Solio Clip-Mini

Solar-Rechargeable Light
Solio Clip-Mini
$35, 3.5 oz.
solio.com

File this under “very cool.” This LED light recharges using either solar power or a USB cord, eliminating the need to throw away batteries. It recharges in six hours on sunlight or one hour via the USB connection—so a day on the trail with the Clip-Mini attached to your pack (via its convenient, big carabiner clip) juices up the lithium-polymer battery completely. And the charge is good for three hours at high power, nine hours at half power, or 33 hours at 10 percent power, which is bright enough to read by.

So effectively, a day’s solar charge will get you through as many hours as you’re likely to use the light that night, as I found while using the Clip-Mini backpacking in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park and camping at the City of Rocks, Idaho. The five lighting modes (including two flashing) and a flip-up red cover for night vision offer a functional range of brightness levels for camping, though the brightest setting does not project its beam as far as many better headlamps. Only downside: it’s not hands-free like a headlamp.

—Michael Lanza