Hide yo wife, hide yo kids. LuminAID is dropping some rad new designs to add to their already stacked lineup of solar-powered lanterns. So you’re probably saying, “This ain’t nothing new; I can pick up solar lanterns and flashlights everywhere now, even gas stations.” But all solar-powered lanterns are not created equal, and LuminAid is leagues ahead of the rest.

And yes, they’ve even teamed up with Supreme for a limited edition sickie lamp.

Righteous Roots

When architecture graduate students, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, were asked to design a product to help post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, they thought outside the box of food, water, and shelter. They focused on one of (wo)mankind’s most basic fears: Fear of the dark. With thousands of Haitians displaced in tent cities without electricity, the duo imagined the dangers of the long dark nights. So they got busy designing a solar powered lamp that could be easily dispensed among the victims.

A Growing Glow

‘Twas only a matter of time until the ultralight lanterns caught on with backpackers and climbers. A business rooted in disaster relief soon grew to encompass the outdoor recreation industry. Backpackers found the LuminAID base model the perfect alternative to lugging around heavy lanterns and the batteries required to power them. LuminAID lanterns could be strapped on the outside of the backpack to charge during the day, then inflated with good ol’ lung power and hung on any tree limb or inside the tent.

The Field Test

I bought my first LuminAID almost ten years ago when there was only one model to choose from. It lives on my truck’s dashboard, always charging, and it has faithfully provided light from my Mt. Whitney base camp to hanging in my camper shell on Big Sur surf missions. I’ve dropped it and packed it beneath tons of gear, and it keeps on ticking. I’m profoundly hard-of-hearing and rely mostly on lip-reading to understand human speech, so when the sun goes down, I need a dependable light source to be able to “hear” my mates. LuminAID emanates the perfect soft glow; enough to see what you need to see, but not so harsh so as to blind everyone in camp.

You can imagine my surprise when I visited LuminAID’s website a few months ago and saw all the sweet new designs they’ve added. They sent me their PackLite Nova USB model for review, and when it arrived, I was stoked to see that they had improved the design without changing too much. ┬áSame concept and materials: super lightweight inflatable plastic “balloon,” solar panel, and awesome light. The only difference (and improvement) from my old base model is the cube shape (perfect for placing on picnic tables/tailgates) and the USB charging option. In sunny California, I’ve never needed to charge my LuminAID with anything else but the sun, but I imagine the USB charging could come in handy in the Pacific Northwest or the long Alaskan winters.

The Future is Bright

1.6 billion people around the world don’t have reliable access to electricity. LuminAID has partnered with NGOs and non-profits to distribute their lanterns to folks in need of dependable light with their “Give Light, Get Light” program. It’s easy: purchase a light for yourself on the LuminAID website and sponsor one for someone in need.

Last but not least, LuminAID is currently in the pre-order/crowd-funding phase of their new PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger. I feel like they read my mind when I was wishing my PackLite Nova USB had a phone/device charger. Guess I wasn’t the only one hoping for this feature! Now you can charge your devices and have unlimited light thanks to the partnership between LuminAID and that life-giving orb in the sky, the sun.

Get Lit: The LuminAID Review

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About The Author
- Jeff McElroy is a Ventura and Mammoth Lakes-based writer. His surf/coast-inspired short story collections, CALIFORNIOS and CALIFORNIOS 2 have received awards and accolades within the boardsport and literary communities. He writes about adventure athletes and the wild places for EDGEtv Network. When he's not writing, he's surfing, backpacking, snowboarding, and trail-running with his wife and Jack Russell Terrier.

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