REVIEWED: LuminAID PackLite Max USB solar lantern

Great for camping and campervan-ing, this solar-powered lantern is a must-have for eco-friendly travellers

The best thing about being outdoors at night is a dark sky, but sometimes you need some illumination. Cooking, eating, reading, finding your socks … there’s always a need for light when you’re camping, but who wants to run-down a torch or flashlight which might be needed for a hike or in an emergency?

Quick charge

The LuminAID solar lantern was not invented for the average Western traveller, but for the billions of people who live in off-grid locations – and for anyone in an emergency situation (those who live in hurricaine-hit areas, take note). The distribution of lanterns like these – which charge-up during the day and supply as much as 50 hours of light on a 12-hour charge – has changed how some remote village communities live. For example, village kids can now do homework after dark for the very first time.

See the light

And yet this little solar lantern proved an absolute boon on a recent campervan trip around the southwest U.S. You put it on the dashboard by day, then use it when it gets dark. TravGear tended to get to campsites late in the day and begin cooking in the dark, so it proved really useful. We also used it for reading while camping. It’s inflatable, so easy to collapse and store it on a backpack by day, and it has a popper handle for securing to the top of a tent. It’s got five brightness settings – and it’s an absolute bargain. Who needs disposable batteries?

Price as reviewed: US$29.99

Buy the LuminAID PackLite Max USB solar lantern