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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Coleman whitegas lantern

By Abraham

I hope you know how to use Coleman whitegas equipment, but if you don’t this entry is for you. Coleman makes all kinds of products for the outdoors. Let’s focus on Coleman’s whitegas appliances in general and Coleman whitegas lanterns in particular. As far as I know all of Coleman’s whitegas stoves and lanterns run basically the same way. As a fuel, I like whitegas. It seems to last a long time, i.e. it doesn’t go bad, and in my experience works pretty well at cold temperatures. I’ve used both whitegas stoves and lanterns winter camping and never had a problem lighting them. I have had problems with propane stoves in the cold. You don’t have to buy some European equipment. Coleman is proven bulletproof.

This is a Coleman Peak 1 lantern.

lantBecause it’s a dual fuel lantern it will run off of whitegas or unleaded gas. Flexibility is a good thing in just about all circumstances. It’s really designed for backpacking because it’s pretty small. I’d say this model holds maybe 1/2 pint of fuel and can run between 3-5 hours depending on how high you turn it up.

Coleman also makes a two mantle (more to follow) lantern that burns as bright as any electric light in your house. Downside it uses more fuel and is quite a bit heavier. The two mantles are great for car camping and canoeing.

The parts-

lant1The white thing that’s hanging in the glass chimney area is the mantle. This is a one mantle lantern. Two mantle lanterns have two mantles hanging side by side. The mantles are fragile so you can’t bang the lantern around too much or you’ll be replacing a lot of mantles. In this picture the brass thing to the right of the mantle is the generator. Fuel gets sucked up from the tank, heats up in the generator, gets turned into a mist then mixes with air in the glass chimney area and ignites which makes the mantle glow. Till the generator gets heated up Coleman stuff doesn’t work right so don’t worry if it sputters a bit when you first light Coleman whitegas equipment.

The silver metal thing facing front is the pump. This is how you pressurize the fuel in the tank so that it gets forced up to burn. You turn it counterclockwise to loosen it and righty tighty.

This is where you pour the fuel into the tank.

lant2You notice how this cap has a strap attached to it so I can’t lose it? They sell extra caps for a reason. Either make sure that you have a strap or buy some replacement caps. Otherwise I guarantee that you will drop it and lose it. I can see it happening to me, drop the cap on the ice and the cap unimaginably lands on its side and rolls 45 feet like a Tiger Woods putt right into the only hole on the ice for 1/4 mile in every direction. It’s one of those strikes of bad luck that you couldn’t do again if someone offered you a million $’s. But I digress…

After you fill it with fuel and replace the cap tightly….lant3Then you unscrew the pump handle and pull it up. You place your thumb over the little hole on top of the pump handle and pump it a bunch of times, maybe 5, 10, 15 or 25. It depends on how much fuel is in the tank. You’ll feel it get tougher and tougher to pump as you pressurize it. Don’t force it, but you want it to be pressurized so don’t stop until you feel resistance. Then at that point you push the handle all the way in and tighten it up. Remember, just like in politics, righty tighty and lefty loosey.

lantOn the left you see the control knob. It’s that black thing. You kind of have to push it into turn it. The way it’s pointed now, 9 towards 3, is off. You push it in and turn it so that it’s pointing 3 towards 9 to light it and all the points in between control the brightness. I didn’t mention it earlier, but you see that nice metal handle? That’s nice and useful. To remove the glass chimney you stretch one side of the metal handle out of the hole it sits in then you pull the cap off and then you can remove or replace the glass. Just like the Chiltons manual says, “Reassemble in reverse order.”

So you finished filling it, pumping and now you know how to turn it on. Light your match and stick it through this hole in the bottom of the glass chimney area

lant41So you got your lit match stuck up the hole, now you push in that black control knob and turn it all the way to the light position. You should hear a hissing as the pressure in the tank forces the fuel up the generator and out the mantle. You may have to get your lit match right up close to the mantle. Be careful not to poke your match through the mantle though. The mantle will kind of glow and sputter. Coleman stuff takes a few seconds to really get running the way it should.

At this point I always find it’s a good time to give the lantern a few more pumps so unscrew the pump handle, pull it out, thumb over hole and give it a few more pumps. Notice how the glow on the mantle changes? Learn from it. Screw the handle back in and if it seems like it’s pretty well caught you can use the black knob to turn it down a bit. You may have to give it a few more pumps. As long as you have a whitegas unit lantern/stove going you have to pay attention to it and pump it every once in a while. It takes a little while to get used to it. After five uses you’ll be an expert.

lant6Pretty bright, aye?

To remove the glass chimney-

lant711First you pull one end of the wire handle out of the hole it sits in. Then bend the other side of the handle out of its hole. Now that the handle is free.

lant8Then remove the black cap from the top of the lantern.

lant9Then you can remove the glass chimney to get to the mantle. Replacing a mantle is fine work. They sell two kinds, ones that you need to tie and ones that are already looped through and you just have to pull the threads to tighten the loop. The latter is easier to use so those are the ones I prefer, but if you have good eyes and good fingers you can save a few cents and get the kind that you need to tie yourself.

  • Other manufacturer’s may be fine. I have Coleman. I like Coleman. The only problem I had with a Coleman product was when the generator on my little hiking Peak 1 stove got clogged from years of use. I was able to buy a new generator for $15 and fix it myself. Easy to do.lant7
  • The first time you use a mantle lantern out of the box you have to do something kind of strange to it. You need to set it on fire. No, not the lantern, the mantle. These are the mantles. You want to have at least four times more mantles than you ever think you may need. I have some in the box that I store the lantern in, but I also ducktaped some to the bottom of the lantern too. If you are camping or on a river there will always be someone who forgot to bring an extra mantle and is looking to get one. So the first time you use the lantern you have to tie a mantle to the outlet where the gas is emitted. Pull the metal handle out, remove the cap from the top of the lantern and tie the mantle on where it belongs. Then replace the glass and cap. Now the neat thing, you light the brand new mantle on fire. No fuel needed. You just stick a match through the ignition hole and set the new mantle ablaze. Let it burn out. It will keep hanging there. I’m still amazed how you use the ashes of the mantle as a filament. The mantle ash is what glows. I don’t understand it, but it works.
  • Remember it operates under pressure so if you go to remove the fuel cap it will hiss at you as the pressure is released.

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