Primus has developed gas lanterns for almost as long as stoves. Although both devices offer combustion technology, they fulfil a different role: the lanterns’ main job is to produce light. But since a gas flame does not serve as a light bringer, the key is the lantern’s mantle. With the right handling and the know-how of he mantle, a gas lantern is a great piece of equipment for trekking tours and expeditions.
What's a mantle and how do I use it?
Every gas lantern needs a mantle. It is one of the most crucial parts. A gas flame alone does not spread much light. Thus you need a catalyst to gain a proper lamp. Gas lanterns use oxide. These oxides are being created by burning special kinds of salt that are applied to the surface of the mantle’s fabric. Depending on the salt the flame brings it to glow in a colder (“white”) or warmer (“yellow”) light. When setting the mantle on fire it will burn, leaving a construction built on salt crystals.
First of all, you have to take off the glass or steel mesh from the gas lantern. Then slip the mantle over the burner: the large hole should cover the entire perforated part of the burner. The little hole should only be placed at the tip of the burner.
Let the mantle burn a few seconds until there is only a white ‘skeleton’ left. There will be a small flame and some smoke, so make sure to do this outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Now, switch on the gas and ignite the lantern.
Run it to full effect to stabilize the ‘salt skeleton’. After about 30 seconds you can adjust the flame to the desired brightness. Finally you can put the glass or steel mesh lamp shade back into the right position. The lantern is now ready for use!
You get the best efficiency rate with a half to three-quarter opened valve – that also counts for gas stoves.
It's forbidden to use gas lanterns in non-ventilated rooms. Using gas lanterns inside a tent can be extremely dangerous and should only be considered as an emergency action with the right precautions taken: make sure the tent is well ventilated, that the lantern is never out of sight and that you are not getting tired.