Review: Inflatable Solar Air Lantern for Emergencies

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Updated Nov 6, 2016 (Orig - Apr 3, 2015)

If there is one thing we all should be mindful of when it comes to our emergency kits it is weight.  Let me tell you this: strap more than 20 pounds on your back and unless you are an experienced backpacker or in the Army, you are not going to get very far.

For that very reason, I am always on the lookout for prepping items that are both light weight and useful.  If the usefulness extends beyond emergencies, and the item is value priced, all the better.

My latest find is a very cool inflatable Solar Air Lantern from SurvivalFrog.com.  I love it because it works and I love it more because it is affordable and fun.  Just because we are preppers does not mean we can’t like something for the fun of it, right?

Gear Review & Giveaway - Solar Air Lantern - Backdoor Survival

But the best part?  I have 10, that’s right, 10 for you in this week’s gear giveaway.  That means 10 readers will win an inflatable Solar Air Lantern.  Want to learn more?

The Inflatable Solar Lantern from Survival Frog

When you first get your solar air lantern, it won’t seem like much.  Deflated, it is only about an inch tall and five inches across.  At just 4 ounces, it is indeed light weight.  It might seem insignificant and toy-like but nothing could be further from the truth.

Solar Air Lantern  Charging Panel - Backdoor Survival

After taking it out of its package, all you need to do set the solar lantern out in the sun, at a sunny window, or even under an incandescent light, to fully charge up. Mine appeared to be fully charged right out of the package but just to be safe, I set it outside on a overcast day for eight hours so I could be confident in my testing.

Solar Air Lantern before blowing it up - Backdoor Survival

To inflate the lantern, you flip open the top flapper-thingy and blow it up, much like a beach ball.  It does take a few puffs to get it totally inflated  but once done, I found it stays that way as long as you tuck the flapper under the ridge along the side of the opening.  Curiously, this area is marked “squeeze”.

My Solar Air Lanterns have been  inflated for 3 weeks and still looks the same as the day they were blown up.

The specifications indicate that the 10 super-bright LEDS in the Solar Air Lantern will yield 6 to 12 hours of light when fully charged.  There are three modes, low, bright, and strobe/emergency flasher mode.  I wanted to get maximum longevity during my testing so I turned the lantern on “low” and kept it there until the light was no longer usable.

Circle of Light from the Solar Air Lantern - Backdoor Survival

The good news is that 15 hours later, the light was still usable.  The bad news?  Can’t think of anything because as I write this, it has been close to 22 hours and by switching to “bright”, I still have plenty of light to read by in a darkened room.

Solar Air Lantern on Bug Out Bag - Backdoor Survival

The Solar Air Lantern has a handle on each side that canbe used for hanging purposes.  Above you will see where I attached it to my bug out bag where it will charge while I am on the move.  But what about usability?  Read on.

11 Ways to Use the Inflatable Solar Lantern

I thought it would be fun to think of all of the ways the Solar Air Lantern could be used in an emergency situation.  Here is what I came up with.

  1. Brighten a room during a power outage
  2. Light up the electrical box when the breaker flips
  3. Illuminate the inside of a tent
  4. Campground lighting
  5. Use as an accessory light in your vehicle when stranded at night (and thus prevent running down car battery)
  6. Strap to bug out bag to light up the trail
  7. Find your way to the out-house or latrine at night
  8. Signal for help (using the strobe/emergency flasher)
  9. String around a porch or deck to brighten the outside of your home and keep the bad guys away
  10. Spotlight when changing a tire in the dark
  11. Provide a night light to the kiddos when they are frightened by a storm

plus #12. Toss around and play catch at the beach.  Okay, with this one I am just kidding!

There are probably at least a dozen other emergency uses but I am going to let you tell me about them in the giveaway!

The Giveaway

In the event your forgot, there will be 10 winners, thanks for the generosity of the nice folks at Survival FrogTo enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

I found the Solar Air Lantern to be extremely versatile, mostly due to its light weight and extreme longevity with a single charge.  Because it is waterproof and completely powered by the sun, it can be used anywhere, no batteries required.

