This $35 inflatable waterproof solar lantern will also charge your phone

LuminAID PackLite Max Phone Charger solar lantern
© LuminAID

The inventors of the innovative LuminAID solar lantern are Kickstarting another version of their device, this time with the added feature of a charging port for portable electronics.

Back in 2011, we covered the news about LuminAID's unique solar lantern - an inflatable and waterproof lantern that packs down into an extremely small size for both packing and shipping - and over the last six years, the company has been making an impact through its "Give Light, Get Light" program, which partners with global NGOs and nonprofits to distribute LuminAID lanterns to individuals in need of a clean renewable light source. Some 40,000 lights have been distributed through the program so far.

The newest product from LuminAID, the PackLite Max Phone Charger, stays true to the design elements first introduced in the company's original product, but adds another incredibly helpful feature - the ability to charge other mobile devices. The 8.5 ounce inflatable lantern, which packs down to 1" thick and expands to a 6" x 6" x 6" cube light, is still lightweight and waterproof (and submersible to 1 meter), and can deliver up to 150 lumens of efficient illumination, and now includes an integrated 2000 mAh battery and a 5V 2.4A charging port. The battery can be charged via micro-USB input in about 1-2 hours, or via the built-in solar panel in about 12-14 hours of direct solar exposure.

The LuminAID Kickstarter campaign, which has already surpassed its initial crowdfunding goal on its first day, is offering backers the option to be one of the first to own the PackLite Max Phone Charger lantern with a $35 pledge (to be delivered sometime in March of 2017), and also includes a social good component. With mobile phones as the default mode of communication for many around the world, including refugees and displaced persons, the ability to charge those devices is almost as important as having access to a clean light source, so LuminAID has a goal of sending 500 of these lights to Syrian refugees.

"Phone charging is a capacity our nonprofit partners have been asking for quite some time, and we have seen a particularly great need for refugees fleeing Syria, who use their cell phones to stay in touch with family members, find safe passage, and tell their stories. Our nonprofit partner SCM Medical Missions is shipping a container of relief aid supplies to Jordan at the end of March, so the first shipment of sponsored PackLite 16 lights from our campaign will be delivered to Syrian refugees in Jordan through their efforts. They have experience distributing relief supplies and medical aid to refugees in Greece and Jordan, and have sent over 1,000 of our lights to Greece already."

For those who would like to have one of these inflatable solar lanterns/chargers for themselves, while also helping to supply one to a refugee family, a pledge of $75 to the campaign will do both, and for those who'd like to make a huge difference, a pledge of $450 will garner you a solar lantern/charger for yourself while also underwriting the cost of sending a box of 50 of the company's PackLite 16 lanterns to refugees. More information is available at LuminAID.

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