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Origin Story: Hozuki Lantern

Written by: Savanna Frimoth

July 31st , 2023

Origin Story: Hozuki Lantern

In the 1980s, being outdoors meant embracing discomfort. Snow Peak set out to create a new kind of camping that focused on enjoying nature while prioritizing comfort and enriching moments with loved ones. With the philosophy of comfort at the forefront, Snow Peak developed new and innovative camping gear. Products like the Takibi Fire & Grill and Solid Stakes were born from this mindset. The Hozuki Lantern was conceptualized in a similar way, with unique features and a design that provides a calming experience in the great outdoors.

A Lantern That Embraces Nature

The Hozuki Lantern is an LED light that allows you to feel close to nature. Like the flame of a candle swaying in the wind, it features a flickering mode that slowly dims the light, harmonizing with the tranquil night sky and campfire, offering a soothing glow that complements its silhouette. Equipped with a large hook, the lantern can be conveniently carried, hung, or placed on a table with the hook as a base. It can draw power not only from batteries but also from USB.

A New Challenge For Developers 

The development of the Hozuki Lantern began in the autumn of 2008. LED technology was rapidly advancing, and it was becoming a widely adopted source of lighting in households due to its energy-saving properties. In the outdoor market, various compact and bright LED lanterns, headlamps, and other products had been available since 2005. However, these products merely replaced the traditional gas-fueled tabletop lanterns with batteries and LEDs but lacked design innovation to match the new technology. LEDs offered low heat generation and compact size, which allowed for safe use inside tents. Snow Peak developers realized that they wanted to create a battery-powered lantern that could be hung from the tent's ceiling, providing a more natural and cozy ambiance for families in their tents. To achieve this, they needed to adopt an entirely new approach to lighting rather than replicating the functionality of conventional lanterns. This became the starting point for the development of the Hozuki Lantern.

Challenging Existing Designs 

The developers decided on the name "Hozuki," inspired by the Japanese Hozuki plant, which produces orange fruits and has a spherical shape. The original white and orange colorways of the lantern were modeled after the plant. At that time, LED lanterns in the outdoor market predominantly featured sporty and masculine designs. The developers intentionally defied this trend, creating a round, soft, and feminine design that stood out from the rest.

Warmth Over Brightness

White LEDs were the mainstream for lighting, as they were brighter and considered more efficient. However, Snow Peak developers insisted on prioritizing the warmth and coziness of the light, selecting warm white LEDs for Hozuki Lantern. They made the bold decision to sacrifice the brightness and instead focused on creating a product that provided a sense of calm and comfort with the glow of its light. They adopted soft silicone material for the shade, creating a visually unique and tactilely gentle design.

Snow Peak's President, Tohru Yamai, felt that the new lantern needed more of a connection to nature. He suggested implementing a new mode that would link the light with its surrounding environment. By linking it to a sensor, the lantern's light could flicker gently in response to a light breeze. Many long nights were spent observing the Hozuki Lantern hanging in the campsite - this feature took up approximately 80% of the development time!

A Hozuki Is Born

After months of work, the final Hozuki Lantern achieved the lofty goals of the development team and President Yamai. The lantern blends effortlessly with the surrounding atmosphere in nature, and its round shape and flickering light create a sense of tranquility. By pressing the button twice when it's turned off, the lantern switches to the "flickering mode," reminiscent of a swaying candle flame. The Hozuki Lantern exemplifies Snow Peak's unique and innovative approach and continues to softly illuminate campsites around the world.