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Reviews > Lighting > Lanterns > MPOWERD Luci Light > Test Report by Frances Penn

LUCI SOLAR POWERED LED LIGHT
TEST SERIES BY FRANCES PENN
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 01, 2013

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Frances Penn
EMAIL: fpenn AT sbcglobal DOT net
AGE: 56
LOCATION: Santa Ana, California
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for six years mostly on long weekends in Southern California with two or more 5-day trips per year in the Sierras. My total daypack weight, including food and water, is usually 15 lb (7 kg) and my total backpack weight, including food and water, is usually 26-30 lb (12-14 kg) depending on the need for a bear canister. I have recently converted to a tarp, bivy and quilt sleeping system instead of a tent. I have experienced all night rain, hail, heavy winds, camping in snow once, but mostly fair weather.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: MPOWERD
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: www.mpowerd.com
MSRP: $24.95 US
Listed Weight: 4.5 oz (128 g)
Measured Weight: 4.5 oz (128 g)
Diameter: 5 in (12 cm)
Height: 1 in (2.5 cm) collapsed
Height: 4 in (10 cm) open
Open Panel Dimension: 3.35 in (9 cm) by 3.35 in (9 cm)
Ten White Light Emitting Diodes with 4000 mcd light source

Luci is a waterproof inflatable solar powered lantern that has two brightness settings and one emergency flashing setting. Luci has a one year warranty with an expected lifespan of 2-3 years depending on use. Luci provides 80 lumens of LED bright light creating 15 square feet (1.30 sq m) of light on the brightest light setting. Eight hours of charge time yields 6-12 hours of light. A single charge will last up to three months if not used. The rechargeable lithium polymer battery pack can be charged while collapsed or expanded and will charge under direct sunlight and incandescent light. With direct sunlight, Luci charges quicker and more efficiently. The storage temperature should be between -20 to 28 C (36-50 F), not to exceed 60 C (108 F). Luci is able to retain 50% of its charge for two years if inactive.

IMAGE 1
packaging

IMAGE 2
battery

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Luci arrived in a simple cardboard sleeve with product information printed on both sides. The directions indicate to pull out the inflation mouthpiece and blow into it to inflate the light. Since the light can be charged whether inflated or not, it doesn't matter if the light is charged prior to or after being inflated. I had to squeeze the inflation mouthpiece tube to get air into the light. I put the light on the kitchen counter under incandescent light for an hour and then pushed the button to light the lantern. The first push gives the lower lantern setting, the second push gives the brighter lantern setting and the third push gives the flashing light and one more push turns off the lantern. The silver circular part above the LEDs in the top of the light reflects the light back down to the LEDs. The on/off button is easy to push. The inflation mouthpiece cover is a tight fit and requires a little pushing and pulling to get in or out of the mouthpiece. The light is easy to inflate with two mouthfuls of air. The light is also easy to deflate by squeezing the mouthpiece to let the air escape with one hand and pushing it closed with the other hand at the same time. There is a slight hint of fog from my breath after blowing up the light, but it dissipates in a minute or two. I will pay special attention to see if any moisture builds up over time from blowing up the light.
IMAGE 3
fully inflated

SUMMARY

So far Luci is a neat little light that is easy to operate and fun to play with. I can't wait to get Luci out on the trail. I will be paying special attention to the best method of fastening Luci to the outside of my pack during the day to ensure light at night in camp for cooking.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Trip #1:
Joshua Tree National Park, California USA
Elevation: 5,000 ft (1,500 M)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Trail Conditions: sandy desert partial use trail and partial off trail with some rocky portions
Temperatures: 50 to 85 F (10-29 C)
Weather: partly cloudy with increasing wind the first day, total clouds the second day

Trip #2:
Location: Cedar Glen campground in the Baldy area, California USA
Elevation: 6,000 ft (1,800 M)
Trip Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Trail Conditions: dirt trail with some steep rocky sections
Temperatures: 50 to 85 F (10-29 C)
Weather: partly cloudy with light drizzles and fog the first night, sunny then cooler and windy the second day

Trip #3:
Location: Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, California USA
Elevation: 4,640 ft (1,400 M)
Trip Duration: 7 days, 6 nights
Trail Conditions: dirt forest trail with lots of rocky steps and boulders to step on or avoid
Temperatures: 50 to 85 F (10-29 C)
Weather: mostly sunny with one evening of light drizzles

Trip #4:
Location: Little Jimmy Campground on the way to Baden-Powell, San Gabriel Mountains, California, USA
Elevation: 7,000 ft (2,100 M)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Trail Conditions: dirt forest trail with some rocky portions
Temperatures: 50 to 85 F (10-29 C)
Weather: mostly sunny

