Summer Survival Blast: SunBell and Little Sun Solar Lamps

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Summer Survival Blast: SunBell and Little Sun Solar Lamps

Every once in a while something comes along that tickles my fancy because it is just so darn much fun.  When that fun item is coupled with solid functionality, I am thrilled.

Such is the case with the SunBell Solar Lamp and the Little Sun. Both are 100% solar powered, simple to use, and a delight to look at.  And of course, I have one of each to give away to lucky Backdoor Survival readers.

SunBell and Little Sun BDS

So what are they and how do they work?  Let us take them one at a time, starting with the SunBell.

The SunBell Solar Lamp and Phone Charger

The SunBell is a lightweight solar-powered lamp that is totally powered by the sun.  It consists of a lampshade that also serves as a stand, LED light, USB phone charging port, charging cable, internal battery, and of course, the solar panel itself.

SunBell Contents

The SunBell can be used as a lantern and a flashlight.  You can stand the lampshade on its base, slip the battery/LED fixture into the slots on top, and use the SunBell for task lighting. There is a flexible neck so you can easily adjust the task light for close work or reading.

Or, if you wish, you can hang it from a doorknob or a ceiling hook as a hanging lamp.  There are lots of possibilities!

SunBell Hanging Lamp

SunBell Flashlight

SunBell Lantern Lamp

But there is more.  You can detach the lamp and battery from the unit and hang it around your neck, giving you some hands-free lighting as you wander around in the dark.

SunBell Around Neck

There are three light modes:

Bright – 4.5 hours
Standard – 13.5 hours
Dim – 135 hours

The bright and standard settings were good for reading while in my opinion, the dim setting was best used as a night light.  Your mileage and preferences may vary, of course.

Charging the SunBell Solar Lamp

The solar panel is connected to the battery pack by a 9-foot charging cable.  The charging cable is tucked into its base when not in use.  Pretty ingenious, actually.

SunBell Charging Cable

When I say that the SunBell battery is charged by the sun, I am only giving you part of the picture.  I should really say that it is kinda sorta charged by the sun.  The truth is that its internal battery can be charged up without much sunshine at all.  Partial sun or even cloudy conditions will charge the SunBell although the charging period will be increased.  Still, that is a great feature especially for those of us living in a northern climate zone.

Just so you know, the specifications say that charging takes 3 hours in sun, 8 hours in partial sun, and 10 hours in cloudy conditions.

Does Phone Charger Work?

Yes, absolutely.  Not only that, I tried powering my iPad using the USB port and it actually worked.  I did not keep it connected for long and I imagine this would quickly deplete the battery but still, it was good to know.  I had similar luck with my Sony reader.

The Little Sun

The Little Sun is a much simpler device.  You might recall that I mentioned it in the Sunday Survival Buzz.Little Sun Front

Little Sun Solar Panel

There is not much to it.  After charging it for 8 hours in direct sunlight (or slightly longer on an overcast day), you have a portable light that produces 10 hours of soft light or 4 hours of bright light.  It comes with an adjustable strap that can also be removed. giving you lots of options for portability.

We have been using the little Sun on our deck at night to provide a soft glow that you just can’t get with traditional overhead lighting.

The Little Sun would be great as a gift for kids of all ages or for someone who has a passion for flashlights and portable lighting.  Sound like someone you might know?

How to Enter the SunBell and Little Sun Giveaway – The Rules

Here is the part you have been waiting for.  Backdoor Survival sponsor is giving an away both the SunBell and the Little Sun.  There will be two winners, one for each product.

All you need to do to enter the giveaway is to select one or more of the options on the Rafflecopter form below.  You can sign in with your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Easy Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a few different options to pick and choose or select them all.

Please note that the winning item can only be shipped to an address in the United States or Canada.

The giveaway will end on Thursday, August 21 at 6 PM PDT and the winner will be notified by email on or before August 24th.  Note that the winning entry will be verified and the winner will have 48 hours to respond.

The “Rafflecopter”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Final Word

I love my new solar-powered lamps.  Not only are they great for emergencies but I find I am using them for everyday use both as a desk lamp and as outdoor lighting.  I don’t have to worry about batteries because they can be powered outdoors, even when it is overcast.

Plus, with the Little Sun, just looking at it makes me smile.

A big thank you goes to not only for being a sponsor of Backdoor Survival but for providing the SunBell and Little Sun to the two lucky winners.  Good luck, everyone!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin:  For your convenience, here are some links related to emergency lighting and of course, the SunBell and Little Sun.