Plus, as I mentioned in the beginning, the Solar Air Lantern is value priced less than $20.  Trust me, this solar light source is a keeper.  Please enter the giveaway; I want you to win!!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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[related-posts]

Bargain Bin:  I carry my portable survival kit whenever I leave the house.  The nice thing about it is that it fits neatly in a pocket, day pack, glove box, or handbag.  If you are interested in more details or need assistance building your own kit, see 8 Essential Items: The Perfect Portable Survival Kit.  In the meantime, here are some items you should consider carrying with you as you travel near and afar.

BIC Classic Lighters (12): A dozen full size BIC lighters at a bargain price with free shipping.

Paracord Lanyard:  I prefer a paracord lanyard over a bracelet because I can use it’s clip to attach my whistle as well as other items that I may want to add from time to time such as a second flashlight, a Swiss army knife, pepper spray, or a flash drive (thumb drive).

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: One of my readers (James) claimed that these work great. So I bought one. Then I bought another.  All told, I have 8 of these spread out in drawers, in my emergency kits, the car, everywhere.

Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.

Windstorm Safety Whistle: This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.  I love my cheapie whistles but this is the one I would depend on for wilderness survival.

Lavender Essential Oil:  This is the Swiss army knife of essential oils. My favorite lavender oil is from Spark Naturals.  Enjoy a 10% discount with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL.

Rectangular Tin with Window: I found this tin that is very similar to mine on Amazon.com.  Chances are you have something similar already that can be repurposed for free.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  Too large for a pocket kit but important to have with you is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter.  At only 2 ounces (in weight), the LifeStraw is suitable for a backpack or bug out bag.  It is easy to use and requires no chemicals to remove a  minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.

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Updated Nov 6, 2016
Published Apr 3, 2015

128 Responses to “Review: Inflatable Solar Air Lantern for Emergencies”

  1. I don’t believe you can ever have enough light. So many times I’ve need light and had to find one.

    Reply
  2. Great Item. I hope it is durable

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  3. The solar light looks so pretty that even when the power is on I would turn off the lights and have a romantic dinner with my husband using the light as a table centerpiece♥♥♥

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  4. Our grandchildren stay with us often and they would love to have this available in a power outage

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  5. I would use it as a light to see with when I take my dog outside at night.

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  6. I would love to try this solar light. It is useful and pretty!

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  7. The original inflatable solar lantern was invented by 2 young ladies as a class project to invent something that would be helpful to the earthquake victims in Haiti. They developed their idea and now own a company called LuminAID. Pretty cool, huh? I own a couple of the original LuminAIDs and the are so useful as a tent light hanging from the topic the tent.

    Reply
  8. Another very cool item offered by BDS. I can see several uses other than a “survival” item. I think our grand kids would love to play with this at night in the pool. And survival frog provided 10 of these. Awesome. Kudos to you and survival frog for providing such an interesting piece of kit.

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  9. I love the idea of this product and don’t think you can ever have enough light or light sources. Flashlights, candles, lanterns, and solar – it would be nice to have as many options as possible and this would be great for the GOOD bag. Thanks for introducing and then sharing so many great products!!! And thanks to Survival Frog

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  10. Appears to be a great item

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  11. i will use it during a power outage.

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  12. A ‘bright’ idea! Would love one!

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  13. Do some looking before you buy, I got mine at Best Buy from a kiosk next to the check out. They were $10 each. A quick google search found them that cheap. I love mine.

    Tex

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  14. I’m so amazed at the inventions available for lighting, fire starting and just plain survival out in the wilderness. Would love to win this cool light.

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  15. Getting ready for our vacation camping trip in June. Sure would be nice to take this along!

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  16. This would be great in a power outage ! And I wouldn’t have to keep batteries laying around.

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  17. Since it is inflat able and waterproof, take it out on the boat ni th t fishing, or some night swimming on those really hot summer nights.

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  18. I love solar powered items! What better way to use our God given natural resources. They would be great to use out by the pool for some night swimming. No broken glass pieces to worry about.

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  19. I would use it while camping

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  20. I would use it to access my food storage in a grid down situation. Considering that it is important to hide food, accessing it at night and trying to read labels on buckets, this amazing light would really be helpful. I would definately want one in my bug out bag too. Would love to win.

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  21. We will always need light that is one of the main things.

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  22. I would hang it on my pack like your picture to charge and then use it to set up camp and to light the inside of my tent.