Trip #5:
Location: Cottonwood Lakes area, California, USA
Elevation: 11,500 ft (3,500 M)
Trip Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Trail Conditions: dirt forest trail with steep rocky portions
Temperatures: 40 to 60 F (4-15 C)
Weather: sunny days with one afternoon rain and hail storm

Trip #6:
Location: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, USA
Elevation: 1,700 ft (518 M)
Trip Duration: 3 days, 2
Trail Conditions: dirt forest trail with a few short steep rocky portions
Temperatures: 50 to 80 F (10-26 C)
Weather: foggy mornings turning into sunny days

Trip #7:
Location: Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp backpackers campground Yosemite, California, USA
Elevation: 8,000 ft (2,400 M)
Trip Duration: 7 days, 6 nights
Trail Conditions: dirt forest trail with some steep rocky portions
Temperatures: 40 to 80 F (4-26 C)
Weather: sunny with some cloudy afternoons and two afternoon rainstorms


While the light was tied to the outside of my pack, my friends hiking behind me on the Joshua Tree trip were commenting that I was being powered by solar power which would explain why I was hiking in front of them so fast. The comments made everyone curious about the lantern that night at happy hour. I turned on the lantern and placed it on the trash bag "tablecloth" during our happy hour dinner. It created a nice ambiance much like a candle, which I like while out on the trail.

On the first evening of the Cedar Glen trip, I tied the lantern to a tree branch and turned the light on the bright setting. We then walked to another area of camp for a nightcap on the other side of some bushes where we were not able to see the light. Upon returning to our tents after dark, the lantern acted as a beacon to lead us back to our camp and helped to light our way as we walked among the large rocks in the area.

After a full day of backpacking and day hiking on the second day of the Cedar Glen trip, most of my friends were so tired after dinner that they went to bed well before dark. After some begging and pleading, I was finally able to talk a few of my friends into staying up past sunset to test the brightness of the lantern and assist with the pictures in camp. Once the pictures were taken, everyone then retired to bed quickly. We turned on the light and tied it to a tree branch all night to act as a night light for bathroom calls. I turned the light on the lowest setting at 8:00 p.m. and I turned it off at 6:00 a.m. the next morning. Since the sun had just come up, I wasn't able to determine the brightness of the lantern, but the LEDs were still showing light.

IMAGE 1
close-up in tree at Cedar Glen


IMAGE 2
overview of camp and light in tree


On the Hetch Hetchy trip, the picture of the lantern by the camp fire was taken at approximately 10 feet (3 M) away. Everyone agreed the lantern is a great design for a backpacking lantern. We took turns using the lantern to go back to our tents to retrieve our headlamps that were forgotten in the evening light prior to dinner. I found the lantern light to be more diffused when sitting the lantern upside down with the LEDs on the underside of the top side.

IMAGE 3
by the campfire at Hetch Hetchy


On the Cottonwood Lakes trip, I tied the lantern to a tree near our tents. I left it there all day and it endured an afternoon rain and hail storm. Once the rain and hail stopped, I turned on the light to see if the water may have damaged it. The LEDs lighted in all three settings.

On the Big Basin trip, I tied the lantern to a tree when we went to bed so it would act as a nightlight for bathroom calls. The lantern provided just enough light so that I didn't need my headlamp for nighttime bathroom calls. Just one more advantage of this lantern.

On the Glen Aulin trip, the lantern acted as our "campfire" to give us something to gather around as the evening approached. I placed the lantern on the ground upside down so the LEDs were facing down. This provided a softer light rather than looking directly at the LEDs.



PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The light is fun to use and very easy to operate. Most of my friends want to purchase their own lantern. This is the perfect camp nightlight for backpacking. No batteries make for a lightweight lantern that is versatile in camp. I really like being able to tie it to the outside of my pack while hiking to the next location while it charges in the sunlight. This feature makes the lantern preferable to other lanterns with batteries that add more weight to my backpack.

Having used other lanterns, I find this lantern to be very versatile for only 4.5 oz (128 g). One of the best things about the lantern is that I didn't have to worry about buying and carrying extra traditional heavy batteries or wondering when they would run out. The ease of charging the lantern during the day makes this my preferred camp lantern for backpacking trips. I am so glad the manufacturer thought to have it tested in a backpacking setting.

SUMMARY

I have found my new favorite lantern for future backpacking trips. I feel lucky to have been chosen to test this awesome lantern that is also fun to use. A lot of conversations were started by someone hiking behind me who wondered what was tied to the outside of my pack. I will continue to use this lantern until it wears out which I hope will be many more years.

This test series is now concluded. Thank you to MPowerd and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of MPOWERD Inc. gear
Read more gear reviews by Frances Penn

Reviews > Lighting > Lanterns > MPOWERD Luci Light > Test Report by Frances Penn



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