SunBell Solar Lamp:  The SunBell Solar Lamp is a very cool portable lantern that does a whole lot more than sit on a tabletop.  I love the fact that it can be used as a task lamp or flashlight and that it can charge my phone.  The fact that it charges my mobile device, too, is a bonus. Note:  As of this writing, shipping is free when the SunBell is purchased from EarthEasy, a Backdoor Survival sponsor.

Little Sun Solar Lamp:  The “Little Sun’ may look like a child’s toy but my gosh, after short charge in the sun, it generates 4 hours of bright light or 10 hours of soft light.  I have been using it when I go out to the garage at night.  I hang it around my next and skip the headlamp.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.  Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant.  I can not recommend these enough.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight:  FAVORITE! Here we go with another flashlight.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery.

Blocklite Mini Compact Size Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight:  One of my readers (James) turned me on to the Blocklite.  I now own four.  There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one.

blocklite flashlight

Coleman Rugged Battery Powered Lantern: This sturdy Coleman has a runtime of up to 28 hours on the low setting and 18 hours on the high setting but does require D cell batteries. Personally, I have both a battery operated and propane lantern. Of course, by now you know that I like redundancy with my preps.

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

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136 Responses to “Summer Survival Blast: SunBell and Little Sun Solar Lamps”

  1. looks like a useful light. Have been looking for a solar charger for the phone, cant’t beat both in one product.

  2. this is practical and fun looking. Best 5 minute tip. Keep your 72 hr bob near the door and check it every day. Put a note on it with any items that have an exp date as a reminder.

  3. If you only have 5 minutes to prep and don’t have access to your bug out bag, grab a knife, fire source (lighter, sparker, etc.), flashlight, trail mix (or other protein source), water, warm clothes, tarp if possible. That will probably take 5 minutes if you move fast.

  4. Actually it may not take 5 minutes. When the shtf the first thing you should do is – take a deep breath and relax! You have prepared as well as you could, so you need to stay calm and consider what you should do to ensure the survival of loved ones and yourself. If you start a disaster in panic mode you are much more likely to make a mistake or forget something that is important. So, take a deep breath, and think! Don’t let others cause you to panic, try to calm them and stay as calm as possible yourself. Maybe “cool, calm, and collected” doesn’t quite cover it, but it’s close.

  5. When you buy something for your storage date it and put it up. My dining room and entry are getting pretty cluttered!

  6. Best 5 minute tip: Make sure your get home bag is suitable for your trip home. For example, I’m 5 minutes driving time to home therfore I need less than the person that spends 45 minutes to get home. Also don’t forget to have good shoes to walk with in your car.

  7. My tip is I take 5 minutes each month and check my BOB and the car stash. Change out anything that is expired (food) and make sure everything is in working order. Thanks for the chance.

  8. This certainly does looks like a useful light. We have been looking for a solar charger for the phone, will have to try this out!

  9. Lighting is one of the weak points in my preps. What happens when the kerosene runs out? These lights are great.

  10. First off those are so cool

    Tip: when you pull something out & use it, make sure you write it down/add to a list to replenish the item. I keep a clipboard in my pantry so I can write down items I pull out. I also have a running list on a bulletin board for other items such as soap, shampoo etc

  11. Im still learning, but I would think having your bug out bag and other important things all in one place so you wouldnt have to think about it…and just grab and go.

  12. My 5 minute tip – go through your BOB weekly. Just a quick look to remind yourself where everything is. In an emergency, I don’t want to waste time trying to find the flashlight or rain poncho or whatever I need.

    Neat gadget!

  13. The best way to be prepared is to be healthy. take good supplements everyday and an enzyme for proper digestion. make sure your HCl is where it needs to be. strengthen your kidneys with fennel oil in water. drink 1tsp of fresh lemon juice with 1 drop of lemon oil and peppermint oil in a glass of water as soon as you rise each morning to clean your filter system, your liver. I have to stop cause i think that is about 5 minutes if you prep everything the night before!

  14. Toss a load of laundry in the washer daily. If you keep up with the washing, if there is an emergency, everything will already be set to go!

  15. I am fairly new to this so I don’t have many tips yet. I just make sure I write down the date on water when I store it and log it so I know when to refresh it.

    • I don’t carry a whetstone with me, but I do carry this on my keychain. Willl be ordering more of these as gifts and to put on several different personal carry bags, then if needed, I can use one or more for bartering. 😉 My family members each want one and some of them love their stone sharpeners. 🙂

      Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener

  16. These are wonderful little lights, well thought out and appear to last a long time, however, I just can’t bring myself to pay $30 for the sunflower and $80 for the bell when there are so many other choices out there.


