Inflatable Lantern Provides Big Light

Designed as cheap and efficient lighting for disaster relief, the LuminAID PackLite 12 is a packable, inflatable, solar-powered lantern.

It is simple and easy to use. A small LED light panel shines into the inflated lantern to give off a surprising amount of ambient light.

Once deflated, it packs to the size of a coaster and can be strapped to the outside of a backpack to recharge as you hike. It is waterproof and floats.

The PackLite 12 has a run time of 12 hours (on low setting) and fully charges with 7 hours of direct sunlight, the brand cites.

It has three brightness levels and a flashing mode. To close the lantern you simply open the air nozzle and twist it flat. There is a handle for carrying or hanging.

It retails for $22.95 and is available now.

We have been testing the PackLite 12 for the last couple weeks. It is easy to inflate (about a quarter of a breath should do), recharges quickly, and it gives off plenty of light for playing cards, cooking over a stove, or lighting up your tent.

It functions well even in frigid Minnesota weather (although the plastic clasps are hard to work with when the mercury dips below zero).

The company claims the lights will store for a year and a half without charging. Throw one into an emergency kit and forget about it.

Several other companies have come out with similar lights. Other good options we’ve tested are the Luci Aura as well as the PackLite 16 (the Packlite 12’s big brother).

A side bonus: LuminAID will donate one of its lights to charity for every light purchased through its Give Light, Get Light package program.

The creators of LuminAID were recently featured on an episode of Shark Tank, A show where small companies pitch their product to a panel of investors in hopes of getting funded. The designers were rewarded with funding proposals from all five of the investors, a rare occurrence. Ultimately, the accepted an offer for $200,000.

The future looks bright for LuminAID

Eric Lemke

Eric is a contributing writer based in Bozeman, MT. An avid climber, mountain biker, backpacker, and snowboarder, he earned his degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. When not living the GearJunkie life, he can be found exploring the Montana backcountry.