A life with few possessions requires everything to have multiple purposes. That collapsible salad spinner? Also a bowl. And a colander. Single purpose things don’t serve us well, and are quickly dropped from our collection of gear.
We have two main types of lights for our adventures. Small area lights solve one person lighting problems, such as a bathroom run while backpacking or reading at night in the hammock. Such duties fall to small headlamps and our smartphones.
Our second light is a larger area light, useful for lighting a picnic table for dinner or games. This is a harder nut to crack. We have a few photography LED light panels that are plenty bright, but cast a bright light that isn’t very pleasant. We often attach those to a nearby tree or post with a GorillaPod. We have a smaller LED light that serves as a lantern, but the light doesn’t cover a very large area. We are stuck with a bright, harsh light or a more pleasant dim one, and neither is usually what we want.
We were recently sent a Luminoodle for review, and I think this might be the answer for our needs. The Luminoodle is an LED light strip powered by USB. It launched via Kickstarter in 2015, and is currently for sale. My favorite things about this as a lightsource:
- Powered by USB. Luminoodle sells battery packs, but the power connector is a standard USB connector, just like your cellphone charging cable. This means it can be plugged into any existing battery pack or AC adapter that you likely already have. I much prefer this to a special battery pack that only works with this one product.
- Shapeable light. You can circle a game, run this down the center of a table, or hang it from above. The ability to ‘shape’ the light is amazing compared to the other options we’ve used.
- Durable AND packable. The luminoodle is flexible, which allows easy packing inside a small stuff sack. The sack itself doubles as a lantern for those times when you want a brighter light over a smaller area. The soft durable cover protects all the light components inside from scuffs and spills alike. (It is waterproof!)
A few things I’d love to change:
- Longer. Our review unit is 5 feet long. They sell a 10 foot version, and I think this would be even more useful. 5 is just a little short for many of the things we would love to use it for.
- Dimmer. The light is quite bright, but every once in awhile I could use a little less. A dimmer would allow the right light level and save battery as a pleasant side effect.
- Easier Hanging. The rubber zip tie things included were not super easy to work with, and I think there is probably something better.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one with ideas for improvement. PowerPractical has a brand new COLOR version on Kickstarter, ending Friday, April 22nd. The new version comes in 5 foot and 20 foot lengths, and includes a dimmer, a remote(!) and 3 different white modes for different color temperatures. A new magnetic mounting option looks pretty darn nice. If you are lucky enough to catch it before it funds, great! If not, the new version will be available later this year.
I’m looking forward to testing the Basecamp versions as I think it would work well for our Airstream!