2019 Update This review was written in 2013, and after six years of heavy use in the hands of Scouts later these Rayovac lanterns are still going strong, just about indestructible.
We replaced our old propane gas lanterns five or more years ago with Coleman Pack-Away LED Lanterns. Like any Scout gear they’ve been battered, bruised and broken and we’ve decided it’s time they were replaced.
Overall the Rayovac Sportsman seems to be built more solidly than the Coleman Pack-Away.The telescoping feature of the Coleman Pack-Away turned out to be a weakness, as did the battery compartment cover; they simply didn’t stand up to regular (Scout) use.
After some research and testing we have decided on the Rayovac Sportsman LED lantern. It’s smaller, tougher, uses three rather than four D batteries, has higher brightness and longer battery life.
|Rayovac Sportsman||3 D||40 hours (high), 90 hours (low)||High – 240, Low 90||$26|
|Coleman Pack-Away||4 D||18 hours (high), 40 hours (low)||High – 145||$28|
Comparing the cost of running a propane lantern to an LED lantern:
Average cost $1.50 each, 3 = $4.50. Lasts 40 hours on high setting = .11 per hour
1 LB Propane cylinder
Average cost $3.50. Lasts 5 1/2 hours on high setting = .63 per hour
I think it’s safe to say that propane lanterns cost at least six or seven times as much to run as an LED lantern when considering the cost of mantles.
To run a propane lantern for 40 hours you’d use at least 7 disposable cylinders, with an LED lantern you’d use three D sized batteries – the LED lantern creates far less waste.
The Rayovac Sportsman does have one minor problem (I hesitate to call it a flaw) and that’s closing the battery compartment. Two arrows must be aligned perfectly and it’s not quite so simple as it sounds, but you’ll get it with a little practice.
We’ve purchased six for our Scout troop. We’ll see how well the Rayovac Sportsman fairs over the next few years. Their solid build, value for cost and functionality look promising.
Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern at Amazon