We found a product that doubles as both a flashlight and a lantern. It is the new UCO Clarus LED Lantern. The cost is only around $20 per unit. We liked this product so much that we bought several and gave them to family members for Christmas. We also bought three more for ourselves including the larger sized model.

We will use the press release to best describe this product. "A flashlight is an essential tool for an emergency kit at home, in your car or RV and no outdoor enthusiast would be caught without one camping or boating, but holding the light while trying to accomplish a task that requires both hands can be frustrating. The new UCO Clarus LED Lantern solves this problem with a collapsible and compact light that can function as a flashlight or a lantern."

"The UCO Clarus LED Lantern is the brightest lantern of its size with 150 lumens of light in a four-ounce (including battery weight) multi-use package. The frosted globe of the Clarus LED Lantern provides diffused light that is easy to read or work by and it easily slides up for lantern mode and down for flashlight mode. The light levels adjust from mid to bright to dim depending on your needs and be set to strobe for emergency situations."

Powered by three AAA batteries, the Clarus LED Lantern provides up to 70 hours of light. The lantern features a durable base that functions as a stand in lantern mode and a hook for hanging the light in tents, trees or wherever else you need to place it for convenient lighting."

"Highly water resistant and rugged, the Clarus LED Lantern contains a super bright XP-E R3 CREE LED with a beam projection of up to 164 feet. With only a 2-inch diameter, the Clarus LED Lantern collapse from 6.5 inches in lantern mode to 4.5 inches in flashlight mode, offering a small footprint in a backpack, purse, or emergency kit."

"The performance of the Clarus LED Lantern is a great value with an MSRP of $19.99. It is sold at Eastern Mountain Sports and amazon.com. For more information visit www.ucogear.com.

Linda and I use this product every day around the house. We keep one by the bed on a nightstand. In lantern mode, it is a nice last night to turn off and slip into bed. It is also the first thing we turn on in the morning. No more stumbling around to find the wall light switch. It works great in the dark house to find other switches to lights. It is a fine light when I get up first and do not wish to awaken Linda by flipping a bunch of lights. She appreciates the gesture.

We plan on packing this product when we ride bikes. We do not ride at night of course, but situations can make that a possibility. Like the answer that I gave when a friend asked if I could shoot an intruder if it came to that. My answer was, "I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6."

We can highly recommend this product. My guess is since this flashlight/lantern has been on the market for perhaps 6-12 months, you may be able to purchase it in some local stores. It also makes a great gift for anyone. Our grandchildren are fascinated by it and they do not leave it unattended so you know it must be important to them.

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Jim Collins is an outdoor columnist for The Sunday Review. He can be contacted by e-mail at jimcollinsinsurance@frontiernet.net or by mail at Outdoors with Jim Collins, HC, 1: 87 Windfall Road, Alba, PA, 16910.