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Candle Lanterns a Hot Item in Post-Earthquake Japan

A longtime American camping favorite—the low-tech candle lantern—has apparently become a sought-after item in Japan these days.

This Seattle Times article tells the story of the Redmond, Wash., company that manufactures Uco candle lanterns and those marketed as the REI Candle Lantern. The company’s business has been booming as Japanese residents struggle with rolling blackouts in the wake of the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of their country. This simple item is coveted for the battery-free light and heat it provides.

Candle lanterns, as you may know, have been around for decades. Since the Japan quake, REI’s once-sleepy sales of this item have shot up 36% as interest in emergency awareness kits has soared—particularly on the West Coast.

Phil Andersen of REI’s merchandising department notes that several styles of candle lanterns are offered. His tips: The mini-lantern uses tea lights; it is nice to have a bunch of these on hand for short-term (up to 2 hours) power outages. The standard lantern use larger, no-drip candles for up to 9 hours of light. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.

Posted on at 12:49 PM

Tagged: candle lantern, earthquake, emergency preparedness, japan, rei and uco

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robb155

I tend to use my candle lantern the most when winter camping. It helps keep the condensation from freezing inside the tent. As the condensation rises it continues to go out the roof vents.

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Shane Srogi Primal Lens

Tried and True. Keep it Simple. Having spent months without power on the Ranch after consecutive Hurricanes candles are key. Batteries and light sticks ran out and were in short supply. Long Distance hiking on the AT the candle lantern gives a little welcome heat in the tent and is safer than an open flame. A must have survival item.

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Living Dreams

Candles are so dangerous, especially during and after earthquakes. You don't want to have any open flames where there are potentially gas leaks. This is one of the reasons authorities want you to stay put after a major quake, combustion vehicles also ignite unseen natural gas. Ever notice how many car fires there are after a major quake? I can't say candles don't have their practical uses, but one should be cautious.

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CitizenT

It's a sad commentary, when a coop like REI, who purports stewardship and giving, is bragging about how great their sales are based on the horrible disaster in Japan. REI should be sending millions of these great candle lanterns to Japan as part of the humanitarian effort. I am frankly disgusted at this article and the blatent 'pure capitalism' that has seemingly taken over at the leadership the level. The whole public relations department should be fired.

Step up to the plate, and make us as members proud REI.

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Steve T

REI fans, my sincere apologies if this post gave the wrong impression to you. My aim was to show that simple, low-tech items can have real value in times of need. As a side note, REI did make a donation to the Red Cross to support the efforts in Japan. We encourage you to donate along with us if you feel so compelled: one easy way is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.

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KG_old_2

Hello CitizenT : Thank you for all the feedback. Although the post may have given the wrong impression (we offer our apologies for), the aim was to show that simple, low-tech items can have real value in times of need. Also, you'll see in the news article we link to that:
"The company initially offered to send candle lanterns for free, as emergency supplies. They're still trying to facilitate that. But distributors in Japan told them the best way to help in the short term would be to ramp up delivery through the normal distribution chain, because stores can't keep them on the shelves."

As a side note, REI did make a donation to the Red Cross to support the efforts in Japan. We encourage you to donate alogn with us if you feel so compelled: one easy way is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10

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Jaysawesome

CitizenT,

REI is a commercial company and as such took an opportunity to grow their business by showing how one of their products is useful in an emergency situation. If you have ever taken a basic business class then you would know the best way to help a community to recover from a disaster is to make sure that the emergency products that they need get to the shelves of the stores. It helps the economy in a time of need and makes sure the people have what they need.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people bash a company or a person without knowing all the facts.

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KG_old_2

Hello CitizenT : Thank you for all the feedback. Although the post may have given the wrong impression (we offer our apologies for), the aim was to show that simple, low-tech items can have real value in times of need. Also, you'll see in the news article we link to that:
"The company initially offered to send candle lanterns for free, as emergency supplies. They're still trying to facilitate that. But distributors in Japan told them the best way to help in the short term would be to ramp up delivery through the normal distribution chain, because stores can't keep them on the shelves."

As a side note, REI did make a donation to the Red Cross to support the efforts in Japan. We encourage you to donate alogn with us if you feel so compelled: one easy way is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10

Reply
KG_old_2

Hello CitizenT : Thank you for all the feedback. Although the post may have given the wrong impression (we offer our apologies for), the aim was to show that simple, low-tech items can have real value in times of need. Also, you'll see in the news article we link to that:
"The company initially offered to send candle lanterns for free, as emergency supplies. They're still trying to facilitate that. But distributors in Japan told them the best way to help in the short term would be to ramp up delivery through the normal distribution chain, because stores can't keep them on the shelves."

As a side note, REI did make a donation to the Red Cross to support the efforts in Japan. We encourage you to donate alogn with us if you feel so compelled: one easy way is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10

Reply
Northwest Native

I just revisited my earthquake kit (after about a decade). Guess what was in it?

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