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It Came in the Mail: Andrea Sachs Reviews Solar-Powered Cap With LED Lights

Sunday, August 2, 2009

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Solar-powered cap with LED lights.

AIMED AT: Travelers who are too fashion forward for headlamps.

HOW MUCH: $24.95.

BUT DOES IT WORK? In the category of sartorial lights, there are few styles you can don without feeling utterly self-conscious and geeked-out. The Urban Miner look is anything but chic. By contrast, the new Solar Power Cap is a model you can wear with your head held high. Made of sturdy cotton in black or moss, the cap features a small solar panel embedded in the brim and two LED lights positioned underneath, a pair of glowing werewolf eyes beneath a heavy brow. A tiny on/off switch sewn on the edge is unobtrusive yet easy to find.

According to the distributor, GoFastandLight.com, the yellow beam can cover distances of up to 20 feet and, when fully charged, lasts for up to two hours. During our topper test walk in a dark park, a small pool of light showed us the way, helping us avoid stray roots, a patch of mud and a Chihuahua. Indoors, we envision using it as a supplemental reading lamp on a dimly lit bus, train or plane, or in a hotel room after our companion calls, "Lights out!"

The cap also makes eco- and packing sense. The coin-size batteries should last a lifetime, or at least as long as the cap stays vital, so there is no need to bring extra batteries. (To lengthen the cap's life span, don't machine wash it, wear it in the rain or take it to Death Valley in the summer.) It takes eight hours in the full sun to completely rev up the batteries, 11 hours under a slightly overcast sky and 2,700 hours indoors. And like the perfect accessory, it easily moves from day into evening, sun into moon.

-- Andrea Sachs

The Solar Power Cap is available through the company at 916-853-2267 or at http://www.gofastandlight.com.

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