The folks at Personal Solar Light didn’t set out to create a flashy product.
No big advertising campaigns. Fitness models are not dressed like combat veterans to personify how tough their lights are. No silly claims like a water “resistant” lantern that works under water.
Nope. PSL set out to create a light that simply delivers what people need for camping and survival.
At its most basic, there are two key scenarios that make a PSL important: a grid down situation or an excursion into the woods.
Scenario 1: Your house is out of power. You need a light source to safely cook the kid’s dinner, read or work on projects around the house.
If you’re in a grid down situation (like much of Florida and southeast Texas after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey) alternate power supplies are critical. Not everyone can afford generators. And, as was the case in Florida, when fuel supplies are limited so is the usage of a gasoline-powered generator.
Scenario 2: For whatever reason, fun or necessity, you’re in the woods. It’s getting dark. The fire light is wonderful, but in most cases a little extra light around the campsite or in the tent is pretty useful.
In either scenario, do you want to fumble around for batteries in your house? Do you want to add weight to your pack with a supply of batteries? How about a solar powered lamp that gives you hours of usability, good features and an easy way to charge it?
The PSL, or Personal Solar Light, may be the product you need.
What Doesn’t Work
Honestly, there aren’t many impediments to this product. In our minds, price may be the only set back.
The company website lists it at $44.95, but the actual price today is $29.95. Either way, this is not a cheap light. But if you believe in paying for quality, the price should not be a problem.
Some may not like that it is manufactured in China. Fortunately, the blow is softened because it is “designed in Texas.” No judgement here. When you need a good product, point of origin is not a concern.
The lamp itself covers all the basic needs for its intended use. The PSL uses an LED that goes as bright as 107 Lumens, and, with three brightness settings the mid and low levels make it usable in any situation.
Have an emergency? A fourth setting allows the light to continuously blink the S-O-S distress signal. Simply hold the red power button for two to three seconds, and you have an emergency beacon. That’s a great feature.
The battery is a powerful Lithium Ion 2000mAH, which gives the PSL up to 30 hours of life.
According to the company, the PSL charges completely in just a “few hours” of full sun. If you want to charge it more quickly, it comes with a DC/USB cable so you can plug it into a car or other compatible outlet.
The warranty is simple enough too: a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked, if you’re not completely satisfied. Also, there is a one-year full warranty on the product itself.
What We Really Like
Made of a tough but lightweight plastic, the lantern weighs just 4.2 ounces. Attach the handle, and it easily hangs from a backpack so it can charge in the sun, while you hike.
When folded up, the lantern fits in the palm of an average hand. So, it is easy to pack.
In addition, PSL’s makers added three features that should be basic for every lantern designed for emergencies or the outdoors.
The first feature is a clouded or opaque shade. Why manufacturers design lights with clear shades is a concern. It’s as if most manufacturers never actually use their own product for the situations in their marketing material.
Our homes normally enjoy overhead lighting and lamps. In most cases, manufacturers design overhead lighting, and floor or table lamps, with shades to diffuse a light’s intensity and brightness. Also, for good reason, designers position unshaded ceiling fixtures above the occupant’s normal sightline.
Why do we make these distinctions? Try reading, making dinner or working on something in the house with a bright flashlight pointed directly at your eyes. Doesn’t really work well.
In terms of the outdoors, imagine trying to complete a task in the small space of a tent with a very bright flashlight pointed at your eyes. It will blind you and wreck your night vision.
Second great feature is a collapsible shade that offers indirect and direct lighting. With a large hole in the bottom of the shade, this lantern is designed to work as a room light and a flash light.
Finally, it is completely water proof.
We didn’t have a camping or hiking trip to run this product through the kind of paces we prefer. However, we did have three teenagers play with it in a pool.
The kids were rough on it. They submerged it. Bounced it around a bit.
We left PSL outside in full sun, passing rain storms and humid 86 degree weather for several days. Today, it looks, feels and performed as if it was just taken out of the box.
With plenty of time to charge, we tested the battery life. The manufacturer claimed the Lithium battery lasts five hours on the high setting. After nine hours, the LED still was shining, though noticeably dimmer.
We are completely comfortable taking this product deep into the woods with us, or packing it in our in-home hurricane survival kit.
At the end of the day, we have to ask if this product provides the right features and qualities for whatever needs users may want. We say the PSL does that and more.
It’s compact, portable, doesn’t rely on batteries or the power grid. The manufacturer added well-designed and tested features including an opaque shade, three light levels and an emergency distress signal.
Paratus Business News recommends the PSL for home and outdoor use.
[Editor’s Note: Paratus Business News does not have an affiliate relationship with Amazon or PSL.]