Gear Review: Sun King Pro AN Portable Solar Lantern + USB Charger

posted in: Car Camping, Gear Reviews | 0

Why Buy?

I’m picky about the gear that I accept for review. I do my research and ask questions, in the hopes that I don’t spend my time testing something that doesn’t fit a need or something that already has a track record of poor performance or durability. When I was first asked to review the Sun King Pro AN Portable Solar Lantern + USB Charger, I wasn’t sure if it was something that I would use for hiking or backpacking. However, the company’s story intrigued me:

Greenlight Planet is a for profit social business that develops and manufactures honest, reliable solar products designed to help people living off the electric grid.

Greenlight Planet was founded by T. Patrick Walsh, a University of Illinois student who spent part of 2005 working with the charity Engineers Without Borders in rural India. He saw that the residents, users of ubiquitous kerosene lamps, were not charity cases. Rather, they were savvy consumers demanding a better product.

source: https://www.greenlightplanet.com/about/

After discussing the unit’s potential with Greenlight Planet, I received one a few days later. Here are some unboxing photos, as well as some pics of how I temporarily setup the solar panel for home use.


My Observations

I’ve been testing Sun King Pro AN Portable Solar Lantern + USB Charger for approximately 9 months, taking it on overnight backpacking and car camping trips, as well as using it around the house as an extra light and phone charger. For the last two months, I’ve had the solar panel installed outside of my house. It charges during the day and at night I’ve been using the light for tasks around the house, as well as using the unit to charge my phone.

  • The Good
    • Long battery life, especially if used at the lowest brightness setting (17 lumens, lasting over 40 hours).
    • After one day of solar charging, the unit consistently charges my phone to 80% or higher before switching to “low power mode.” The light switches to low power mode when the battery is running low; once this state is reached, the unit cannot be used to charge items, but it will provide light for approximately 5 more hours.
    • Reasonably priced when compared to other solar light/charger combos with similar features.
    • Has an LED display indicating solar charging strength and the amount of battery power remaining.
    • The solar panel is very durable, constructed from  aluminum and industrial-grade glass.
  • The Bad 
    • The solar panel (11.3 oz) and light (9.9 oz) are on the heavy and bulky side for long backpacking trips, if pack weight is a big concern. A lighter and less rigid solar panel would greatly increase the utility of this light in a backpacking scenario.
  • The Bottom Line 
    • While I don’t see myself carrying this light on an extended backpacking trip, I see it is an excellent product for the following uses:
      • Short backpacking trips:
        • when having something other than a headlamp is useful/wanted around camp or in your tent. In most of the areas I backpack in California, campfires are not allowed. This light is great for illuminating a “common area” for people to hangout and talk.
        • to top off the charge on my phone, camera and GPS unit
      • car camping
      • around the house – working on a car, charging your phone, etc.
      • Off-the-grid living


 


Disclaimer: The products reviewed in this entry were provided to HikingGeek.com by Greenlight Planet.