If you've been following BioLite for the last few years you'll remember them for their biofuel camp stoves and innovative electricity-generating tech. This season they're released a new suite of gear, including the new PowerLight Mini: a compact rechargeable light, designed for both in-city and outdoor applications.
This thing prompts some questions. While we don't often approach lighting design from a multi-tool perspective, maybe we should?
The basics of the PowerLight Mini seem well covered: for $45 you get a rechargeable 135 lumen LED light with a battery life up to 52 hours on low/5 on high, plus the ability to recharge other electronics. The light itself offers a wide bright surface, with options for general lantern use, bike use, and an intense spot-focus for reading or hunting nightcrawlers.
This is where it gets fun. The lantern dims by button and switches easily to flashing or solid-red settings. An all-red option is a boon both for both biking safely and preserving your night vision in the woods.
Its posable wire stand lets you hang the light at different angles, use it upright, or clip it to a pocket or strap, and the included bike bracket gives you a secure way of sticking it to yourself through traffic.
This thing is way smaller than most camping lanterns, provides a soft even glow, and cuts out the hassle of worrying about either fuel or batteries. While I'm a fan of traditional headlamps (hands-free light, pointed right where you're looking, etc.) the PowerLight Mini offers flexibility and a couple perks that even staunch headlight users might find nice. By clipping to a lower pocket you can give steady lighting without needing to hold your head just-so, and standing it on a table could cut down on the accidental friend-blinding that comes with making dinner by headlamp light.
It weighs in at a manageable 2.8oz, with a tough stainless body and a very slim 3.4 x 2 x 0.6 inch package, making it pretty pocket-friendly and a hell of a lot more space efficient than your old Coleman. The USB output will work for most phones and widgets, and standard micro USB input to charge.
All in all, it looks like an unusual but thoughtful all-rounder light. The super portable size and reasonable battery life could make it a painless addition on all types of trips where you might need extra light, extra space, and extra juice, whether that's to the woods or your poorly lit backyard.
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Brilliant niche found for getting more out of battery banks. Good idea cross-pollination here.