[Gear Review] Solar + Hand Cranked LED Lantern: For When Shit Hits the Fan But You Gotta Look Stylish

This was a fun discovery. I was looking to see what all existed in the way of lanterns that combined multiple methods of charging. I didn’t expect to find one that looked like a mashup of the 1800s and 2020s.

It ran me $17 on Amazon, maybe I could have gotten a lower price by hunting around but I had to have it ASAP as a gift for my girlfriend (I got one for myself as well). As you can see, there’s a solar panel on top for charging the battery, same as a basic garden light.

…But there’s also a fold-out crank on the bottom in case you’re exploring a cave network or something and cannot rely on sunshine. On top of those two options you can also USB charge it. That’s a godsend because the run time is pretty short (3–6 hours supposedly) but when connected to one of my power banks, it ought to run for literal weeks.

The one downside is that the LEDs just aren’t very bright. I think this was a compromise so they would draw very little power and in turn wouldn’t require much cranking to keep them going. I have some pop-up LED lanterns that are like 200 lumens though, so there are other options available.

The important thing about this one is that you’re never truly out of power. There’s always a backup option which, in a survival situation, is more valuable than just having such a massive battery that it will run for days or weeks at a time. Then again, not to be macabre but if the rescue team doesn’t find you within a couple of days you’re probably dead.

For long term camping though, or an apocalyptic scenario, this would be a valuable item to have. I’d rather not actively hope the world ends just to justify my purchases but if it does, I’ll have lots of cool gear for armed looters to steal.

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