This post is for one of my brothers. We camped on the beach the last time he was in town and he liked my LuminAID so much he bought one for himself. I thought that was awesome enough to write a quick review about it.
Oddly enough, I got mine completely on a whim. I wasn’t even looking to buy this and now it’s one of my favorite gear items. I was buying my pack and added this to the cart for fun. I thought for $20 it was worth a shot. I’ve used this on five weekend trips so far and it is worth every penny and more.
The LuminAID is a solar-powered, waterproof, inflatable lantern that packs flat. I had been searching for lanterns for a long time. Not for the AT but just in general. I can’t stand lanterns that are too bright. Especially when our camping neighbors are the ones that have them but that’s another story. It just bugs me. I like candle lanterns but you aren’t supposed to bring them inside your tent. The ambient light from the low setting on this lantern is perfect for reading in my tent at night. I blow it up and shove it in the mesh ceiling pocket but you can easily hang it with a carabiner. Then when I’m ready to sleep, I turn it off, deflate about half the air, wrap it in a bandana or buff and use it as a pillow. My brother says it works awesome as a nightlight at the top of his hammock. Here are the specs from the website:
- Push Button Switch with HIGH and LOW settings
- 8-10 Hours LED light on HIGH setting
- 14-16 Hours LED light on LOW setting
- Recharges in 6-7 hours of direct sunlight
- High-efficiency monocrystalline solar panel
- Lithium-Polymer Ion battery with hundreds of recharge cycles
- Weight: 3 oz
- Dimensions: 8.25″ W x 12″ L (when not inflated) Waterproof up to 1 meter deep and can float (IPX-7)
- All components including battery are lead-free and RoHs compliant
It’s sold at several online stores but if you get it from www.luminaid.com, there’s an option to buy additional lights for donation. The light was originally designed for countries and people without access to electricity and to help get light to natural disaster areas. They are currently working with partners that aid Haiti, Ghana, India, and the Philippines… and just when you thought this light couldn’t get any awesomer. :)
When I bought it, I had no intentions of bringing it on my thru-hike but now I’m seriously considering it. It’s dual purpose, only 3 oz, and would be a good backup if my headlamp fails. I’ve heard hikers on the AT aren’t fans of solar-powered, well, anything, because of the extensive time under tree cover, but I don’t see that being a problem really. The low setting boasts 14-16 hours of light and I would be using a fraction of that. Twenty minutes? Just enough to change clothes, write in my journal, maybe crush some candies, talk to my volleyball, Wilson, whatever. The 6-7 hours of direct sunlight is for a full charge and I’m not going to need a full charge. I’m pretty sure I can get enough charge for what I’m wanting it for, even in the woods. I’ve accidentally charged it on my kitchen counter, away from the window, if that’s any indication.
What do you think? Would you bring it with you on a long distance hike?