Monday, November 07, 2016

Gear Closet: Power Practical Luminoodle Plus Camp Lights

Beyond a shadow of a doubt technology has had a major impact on modern life. Now more than ever we use a host of gadgets and devices designed to make our daily lives simpler and more enjoyable. So, it seems only natural that technology would have an impact on our favorite outdoor activities too, and one of the more obvious places where that is happening is around the campsite. Now days, when we set up camp, either in the backcountry or just off the road, we bring a number of devices along with us. Everything from smartphones and wireless speakers to drones and 4k cameras are apart of our standard gear. But one area where technology has had an undeniable impact is in the options for camp lighting. The iconic Coleman lantern has been replaced with a number of other options, many of which provide some high-tech options that simply weren't available in the past.

One such product is the Luminoodle Plus from Power Practical. This all-in-one kit includes a string of the company's Luminoodle LED lights, as well at its Lithium 4400 USB power pack. This gives you everything you need to light up your tent, or an area around the campsite, all in one lightweight, easy to use package. 

For those who haven't seen a Luminoodle before, it is a five-foot (1.5 meter) length of plastic cord with a series of LED lights inside. Those lights are capable of putting off as much as 180 lumens of light, and can pretty much be hung from just about anything, including a tree-branch, the interior of a tent, or across a couple of trekking poles with the help of the included plastic ties. Those lights provide a soft glow that isn't blinding in any way, but provides plenty of illumination to help you see in the dark. An included carrying bag can also be used to diffuse the light to a degree, turning the Lumindoodle into a makeshift lantern of sorts. 

One of end of the string of lights includes a standard USB plug, which is used to power the LED lights. That plug slides into a USB port on the Lithium 4400 battery pack, which – unsurprisingly – comes with a 4400 mAh battery inside. This gives it the ability to illuminate the lights for hours at a time, providing a nice power source even for longer camping outings. The same battery pack comes with four built in LEDs as well, which allows it to serve as a mini-lantern in times of ned. It can also be used to recharge other small devices – such as a smartphone – although that will eat into the amount of juice you'll have left to fire up the Luminoodle in the evenings too. 

In terms of weight, size, and simplicity, it is really tough to beat this set up. This is about as easy as camp lighting gets, as you simply plug in the strip of lights and it they spring to life, bringing a nice source of light with them. While they do come in handy around the campsite itself – and hammock campers will definitely love them – I personally like using the lights on the inside of a tent, where they provide enough lumens to comfortable read by, without causing a blinding glare that makes it tough to see. 

The Luminoodle itself is surprisingly durable. The LED's themselves are wrapped in protective plastic, Power Practical says they are waterproof down to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. That ought to be enough to allow them to survive getting dropped in a stream or left out in the open when a rainstorm hits. 

The best part about the Luminoodle Plus is that it truly has everything you need to start using these lights right away. But, that said, you can purchase the Luminoodle separately ($19.99) and power them with your own USB battery pack if you prefer. After all, most of us are already carrying one to keep our device charged already, so this is a nice, convenient way to power the lights and extend the use of your battery pack too. 

In the weeks ahead we're going to see an increasing number of interesting camp lighting solutions coming our way. Some of these new high-tech lanterns have some fantastic features that will be a welcome addition to our backpacking excursions. But, if you're looking for something that is easy to use, and is small and lightweight enough to take anywhere, it really is tough to beat the Luminoodle. This is an elegant solution for illuminating dark environments, and you'll probably find a number of ways that you can use them beyond just camping. 

The Luminoodle Plus kit sells for $39.99, which makes it a great gift for the holiday season ahead. If you have a camper, backpacker, or adventure traveler in your life, they'll love finding this product in their stocking. 

Find out more at PowerPractical.com

No comments: