When camping, we’re looking to use a portable lantern while cooking, to light up our campsite, and to light the tent when it’s time to turn in. We need it to be bright and reliable, so we aren’t left in the dark in the middle of the wilderness. Portability is also key, as we take it with us from the picnic table, to the *clears throat* outhouse, and into the tent. The rest of the time, we have to lug it in and out of camp. And whether that’s in our car or on our backs, space is limited. We want to make sure we’re packing as efficiently as possible.
No matter where you live, it’s a good practice to invest in an emergency kit for power outages, floods, or other misadventures. Lanterns are key for any emergency kit. And here’s the thing about the gear in an emergency kit - we want to pack it away and not have to think about it again. Even more importantly, when and if we do need to use it, we want it to work, and work for a while, because you never know how long you’ll need it.
Whether you’re looking to explore the great outdoors or prepare for an emergency, it turns out you’re looking for the same features in a lantern. You need your lantern to be reliable, so you don’t get left in the dark. You need it to be bright enough for you to take care of business. And you need it to be portable, for wherever the day or night takes you.
First and foremost, with a solar lantern, you won’t have to worry about batteries ever again. Think about it. With an integrated, rechargeable, lithium-ion battery, you’ll never have to change a battery, buy a battery, or worry about batteries going dead. If you’re out on the trail, strap the solar lantern to your pack, and it’ll charge up on the go for perfect lighting once you set up camp. Staying in one place for a while? Hook it to the outside of your tent and forget about it while you enjoy a sunny day. It’ll be charged up by the time you need it at dusk. Preparing for an emergency? Just pack the lantern and know you can recharge it in the sun should disaster strike. A solar lantern is the most reliable solution for your lighting needs.
LuminAID’s solar inflatable lanterns have a storage life of 2 years. The PackLite Nova USB can run for up to 24 hours on a single charge, while our most popular product, the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger, comes in at 50 hours of runtime with 50 lumens and the added benefit of phone charging capability. The supercharged PackLite Hero 2-in-1 will light your nights for up to 100 hours on a single charge and has a total of 100,000 lifetime hours. That’s 1,000 recharges - talk about reliable lighting. Learn more about our different solar phone chargers here.
Next, you want your lantern to work hard for you. It needs to be bright enough to read by, to cook by, and to light your home if the power goes out. Solar lanterns can be just as bright and powerful as your typical camp lantern, and can feature adjustable brightness settings. But don’t just take our word for it, see solar lanterns featured in roundups of the best camp lights in Popular Mechanics and Outdoor Gear Lab.
The PackLite Hero, one of LuminAID’s brightest and highest-performing lanterns (and phone chargers) will reach up to 300 lumens on its brightest setting. That’s brighter than you’ll probably ever need, according to Stephen Regenold, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Junkie. He stated in a recent Wirecutter article, “In our experience, 250 lumens is an ideal top end. At that brightness, you can set up a tent from 20 feet away or cook dinner five feet away.” On the other end of the spectrum, the PackLite Nova USB, reaching up to 75 lumens, will easily light your tent and provide enough light to read by at night, even on its Medium setting. These solar inflatable lanterns can definitely compete with battery-powered camp lights.
Finally, your lantern has to be easy to take with you. Here’s where solar inflatable lanterns have the leg-up on the competition. Featuring just a solar panel, a small lithium-ion battery, and some LEDs, the construction of solar inflatable lanterns make them compact, lightweight, and ultimately portable. With a durable TPU bag, the lanterns can deflate for efficient storage and transport.
Packing down to under 1” thick, the PackLite Nova USB will strap to your pack or hang from your tent with ease. This small but mighty lantern weighs only 5 oz, adding very little to weight to a heavy pack or portable emergency kit. All LuminAID lanterns feature adjustable carrying straps, and the PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger also features carabiner loops for ease of use.
Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork invented LuminAID's solar lighting technology just after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They were inspired to design a simple, rechargeable light that could be cost-effectively distributed after disasters. They have been used in over 100 countries around the world in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. Because LuminAID solar lanterns are designed for disaster relief first, our gear testers are first responders and aid workers, who hold the lanterns to the highest standards. LuminAID solar lanterns’ quality are unmatched as a solar inflatable lantern. Learn more about Our Story.
In this edition of Notes From the Field, we check out the Rainforest Trust, an international conservation organization dedicated to creating protected lands around the world.