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 our 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 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.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.GearJunkie.com.