Model: Packlite Nova
Our take We’re big fans of LuminAID’s inflatable solar lanterns, which have been used in disaster zones around the world. With the Packlite Nova, the company made a good thing better by upping the output from 65 lumens to 75 and redesigning it from a pillow shape into an easy-to-handle, flat-pack cube. Strap it to the outside of your pack and it fully recharges in about 10 hours, even under partial cloud cover. When it’s time to use it, pull the two sides of the Nova apart and it mostly inflates itself; top it off with one breath. On a rainy trek in Colombia’s Páramo de Ocetá, one 5-ounce lantern put out enough soft white light for dinner and domino games in our group’s eight-person teepee. A full charge nets up to 24 hours of light on the lowest setting. Coming April 1: a version that can recharge via USB, too.
Trail cred “We were completely socked in all day,” one tester says, “but the solar panel still pulled in enough power to give us a few hours of light.”