The Best Lights of 2019
Six ways to brighten up
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MPowerD Luci Solar String ($35)
This 18-foot, 100-lumen LED string can brighten your camp table for eight hours on high or 20 on low. To power it up, wind it around the charging spool and set it in sunlight for 12 hours (or plug it into an outlet for three). It’s bulky for backpacking, but this well-priced system is our favorite car-camping illumination.
Coast FL85R ($125)
If you’re wary of critters lurking behind bushes, the Coast will light your way with a double-wide, 700-lumen beam that throws an astonishing 767 feet (2.5 football fields). The trade-off is mediocre battery life—about two hours on the highest setting. But the rechargeable cell is removable, letting you substitute three AAAs in a pinch.
BioLite Headlamp 330 ($50)
Tired of that clunky old light collapsing onto your face when the hinges give out? You won’t have that problem with this 330-lumen headlamp. The low-profile housing is integrated into the strap and swivels up and down, and there’s a rechargeable battery around back. The unit stays put and weighs half what most other headlamps do, leaving you to move in the best fast-and-light spirit.
Ledlenser MH7 ($70)
The MH7 detaches from its headband to become a handheld light. But what sets it apart is a run time of seven hours on the 400-lumen setting, a rotating bezel that focuses the beam, above-average dust and water resistance, and the option to recharge via USB or pop in two AAs, if you’re away from an outlet or a solar panel.
Pelican 5050R ($74)
Tucked into the anodized aluminum body of the six-inch 5050R is some impressive tech. It’s powered by a lithium-ion battery that fully charges in six hours and runs for 2.5 hours on high. Boost mode takes it from 393 lumens to a blinding 883 (and drops the run time to an hour at most), and it’s waterproof to about three feet.
Princeton Tec Snap ($43)
The lightweight, splashproof Snap can be held on its own or popped into any of three magnetic housings: a head strap, a handlebar attachment, or a carabiner clip that lets you hang it like a lantern. At 200 lumens, it isn’t as bright as most dedicated headlamps, but it’ll get you through a multi-night trip on three AAAs.