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  23. I plan to place this by the breaker box because a flashlight is always hard to find when I need one!!

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  24. Great item for the car. Wonder how well it would stay charged and hold up structurally if left hanging from review mirror. The heat and the cold take their toll on flashlight batteries when left in the car. The last thing you need is to find a dead flashlight after breaking down on the side of the road at night.

    Reply
    • I have had one sitting on the dash of my Toyota (deflated) for a couple of years, and it keeps working. I’m sure I will need to replace it someday, but I just check it about once a month, and put it back. Use it when I need to. Works great!

    • Thanks David! Good to know.

  25. So I could use it to have fun.
    And I could charge it in the sun.
    And I could use it in a tent.
    And I could see just where I went.
    And I could use it here and there.
    Say! I could use it ANYWHERE!

    I do so like
    this Prepper Plan!
    Thank you!
    Thank you,
    A Fan-I-am!

    Reply
    • Love this!! Thanks for brightening my morning 🙂

    • I concede, LOL – give her all 10 lights!!! Great job!

    • 😀

  26. This lantern is so cool! Love your blog!

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  27. Would love to have several for around the house when there is no power. Love that they are so portable so can be take when you move around house or bug out.

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  28. Will be getting one for every room in our house!

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  29. I plan to use this little lite for a night lite, on the stairs, in my home. I always have a hard time seeing in the middle of the night on the stairs.

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  30. Camping with the family, this lantern would come in handy. We’ve also experienced 3 day power outages due to summer storm, this would be ideal, charge in the day and use at night, or possibly as a night light. Sound awesome!

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  31. I’ve been wanting to try these lights. Winning one would be the perfect opportunity to try one before I purchase several! Thank you for the chance.

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  32. I’d use it in the house when the power goes out. I’d use it to find the circuit panel when I plug in too many things in the camper. So many uses. Has been on my wish list.

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  33. To sneak into the kitchen for a midnight snack!!
    Or…..to take the dog out at night
    Jo

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  34. We live on a farm in the mountains. Great thing to have when checking cows at night who are about to give birth, looking for a stray animal, etc.

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  35. Lots of reasons and places for solar powered light, but I would stash one in my cooler,get home stash, in my car.

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  36. We seem to be prone to power outages where I live–this would come in very handy! Also a great item to have for walking my dog on dark nights…

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  37. This is great for a get-home bag in the car….but with 4 of us, I’d have to figure out which one would get it (or just buy 3 more). 🙂

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  38. I would this for light in tent, or gor light upstairs if lights are out a s the battery that the solar lights hook up to can only be in one place ie downstairs. Gives a cheap option for lighting in my room when others would be downstairs with the solar lights.

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  39. We have one of these, and they are awesome when the power goes out!

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  40. I would definitely use this for camping and RVing

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  41. We have had one for several months. Love it! We have used it a lot and it is as good as day one. Could sure use another. Good luck everyone but hope I win. HeeHee.

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  42. Perfect light for camping. A lot better than the burning log I usually put in my tent.

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  43. I would use the lantern for lighting my way into our dark basement storage room for everything we would need to get us through any “event”.

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  44. Perfect tent light! My last one didn’t work and this looks like a good replacement.

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  45. I’d keep a couple in each vehicle and BOB’s. Another great way would be to attach it to the underside of the door to my crawl space. This way we’ll always have light when needing to go under the house.

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  46. So many useful things to use this solar air light, I would use it camping in the middle of the night, I could also use it when there is a lighting outage, to go dig through the dark units in our storage, among so many other important reasons!

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  47. I guess I’m not terribly creative but I’d love to have one to put in my go bag to replace the battery operated lantern I have in there now.

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  48. I was thrilled to see the subject of today’s BDS article, as I have been using the Luci Inflatable light by Mpowered for a while now, and really appreciate their mission to supply safe, renewable light sources to impoverished, third-world countries. Even though I already have some, this is a product that I whole-heartedly believe in and will be getting some more for various stashes. The one that sits on the dashboard of my 4Runner is always ready and willing to go!

    Reply
  49. I can see having one of these in all my kits. Thanks for info on a great alternative light source!

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  50. Some of your readers are so creative, alas, I am not. I would use this light (and probably several more whenever I needed light but more specifically as I build my tiny home until I get the solar array set up and working.
    Great Job gaye, keep it up.

