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Reviews > Lighting > Lanterns > Solight Design SolarPuff > Test Report by Michael Pearl

SOLIGHT-DESIGN SOLARPUFF
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - June 25, 2016
FIELD REPORT - September 04, 2016
LONG TERM REPORT - November 03, 2016

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 42
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 3 IMAGE 2

Manufacturer: Solight Design, Inc
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: www.solight-design.com
MSRP: US$30
Listed Weight: 2.6 oz (74 g)
Measured Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g)

Description: The SolarPuff is a solar rechargable, flat packable, quick pop open, light cube.

Specifications:
10 LED (60 Lumen at low, 90 Lumen at high)
Battery: Lithium Polymer (solar charged)
Size: 4-1/3 in (11 cm) open
Material: PET, PP

Charging: 8 hours of direct sun provides 8 - 12 hours of light IMAGE 4
Other Details: Charge battery in off position with solar panel toward the sun
Water resistant
PCV Free
Recommended storage 32 - 82 F (0 - 28 C)
Properly dispose of battery
Keep out of reach of small children

Warranty: One year for light function only
Made in China
The Solarpuff is invented and designed by Alice Min Soo Chun.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The SolarPuff arrived folded flat in a reusable, resealable package. The package contains all product and use information needed to operate the SolarPuff. The light itself looks nothing like a light. It reminds me of a miniature version of a lunchbag. It does have a intriguing curious draw to it. It's the kind of object I want to pick up and see what it is all about.

On one side of the SolarPuff is the solar panel. The other five are a clear, flexible plastic with a white threads running through it in various directions. The white thread kind of looks like twine, this gives the Solarpuff a lampshade like appearance when open. There are ten LED's arranged in a circle on the opposite side of the solar panel, inside the cube.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

IMAGE 5The instructions are basic and brief. Between two illustrations and a few lines of text on the back of the package all is explained. The SolarPuff is rather intuitive, the instructions are more or less needed to define duration of charge and light provided.

TRYING IT OUT

After charging the SolarPuff for 8 hours I pulled the handle while holding the base then gently squeezed it into shape. A push of the on/off button located in the center of the solar panel turns the light on. The light was immediate and bright. A second push noticeably brightened the light. While a third push makes the light flash on and off. One more push turns the light off. Returning the SolarPuff to its flat storable shape is also easy. I place my hands to the left and right of the handle, handle up and down between my hands, fingertips on the panel and thumbs on handle side, squeeze the top and bottom while poking the sides in. The SolarPuff collapses back to original shape.

The entire process is quick, easy and kinda fun. The light is sufficient for safely walking around my backyard in the dark or reading the instructions on the SolarPuff packaging. I ran the Solarpuff at the low setting for four intervals of varying duration for a total of 13 hours. At hour 13 the light turned off. I was able to turn it back on but it appeared dimmer. At this point I set it back out to recharge.

SUMMARY

IMAGE 6
The SolarPuff is very neat. It's easy to use simplistic design appeals to me. I like that it's practical and functional. The light that it produces is bright and pleasant. Being light, packable, and solar the SolarPuff seems like a perfect fit for my backpacking needs. After using a headlamp for so many years, I am very excited to see how I get along with the Solarpuff.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Overnight at Mt Moosilauke - Benton, New Hampshire - 7.5 mi (12 km) 2400 from to 4803 ft (730 to 1464 m). Temperature 60 F (16 C) cloudy with intermittent light rain. Pack weight 30 lbs (13.6 kg).

Six days and nights on the Long Trail - Vermont - 107 mi (172 km) from 600 to 4000 ft (180 to 1219 m). Temperature range 45 to 85 F (7 to 29 C) with sun, clouds and light misting rain. Pack weight 35 lbs at heaviest to 20 lbs at lightest (16 to 9 kg).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 1



At Mt Moosilauke the family and I all shared one bunk room for the night. The kiddo's bedtime is shortly after dark. So this meant several hours in a dark room before my wife and I were sleepy. We spent several hours reading by the low light setting of the SolarPuff. The light was enough to comfortably read by but not enough to disturb the kids sleep.

