Whilst headlamps for camping can be an ideal solution, they are often far too bright for a tent and usually end up in a stuff sac to diffuse the light in my tent. So does the LuminAID solar power inflatable light, at only 83g, provide a viable lighting option for wild camping?
The LuminAID is a solar powered light that inflates in order to provide diffuse light. It was originally designed for disaster relief, and lends itself naturally to outdoor uses. It’s also waterproof, so can be safely left outside at night. It also floats, presumably to cope with the really wet Snowdonia weather.
We found that the LuminAID charges easily enough in daylight, even in the UK. While it says it needs 7 hours of sunlight to fully recharge, we didn’t find this a problem as battery life is good – as there’s only a LED to power – and we haven’t managed to run it flat yet. A red led helpfully indicates that it’s charging.
The inflatable part diffuses the light wonderfully in a tent, or outside without being overpowering. We found it provided us with enough light to read by, but that might not be enough for others. There’s a tidy on off button that also toggles the lighting options between mood and dim.
We found ours to be difficult to deflate – which was annoying, having to pinch the valve at all angles to release the air. On the plus side, it has always managed to stay inflated!
You need to clip the LuminAID somewhere in the daytime to charge up with the provided karabiner – the outside of a backpacking pack isn’t ideal for anything inflatable!
Once bought, this provides practically free tent lighting that supplements your head lamp for when you really need that level of lighting. There’s also a newer model that’s even brighter, the LuminAID paclite 16, which means that you can pick one of the originals up at a discount. It’s worked well for us over the last year or so, and has been on all the wild camps in that time. We definitely don’t want to go back to putting a headlamp in a stuff sac! However, there are now cheaper alternatives available at under half the price that might well be worth a punt.