    Reply
  51. Very useful item.

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  52. I have a spot in the back of my car (hatchback) were it could sit and recharge while flat. Then at night when I open the back I might actually be able to see what’s in there since the car light is usually covered by emergency supplies.

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  53. Mark [above] already used my idea, but I still think it’s what I’d do if I won one of these.

    Reply
  54. I have 2 kids that will love this. I am teaching them bushcrafting and my wife an I are homeschooling tHey will have a blast camping with this new gear

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  55. My attic has no lighting and is very dark, even in the day. I can use this versus trying to hold a flashlight or setting the flashlight down and trying to aim it in the direction I need it.

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  56. I prefer solar powered lights, no batteries. If a person lives off grid, need I say
    more? There are many uses for lights.

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  57. This is great to hang in our storm shelter, which is very dark when the door is closed!

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  58. Looks like a clever useful gadget on many levels.

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  59. I would use it for power outages.

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  60. I I sure would enjoy getting one of these solar lights. Thanks for giving them away!

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  61. I’d love to try this solar light.

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  62. That is the smallest useable lantern I have seen. How cool is that!

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  63. I would like this. Solar is more dependable than batteries. The weight is negligible, so would be easy for everyone to carry. Between them, and the solar pathway lights, it could light up the entire house.

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  64. I’m going to put it in my 3 month kit.

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  65. I could use it if I had to crawl around in my attic after dark! But what I would like to do with it is to keep it in the car for an emergency.

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  66. I would put in on my hat so that it looks like a halo .

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  67. I would love to win this to give to my nephew who is off to college 8 hours away. I would feel better knowing he had a light-weight convenient light he could use in his dorm or tuck in his backpack.

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  68. Find anything in the closet

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  69. This would work well in the middle of our summer yurt – we tried to rig something similar last year – didn’t work as well!

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  70. first use would be in the storm shelter (where we spent time last evening) then I would try to get some more to hang from cord in the back yard like Chinese lanterns.

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  71. I have 2 really impressed

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  72. This would be very handy when the dog wakes me at night and has to go out, and I am sleepy and half lost in the darkness . . .

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  73. I plan to use this awesome lantern when the Zombie Apocalypse happens. Or when I go camping….whichever happens first.

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  74. We were introduced to this Soar Air Lantern this year at our Winter Survival SERE School given by the Fairchild AF SERE Instructors.
    It is every thing you could want. Functioned perfectly in near zero weather and in the darkness of the North Idaho mountains / woods, the light it put off was perfect.
    Good luck to the to those looking to win one, like me.

    Be Prepared – Be Prayerful – Be Thankful – You are an American,
    RangerRick
    Priest Lake SAR, Idaho

    Reply
  75. This is great for kids. I don’t have to worry about them running through batteries playing with flashlights, don’t have to worry about an accidental fire from a candle. Just pop it into the window sill to charge it and it is always ready to go whether for play or power outage or anywhere you need a little extra light.

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  76. I am so glad you did this review. I have been wondering about these lights, but didn’t want to waste my money if they weren’t any good. Thanks for the info!

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  77. I’ll use it out in the garden so I can enjoy it the evening.

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  78. I’d use it in my BOG and anytime we loose power

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  79. If I were to win this, it would go in my bug-out bag.

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  80. We live on a farm, the lighting in the barn is very dim towards the back…actually almost nonexistent, because the only light in the barn is near the door. I plan to use mine when I trek out to feed the animals before dawn! 🙂

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  81. This would be great for light when I use the back door in the garage (no light switch there).

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  82. Our power went off for several hours the other night…and I was running around lighting candles! I would have loved to have 3 or 4 of these lanterns!!

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  83. I can see several of these in my future. The first one will go in my daughter’s camper. They go out most weekends and as the weather warms up the kids like to pitch a tent. Inevitably they fall asleep with their flashlights on and kill the batteries. This is a much better idea.

    Reply
  84. Looks like a great thing to have in my travel bag for when the lights go out wherever I’m staying!

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  85. I would use my lantern during power outages & in our storm shelter.

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  86. Nice romantic substitute for candles 😉

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  87. I would use it at our outside table and store it in my preps

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  88. I would use the lantern in my backyard

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  89. My house is circa 1908, so I have no electricity in my front entry way- and this would be excellent to hang up and show how cool and fun being a prepper is—and then nobody would trip over my bucket of oatmeal….

