I have experimented with this idea quite a bit lately and I was surprised to find out how valuable it really was. Many people have the headlamps, which work great but eventually lose their batteries or charge. Again, many flashlights are the same. They all require a charge or new batteries in the most inconvenient moments.
On my own travels I have used flashlights in their traditional role to see things at night, but also as a beacon, a signal, and other random things like this. Each night it would be used to unpack my bag, get cook and sleep gear out, and set up for the night. Night after night it would slowly drain my batteries. I tried carrying rechargeable batteries with a small solar panel and that worked pretty good, but was extremely heavy. I tried crank handle lights and those worked pretty good for a while, but eventually crapped out from moisture or were too expensive to make it worth it.
I’ve lost waterproof headlamps to moisture as well when the rubber grip breaks off that protects the internals. I’ve ran out of battery juice in the worst times. I literally tried several ways to solve this problem of having light when I needed it while maintaining a light pack. No matter how I tried to do it, I was always left with a lot of weight, or something that didn’t work when I needed it too.
Recently I started used cheap solar garden lights for my quail and chickens to keep them laying eggs almost year round. In my smaller quail cages I simply bent the wire and locked one on the top of the cage. Bugs come in all night and they eat for free while having a bit of comfort and safety from the light itself. All at the same time it provides some extra light to keep them laying.
This is when it dawned on me how useful these little lights are. I stuck one on my pack and tried it out. When out hitch hiking or traveling all day this little puppy gets fulled charged. Then, as soon as the sun is going down it clicks on right when I need it. Whether I be on the side of the road looking for a ride or searching through my pack to set up for the night. The light was perfect. I put a little wire on it so I can hang it from my pack, a tree, or anywhere else I need.
For me, it was like a portable free lantern and it completely solved my problem. The funny thing was it was only 20 pesos! In my life I’ve probably spent $100-300 USD searching for a light to fill this role. From battery packs and solar panels to cranking flashlights and headlamps. This simple 20 peso light solved my problem.
Not only did it solve my problem but it worked better than any of the other options. It was working and I didn’t have to do anything. It was light weight, cheap, waterproof, and if need be it could be taken apart and used for many other applications. Often times we are consumed by materialism in search of the best product, when the best product is often times a product not made for the application we use it for.