This Game-Changing Amazon Find Will Let You Charge Your Phone Without an Outlet (It’s Perfect for Camping!)

published May 24, 2022
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How prepared are you if there’s an emergency at home? Truth be told, I could do a whole lot better. I’ve got a first aid kit, plenty of candles, a fire extinguisher, portable chargers, and backup water, but that just scratches the surface. After dealing with Hurricane Ida in 2021, the holes in my at-home emergency preparedness kit were glaring (though my roll-out futon was so good to have at the time). My lighting, however, needed significant improvements. LuminAID, a woman-owned brand that was initially created for providing lighting in dire situations, caught my eye while I was going down a rabbit hole of Amazon products. They make inflatable lanterns that are not only helpful in emergencies, but are also useful for camping and pretty much anything outdoorsy. When I saw the LuminAID Packlite Max, a variation of the lantern that can also charge phones, I knew I had to try one for myself.

If you have visceral memories of manually blowing air into inflatable pools, don’t worry. Even though the air valve might give you flashbacks to hot summers and inner tubes that take forever to fill, the LuminAID lantern is nothing like that. It took less than a minute (only a couple of breaths) to inflate before I was able to close it up and start using it. The lantern has a solar panel at the top that charges it in 16-20 hours of direct sunlight, and can also be charged via USB in 1-2 hours with its included cord. The USB port can even be used to charge phones, tablets, cameras and more. As an iPhone user, I fortunately have an old USB charger that’s compatible with my phone, but newer models may require an adapter. On top of the lantern, there’s a power button for the light itself, a battery indicator that shows how much juice it has left before needing to recharge, an indicator light that lets you know it’s charging, and a separate button to enable power to the USB port for charging the lantern or other devices. I also love that it collapses flat (very convenient for packing), is both waterproof and shatterproof, and its handle has a dual purpose of securing the lantern while flattened so everything is kept confined.

The LuminAID Packlite Max has five brightness settings of white LED light ranging from a very bright Turbo Mode (150 lumens) to a blinking light 15 lumens). Just keep in mind that the brighter the light, the more battery it will use. I was surprised by how bright it could get, and in most cases, you likely won’t need the brightest setting. While it’s a great light source for the outdoors, whether you’re camping in the woods or hanging out in your backyard, it’s also incredibly handy for emergencies. With hurricane season approaching, I’m obviously keeping my fingers crossed for no devastating effects; but after experiencing Hurricane Ida with only my flashlight, tablet screen, and candles, I’m happy to have an actual lantern on hand just in case I’m home and lose power. The phone charger is an absolute game-changer in that scenario, especially for smartphones, because when the phone service stopped working during Ida, I was still able to reach people via the internet to let them know I was safe. A charged phone with partially-operating functions is way better than a phone that doesn’t work at all, right? Though I’m hoping for the best over the next few months, I already feel better prepared for storm season with this lantern in tow.

With its 150 lumens, the Packlite Max illuminates up to 200 square feet, but if you’d like something more powerful, there are other LuminAID lanterns that pack a bigger punch. The most powerful is the Titan, which boasts an impressive 300 lumens, can reach as far as 300 square feet, and even has a stronger port for charging devices. Additionally, the Titan has a Red Light mode that’s gentler on your eyes at night, and a Twist to Inflate feature that’s more sanitary if being used in a group setting. I’m looking into picking one up for myself to go along with my Packlite Max.

Non-device-charging LuminAID lanterns run cheaper (half the price, actually), and there’s even one with a multi-colored light that would bring some great vibes for group gatherings. LuminAID has earned major points with me, and I’ll be turning to this device for years to come. It’s undoubtedly one of my favorite products I’ve received in the past year, and one that I’ve already been recommending as often as I can.