On the Long Trail inside of the shelters it gets pretty dark before the evening light fades. I used the SolarPuff every evening to review my map of the days travel and plan the next days while in my sleeping bag. In the early dawn hour I used the light to check my space in the shelter for any stray items while packing up. If shining the light away from others it wasn't bright enough to disturb anyone. However when shining on the floor towards my neighbor I put the SolarPuff inside a T-shirt to help diffuse the light. I also used the SolarPuff to help find my way to the privy at night for one last visit before bedding down. One morning I left camp extra early in order to see the sunrise from a nearby fire tower. I used the SolarPuff to light my way along the 0.3 mi (0.5 km) hike. I passed the sternum strap of my pack through the handle on the SolarPuff. At first it was hard to see the trail as the light shines in all directions. It took some adjusting IMAGE 2to get the SolarPuff to sit so it would shine away from me. After hanging my bandana over the top and sides of the SolarPuff my eyes were able to properly adjust. The light was enough to illuminate the trail a few steps ahead. I was able to comfortably hike predawn by the light of the Solarpuff.

The total time of light provided after the second charge of the SolarPuff has been approximately eight hours. I have not recharged the Solarpuff since charging in my Initial Report. The SolarPuff has packed away nicely in my pack. When folded flat it slides in and out of my pack easily. It remains fully functional and shows no signs of wear or damage. Almost every evening on the Long Trail there was interest in and questions about the SolarPuff. Most were very intrigued about hiking battery free. Or maybe they liked bumming the light without needed to use their headlamp. Either way most liked the SolarPuff.

SUMMARY

The SolarPuff has served me well during field testing. I do not do much night hiking. My primary use of lighting while backpacking is in camp. So the SolarPuff fits my needs very well. I enjoy using it and not worrying about batteries. I did bring a headlamp as back up on my Long Trail hike. But I always bring a back up light of some kind. I think two small changes would improve the SolarPuffs level of use. I would like a red light for use in group night settings. And the relocation of the handle strap to the solar panel side so it could shine forward when fastened to something. Overall the SolarPuff is a clever, useful solution to nighttime lighting.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Overnight at Mt Moosilauke - Benton, New Hampshire - 10 mi (16 km) from 1600 to 4800 ft (488 to 1463 m). Temperature 45 to 65 F (7 to 18 C) and cloudy with steady wind and mist at the summit. Pack weight 30 to 40 lb (14 to 18 kg).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I made it out one more time with the SolarPuff. The family and I hiked Mt. Moosilauke again. But this time we visited the opposite side of the mountain and camped trailside in a tent. My kids and wife all liked the SolarPuff. We passed it around the tent so we could each read the map and discuss the next days hike. I then hung the SolarPuff in the top of tent. We have a bedtime tent ritual we call making your nest. This is arranging anything you might need in the middle of the night, hat, sweater, tissue or stuffed animal. The SolarPuff cast enough light that we could all see very clearly our space and items in it. The kids really like the blinking feature of the light. We had a little disco groove party before calling for quiet time. The SolarPuff proved useful and fun on this last trip.

IMAGE 1

SUMMARY

The SolarPuff has been fun to test. It is not a super bright lamp suitable for night hiking. It is plenty of light for lighting a shelter be it tent, trail shelter or small room. The SolarPuff was also adequate for finding my way to the privy in the woods after dark. It is durable, easy to use, easy to pack, rechargeable and best of all requires no batteries. At the time of writing this report the SolarPuff remains in good working order with no signs of wear. I will continue to use the SolarPuff to supply light while in camp on my future outings.

This concludes my Long-Term Report. Thank you to Solight Designs and Backpackgeartest.org for making this test series possible.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Lighting > Lanterns > Solight Design SolarPuff > Test Report by Michael Pearl



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