LuminAID provides fantastic renewable light for camping trips.
I’m out! What two words are more dreaded by Shark Tank Veterans. Luckily, these are words that Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshts did not hear during their Shark Tank interview. I have been a fan of the television show, since its debut in August of 2009. I remember watching this particular show and thinking that they had a gem of an idea. It is amazing to link a solar powered system, to an LED light and to an inflatable option. During the show, they showcased the LuminAID PackLite16. To summarize the television program, they pitched their amazing technology and were eventually up to three offers, from Laurie Greiner, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary. Mark Cuban then asked a question. He asked, was this the only size for the device? They responded negative. This technology combines a solar charged lithium battery with an LED and inflatable. This may eventually have additional and larger uses such as life vest or raft integration. Mark Cuban provided a fourth offer with “a foundation to grow from.” Eventually they had 5 offers. Stunned, they asked to leave momentarily. Kevin O’leary noted that it would be an unwise choice to leave the tank. Mark Cuban was the shark of the day for LuminAID.
I find that the product is amazing, but the company story is even more amazing. Both Andrea and Anna were architecture students who joined forces after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. They wanted to try to find something that could really make a difference. They decided to focus their efforts on lighting, a system that could be easily deployed and provide light in survival situations/emergencies. The invention was LuminAID an inflatable solar light. This company has apparent humanitarian goals at its roots. They partner with organizations throughout the world to distribute this device. We can help this aim by purchasing a Give Light, Get Light package or by sponsoring lights through their website at luminaid.com. Light is taken for granted, until you do not have it. These lights will greatly benefit victims no volunteers alike. What better gift is there, than the gift of light?
While touring around CES Eureka Park, I was introduced to the LuminAID team. I was graciously given a LuminAID 16 to test. The instructions are easy to follow and are written in a total of 9 languages, including English. The main product information and company highlights are solely written in English. This does not detract from the idea that they have 9 languages of instructions included with the device. Before you use the light for the first time, it is recommended to leave it outdoors for 7-10 hours. You should see a red LED indicating that the device is exposed to sunlight and is charging. The red LED will turn to green indicating 95% charge. They state that it is perfectly okay to allow this to continue to charge even when the green LED is on. This is convenient for emergency situations, for hiking/camping etc when you can set this out and forget it until nightfall.
Once the priming step is done, you are ready. You can use the light or you can pack this up. It is supposed to hold its charge for up to 2 years. I have to admit, I will not be able to prove this point, as this would require next level patience. However, they do recommended to recharge it every 3-4 months to ensure light is ready when you need it. The device is conveniently packed and deflated. Unbuttoning the snap, you can unfold the device and an inflation valve is packed on the back of the device. Gently pinch or bite the base and blow into the chamber. The bag will inflate. The bag helps to act as a diffuser, allowing this system to serve as a lantern. Additionally, the bag is IPX 7 waterproof and floats, creating a wonderful emergency lighting system. There is a single button on the device. Yes, it is a RED button, for those of you who must push that RED button. Pressing the button will cycle you through the 4 modes available for the light. One press will take you to extra bright (65 lumens, lasting 6 hours). A second press will start HIGH mode (35 lumens, lasting 10 hours). The third stage is the low setting (20 lumens lasting 30 hours ). The fourth and final mode is a flashing setting for emergencies (20 lumens lasting 32 hours). Depress the button one last time to turn the light off. The photographs below were taken in darkness. The left most photograph (brighter) is extra bright and the right is the low setting.
The device is made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) a clean material and is PVC and phthalate free. These lights are designed to operate between-20 degrees and 60 degrees Celsius (-4 to 140 F). They are touted to have 10,000 hours of total lifetime light. Inflated dimensions 8.25 inches wide x 12 inches long and 4.25 inches tall and deflated dimensions are 5.5×2.75×0.75 inches (uncompressed). The device weighs 2.9 ounces. This light really is a backpackers dream for a lantern system, when weight ratio is so important. The best part, it is renewable light for those longer trips.
I am really intrigued with the Give Light, Get Light program. For now if you buy a light, you can send a light to the European Refugee crisis (or allocate as needed) for $10. I am amazed at this company and the heart that they have shown. The LuminAID devices have been used in 70 countries, >1000 were given to recovery efforts in Haiti post Hurricane Isaac. >3000 were given to the crisis in Nepal through their Give Light, Get light system.
The LuminAID 16 is the first version and has been joined by the LuminAID 12, a self inflating accordion style option and the LuminAID Spectra, 7 color LED style similar to the LuminAID12. These inflate vertically and you no longer have to blow into the device, as they inflate as you lift up on the accordion style lantern. Simply compress to remove the excess air for storage. The weight is slightly higher at 3.5 ounces and they have 12 LED instead of the 2 with the LuminAID 16. The best part, these extra lights also qualify for the Give Light, Get Light offer.
I have tried to find a dislike to the device. The price point of $24.99 (free shipping if >$50.00) and tax free status (except Texas according to their website) is very fair for this type of system. It comes with the lithium battery, lasting multiple years without having to spend another cent. How many other lanterns can have such a claim. The material is renewable, green and lacks many of the negative chemicals in plastics that we are focusing on at present. This device is made of quality materials, at a very reasonable price point and has mission/heart. I would rate this at 5/5 stars.
This can be purchased through amazon.com and through the companies website LuminAID.com. Unfortunately, the LuminAID Give Light, Get Light Add-on is only available through their website. It is my recommendation to purchase this directly from the website if interested in this program.