Luminaid Packlite Max USB… One of Kind Lamp For the Outdoors
Designed for disaster relief, perfect for the outdoors.
Hurricane Isaac left most of Haiti with no power, no light and little hope. As a part of the recovery effort, Luminaid sent 1000 lanterns that charged during the day and lit shelters, aid stations, and homes at night. The Luminaid Packlite Max USB is their latest version with a new USB charging option and enough power to light a 200 square foot space. It’s waterproof, floats, packs small and has a ton of power, perfect for the outdoors. So we bought one and put it to the test.
Our Take: Unique, powerful light without the glare. Throws enough light to take all your adventures well into the night.
The Good: Waterproof, floats, packs small, powerful LED’s, rechargeable, inexpensive.
The Bad: Lightweight and blows around
Overall Rating: 5/5
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What we liked…
No Batteries Required
Recharge with the solar panel or USB port.
Larger and more powerful than the original Packlite, the Max USB has the same solar panel system that charges while you’re making the most of your day so it’s ready to light the night when you get back. Plug it into your car with the USB cable and it will fully charge on your drive to the camp. The battery has a total life of about 10,000 hours which is over 400 days of use, not bad. If you get that much out of if it you’ve gotten your $30 worth.
Press the battery indicator light to see how much juice the battery has left. When the red light that looks like a sun is lit you know the battery is actively charging.
Rechargeable lights are super versatile but don’t have a great reputation for long battery life. We tested each of the four power settings and the emergency flashing light to see if you’ll really get what Luminaid is advertising.
Here are the run times from Luminaid’s website….
Each power setting was tested, with the exception of the flashing emergency setting. We found that the actual run time at each setting was in the middle of the ranges the company advertised. In turbo the light ran for 3 hours and 42 minutes. On high we were able to get 7 hours and 8 minutes and on medium the light ran for over 16 hours. What’s interesting about the LED’s used in the Luminaid lights is that they seem to run at power and then just shut off when the battery is out of juice. Many lights, including some in our Best LED Camp Lights Under $30, fade and dim as the battery runs out. That didn’t happen with the Luminaid Packlite Max, which is nice.
It’s Waterproof and Floats Like a Beachball
If you’re into water sports this is your light! It improves your visibility on the water and bobs like a cork, so there’s almost no chance of losing it if it goes in the drink.
The translucent bag is made of a heavy material that feels like a beach ball and with thick, welded seams the Packlite Max USB is durable and very waterproof. Inflate it by blowing into the valve on the bottom.
A dunk test in our local lake proved that it stands up to being fully submerged for several minutes. No leaks, no issues!
Great Power Without the Glare
This is where the Packlite Max outshines.. pun intended.
Powered by eight, individual LED bulbs throwing off 165 lumens, the Luminaid Packlite Max has plenty of power. The translucent bag throws the light 360 degrees, great visibility on the trail or on the water. Compared to other lights that throw light in a narrow range, the Packlite Max creates a bright glow that is more powerful than other lights.
Packs Light and Small
Fully inflated the Packlite Max USB is a 6″ x 6″ cube, but deflated and compressed it stands only an inch high. About as this as a ham sandwich. It easily tucks into a side pocket or can be strapped to the top of your kayak so it keeps charging while you paddle. Weighing in at only 8.4 oz you will hardly know it’s there.
If weight isn’t a big concern you can bring several of them with you, they pack flat and stack easily. You can fit 6 of these lights in a six by six space. That’s a ton of lighting power in a small footprint.
What we didn’t like..
Handle Clasp Feels Weak
The orange handle is well thought out but feels lightweight. It acts as a handle and holds the light when it’s deflated. Three plastic clasps give you three different positions and they click together with a secure snap. Longer term I can see the plastic wearing and it losing it’s holding power. I will update this over time and let you know if this becomes a real issue.
So Light It Can Blow Around
The Packlite Max USB is very light at 8.4 ounces, and shaped like a square beach ball. In windy conditions it can get blown right off the table. If you flip it over, so the heavy side is down, it definitely helps anchor it. Whatever you do, don’t let it get away from you on the lake. It floats and will blow halfway across the lake.
Wrapping it Up
A beacon in a sea of camp lanterns! Sorry, I couldn’t resist another pun. Powerful, rechargeable, lightweight, packable, waterproof and inflatable. There’s nothing like it on the market and once you use it, you will realize why it’s gotten so popular with paddlers, fisherman and boaters.
Other New Products from Luminaid
Since the launch of their first Packlite lantern, Luminaid has come out with bigger and better lights with more features and more power. Their newest model, the Packlite Max 2 in 1 Phone Charger, adds the ability to charge not only the light but also your smartphone to 100%.