  17. I’ve had my eye on the Sunbell Solar Lamp for when I’ve had a little more money for prepping. Appreciate the opportunity to win one. Thank you!

  18. It is darling and practical as well. My 4yr old grandson is just fasinated with the solar lights we have outside. This would be a great gift for his birthday

  19. Don’t sit back and think nothing will ever happen. If a storm hits, relax, you have stored water, food, and some form of lighting and you will be OK.

  20. Oops hit enter before I could finish. My best tip; keep a package of cloth diapers, rubberpants, and diaper pins on hand.

  21. As you dress each morning think if the clothes you have on will see you through a crises. If not make certain you take what would with you in your vehicle.
    Many of us wear high heels for instance-be sure your walking shoes are with you and socks. Rain wear and a jacket should always be in your vehicle. Many times we are only going a short distance and do not take the “Get-Home-Bag” So take take 5 minutes and think.

  22. Best tip I know. place a change of clothes by your bedside. No matter what you wear or don’t wear to bed, in event of awakening suddenly and having to leave, at least you’re taking clothes to wear or change into whether you have time to grab anything else or not. 🙂 Works for firefighters.

  23. I keep sturdy shoes and a flashlight right next to my bed. If something happens at night, I don’t have to search for them, or walk through debris to get to my shoes.

  24. My best 5 minute prep idea is to keep the dishes washed as I use them. I do not have a dishwasher except for me. 🙂 This helps me to thrive emotionally and physically since I do not have a mountain of dishes to still have to do when I am finished with a day’s work.

    • Jan – I personally prefer hand washing dishes. I’ve seen too many that came out of dish washing machines that still had food on them! At least when I hand wash I know the dishes are clean.

    • I don’t guess I did. My ISP has been changing things around and my email has been messed up for a week or so. Some I get and some I don’t. I use the pop3 server from gmail, maybe I need to start logging in there and double check!
      Maybe try again?

    • Here is a cut and paste of the email (I also just sent another one). Check SPAM?


      Hi Jim – You may or may not have been aware that via Facebook I announced a one day promotion offering a single commenter “Living Life the Old Fashioned Way” a chance to win a copy of Sara Hathaway’s book “Day After Disaster”. You were randomly selected as the winner!

      All I need now is your mailing address. How about that? Congratulations!

  25. Keep storage area updated and new stuff put away. Only takes a few minutes, but when you procrastinate (as I tend to do) cleaning it up is a much larger task.

  26. Just beginning to explore solar, I live in the gray NW and wonder how viable solar really is in our region. Thanks for all the great articles and references, I greatly appreciate the information and suggestions from everyone here. Besides carrying my BOB every day, I keep our dogs BOB by the front door — extra leads/harness, first aid kit, water/food bowl, freeze dried dog food (Stella and Chewy’s or Primal), absorbent towel, clothing for bad weather and a couple toys — one chewy and one squeaky for each dog.

    • No worries about solar in the NW. You just adapt a little. If looking for solar panels, make sure they are geared for our NW cloudy days. The state capital building in Oregon uses them. I’m experimenting right now with a solar dehydrator and oven. Now, before you actually need them is when to see what can be done. Warning: once you start, you may find yourself using regularly instead of just emergencies. 😉

  27. Best 5 min tip-make sure you have more than one plan (at home, away from home, meeting place, etc) and visualize yourself doing each plan over and over. When/if it happens it will seem so natural.

  28. My best 5 min. tip is to have everything in a specified place where it can be grabbed quickly, if you need to leave, or so you can find it easily if you have to hunker down. Thanks for the great review of these two devices and for offering this giveaway!

  29. My 5 minute tip is: read your weekly grocery coupon flyer and add the canned goods that are on sale to your weekly grocery list. I add to our emergency food storage every week without breaking our budget!

  30. The solar lamp and little sun are absolutely fabulous. Household solar power is too expensive for me, but with a collection of little devices like these, one would do very well in a power outage or even a grid down. I have a solar radio and solar battery charger so far.
    Tip: I keep my purse outfitted with a few basics. Small flashlight, Swedish fire steel, knife, water, water purifying tabs, granola and protein bars, and reflective blanket.

  31. I am at the point where I prefer solar powered lights. Out here there are no street lights,lit signs,headlights,house lights and etc.(thank goodness)
    Either of these would be nice to have.

  32. Take 5 min to check if you have what you need when you go anywhere & make a list of what to get.

    These lights sound great – I love solar things! Thanks for the chance to win!

    Where do you find the question to answer – it is not in the instructions for how to win.

