LED lighting is bringing exciting new options to the overland community. One of the latest, and in our opinion the greatest, is from a company called Power Practical. Their USB-powered LED rope light, the Luminoodle, is waterproof and produces 180 lumens (5′ version) to 360 lumens (10′ model) of light. It’s very affordable, durable, and incredibly versatile. Power Practical also includes noodle ties, embedded sliding magnets, a utility loop (for easy hanging), and a rip-stop nylon carry bag designed to diffuse light and double as a lantern.
Our favorite thing about Loominoodle; you can use these portable string lights for pretty much anything. We think it will work equally as well while backpacking and overlanding. Plus since it’s LED you don’t need to worry about heat, so there’s no concerns around kids and pets. Also, the LED rope’s USB plug is reversible and universal so you can use it with any USB battery pack.
We bought one.
What we like
The price is pretty reasonable compared to other led lighting solutions. Ahem…We’re looking at you Rhino Rack. A set of these cost about 1/3 the price of some other options. Rhino Rack.. cough, cough.
When it comes to light output you won’t be disappointed. This string of lights is plenty for our long wheelbase Sprinter van’s interior. And it’s fairly discreet in its white casing.
We love the USB plug. It’s way more versatile than a 12V socket like other options. We assume that the low voltage of a USB is why you cannot daisy chain multiple strips but who realistically needs that much lighting in camp? And, if you do there are plenty of multi-USB port options out there. We use a Yeti 150 and it offers two ports. If you’re using a cigarette lighter outlet… you will likely also have two USB ports. Laptop? Two or more ports are standard.
What we don’t like
Well, for starters, the magnets are pretty week. Fortunately, they’re not the only way to hang the light strip. Our Rhino Rack awning lights also have lackluster magnets… and a similar alternative mounting solution.
We also wish there was a dimmer built into the light strip somewhere. It would add some complexity and another point of failure. However, they are almost too bright sometimes.