Allow luminAID to illuminate your world when the lights go out!
I do not remember a time with so many natural disasters. My heart weeps for those in Texas, Puerto Rico, California and all of those affected by the recent string of nasty weather. I cannot imagine trying to survive in an area without food, water, power, healthcare, and many other basic elements. It was precisely this kind of scenario that led the Co-founders Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork to the idea/invention of luminAID. After the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti, the co-founders realized that aid was being shipped, and help was being given, but there were no readily available light sources that were available. They imagined that a lightweight, portable, solar charger would positively influence the situation. Anna and Andrea did not stop with the idea; they created a waterproof, weatherproof, inflatable, light diffusing LED, and through ingenuity advanced upon their theme. Now, the Packlight Max 2-in-1 Phone charger combines the magic of the original luminAID device with a storage battery to allow the sun to charge your gadgets and gizmos.
I would not call myself a doomsday prepper, but I like to feel prepared. This concept is what causes me to overpack for my cub scout camping trips, with my eight and six-year-old sons. The group maintains a no-tech rule on our campouts, except for Smartphones for the leadership. Without power, I typically turn to portable batteries to recharge my iPhone 7 Plus. Even with diminished use, I still find that there is more day than charge. I have tried multiple solar chargers, solar battery packs, combo flashlight/batteries, etc., but this is the first solar charging light that also will charge my phone. I loved the PackLite 16 device and the mission-minded nature of the company. If you have not had a chance to peruse the reviews of the PackLite 16 and the news release of the PackLite Max 2-in-1 phone charger, I invite you to read the reviews on Macsources.com.
The tech specs of the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Charger are rather exciting. I was thus a little disappointed in the rather bland red cardboard box. Inside of the packaging, the company provided the 6 inches wide by 6 inches long by 1 inch thick LED light (closed), a 40 inches long red USB-A to USB-micro cable and an instruction manual. The light has an orange band that encompasses the device and will serve as a lantern handle. Along the top of the device, from left to right, you will find a single red power button, the 4 LED battery indicators and a red charging LED (illuminates when exposed to light). Below the power button, the company has included a white plastic access port, which can be lifted away to reveal the 5V USB-micro input port and a 5V/2A USB output port. The middle of the device contains the 2 1/8 inches square high-efficiency solar panel. Below the solar panel, you will notice the “luminAID PackLite Max Phone Charger” logo. If you turn the device over, you will see an inflation nipple.
Before the first use, make sure that you charge the device in direct sunlight. It will take about 12 hours of direct sunlight to charge the device to full, which was tested and found to be accurate. If you desire to charge the device via USB-A to USB-micro, you will have a full charge in 2 hours. It is important to note that overcast weather will require nearly double the charge time when compared to fully sunny environments. The manual recommends that you leave the device in the sun for another 1-2 hours after all four of the green LED are illuminated, or charge for another 30 minutes via USB. The device has a 2000mAh battery, which is a little low for a full Smartphone charge. Assuming roughly 80% efficiency from the battery (1600mAh available), you can obtain roughly an 80% charge for the iPhone 7 (1960 mAh). Devices like the iPhone 7 Plus (2900 mAh) can expect 50% charge and the iPad Pro 10.5 inch (8134 mAh) will charge roughly 10-15%. The beauty of the device is that it will reportedly hold this charge for two years.
Pressing the power button, you can cycle between the five light settings: Turbo, High, Medium, Low and Flashing. Each of the modes serves a purpose, and each has a different maximum run time. The Turbo mode illuminates at 150 lumens and will last about 4-5 hours; the high mode will last 6-8 hours at 75 lumens, medium 18 lumens for 16-18 hours, low mode 15 lumens at 44-50 hours, and flashing mode at 15 lumens 60-72 hours. I tested the turbo mode and found the claim to be accurate, with illumination lasting just at 4.5 hours. I also tested the high and found this to be the ideal mode as it lasted 8 hours and 20 minutes. In a fully darkened room, 75 lumens is quite bright and will provide enough light to read a book. The flashing mode is convenient for emergency situations or if you need to find your way back to a shelter.
This lantern is ideal for emergency situations, for hiking, backpacking, and camping in general. The light output is a very prominent strength, and the secondary ability to provide a partial charge to one of your devices is a bonus. The 8.3-ounce weight may be a little heavy for some backpackers, but the dual use may provide some consideration. You can store the device compressed to save room and pull the two halves apart to provide some assistance with inflation. The device is waterproof (plastic clip down), storm proof and will float. I like that the device will charge under overcast conditions, although less efficiently. Using a DROK USB multimeter, my iPad Air 2 charged at 1.5-1.9 Amp output. I was pleased with this device and felt that it was a convenient accessory for camping. Charging your devices will drain the battery and limit the total illumination time. It would be nice to have a separate battery just for low/flashing mode, one that was not used to charge your device. I would worry about charging my phone and then not having light.
The device provides a great weight to illumination ratio and is an interesting hybrid solar charging light/phone charger. Even more than the device, I love the Give light, Get light mission of the company. I rate the device 5/5 stars for quality of build, for utility and their mission.
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