Field Test: Greenlight Planet manufactures solar lanterns for off-grid users. That means households in developing countries, backcountry hikers or skiers—and van dwellers like me. The Sun King Pro AN (All Night) is our primary light source when my husband and I park up our 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon. Once we make camp, I slot the 11.8-inch metal stand into two notches on the grapefruit-sized LED lantern. Then I choose a light setting and angle: a full 120 lumens parallel to the table for map reading; 50 lumens tilted for wide-angle, ambient light during dinner prep, or 17 lumens for a card game. I carry the lantern—without the stand—on night walks by a webbed strap or stuffed into a jacket pocket (bulky, but doable). Two displays indicate battery life and how effectively the solar panel is catching rays. Sun King claims a day’s charge supplies 45 hours of light, which is quite a bit actually. Even with daily use, we go two weeks plus between charges. The lantern’s ABS casing withstood drops on asphalt, and neither humid Costa Rican beaches nor Adirondack cloudbursts got past the water-resistant seal. And at 29 ounces—panel included—it’s a packable luxury for car camping, hut trips, or tent missions.
Why It’s Timeless: Camp in the backyard once a summer? Lose power every other year? The price still makes sense. Bonus: the lantern’s USB port gives my phone a jump when needed. —Olivia Dwyer