5 Portable Solar Lights for Emergencies, Camping and Life

© Margaret Badore. Margaret Badore.

Efficient LED lights and lightweight solar panels are a match made in low-carbon heaven. In the past decade, solar panels have gotten small enough to fit in a purse and LEDs can burn bright for hundreds of hours. So, if you’re looking for a portable solar light to take camping, keep on hand in case of a power outage, or just to light up a space without plugging into the grid, here are some cool designs to consider.

SolarPuff lantern

Alice Chun/Video screen capture

Solar Puff

In addition to using a renewable light source, solar lamps have the potential to offer a big air quality improvement in areas where they’re replacing kerosene lamps. Alice Min Soo Chun designed the Solar Puff to be both a replacement for kerosene lamps and a beautiful object inspired by origami. “Even when you’re impoverished, you still appreciate beauty and design,” Chun told TreeHugger.

The Solar Puff packs flat, and can be “puffed” instantly. The light weighs 2.3 ounces and its body is made with recyclable PET. The battery charges fully in about eight hours and the lights last for eight to 12 hours per charge. It has three settings: low, high, and flashing.

$30.00 on solight-design.com


© LuminAID


The LuminAID got its start with a crowdfunding campaign back in 2011, and today offers a few different design options. The LuminAID PackLite16 shown here folds into a small, flat package that weighs 2.9 ounces. It has four light settings: high, medium, low and flashing. You inflate it by blowing into a valve, and its battery fully charges in seven to ten hours for up to thirty hours of light on the lowest setting. LuminAID also offers a different design that unfolds and doesn’t require any lung-power to blow up.

$24.95 on Luminaid.com

Luci Original


Luci by MPOWERD’s

MPOWERD’s Luci solar lights come in a range of different sizes, from the pocket-sized “Luci EMRG” to the larger "Luci Lux." The larger lamps also come in a number of different color options, so you can pick the one that matches your decor or just tickles your fancy. The "Luci Original" (shown above) has three settings (bright, “super bright,” and flashing) and weighs 4 ounces. It charges in eight hours of direct sunlight, and lasts for up to 12 hours per charge.

$9.99 to $24.99 on mpowerd.com

O'Sun Nomad in violet, blue, orange, green

© O'Sun

O’Sun Nomad

If you’re looking for something that’s bigger and a little more like a traditional lamp, the O’Sun Nomand designed by Alain Gilles is one solar option. A bit pricier, this lamp can be charged either with a wall plug-in, in your car or with a separate 5 watt solar panel. The lamp has three brightness settings, and the solar panel can fully charge the battery in about six hours. It comes in six colors: violet, blue, green, orange, brown and black.

$125.00 on o-sun.net

Greenlight Planet Sun King Pro Solar LED light

© Greenlight Planet

Sun King Pro

The Sun King Pro from Greenlight Planet is another light with a separate 2.7 watt solar-charging panel. However, it also has the added benefit of a USB-charging port for your phone and other devices. The light has both a battery indicator and a solar meter display, which tells you if the charger is getting enough sun to charge properly. The small light has a strap for hand-held use, and comes with a stand to be used as a more traditional desk lamp.

$79.95 on greenlightplanet.com