Wonderful idea! Followed some safety flag links to find this great fiberglass pole page: http://www.cobrakite.com/accents.html Going to get one of these bad boys and zip-tie the bujeebus out of it to the back.
Suggestions on what type of LED to use with the lantern?
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Boots, I found these really great LED round lights at wallyworld back in the camping section. Lightweight, and have a carbinger type clamp attached. This could probably attach very easily inside your lantern. They are really bright but unfortunately use double A batteries. Something solar would be ideal as it can sit and charge all day and you wouldn't have to telescope it down to turn it on for your night time adventures. Come sundown, it'll come on itself.
Thank you epalya and all you wonderful burner. Where there is google + eplaya there is a way. Can't wait to get my lantern on this summer. Also you can purchase solar powered chinese lanterns that already come assembled.