map carIt was nearly 3 am as our rental car was careened through the early morning darkness on a pre-dawn mission. We’d left our lodging just north of Lahaina to drive up to Maui’s Haleakala crater for sunrise and were on the first leg of our journey up the steep slope to the crater over 10,000 vertical feet away. The road was nearly empty and well maintained. There were road signs but they sprang out of the black and were gone almost before our sleepy minds could translate the white markings. It was time for special measures and as cell service was not dependable, I dug the map out of the glove box. In my wallet was a secret weapon well suited to reconnaissance: ‘Itzy Bitzy’ reading glasses, which are only the size of a credit card and have become my favorite travel lights whenever I leave home.

The little, clip-on glasses were soon out and I switched the LED light on quickly. A neat arc of light illuminated the map.  In moments the route was confirmed and our journey continued successfully.

That’s only one instance of many when ultra-bright LED, reading lights by Panthervision have come in handy. Ever been in a dimly lit restaurant that seems to be bent on keeping their menus secret  instead of helping diners read? More than once I’ve had to lean perilously close to a candle in an effort to decipher the evening’s entrees. It’s especially embarrassing because I’m extremely nearsighted and my contact lenses over-compensate, disabling my natural close reading ability. Far-sightedness naturally becomes more of a problem for those of us over 40 making it harder to do close up reading. ‘Itsy Bitsy’ glasses to the rescue. They clip onto to the tip of my nose easily and make ordering, reading a theater program, or signing a credit card receipt easy as well.

Reading in the dark

Ever have sleep evade you while your bed partner or airplane seat-mate keeps the light on? There are kinder options than suffering through and that’s where the LightSpecs battery operated reading glasses help promote familial peace and transit calm. The glasses have LED lights concealed in the front face of the frames and are canted inward to shine where you need it without annoying dark spots. They come in a variety of patterns as well as patterned frames and intensities. Although battery powered, there’s fifty hours of power in each charge and changing the battery is a simple, tool-free task through a small, swinging door set into the frame.

When magnification isn’t an issue there’s another light that’s easy to use, the  Hug Light by My Light. This comfortable, curved, two headed reading or close-up project light also uses a bright LED bulb, but the two lights can be adjusted to shine where they’re needed most. They have three settings: spot, wide-angle and red. I’ve found that the red light is a nice when trying to be especially non-invasive.

The Hug Light wraps around the back of the head with two arms facing forward and the lights are on the end. Use both or just one and adjust the right intensity. I’ve used mine for months during the middle of the night inspirations when writing a note is the only way to calm my mind and get back to sleep. My hands remain free to write with the light shining just where I need it. The Hug Light takes two AAA batteries which hide in a small, padded neck wrap compartment and take no tools to access or change. The charge lasts approximately 40 hours. The Hug Light is durable, inexpensive and very easy to use. I found mine at a Big Box Store in a package of two, but you can also order them online. They are a bit bulkier than the Light Specs or the Itsy Bitsy clip-on lights but are helpful reading lights as a bedside accessory instead of traveling companion.

By way of a postscript: We made it up to the Haleakala Crater in plenty of time to see a spectacular sunrise  and I highly recommend the effort.
This post was not commissioned but complimentary reading lights were received to review.