Survival Gear Review: River Rock Nightfire Lantern

Whether you bug in or bug out, lighting resources are an essential gear item.  If I ever go to the poor house it will be because I have spent too much on knives, guns, and lights.  I have a bunch of these items, some good, some bad, and some outright worthless.

Essential Light

Still, there are fewer things more comforting in the dark outside of a fire in the fireplace at home or LED light reviewa nice campfire out in isolated woods.   Even then, essential light is needed to do anything in the dark.

There seems maybe to be two basic types of lights needed for survival purposes other than ones intended for signaling.  Of course equipment wise, lighting functions can be multi-use.  One is the situational light with the immediate but perhaps temporary need like a flashlight used to walk a trail at night or to dig out some gear from a bag or such.

The other light resource is one that might be left on constantly or for longer periods of time to illuminate a camp area, work site, tent interior, or other shelter or in the inside of a vehicle for example.   Sure there are practical uses for lanterns like the classic Coleman, but there are cases for the use of a smaller, battery powered lantern.

River Rock Nightfire LED Lantern Overview

For survival purposes small and lightweight are good features.  This little lantern is only 5 inches in height and only 2.2 inches in diameter.  The body is constructed of aluminum with rubber-type end caps to absorb shock.  Weatherproof o-ring seals are used to keep moisture out.  The body color is moss green.  The light weighs a mere 7 ounces.

The light source is a Cree XLamp white LED with a maximum brightness of 136 Lumens.  The light Survival Gear Reviewis powered by three 1.5V AA size batteries. Burn time on maximum brightness is 7 hours.  In high lum mode it will run 25 hours and 50 hours in low mode.  There is also a flashing mode with a 50 hour run time.

Other features include a metal carabiner hanging clip to attach to packs, belt loops, a tree limb or other hanging points, a plastic attachment buckle, and soft rubber top and bottom.  A green indicator LED light shows the lantern’s location in the dark which is a very nice feature.  All these features are offered for a retail pricing of $29.99.


The River Rock Nightfire is a useful little lantern type light with a long battery life.  I am certain survival mode preppers will find numerous applications for this as an essential source of light and signaling.

Photos by:
John Woods
River Rock Designs

Written by John J. Woods

John J. Woods, PhD, has been outdoor writing for over 35 years with over 3000 articles, and columns published on firearms, gun history, collecting, appraising, product reviews and hunting. Dr. Woods is currently the Vice President of Economic Development at a College in the Southern United States. Read his full interview here. Read more of John J.'s articles.

13 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: River Rock Nightfire Lantern”

  1. nice review I will have to check this light out…I'm a bit of a light nut always want to pick up new flashlights when I see them. One way I went was with a Rayovac Sportsman Xtreme 300 Lumens Lant Flashlights. It doesn't have near the burn time as this one in the article and it runs on 3 D batteries but man it puts out 300 lumens! Here is a link from lowes that sells it.

    Also check out the Rayovac roughneck, a 200 lumen flashlight that puts out 200 lumens on 2 AAA.
    Once again great article, can't beat the price, the output or the runtime on this little guy!

  2. Thanks for the link TINDERWOLF. That one looks cool as well. Gonna pick one up for this weekend's camping trip.

  3. Remember redundancy.
    Don't count on ONE light source, or even ONE type of power (batteries). Anything I buy today, I try to have redundancy for the item itself as well as for its power source. I like having a dynamo-wind-type light source as well as a separate battery powered source, each of which is made better by having an AC power option.

    This way, whatever happens, everything can work at least two ways, or more….

  4. The Coleman 3AA High Tech LED Lantern is a weather resistant mini lantern. It has fully adjustable light intensity and a perfect beam pattern.
    •LED: Cree XLamp XR-E
    •Lumens: 85 lumens on high, 5 lumens on low
    •Run time: 75 hours on low, 6 hours on high
    •Operates: 3AA batteries, included
    •Rotating dial for fully adjustable light intensity
    •Frosted globe for perfect beam pattern
    •Weather resistant to withstand the elements
    This is the description of the lantern That I bought.
    It is from Walmart for $20.00 on line only with free shipping
    I also I'm look at the Coleman Micropacker LED Lantern all so
    at Walmart in store for $12.00.Yes light is very importon.
    You only need it when you do not have it.
    Thats my two cents.

  5. I have two Black Diamond Apollo lanterns that I've been quite happy with.

    If you're worried about being without power for more than a couple of days you should probably pickup rechargeable batteries and a solar recharger. I haven't made that leap yet.

  6. nice review. i like my little r2d2 flashlights. small compact and i add a cut off end of a milk bottle to make it into a reading light as needed

  7. Looks like a great light. I also have a pocket full of hand crank LED lights. You could tell where one of us was during Ike by listening for the "whirl – whirl – whirl" of the crank. With a sufficient crank they held their charge for 10 to 15 minutes of use and they will hold a charge for several days if fully charged but not used.
    Also Kirk is quite correct – 2 is 1 and 1 is none!

  8. Good review, looks like a nice lantern. I just can't bring myself to purchase a light source the requires batteries. If you think about it, what use will it be when batteries are near impossible to find? I've been on the hunt for alternatively powered light sources. A couple years back, I found a cool LED lantern at WalMart of all places, that has solar cells on top, AC/DC, and car charger. The wall unit and car charge came with it and store nicely in the bottom. I also recently picked up an Eton Scorpion, which has solar cells and a hand crank, plus USB charging system built in for cell phones, etc..

  9. @Fuzzbling: Ideally, you would have a nice stockpile of whatever batteries you use on a regular basis, which would carry you through all but the most dire of situations. While I agree that relying on ONLY light sources that require batteries isn't the smartest thing to do, I don't have a problem with having a few of them.

  10. I realize this light is not a "lantern" but check out the new MAGLITE XL50 and XL100 . These are incredibly light and extremely bright when in "high" mode. BTW, they are approx the same diameter as a 12 ga barrell, and the magazine tube clamps work great when attaching these to your trusty house gun.

  11. I have some hybrid dual-power LED lanterns, chargeable by hand crank crank or by 'AA' batteries, not real bright but fairly cheap ($25 for 3), better for comfort over larger area than anything else. I always carry a small LED flashlight on my side, with extra batteries, and a tiny (2' X 2" X 1") crank flashlight in my med kit, as well as a head lamp in my BOB. I keep a UCO tea candle lantern in my BOB as well, extra tea lights (including citronella), and extra batteries, all 'AA', so only one size of battery is needed! Also, I have rechargeable batteries and solar chargers in long-term supplies.


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