Roadworthy Illumination

BookLightWhile traveling in places where light is inadequate, it’s difficult trying to read printed books, maps, and brochures. Years ago I solved the problem with a lightweight folding book light from Lumatec that also happens to double as a flashlight.

When clipped to the pages of a book, the light allows me to read in bed without bothering other traveling companions. After the light is folded, I can turn it off and place it within easy reach to use as a flashlight during middle-of-the-night bathroom visits.

Nearly 15 years ago I was using the light on a hotel shuttle bus in Mumbai, India, to consult a map. The battery cover fell off, and I didn’t realize until the next morning that it had been lost. I secured the battery with a strip of duct tape, but over the years it became annoying to have to peel off and reaffix the tape every time the battery needed changing.

Lumatec now has a wonderful new LED version, the Everest Mini Book Light*, It features a patented gooseneck design that allows it to double as a mini table lamp. But being fiercely frugal, I wasn’t ready to throw out the old reading light just because it had no battery cover.BatteryCover

After brainstorming solutions, I decided to try to make a replacement battery cover from a clear, heavy-duty plastic jug. I cut a generous portion from an area of the jug that was rounded with about the same amount of curve as the space over the light’s battery. I laid the plastic on top of the battery chamber and traced an outline of the gap so I’d know where to make further cuts.

The resulting new cover tucks snugly into the edges of the battery chamber and holds the battery in place while protecting it from dirt. It also protects the chamber from dampness, a feature especially important when the light is placed near a sink on middle-of-the-night bathroom visits.


Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana has gathered packing pointers over the years on numerous domestic and foreign trips. Most recently, she travels in conjunction with the publication of her latest book, 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

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