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  90. One of many uses will be adding it to my motorcycle BOB.

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  91. I love solar…it’s always seemed to me to be an obvious energy source, if we could just figure out how to harness it! It’s finally getting there!

    This would be great for an emergency light, in the car or the BOB! Probably be an incentive to get some more, if it’s as good as it sounds.

    Reply
  92. Not very creative, but I plan to mainly use it for power outages. However, I may also use it in the hen house at night! This could also be set on flash and placed on top of an antenna mast! That way ultra-light pilots would know to avoid the area! 🙂

    Reply
  93. This would be a great resource for the next time the power goes out in my apt building and I have to navigate down the stairs! I had to use a pen light last time!

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  94. Camping

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  95. I like these.

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  96. one for the car and one for the kitchen. Sounds great

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  97. That looks like it could be useful and save space. Win-win!

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  98. I have the Luminaid inflatable light and i really love it- i didn’t know about this one til i saw your post so i might just have to see if i can try and fit a few of these in to my budget– I’m all for solar since its a readily available source during day light hours for charging- thanks!!

    Reply
  99. i also prefer lanyards. they’re usually strong, and you can attach a lot of vital stuff to one and tuck it into your clothes, where it’s not too visible and hard to remove. especially if you keep the business end tucked between the girls.

    Reply
  100. Use it for camping, but it will stay with my GHB.

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  101. Re survival straws, we typically seal the end with a hot glue gun. Other methods don’t seem to work as well. Seal one end with glue, then stand it on a cookie sheet or other smooth hard surface to dry. Cut it to the desired length, add your prep, and then seal end with glue again. We write on them with permanent marker as to contents.
    We make little med kits with Betadone solution, scrub, alcohol, pills, etc. Very handy, lightweight and you don’t waste anything.

    Reply
  102. Has anyone tested to see what kind of duty life these have?

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  103. These are awesome! I’ve been looking for something just like these 🙂

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  104. Looks like it would be useful for my grandsons boy scouts camping trips.

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  105. power outage

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  106. What a great idea.

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  107. Just saw these at REI and thought they looked interesting. Perfect timing on this post!

    Reply
  108. I would give it to my son to use when he goes camping.

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  109. Great little lamps. They work great! Highly recommended. Nice of you to offer them as prizes.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
  110. I travel a lot and this will reside in my suitcase between charges.

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  111. Perfect for the BOB…charges while riding outside, lasts for hours, weighs almost nothing. One of the best inventions in a long time. Oh, yeah, and it floats!

    Reply
  112. I love the idea that you can just strap it right on your pack during the day to charge it up. Awesome!

    Reply
  113. Great product! I would use for power outages, $$$ on batteries, night swimming on those hot nights, camping,….so many possibilities. Love it

    Reply
  114. Use it for playing games when the lights go out…

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  115. I have 4 solar air lanterns and they are fantastic. I plan to buy a couple more.

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  116. I would love to win one of these to give to my elderly mother. She needs safe lighting and this will fill the bill!

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  117. I saw these someplace else and thought they were ingenious. Would love to have one for camping.

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  118. Very cool… would be great for everyone in the family. Much safer for the kids than candles. Thanks!

    Reply
  119. Thanks for this giveaway!!

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  120. everyone will love these

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  121. I need several of these:

    1. Emergency kits

    2. All our vehicles

    3. The tornado shelter. Since we could be sharing it with 4 grandkids and 3 dogs, this would be much safer and more practical than the camping lanterns we now use.

    4. Husband wants one for his tackle box.

    5. We’re training our two big dogs to pull a wagon. These lights would be perfect to hang on the front and back of the wagon as warning lights in an emergency situation.

    6. If I still had a horse, I would want one to hang from my saddle if I was riding in the dark or on a really overcast day, any situation where visibility is diminished.

    7. These would be great for our evening strolls.

    8. If I was hiking with the kids, I would want each kid to have one in case they got separated, to help find them.

    Reply
  122. gaye
    you sent me an email about this, and i accidentally deleted it! maybe you could re-send it. thanks!
    nancy

    Reply
  123. I hope I win this!

    Reply

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