March 10, 2013 in Outdoors

Gear Junkie: LuminAID provides portable light source

Stephen Regenold Special To Outdoors
 

LuminAID clips on pack where it can charge.
(Full-size photo)

It looks like a pillow with a cell phone glued on the side. Closer up, you see a solar panel and a tiny red light.

Odd products come across my desk every week. But the LuminAID, a solar-powered inflatable lamp, takes a prize.

It looks weird, no doubt. In use, the PVC plastic light is a simple solution for campers in need of a lantern in a tent or outdoors at a site.

Sunlight and the solar panel charges an embedded lithium battery. Once full, the light can shine for 6 hours at about 35 lumens – bright enough to cook or read by.

It folds up and packs as small as an iPhone. Clip it on a backpack with its solar panel exposed to recharge the unit as you hike.

Then blow it up to convert the LuminAID to lantern mode – the translucent plastic “pillow” serves as a diffuser to spread light in an even cloud.

Though flimsy feeling in the hand, the company built the LuminAID to last for a couple years of use. The battery can be recharged up to 500 times.

Its original purpose was as a product for disaster relief aid in response to the Haiti earthquake.

Today, the Texas-based company ( www.luminaidlab.com) supports various aid efforts. The plastic lantern is made to stand in for polluting kerosene lamps commonly used around the world.

For campers, the LuminAID costs about $19. You get a unique light source for that price that weighs a feathery 110 grams. It folds up small and is ready for planned illumination at a campsite or emergency use when you’re in need of extra light in the night.

On the Web: www.gearjunkie.com.


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