This should probably begin with a pun about books providing intellectual illumination, except, well, the Lumio Mini+ isn’t actually a book at all. It looks like a small hardcover book, and it does indeed have “pages.” But crack open the spine, and the pages accordion outward, lit by soft LED lights. You see the temptation for a pun.
While this lighting was likely designed for an artful display on an urban hipster’s bookshelf, it makes an outstanding car camping light source.
The lamp puts out 250 lumens, in a wide and soft pattern, easily and beautifully lighting a tent or the back of a vehicle. The tough, magnetic spine and hardcover mean the lamp can be oriented in a ton of useful ways. Spread it open and lay it on its back; open it and stand it on end; open the book completely, touching the front and back cover with the colorful strip on the spine acting as a stand; attached to a piece of metal by the magnetic spine; etc. The list is impressively long. This is really the best part of the lamp. Yeah, it looks and feels cool. But it’s stable, easy to find a spot for, and can be adjusted to provide different angles and paths of light.
A USB cord to charge the device, and a lightning cable to recharge iPhones are included in the spine. Lumio claims that the lamp provides 8 hours of battery life, though in my experience, 7 is more accurate. They also claim the built-in iPhone charger can charge the newest X model three times on a charge. The pages are water-resistant Tyvek, and they feel reasonably durable, though I would take care to keep them relatively clean.
The book weighs three-quarters of a pound, so it’s a bit heavy for backpacking, but a great and great-looking lantern for car camping. Stable, a pleasing light, and, did I mention it looks awesome?
It does cost more than I’d normally spend on a camp light, retailing for $150. But for a book-loving camper with a taste for aesthetics, it’s about as cool as lighting options get.
$150 • BUY
Let there be more light options
The Goal Zero Lantern and USB Power Hub puts out 400 lumens and will also charge phones and tablets and can itself be recharged through a small solar panel. Is not a book shape, though. $70
I toss a few of these Black Diamond Moji Lanterns into the bag for car camping trips. Inexpensive orbs that put out a good light. $20.
The UCO Leschi is a cool little lantern with a shock cord attachment so it can be secured just about anywhere, lighting up whatever you need. $13.