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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Solar Camp Lights Reviewed

I have two solar camp lights.  The square, Luminaid Packable Max, I bought for my travels this year (2019).  The round, Luci Light, was a Christmas present and my first year using it too.

After using both for a month I can share how they both work.  Note I have no affiliation with either company or their distribuors.  My judgements are my own and share for no financial interest.

First, both have advantages and disadvantages.  I did not compare lumens as they both have intensity settings and there was no issue regarding brightness settings.  I did not compare longevity of their batteries, as there are many variables and they lasted long enough each evening to suit my needs.

They both inflate and expand.  I used them flat and expanded.

With that out of the way I will share my experience.

The luminaid is a bit larger when flat, in that it is square, but also nearly a 1/2” larger side to sidetgan the Luci.  

The Luminaid has a bit larger solar panel also.  

The strap for the Luminaid is able to be connected on either side, when deflated. Making the strap reversible gets it out of the way of the solar panel, as it is colored and solar would be obstructed.  The Luci has straps and allows the sunlight through.  The Luci has two straps with the adjustable strap on the solar panel side.

The Luci has a clear plastic 

The Luminaid has a frosted inflatable chamber to defuse the light.  I had no preference between clear and frosted.

Above the Luminaid has an amber charging indicator light that I found interesting but it isn’t necessary and the Luci does not have a charging indicator.

The Luminaid also has consecutive green lights to indicate state of charge when button to the left is pushed.  

The Luci has state of charge lights but you can’t see them in daylight.  The above picture was taken inside my FWC to get out of the outside light.  If you look close you can see one LED dimly shining on the left of the state of charge button on the right. 

I have charged the Luci in direct sunlight for hours and only get 2 of the three state of charge lights to light up.  Although I only get 2 out of 3 indicator lights it does last as much as I seem to need.

When the two are expanded the Luminaid is a bit taller.

Above you can see the difference in the two handles.  I liked the Luminaid handle in that it’s larger and 3 position adjustable.  Trying to figure if your fully charging with the Luci is just hard to impossible in daylight..  The Luminaid uses the four green lights consecutively, meaning it will light up to including the four lights and then uses the same lights to indicate further charge rather than having 8 green LEDs

The Luminaid has the ability to charge from USB and the Luci doesn’t.  In the sunshine of the southwest there is generally sufficient sunlight and has not been an issue 

When I hiked into the Grand Canyon a couple years ago the Canyon, where I was, had so narrow canyons that there is insufficient sunlight.  I did not have the Luci at this time.

My Luminaid Order from The Clymb:

As you can see I paid $28.93 for my Luminaid.  This purchase is 1/3 more than the Luci below from Amazon, if you have Prime.

Conclusion: If the cost of buying one or the other is an issue then the Luci should meet your needs, provided you get to recharge it in the sun everyday.  Being a bit smaller and round it fits more easily into jacket pockets.  It was great to walk to and back to my camper from campfires at the RTR this year. 

If you don’t have the opportunity to get sufficient solar to charge every day the Luminaid is the answer as you can recharge from any USB.  It comes with a micro USB charging cable too.  You will have less frustration trying to find out if it is fully charged with better state of charge lights too. 

Both lights are designed for camping and they both got low marks from me on being able to turn on in the dark.  There are two raised push buttons on each light. One for charge status and one to turn light on and off.  You can run your finger tip around the surface but it takes a bit to find.  A more positive ability to locate the on/off push button would be a great improvement on both.

If I was to only be able to take one on my travels it would be the Luminaid.  



1 comment:

  1. I have had a Luci since 2012. Back then it was buy one and one was sent free so that children that did not have electricity would be able to read when it got dark. Mine sits in my camping equipment and I put it on the back seat of the car when I leave, no pre solar charging. All it needs is daylight as some days are cloudy and it has always worked the 1st time I use it. I hang it inside of the tent and I have read for more than 3 hours after using it at a picnic table to prepare supper. The longest continous use is 32 days. I would not know what to do without it. Thought you would like to know. Pat