A while back I was researching glow sticks trying to find the best thing to put in my bug out bag when I came across something rather unique – “rechargeable” glow products made by UVPaqlite. No batteries? Reusable? “Lasts forever”? I’m interested! Let’s see how these products work — and how well they work — in my UVPaqlite review.
How does the UVPaqlite work?
Let me start by saying that this is really simple technology that has been around for a long time. You charge something with UV (or other light) rays, and it glows in the dark. Simple, right? It doesn’t sound very new, but sometimes reinventing the wheel turns out to be a good thing. The new part about it is the glow source and how it is packaged and presented. The UVPaqlite contains glow crystals made from three naturally occurring elements — strontium, aluminum, and europium. With the combination of these three elements, the UVPaqlite is touted to last forever!
For clarification — UVPaqlite is the name of the company and of one of their products.
From the UVPaqlite website:
What makes UVPaqlites glow?
The Patent Pending technology provides a new way to capture the glowing photons, which are produced via crystal manufacturing from the earth’s resources of strontium, aluminum and other rare earth elements. When exposed to other light sources the crystals quickly absorb the light, store it, and then produce enough light to continue glowing all night long. You’ve seen similar crystals on glow-in-the-dark clothing, stickers, and ceiling stars but our crystals are bigger, brighter, and absorb light faster. The UVPaqlite are environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
According to the product specifications, you can charge it with 1 minute of direct sunlight, 5-10 minutes of ambient room lighting, or about 2-4 seconds with a flashlight (depending on how wide the beam is). With that much of a charge, they’re supposed to last for up to 10 hours.
The UVPaqlite Review
I really like the simplicity of the whole thing. It’s just a bunch of glow crystals vacuum sealed in plastic. The plastic is not thin and flimsy, either — the pack is pretty rugged. There are no batteries to go bad, no on/off switches, no bulbs to break, and no way to bust it and get fluid all over the place.
The one I have is 14″ x 8″, but there are smaller sizes. I don’t have a digital scale, so I can’t tell you exactly what it weighs, but according to the product details on Amazon, it only weighs 3.2 ounces, and I can’t imagine it weighs any more than that. It’s also flat, so it doesn’t take up much room in your bug-out bag, but you can roll it up and use it like a glow stick. Flat and lightweight? Yeah, I’ll be putting it in my pack.
How good is the UVPaqlite?
To be quite frank, I haven’t had it outdoors for long periods of time — especially at night — but I use it inside all the time. In fact, it has been hanging on my night stand lamp. When I go to bed to watch TV, the lamp gets turned on for a couple of hours before I actually lay down to sleep. Once I turn off the light, the UVPaqlite glows bright enough for me to see my night stand and lights the way to the bathroom (the door to the bathroom is right next to my night stand)… and yes, I still need a night light to go to the potty. Don’t judge — my “Frozen” night light hasn’t come in yet.
I haven’t had the chance to really put a timer on the light to see just exactly how long it glows, but I have woken up 6 or 7 hours after turning off the light at night, and the thing is still glowing. Mind you, it’s not glowing nearly as well as it was before I went to sleep, but enough that my sleepy eyes could see to get to the bathroom, still.
We have a walk-in closet that’s about 6′ by 8′. I’ve taken the UVPaqlite in there and closed the door, and you can easily see everything in the closet well enough to know exactly what it is. In fact, you can read by it from the initial glow, although I wouldn’t sit down to read Bushcraft 101 with it. I’d probably use a rechargeable head lamp for that.
What could you use it for?
In its simplest form, this is just a night light. Strap it to the outside of your bug-out bag or backpack through the day, let it charge by soaking up UV rays, and at night it will give off a soft glow. You can hang it inside your tent to give a low ambient light, or you can hang it from “the tree” (you know… where you “go”) to mark its location in the dark.
If you’re the kind of person that likes night fishing, you could use one to provide a little bit of light for your tackle box. Of course, you’ll still want a flashlight, but the Paqlite would provide enough light for you to see in your tackle box to find what you need. You wouldn’t have to worry about dropping it in the water, either — it’s waterproof, and it floats.
If you happen to be hiking at night for whatever reason, hang it on the back of your pack or hook it to your belt so the person behind you can see you. If it bothers you to have something that big and flat flopping around, you can actually roll the thing up, secure it with rubber bands, and use it more like a glow stick… and there are plenty of uses for glow sticks!
In a power outage, you can hang one in in the center of a room and charge it with a flashlight. Once your eyes have adjusted to the low level of light, it will put off enough of a glow for you to get around the room without tripping over something (or someone).
The Pros and Cons
No batteries, bulbs or electricity
Not bright enough to provide true “emergency lighting”
Must be charged with light (so you can’t just pull it out of your bug-out bag and use it immediately)
Fades considerably over the course of a few hours
Final Thoughts on the UVPaqlite
Before I wrap up, I did want to tell you about the other products I got from UVPaqlite — the UVGloStik and GIDS (Glow In the Dark Spots). They glow just as bright as the Paqlite does, but with their small sizes, they don’t put off the same amount of light. I wouldn’t use them for ambient lighting in a tent, but you could mark a trail or certain spots in the camp. If you’re camping under a new moon, and the fire is nothing but coals, the spots and UVGlostick will help cut through the pitch black night.
The Glow In the Dark Spots are about 1½” in diameter. They come with two-sided adhesive mounting squares, but you could also use poster putty, glue, nails, or some other method to stick it where you want it. In fact, you could even drill a hole in it and put it on a piece of 550 paracord to wear like a necklace.
The UVGlostick is a 4″ solid piece of epoxy with the glow crystals inside. It’s very similar to their Tooblite and is closer to the traditional glow stick than the Paqlite or GIDS.
I have the UVGlostik hanging on the outside of my bug-out bag, and the Glow In the Dark Spots are inside my pack. The UVPaqlite has definitely earned its spot amongst my gear, too.