    • That got me one time too. Since I almost always make some comment I clicked the arrow and closed the box…….before I read the question! Had to read what others were commenting before I could make my comment. Live and learn! (Or is thast called OJT?) 🙂

  33. Put copies (or scan to finger drive) of all of your most important papers together in one file folder where you can quickly grab them in case of an emergency.

  34. My five minute survival tip is to get food and water to bug in in an emergency. This is vital and often overlooked. Get bottled waters, tuna cans, beans, rice, etc.

  35. I don’t think you can have too many lighting sources when the electricity goes out! Thanks for the informative post.

  36. Now that my bug-in supplies of food and water are almost squared away, I need to start working on a get-home bag for my car and a small EDC for my purse. My apartment and my job are 10 miles apart, and in case of an event which might render my car unusable, I need to ensure that I have supplies on hand to walk home safely.

  37. Every morning I take time to pray. Without that prep I wouldn’t be able to roll with what comes at me each day.

  38. Take 5 minutes to make sure your needed electronics are charged and ready to go: batteries for the radios, cell phone charged, etc.

  39. I have a little solar radio and love it so this sounds like a great addition – I look forward to a light and winning!

  40. I just found out about a cheap way to stockpile water in 5 gallon containers for only 14.00. To you it might not be a very good price, but for me it is. Happy Prepping.

  41. Best 5 minute tip:carry your 3 day and week or car pack a mile to see if it needs any adjusting. Then try to live out of it (at home)for that time period, eat the food drink the water etc.

  42. Make sure you have 3 days worth of your medications in your BOB. Also have a copy of your important papers including list of doctors, medical conditions and and list of medications for each family member in your BOB.

  43. If someone reloads for you, put cardboard or thin plywood over the base of the cases so you can flip inspect and rebox easily. Nobody’s perfect and now is way better than later to find problems with dents or seating.

  44. By all means, have your BOB by your door, but all the rest of the “stuff” that “that red head that lives on an island” convinced you to buy, at least have in all in the same place. Don’t have to wonder where you put different survival items. In the end of world scenario, you may not survive, but your love ones that are left behind, may not know you have a particular survival item if they are all scattered around. KISS. Keep it simple stupid. Thanks Gaye.

  45. 5 minutes…thoroughly clean a small part of your house (drawer/shelf/cabinet) every day. Once you’ve worked you way through ther house, start over.

  46. Check your BOB bag and see if anything needs to be changed out. Another quick prep is to make sure to pick up an extra item or two every time you grocery shop.

  47. Use what you store and replenish it every time you get groceries. That way you don’t end up losing a bunch of food because it expires, you know what you have on hand because you are actively working with it every week and what you can cook with it.

  48. Best 5 Minute Prepping Tip!

    Keep the following items in a bag in your car at all times: nuts, dried fruit, tissue box, bananas, fresh set of clothes, toothbrush/paste, soap, other toiletries, first aid kit, gallon of water, shoes, towel, plastic bags, antiseptic spray, a notebook, a pen, a disposable camera, a rechargeable space heater, a flashlight, and a well-concealed stash of $60. This is your magic survival kit. Replace all perishables once perished, and replenish all items once used.

    I was once stranded in a snowstorm on the way home, and holy crap is this never leaving my car.

  49. Keep your laundry up to date. You will never regret having stayed on top of it. Not having it done is always regrettable…especially in an emergency!

  50. Work in extra physical activity daily. Make multiple trips to carry things instead of just one. Sitting for a period of time, have your cup of water in another room so you have to go get it. Do away with the thought of economy of motion in everything you do.

  51. My 5 minute tip: once a month check food expiration dates and move those items that are oldest to the pantry for immediate use. Add to grocery list so you can replenish the emergency stock.

  52. Best 5-minute tip. Put your related stuff together and know where everything is. It really sucks to be able to find candles in a power outage, but have no clue where the matches and lighters are.

  53. My best tip would be to just start buying multiples of what you already buy at the store so that you can add to your storage a little at a time without blowing the budget.

  54. I always check my purse before I leave the house to make sure I have my flashlight, knife, whistle, matches and other items in the event something happens while I am away from home and away from my vehicle.

  55. My best 5 min tip would be to always look at what you have, what you are using and think about how it applies to your preps. What is useful info, what are useful ways of doing things; what might you want to see if you can get into the habit of doing differently so if the shtf you can continue doing things in a similar fashion.

