I have several ways to light up the night while outdoors, from the common headlamp to solar-lit water bottles. For this season, however, I picked up the new LuminAID PackLite Titan, an upgrade from the company’s LuminAID Max. It’s a replacement for my beloved but aging original Luci Light—and I gotta say, it’s worth the money ($100).

First off, the 300 Lumens win over all the other solar lanterns I’ve tried. This thing will brighten up a family-sized tent enough to play shadow puppets on the canvas wall to your heart's content. When set on high, it lasts three to five hours; low 72 to 100 hours; and medium (which is the normal setting I would use) for 14 to 16 hours. It has 4000mAh battery runtime, which is a heck of a long time; I’m talking four to five nights of use before even thinking about recharging it. There are five brightness settings, a red-light mode for night vision and a flashing mode for making an SOS call. How cool is that!

bright lights for camping night hikes outdoorsLuminAID

My main comparison to the headlamp, lit-up water bottle or my trusted Luci light is the aerial light the frosted panels give off. All the others are more directional. That’s fine when you need a directional light. But I figure a lantern style light should give off a glow around you, not like something coming from the headlights of your car.

The Titan is lightweight (12.5oz) and compact. Just make sure to practice opening it up. Release the air valve, and rather than pull it out like an accordion, you twist and then pull. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. It took me awhile to figure it out, however. I am one of those typical men who refuse to read the manual of any camp gear before using it.

The handle is now adjusted with a Velcro strap. I prefer that. Their older model, and the Luci Light, had plastic that seemed likely to snap off in extreme hot and cold temperatures.

outdoors hiking foldableLuminAID

However, the main reason I picked up the LuminAID PackLite Titan is because it’s a 2-in-1 phone charger. Yes, you can charge the light with a USB cable (included), but you can also go in the opposite direction and charge things like your phone, camera, GPS. They claim it takes about two hours to charge a regular phone. I’m sure it will. However, I practiced charging more important things I need while on a backcountry trip. It took less than an hour to fully charge my Sony mirrorless comer and my GoPro. Same with the GPS and SPOT safety device. With its 4000mAh battery, it can charge a phone two or three times. Yes, that’s not as good as using a battery pack, but having the LuminAID Packlite Titan also acting as a light source makes it extra special.

The LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 Phone Charger is also waterproof, floats, squishes down for good storage, and—most importantly—is a sustainable source of energy. It was originally created to help humanitarians across the world to provide light after natural disasters. Now campers can use it as well.