All things told, New Orleans made it through Hurricane Ida far, far better than other regions of Louisiana, but we certainly didn’t emerge unscathed. Upon returning late last week, my girlfriend and I discovered a four-by-four square foot section of our bedroom’s ceiling collapsed after taking on an ungodly amount of the storm’s rainfall. Much of the city remained without power for around seven days (our lights only turned back on late last night), and we now stare down months of insurance claims headaches... not to mention the headaches from whatever is growing in our cordoned-off, waterlogged bedroom.
We toughed through Labor Day weekend’s sweltering heat with the help of a 250-pound generator and some good ol’ fashioned neighborhood mutual aid, but one of the things that best helped keep our sanity was an impulse buy as I panic-roamed the aisles of my hometown’s Walmart searching for urban survival gear. Much of the outdoor section’s shelves had been picked clean by central Mississippians worried about Ida’s tropical-storm-force winds and rain, but among the remaining, random offerings in the lantern section was a small box advertising what looked more like a pool toy than an emergency solution.
Lo and behold, my lucky find of the last inventory of MPOWERD’s line of Luci Outdoor solar-powered, inflatable lanterns provided a much-needed dose of both practicality and levity as we waited for the world to begin righting itself once again.
The Luci Outdoor light is so simple, easy, and useful that it’s a wonder I hadn’t stumbled across these earlier. Simply put, I love this damn thing. Deflated, the lantern is barely an inch thick, making it extremely portable and lightweight. At a little over 4-inches tall when fully inflated, it’s... still extremely portable and lightweight. Each end of an MPOWERD Luci light also features a snap-button plastic strap so you can clip it to a pack while outdoors, or hang it on something above you to increase the light’s range.
The Luci Outdoor light is so simple, easy, and useful.
Needing 7 hours in direct sunlight, it’s not the quickest solar charge on the market, but seeing as how we were sheltering in place (both by personal decision and local government ordinance), it was no big deal to leave the Luci in our backyard to soak up the rays during the day for a full charge by sundown. The Luci’s 10 warm white LEDs provide up to 50 lumens, with both a high and low beam setting as needed — the former lasting you about 6 hours, with the latter up to a full 24 hours. There’s also a helpful flashing beacon setting if you find yourself needing that kind of thing.
Unlike a lot of other pricey lanterns out there, the MPOWERD Luci is super cheap. What’s more, I discovered in my research that my particular Luci is essentially just the base model. The model I copped from Walmart is under $15, but there’s also a newer 2.0 line for about $25 that emits 75 lumens. For those looking for some bells and whistles, the Luci Pro Series not only can give you 150 lumens and 50 hours of battery life from a single charge, but it also serves as a battery pack for juicing up your smartphone.
Perhaps it’s a coping mechanism given my situation, but I’m really looking forward to using my Luci lantern in non-emergency settings like a cookout or camping trip. MPOWERD shows off a number of alternate uses on its site, including floating pool lights — I knew it was a pool toy!
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