I first heard about Solight Design through my affiliate partner network and when I saw their products I couldn’t wait to order one! Solight makes beautiful origami-inspired portable, water-resistant solar lanterns that fold flat when not in use.
I ordered a Twilight back in August and was super excited when it showed up in time for me to take on some summer backpacking and kayak camping trips. Plus, Solight’s mission is to provide clean, sustainable light to those who need it most. 10% of their online sales help subsidize the distribution of their lanterns to regions of extreme poverty.
I’m a big fan of innovative products, especially when they’re powered by nature and make the world a better place! What’s not to love!?Buy one at Solight
Now that we’re into windstorm season here in the Pacific Northwest, they’re handy to have in the house in case of power outages and they also make great gifts, so read my full review below and consider putting one (or more!) on your holiday list!
Solight lanterns look like a beautiful origami work of art and are made from 100% PVC-free recyclable materials. The SolarPuff™ is constructed from polyethylene terephthalate, commonly called PET, which is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family. The Helix uses TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), which results in a soft, diffused light, and the tiny Twilight is made of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). In English? All lights are made from safe, non-toxic, lightweight and strong materials.
The lanterns are soft enough to fold flat yet rigid enough to hold their cubical shape. They pack up flat and to open, you simply pull or twist. Small air holes allow the lanterns to self-inflate and hold their shape. They even come with handles, making them easy to hang from trees or the inside of your tent.
The SolarPuff weighs 2.6 ounces and the Twilight 1.9 ounces, making them the lightest solar powered light on the market. My little Twilight is roughly 5” x 3” x 0.3” packed flat and easy to stash just about anywhere!
The larger SolarPuff™ and Helix are equipped with 10 LEDs and come in both bright white and warm white options with 3 settings: low, high, and blinking. The lanterns output 60 lumens of light on low and 90 on high, bright enough to illuminate a 10’ x 10’ area. You can also order a Merlin-version of both, which allows you to cycle through red, blue, white, green, yellow or purple color. It’s perfect for some fun ambience!
The smaller Twilight has 6 LEDs with 4 light settings: red, red SOS, low white, and high white. The low white setting will output 25 lumens of light and the high white 45. I’ve taken my little Twilight on numerous backpacking trips and hikes and on low it outputs plenty of light for reading inside my tent, on high enough to illuminate the trail for a night hike.
Solight lanterns are equipped with lithium-ion polymer batteries, similar to cell phone batteries, that are charged by a high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panel. Charging is best done outside in direct, bright sunlight. Though they can still be charged on cloudy days and through windows, it’ll just take longer and you may not get optimum run time.
The SolarPuff™ and Helix take approximately 8 hours to fully charge and charge time roughly corresponds to expected hours of light. For example, expect 6 hours of light on low if the lantern charges for 6 hours, 4 hours of light for 4 hours of charge, etc. The Twilight takes 6 hours to fully charge and will produce 6 hours of light on low with the red SOS lasting for up to 12 hours.
So far I’ve been able to confirm charge times and my Twilight has been surprisingly long lasting. I sometimes store it on the dash of my vehicle to charge or when camping will set it outside under the sun or tie it to the top of my backpack. I’ve had little trouble, even in the Pacific Northwest, getting enough charge to last a full evening. I used it for about 4-5 hours continuously on a kayak camping trip this summer, alternating between the low and high settings, and it still had plenty of run time the next day.
Lanterns will hold their charge in storage for over a year, though Solight recommends recharging every 6-8 months for maximum performance. I pulled out my Twilight recently after last being used on a camping trip in late August and was surprised that it still had plenty of charge!
Taking them outdoors? No need to worry! These lights are manufactured with durable, tough materials and will hold up to rain and weather. In fact, Solight lights are designed with a special seal around the solar panel and circuit classifying them as FL 1 STANDARD IPX-67, which means they’re dust tight and waterproof up to 1 meter (approximately 3 feet). They even float, so feel free to put them in the bath, the hot tub, or even the lake!
Solight lanterns have two ranges of operating temperatures. When charging, the lantern can operate between 32°F – 113°F and during run time -4°F – 140°F. Temperatures outside those ranges could damage the battery and impact its longevity. If operated in sub-zero temperatures, it’s best to operate the lantern on low settings and recharge it in warmer temperatures.
Batteries are long-lasting and perform at 100% for 500+ charges, dropping only to 90% for another 500+ charges. They’re designed for 5+ years of use and come with a one-year warranty.
Give Light Programs
Solight is also committed to giving light to communities in need. For all lights purchased, a portion of their net sales are given to non-profit organizations that help distribute their lights. They also participate in the Studio Unite project. For every light you buy through this program, Solight contributes an additional one and you can choose one of the organizations they support or pick one of your own. It’s a really great program!
|Size||4.5″ cube||4.2″ cube||3.5″ cube|
|Weight||2.6 oz||3 oz||1.9 oz|
|Solar Panel||160mA 5V||160mA 5V||5V 80mA|
|Battery||1000mAh; 3.7V||1000mAh; 3.7V||500mAh 3.7V|
|Charge Time||8 hrs||8 hrs||6 hrs|
|Run Time||8-12 hrs||8-12 hrs||6-12 hrs|
Consider illuminating your outdoor space or next camping trip with beautiful Solight lanterns!
The brilliant packable, lightweight design of the lanterns makes them easy to take just about anywhere and their uses are endless! Place them outside for ambience, float them in the bath or hot tub, keep them handy for emergencies, pack them in your car, or even take them camping and backpacking!
They make perfect gifts and Solight also offers custom printing of corporate logos, designs or instructions for orders over 120 units.
After using my Twilight for several months I loved it so much I recently ordered a pack of 3 SolarPuffs™ to keep around the house and I bought a few more for holiday gifts. This lantern is one of my new favorite pieces of gear!
Want to Buy One?
Solight lanterns retail between $17-40 online at Solight Design, depending on options. Consider making your purchase through my affiliate links above. You get an awesome new lantern and hey, I’ll get a few bucks that help support this site and maybe enough for a refreshing post-adventure beer! It’s a win-win! Thanks!
Disclaimer: I believe in doing good in the world and purchase my gear from companies who feel the same. I’m not paid to support any of the companies or products I review. Unless prominently disclosed at the top of all of my reviews, this gear was purchased, tested, scuffed up, and loved by me!