There’s very little glory about this accessory review today. It’s not about a Bluetooth speaker, smart TV or smartphone – it’s about a little light bulb. Summer is my favorite time of the year. It has the best weather (especially in coastal San Diego), the most daylight, and it’s the time I get to go camping. I spent over a decade in Scouts as a child and teen where I learned to love the outdoors. I learned how to tie knots, build, fires, roast marshmallows, identify birds and a long list of other life skills I turn to on an everyday basis. Best of all, I got to spend time with my father, brother and friends. There were no distractions like video games, homework and certainly not smartphones back in the 80’s and 90’s. I love camping even more these days as it gives me time away from work and lets me spend time with loved ones with absolutely no distractions.
The Scout motto is “Be prepared“. I’m always a prepared camper and bring everything with me – when I go with my friends I simply ask them to bring some food and their own sleeping bags. I’ve got the cooking gear, bug spray, tents, ground tarp and always have good lights. As a camper in the previous century, I grew to rely on the trusty propane camp light which got extremely bright. There are downsides to propane camp lights: they’re fragile, get extremely hot, pose a major fire risk, use propane canisters which are costly and disposable, and require a bit of maintenance with changing out the mantle whenever it falls apart. It also requires a bit of knowledge to use and can’t be used in a tent.
With LED lighting dropping in price, there are hundreds of alternatives to propane camp lighting. I recently picked up 20 ETRENDS LED light bulbs from Amazon before my last camping trip and have a story to tell.
What does $5 get you?
A two pack of ETRENDS light bulbs sells for $9.99 on Amazon.com. For $5 you get one portable LED light in the shape of a light bulb and you also get three AAA batteries to power it. The bulb is quite small and measures 75mm x 128mm and weighs just 39 grams, and it has a hook on the back end of it. I’ll tell you more about this hook’s importance a little later.
The LED life is rated at 50,000 hours and it comes in blue, red and yellow. The lumen rating is 150 lumens, which isn’t super bright, and it’s why I bought 20 of them. If you have ever owned a Maglite, the larger versions which use D batteries put out 168 lumens if you’d like to use that as a reference. The lights are dimmable and also offer a flash setting for emergencies.
The group of bulbs performed great while camping
I went camping in Idyllwild a few weeks ago and tested out the ETRENDS LED lights and came back a believer. There was a decently sized group of us who went on this trip: four adults, four kids in their late teens, and six kids in their early teens. We had two side by side campsites and after setting up the tents, I focused on the lighting. Since the lights have a hook on each end, I decided I would hang them around the campsite and above the picnic tables. I bought a couple hundred feet of paracord from Amazon (cheap stuff, not the real American made paracord, and yes there is a difference) and strung it up between trees and the tents. I basically made three strands and hung six to seven ETRENDS lights on each one. The most time consuming part about the light setup was putting in the AAA batteries into each light.
In the early evening of the night, I had the kids power on all of the lights. The lights were turned onto the brightest setting and as the sun went down, they showed their true value. The combination of all of the lights lit up the main part of the campsite. Everything was visible and I didn’t need to light up my propane lantern I brought as a backup. At this point in the trip I was already a believer.
What made these lights even more useful was their portability. When someone needed to use the bathroom, or needed to go to their tents to change, they simply unhooked a light from the string and brought it with them. The lights aren’t nearly as bright as flashlights, but if you’ve ever been camping you know how painful finding a flashlight can be in the dark. Flashlights aren’t on by default where the ETRENDS lights are and that makes them that much more convenient to use. Many flashlights are painted or anodized black which is impossible to find in a dark tent. You basically need to keep the flashlight with you at all times if you need light. And with a group of mostly kids, flashlights go missing all of the time. The ETRENDS lights always managed to find their way back to the paracord, and quite frankly, if they didn’t I really didn’t mind considering their low price.
When it came time to go sleep, each kid took one with them and used them in their tents. That’s when they turned the lights into flashing mode and it looked like they were having a party while music was playing.
The most impressive part about the ETRENDS lights is the battery life. We used them for four straight nights, and turned them on to the highest setting as soon as the sun went down. We staying up to about 12pm each night and not one light turned off due to battery life. After the trip, I left a couple on at home to see how long the batteries would last. In total I estimate the battery life to be anywhere from 50-75 hours. I then put a couple in my walk in closet which has poor lighting and found a new use for them. Since I have so many, I also threw a couple in my glove box of my truck as emergency lighting if ever need to change a tire at night.
Should you buy it?
All in all, I am 100% satisfied with the ETRENDS LED portable light bulbs. They replaced my propane lanterns and they’re incredibly reasonable at $5 per light. I love the battery life, build quality, and versatility of the lights. They’re great for a multitude of uses, but camping is why I love them.
If you want to learn more about the ETRENDS LED light bulb, head on over to Amazon.com and grab yourself a set.