  56. Always know where your flashlights are. You don’t want to be stumbling around in the dark trying to locate one.

    • This came in handy for me last night. Right at end of a movie, the whole neighborhood went black. Since I have flashlights near the front door, I grabbed one and opened the door to see how much of the ‘hood was down. My closest neighbors were standing outside, I could see them by the glow of their cigarettes. (Three men) I called and asked if they had lights or needed a flashlight, they said they had candles. I thought it funny haha that here were these biker dudes with no flashlights and relying on candles while I the flashies. lol I’m spoiled though, I was wishing for more solar powered flashies. The lights were only off for an hour but it gave us time to discuss what we could improve on and how to meet those goals. O yes, need to know where those flashies are.

  57. To organize food storage I assign each shelf a year for the date the product expires and that way I make sure to use my stored items before their ending date. Of course as the years roll by you reassign a year to the empty shelf.

  58. Figure out what *you* need for Every Day Carry (EDC) preparedness items, and take the few moments to load them all in your pants/belt/purse.

    If you are switching cars, take another minute to transfer any emergency kits and/or get-home gear.

    Your mobile prep’s are no use if you leave them at home.

  59. I consider everything I throw away. Can I repurpose it for anything? Like 2 liter bottles for water, cans to sell for metal (to buy more supplies), small bottles to store small amounts of alcohol/peroxide/etc in our BOBs, and so on. It just takes a few seconds.

  60. I ask co-workers if they have ever seen “doomsday preppers” and what they think of those people. It will either get me a prepping friend or give me a good laugh.

  61. My 5 minute tip – whatever you bring it in, put it away in the right place, not the most convenient one. That 5 minute effort saves so much more time later. Don’t ask me how I know :-/

  62. Every grocery trip I spend about $5 on goods. This month has been canned fruits, applesauce, and hard candies (have to hide them immediately or the teenager runs off with them). My 5-minute prep tip is to date what you bring in by either best by date or purchased date and put it away. Relatively quick and easy. The more time consuming bit is logging quantities in the spreadsheet and rotating stock.

  63. Take 5 minutes every day to make sure everything is organized and where it belongs. There is nothing worse than being in an emergency situation and having to search for what you need.

  64. would love this little lamp. Make sure your family knows where the food is stored. I had put flour in a bin, My husband did not know which one so he bought more.

  65. I am fairly new to this also, so I dont have much to offer for tips. But, always keep track of what you have and what you still need, and keep those lists handy. You never know when you will stumble onto something you need, but think you already have or something you have but dont think you do. My hubby and I have iPods that sync together, so I have both an inventory list and a need list that we can keep up with.

  66. I love finding out about The Sun Bell and Little Bell today. In Tucson we have a great monsoon season. The power does go out on occasion and these items would be so helpful. We have wonderful sunshine too that we will be able to recharge the solar parts.
    This is a great give away,
    thank you,

  67. My 5 min. prepping tip is just to do as so many others have said. Take 5 min. per day to check on all the things you know you need to have handy in case of an evacuation situation, a medical emergency, a power outage, etc. Using just 5 little minutes per day will add up quickly, but will not be such a chunk of time out of your day so that “I don’t have time to prep” will be a hollow excuse.

  68. I don’t really have a tip as i’m still new to this but I would say, whenever you purchase something new for your survival kit, make a note of it with pen and paper. That way you always know what you have.

  69. These are adorable! My little granddaughters “borrowed” my camping lantern this weekend because they were afraid of the dark and going camping. They would love these!

  70. use a sharpie to write expiration dates on food packages as soon as you get them home, before you put them in storage!

  71. I really like solar products…I have a number of solar lights in my yard and when the power goes off, I bring them into the house…the lights in this giveaway would be great camping, prepping, or for power outages imho

  72. solar lighting and phone charger sounds great. I’m a beginner and started with long term food first, solar lighting just moved up on my list of things to get.
    I have some food storage coming in today. Enter it in records, date it and put it into storage. Bug out bag at home and bug out car bag.

    Learning from the tips of others above.

  73. I best 5 minute survival tip is load all your guns and gather all your weapons you are going to need them

  74. I think these little solar lights would be very nice to have!

    5 minute tip: On a 5″ x 8″ index card, I have written the contents of our bug out bags and have the items listed in 3 columns for categories I’ve decided upon. The index card is placed in a zip lock bag at the top of the bag. This way, I can know at a glance what is in each bag. I’ve written the contents in pencil, so I can make changes as the bag’s contents changes. I also make a printer copy of the index cards that I keep in my office so I can check to see what is in each bag without going to look in the bag.

  75. My 5 minute tip it to take all important cards out of your wallet and copy front and back. Also keep gas tank full by topping off whenever it gets to half tank.

  76. An inexpensive battery tester is well worth it to maximize use of batteries as only one of several may be bad and prevent a light from working

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