Expert Review: Luci Colored Solar Lantern

Published on 09/05/2022 · 6 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the lantern, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2020.
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

All photos courtesy of Hunter Reed

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the lantern, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2020.

My take

The Luci Colored Solar Lantern is a small, easy-to-pack light for camping. It charges fast and easily and is fun to use while playing a game of cards or hanging out in the tent.

About the lantern I own

  • Model: Luci Color Solar lantern
  • Charging Type: Solar

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: June 2020
  • Days tested: 50
  • Used for: Car camping, backpacking, hanging around camp
  • Where I’ve used it: All over Utah and Colorado
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer, fall

About me

  • Experience: 25+ years of camping

How it performs

Durability
5/5
Ease of Use
5/5
Packability
5/5
Weight
5/5
Versatility
4/5

What I was looking for

I was just looking for some different lighting options for camping. I had a headlamp, but I usually camp in the back of my tent and spend a bit of time reading before bed, so was looking for something that would provide some light without requiring me to wear a headlamp all the time. I also wanted it to be versatile and light enough that I could bring it backpacking if need be.

Why I chose this gear

I chose this product for a few reasons. Before every camping trip, I always feel like I am in a mad dash to plug in my headlamp, my phone, my speaker, etc; so I liked the idea of this being solar charging. The folding-down capability makes it easy to pack, and it’s also pretty lightweight at .35lbs. The Luci Lantern is also waterproof, which is something I’ve worried about on my headlamp and most other lighting options I have tried.

Another fun selling point for me is that it had a few different color options, and it was only $30. I didn’t really consider any other options at the time because I figured: even if I don't end up loving it, it's a solar chargeable light that I can keep in my truck as a backup.

Solar panel and on button!

What I love about it

  • Durability: I have used this light quite a bit and it still works just as well as the day I got it. It’s made out of a plastic, which I initially thought would rip or break easily, but so far it hasn’t and it still blows up easily. The battery still holds a charge well, even after keeping it in my truck for the last two years where the temperature fluctuates.
  • Charging Type: The Luci Solar Lantern charges by sunlight exposure. I can put it on my dashboard as I drive and it’s charged by the time I get to my destination around three hours later. I can recharge it throughout the trip during the day without worrying that I am draining any of my battery packs or my car battery.
  • Weather Resistance: This lantern is made out of plastic, so it is totally waterproof. I have had it in some light rain and even used it in the snow once and it had no issues. My other lighting options for camping (the Luci Solar String Lights and a Petzl headlamp) also claim to be waterproof, and they both have silicone gates over their charging ports. But I am always skeptical of bringing them in heavy weather because if water did get in the charging ports it would ruin them.
  • Weight: The Luci Lantern weighs .35 lbs, making it easy to bring on a backpacking trip or even a night hike where I might hangout at the top for a while. I have brought it on a few hikes with a friend who is into photography and wanted to do some creative night photos with light exposure; I didn’t even notice I was carrying it because it was so light.
  • Ease of Use: I just inflate it through the blow valve and push the “on” button. When it turns on it also tells me how much battery is left. If I click the button a few times it cycles between eight colors.
  • Reliability/Battery Life: I usually charge it during the day just to be safe, but I could use it for a few hours each night for five or so nights before it would run out of battery. Given the low price and small size of this lantern, I think that’s a pretty good battery life.
  • Car camping: I generally keep it in my truck just so I always have it. It’s fun to bring out if we are playing cards at night, or if I am in my tent reading a book. Usually when I am cooking dinner, I keep it near my stove and prep table so that I don’t have to turn my headlamp on and off constantly.
  • Backpacking: Though it’s not totally necessary to have more than just a headlamp while backpacking, the Luci Lantern is lightweight and packs down to roughly the size of a CD.
  • Features: This lantern offers eight different color options. I mostly just use the regular light and the red light, which is better for my eyes at night. It also has a plastic loop on one side that makes it easy to attach to a tent ceiling or secure it down to a cooking table if it’s windy.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Versatility: Though I feel like I end up using this light pretty often for cooking, cards, etc, it isn’t the most versatile option. Headlamps are pretty much the gold standard of versatility for camp lighting. The Luci Lantern is mostly just for different types of hanging out around camp.
  • Brightness: The Luci Lantern is not that bright. I think it’s nice that it’s dim; bright lights when camping can be annoying, but if I want to read with it I need to hold it really close to my book.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with this gear was in Goblin Valley in May of 2021. I was with my partner and dog and it was really windy all day until about eight. When it finally died down I set up my camp table and stove. I found that my headlamp was dead becuase it had been on in my backpack all day. I was annoyed and too hungry to wait for it to charge, but luckily I had brought my lantern along as a backup. I kept the Luci Lantern on the table while I cooked and it gave me just enough light to make a great pasta dinner!

Value for the money vs. other options

I don’t have a ton of other options to compare this lantern to. That being said, for $30 I feel like I have gotten a ton of use out of it. I bring it along on every camping trip. Even if I don’t use it, it’s nice to have the peace of mind that there is a backup light option in my car. It’s totally not a camping necessity, but it is fun, durable, and nice to have.

Final verdict

The Luci Color Solar Lantern is a fun lighting option for car campers and backpackers alike. When deflated, it is small and light enough at .35lbs to bring backpacking, or to just store in the car as a backup lighting option. It is easily solar charged and totally waterproof. For $30 I think the Luci Lantern is totally worth the money and a good addition to any camping setup.

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