A while back, I was offered the chance to review a new solar lantern on the market. It isn’t like most solar lanterns you’ve seen, so naturally I jumped at the chance. I’ve been playing around with it for a few months now, and I can tell you, it has earned its place in my bug out bag.
The Luci — a “little solar lantern with a big impact” — is made by MPOWERD. It’s very simple in design, but very powerful in its uses. There are a few negatives to it, but the positives far outweigh them! Keep reading for my full review of the MPOWERD Luci solar inflatable lantern!
What Exactly Is the Luci Lantern?
MPOWERD’s Luci is an inflatable solar lantern that closely resembles a normal inflatable toy. However, with its 10 powerful LEDs and photovoltaic cells (solar cells), it’s more than just a toy — it’s a survival tool!
When inflated, Luci’s measurements are 5″ diameter x 4.5″ tall, and its deflated height is a compact ½”. Because it only weights a hair over 3 ounces, it won’t weigh you down — making it perfect for any EDC or bug out bag. Since it is about the same size as a CD (and barely thicker than a CD case), the deflated lantern can literally fit in your back pocket (or any pocket in a pair of cargo pants).
The Luci has 4 settings that can be cycled through by pushing the button in the center of the bottom — press once for bright (50 lumens), twice for super bright (65 lumens), three times for strobe (emergency flashing), and the fourth time will turn the unit off.
While the lantern will charge with incandescent lighting, it will hold its charge longer with direct sunlight. It takes about 8 hours to develop a full charge, and once charged will withstand 8-12 hours of constant use on bright setting (not super bright) before needing to be charged again.
MPOWERD’s website says of Luci’s lifespan:
Luci has 300-500 cycles of full charge, so the length of time she lasts depends on frequency of use. If you fully charge and fully discharge every single day, Luci lasts approximately 2 years. If used less frequently, she will last for many years.
Uses for the MPOWERD Luci
It’s probably not the best book light you could find, but if you’re out camping and decide to read a book, it will work. I used it a couple of nights in a row as a test to read my new copy of “The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse” (which I will be reviewing soon, too), and I had no trouble reading with no light other than the Luci.
I’ve had the Luci on my night stand for roughly 6 months. I turn it on from time to time at night when I don’t want to turn on any other lights (going to the bathroom, getting up for water, etc). It shines bright enough on the lowest setting to completely light my path throughout any room. In fact, I have gone into the closet late at night to find clothes for the next day, hung the Luci from a clothes hanger, and had no trouble seeing around the entire closet well enough to find stuff that actually matches!
Our little girl is afraid of the dark, so when we go outside to sit on the patio at night, the Luci provides enough light for her to drive off any monsters lurking in shadows. She also likes to throw it out into the yard and watch us go pick it up over and over again. I wouldn’t recommend doing that with your tactical flashlight!
Sometimes it’s fun to put the light into the tub or the pool for the kids to play with. Since the Luci is inflatable, it floats. It’s also completely self-contained within the plastic shell, so it’s totally waterproof. Keep in mind, it’s not rated as a life saving device, so don’t try to use them as water wings.
The Luci has a strap on both ends for use as handles, so you can hang the lantern from the ceiling of your tent (or primitive shelter) with a carabiner or some 550 cord (this glow in the dark paracord would be cool) and pretty much light up the entire area. If you had a few of these lanterns, you could hang them in strategic locations around your camp and bathe the entire area in a soft glow for hours. Speaking of bathing, since it’s waterproof, you can also use the Luci as a light for your camp shower tent, too.
If you have a Luci, I would recommend keeping it either in a window that gets plenty of light every day, or directly underneath a bright lamp so that it is always charging. If the power ever goes out, you’ll have some emergency lighting to go along with your emergency candles and flashlights.
Aside from the standard Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern which I reviewed, MPOWERD also makes the Luci Lux — which has a frosted plastic shell that diffuses the light and makes the glow softer — and the Luci Aura — with multi-color changing LEDs that have seven color settings besides the standard white, and also has a setting that cycles through all the colors.
My Thoughts About the Luci Lantern
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the Luci. The handles are a little flimsy, so they’re likely to be the first things to break, but a little duct tape should fix that right up.
For now, I’m going to keep the lantern on my night stand, but I’ll be hanging it from my bug out bag when I’ve got the pack out in the woods or on a camping trip so it charges enough for use around the camp. Luci combined with my UVPaqlites should be enough quick lighting so that I have no problem facing the darkness.