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Going off grid? Here's a look at 9 solar lanterns

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(Natural News) Are you planning on shopping for a solar lantern for your upcoming camping trip? Here are some tips to help you decide what you ought to buy without having to test every single one of the displays in your favorite outdoorsman store.

Before anything else, make sure you learn what the specifications mean. The oh-so-confusing convolution of abbreviations and measurements on the product box is just like the nutritional label on food packaging. If you don't understand it, you'll never know exactly what it is you're buying. So to begin, here are a few commonly used terms that are important to note when considering a camping lantern.

Lumens (Lm) – These is how the intensity of light is measured. The higher the number, the brighter it is. Lux (Lx) on the other hand, is the measurement of the intensity of light (or Lumens) per square meter. Again, the higher the number, the brighter it will be. For comparison, a normal indoor fluorescent light bulb emits approximately 1,400 to 1,600 Lm.

Dimensions – This will either be in millimeters, centimeters, or inches. Since lanterns are normally cylindrical, the measurements will be for diameter (or width) and height. Collapsible lanterns will have to variations of the measurement, one when collapsed and one when expanded.

Weight – The lantern's weight is usually measured in ounces or in grams. The larger the number, the heavier it is. Make sure you can handle the weight together combined with what you can carry on your back.

Some of your friends may already be knowledgeable about camping gear, which is why you should get their opinion (aside from those catchy reviews on the internet). It's always good to consider first-hand reviews from friends who won't pitch about a lantern that has been falsely advertised.

Lastly, take your time and compare. Avoid impulse buying at all costs. Even if it looks cute or if it matches your aesthetic tastes, consider looking at another one. After you have made three selections, choose one with the best cost and the best specifications. Don't forget to put your friend's recommendations into consideration.

Now that's done with, let's move on to the solar lanterns that are highly recommended by review sites. (h/t to BestProducts.com)

LuminAID PackLite MAX USB Solar Inflatable Lantern

It has five light settings: Turbo (three to five hours), high, medium, low, and flashing.

Has a 150 Lm. output on turbo mode.

Runs up to a maximum of 50 hours on a low to medium setting.

It weighs 8.5 ounces and measures 6x6x6 inches, 6x6x1 if collapsed.

MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Camping Lantern

This inflatable lantern has no light settings.

Weighs 4.4 ounces, and measures 12×10 centimeters, 12×2.5 if collapsed.

It has 10 cool white LEDs that produce 75 Lm. each.

Runs up to 24 hours after 7 hours of direct sunlight charging time.

Has a battery level indicator.

It's waterproof with a rating of IP67 (submergible up to five meters).

Bigfoot Outdoor Products Compact Solar Pocket Sized Camping Lantern with USB Powerbank

Has two three light settings: High (65 Lm.), low (25 Lm.), and SOS (blinking).

Measures 8.5×2 inches.

Features a hook for hanging.

Charges 3.5 hours via external power adapter and 12 hours via direct sunlight.

LVJING Vintage Solar Hanging Umbrella Lanterns (in 2-, 4-, or 6-packs)

Has a sensor that allows it to turn on automatically during the night.

Measures 3.5×3.5 inches and weighs seven ounces.

Has a candlelight effect, great for backyard camping.

It's waterproof with a rating of IP44.

Requires one AA battery.

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