recommend this Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern. This one gives us peace of mind knowing we won’t be left in the dark. Let us know what your experience has been. Thanks for stopping by, if you like what you see here at Herbs, Birds & the Bees, please subscribe.

Looking forward to next time,


Herbs, Birds & the Bees

Homesteading & Emergency Prep

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4 thoughts on “A Lantern For Families – Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 – A Review

  1. This lantern seems quite versatile. We need one for the garden, but if we can use it for camping too, even better! You gave me a good idea, thanks!