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The PackLite 16 emergency and utility solar lantern from LuminAid is an inflatable, solar-powered light that was originally designed to provide disaster relief for dangerous night-time conditions following the earthquake in Haiti. LuminAid lights have been used across the globe as part of the Give Light, Get Light programme, and the company have worked with NGOs such as UNAIDS and Medecins Sans Frontiers to distribute a clean, safe, renewable source of light to those most in need.

The LuminAid PackLite is a great idea for campers, hikers and backpackers too. When uninflated it folds down into a small, lightweight package that can be charged up during the day to provide a light source that will last all night.

We tested a LuminAid PackLite lantern during a weekend of camping. It's quick to inflate and works straight out of the pack. The lantern has four settings: three different light strengths and a flashing light. On its brightest setting there's easily enough light to read by, while the low light setting is great for keeping on during the night. This prevents tripping over guy ropes and makes it easier to locate your tent in the dark! It's waterproof, too, so will give you a safe source of light even in wet weather.

What we love about the LuminAid PackLite is its versatility and we immediately thought of several situations, besides camping, in which it would be extremely useful. The low setting would work well as a night-light for young children when staying in a hotel room. It could be hooked onto a backpack to be used, in flash mode, in case of emergency when out hiking. And having one on standby on your home is a sensible idea – no more scrabbling for torches or candles in the event of a power cut!

There are three different LuminAid designs to choose from, including the fun, multi-coloured Spectra lantern that shines in eight different colour modes. If you want to give the gift of light to those in need you can opt for the Give Light, Get Light package which includes a donation to sponsor a light that will be distributed to an individual in need.

LuminAid Packlite 16 solar lantern