Darkness is defined as the absence of light. Darkness also represents fear, vulnerability and danger. Predators hunt in the dark while we humans are at a natural disadvantage. However, technology offers us literally countless tools to help even the odds. I am regularly amazed at the creative capacity of humankind. Just about the time you think there is nothing left out there to knock your socks off, along comes something like the Solar Air Lantern from Survival Frog to surprise you.

Independent Power

The perfect survival utility light would be compact, lightweight and powered independent of batteries or a power grid. It would be inexpensive and simple to use. It would take up little space yet still produce enough light to facilitate camp chores and detailed survival tasks. In short, it would be Survival Frog’s Solar Air Lantern.

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This nifty little device collapses down to a lightweight disk less than an inch thick. To deploy the light for use you simply inflate the body of the device via a standard valve not unlike that on your typical pool toy. Seal the valve and the lantern is now a cylinder that is flat on the top and a bit rounded on the bottom. There are also very handy hanging handles on both ends.

The flat top of the device incorporates a pair of solar cells and a push-button switch. There is a series of LED lights built into the top. Once activated, the light streams from the top of the device and reflects off of the parabolic mirror formed by the curved bottom. Hanging the Solar Air Lantern right side up or upside down changes the natural distribution of the light.

The push-button activation switch offers three modes. The constant-on mode can be configured for bright or dim, and there is a flashing mode to be used as a signal. When fully charged, the light burns about 12 hours on its lowest setting. Leave the collapsed light out in the sunshine and it will remain fully charged. The Solar Air Lantern is more than adequate for maintaining camp or guiding your way in the dark. When set to flash mode and left in a conspicuous spot, the light is visible for a great distance.

Off-Grid Utility

This is one of those gadgets that lends itself to liberal distribution. Keep one in your car to illuminate nighttime tire-changing chores or signal other drivers that your vehicle is disabled. The device is waterproof, so keep one in your boat just in case of an emergency; should there ever be any need, you can toss one out on a lake to mark a spot after dark. To modest depths, the Solar Air Lantern even works underwater when appropriately weighted down.

Keeping a couple Solar Air Lanterns in your bug-out bag will help push back the darkness around camp or light your way at night. We keep a pair set out in the sunshine around the house in anticipation of the next inevitable power outage. In pitch darkness, the inflatable lantern is bright enough to read by.

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The practical applications of this remarkable tool are limited solely by the imagination. Whether you need to illuminate your tent or campsite, read the instructions on your backup generator, signal a rescue helicopter or simply impress your friends with a novel way to line your sidewalk for a party, the Solar Air Lantern from Survival Frog is a clever, effective and efficient solution.

These lanterns fit in your glove box, bug-out bag, tool drawer or pocket with ease. I scattered a few throughout my life so as to always have one handy in a pinch. If you need a reliable, inexpensive illumination solution that doesn’t require batteries, is easy to pack and carry, and works like a champ at dispelling the darkness, you might want to consider a Solar Air Lantern.

For more information, visit or call 800-773-7737.444


This article originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE® Spring 2015. Print and Digital Subscriptions to SURVIVOR’S EDGE® magazine are available here.

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