Inflatable, lightweight LED camping lights with built-in solar panels.

This review is part of our New Brands Gear Guide.

By Chris Townsend

With “the goal of making an affordable clean energy product that people could use in any situation — from outdoor camping adventures to backyard parties to everyday living for people in developing countries without electricity” New York company Mpowerd has set itself ambitious aims. So far it’s fulfilling them, too – having sent lights to over 100 countries since the company started in 2012. It says that its non-profit partners use the lights for search and rescue, disaster relief, education initiatives and for families without access to electricity. The various uses of the lights can be followed in the excellent blog on the Mpowerd website.

The products available to walkers and campers are a range of inflatable, lightweight LED camping lights that have built-in solar panels and lithium-ion batteries. The latter can also be charged from the mains or a power pack. There’s also a build-your-own solar light kit designed for children to learn about the principles involved, “using a blend of exciting guided activities, science lessons and historical factoids”.

mpowerd.com

Tested: Mpowerd Luci Pro Outdoor 2.0

£34.95 / 173g

This last winter I’ve been trying the Luci Pro Outdoor 2.0 light and I have to say I’ve fallen in love with it! It’s amazingly bright (there are 10 LEDs), light (173g) and compact when packed. As well as lighting a tent – when I’ve turned down the brightness – I’ve also used it for walking and found it surprisingly good.

It’s the best backpacking lantern I’ve ever used.

Full review here