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by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · July 6th, 2017


Outdoor and sports stores are always looking for that next great piece of equipment, and we like to wander through them to see what's new. This solar-powered lantern is likely to be snapped up by lots of people, for camping and other purposes.

This nifty little gizmo weighs only an ounce or two. It measures 5 inches across and when inflated, is a little less than four and a half inches tall. The light comes from 10 little tiny solar units in the ceiling, and it emits no heat at all.

It folds completely flat, and therefore packs easily in a daypack or backpack. It has a strap that fastens on the top and also there is a strap across the bottom.

With the touch of a button, the light comes on, a steady glow. You can touch the same button and it's a bit brighter, touch it again and it's the brightest it can be. However, one more touch and it blinks off and on.

It can hang from the ceiling of a tent because of its light weight. It can guide someone to an outdoor restroom at night, if needed, and it can hang near a picnic table in the evening while watching the final embers of the campfire die, as well as while putting out the last remains of the fire before retiring.

This is a terrific little light, even for those who don't camp. It could go along in the car to serve as a light if you have trouble along the way after dark. You do need to expose it to light to keep it functioning.

We found this little device a few months ago at the Boy Scout shop on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids. One of the men in charge of inventory was setting up a tent exhibit and showed it to us as he worked. He was pretty excited about something this small and light weight, especially when Boy Scouts and leaders often trek back to remote locations. Backpacks usually range from 50 to 60 pounds, so whatever can lighten the load is a big help.

As seems to be the going trend at this point, the little light has a girly-girl name, sort of like that cellphone app. This one's name is Luci, although we think that is the company name.

Anyhow, even if you're 80-plus and just want an extra bit of light to hang from your patio, this one is a winner.





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