Luci Light for Navigation Light

Heading out for a night paddle, I couldn’t find my highly visible LED deck light. I grabbed my old C-light (by ACR Electronics), which used to be kind of industry-standard for kayaker nav lights. As an afterthought, I threw into the drybag a Luci light, those solar, inflatable things (by Mpowerd).

Out paddling I ran into wide areas of annoying weed growth on both sides of the river. To avoid the weeds, I decided to stick to the middle of the river on the way back, which meant paddling in the channel. There was little boat traffic, but it only takes one, and I wanted to upgrade my visibility. The C-light seems rather anemic compared to today’s LEDs. So, I brought out the Luci light. Lacking a good way to attach it to the boat, I found a plastic grocery bag (white). I put the Luci light in the bag and tied the bag off on the back deck. Bam, visibility in spades. Even on the low setting, that thing was bright.

The light was so bright it kind of freaked me out. I was seeing lights all over the place and it took me a while to realize what I was seeing were most often reflectors on docked or moored boats, or pilings and docks. This made me think there were a lot of active boats in the area, with their lights on, but it was just the reflectors bouncing back the light from the Luci light from hundreds of feet away.

I was so impressed that now I want to make a bag for the Luci. The grocery bag was effective, but has limitations. I want a bag made from white nylon that will have straps to run around my deck rigging. The Luci comes with light weight plastic straps on either end which could be used to tie the light, but I imagine those straps would easily rip if a wave came onto the deck.

So, just wanted to throw it out there that the Luci can make an effective deck light. No affiliation–just throwing it out there.


Which Luci light?
When I first saw them in an REI catalog I was interested. Does the soft material appear to be durable?

The text gives recharging time, but how long does one charge last?

How many are there?
Not sure which one I have and didn’t realize there are multiple models. It has four solar cells, 3.7 VDC Lithium Polymer Battery,the enclosure is made of some sort of clear vinyl or plastic. On the end of the cylinder that has the inflation tube it says Luci Original by Mpowered. The button/switch cycles through 4 settins: on-low, on-high, flashing, and off.

The business end of the thing is a five inch wide disk about a quarter inch thick with the solar cells on one side and ten LEDs on the other. The plastic or vinyl enclosure will probably fail at some point in time. They all do. Until I used it on the water, I was uncertain of the utility of the inflatable cylinder and had been considering chopping it off.

Mpowered says it will light for 12 hours on a full charge, attained by 12 hours charging in direct sunlight. I’ve never run it more than a couple hours, during which time there was no perceptible diminuation in light output.

Very durable
Attached them to buoys last summer to light the way for a paddler who was trying to set a new marathon record. Luci was up to the job. Waterproof as well. I have six of the original Lucis. Keep them on a windowsill till the next power outage.

Wonderful product with an interesting history why it was originally created.

Love Luci Lights
Bought my first 2 a year and a half ago, bought another this year. Use them here around the house, power outages (frequent at the end of the road) as well as camping. They’re proving to be worth their weight in gold for me, and I take one paddling just-in-case. Good to hear it worked well for that too.

Great idea!
I like the Bag It idea. I’m going to do the same with a Luminoodle. It comes in a small white bag to be a lantern but in a small clear drybag, voila, waterproof stern light/lantern. Had to replace my defunct stern LED light with something for the last bit of the Manhattan Circ. Got it now.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

One limitation
There appears to be an internal timer on the light that turns it off after a period of time.

On two occasions I’ve purposely left the light on over night to see if it would run for the 12 hours it claims it can run on a full charge. On both occasions I awoke in the early morning of 3am or so and found the light off.

Going to the light and pressing the on/off switch, the light came back on, so there was battery power remaining.

I’m not sure how long it runs but my guess is I was awake for about 5-6 hours with the light still on before I fell asleep.


Five models shown on their website
Only three would be useful for outdoor activities beyond the backyard. It looks like the Original and another model differ only in presence or absence of a top carry strap.

I beleive this is it

One of the people I paddle with had one on the back of his kayak so I went to EMS since I had a 25% off coupon and bought one. Haven’t yet used it on the kayak yet but looks like a nice tent light too.

And for reading in the tent!
Luci is the greatest for reading at night in the tent. I have read for hours. Thrilled not to be using up batteries in a headlamp.

I never inflate the clear plastic cube. If you do that in the South, you will eventually get mold growing in there – as I know from the clear inflation tubes for my float bags which are now full of dark mold.

I love this idea of using Luci for a deck light. Will try it.

great light
After reading these recommendations, I picked up one of the standard Luci white lights at EMS while I was in upstate NY last week. Neat bit of gear. The soft plastic is similar to that used in small dry bags and flotation bags. I have a 5 liter clear SealLine drybag that it should fit in nicely for extra protection and I plan to try it for additional boat illumination next week when we are paddling back upriver in the dark after seeing the fireworks.

Very cool how the company has distributed these Luci lights to people in countries where the villages lack power so the kids are able to do their homework in the evenings and small businesses can operate after dark. Anyone can donate $9.95 to sponsor providing a light under this program.

I Love Luci
A real winner! great emergency lighting, backpacking and camping general area light. I plan on submerging one while fishing at night. Like the bag idea. They come in colors too. I think a half red/green would be great for a nav-light if they only made one.

Luci color
A few weeks ago I contacted mPowered about using Luci as starboard and port lights. They told me that the Luci color model can be set to a specific color versus cycling through all eight.

Rookie there are so many Lucis
The Original, the Outdoor, the Aura ( that’s the one I think you are referring to)

I have those three. The first two are just plain white.

I dont know if some bureaucrat will say they are illegal as there is more than one light up close… I think eight little spider eye lights.

But I do know you better tie the thing down!

Bought one last night - air tube sealed

I tried to inflate it, but no air would go in. Upon investigation, I saw that the inflation tube was sealed over on the inner end. I haven’t decided whether to return it to Field & Stream for a replacement or to open the tube myself with an ice pick or similar object.

This is the original all white version.

Are you compressing
the air tube when you blow into it?

I attempted to squeeze it, but no joy
last night.

I’ll probably try again this evening.

I haven’t gone to the website for it’s more detailed operating instructions.

its telling you
bite me.

Seriously you have to bite on the tube a bit.

The bite did it, but it took a lot of

One thing I don’t like about it is that you have to cycle through all of the modes to turn it off.

An interesting little device.

a great video on exactly this subject!


Why all DIY Kayak Navigation Light Solutions are Illegal