The SolarBook is available in two configurations (Model 600 and Model 850) in tablet-sized 23- and 24-ounce packages, respectively. The Model 850 is an extremely efficient recharger. In the field, its solar panels recharge its battery in 3.5 hours. A standard wall socket recharges the 850 in six hours.
SolarWrap Minis are more durable and portable than rigid crystalline panels. Depending on the model, Bushnell’s so- lar panels unfold or roll out to provide more energy-collecting surface area at less weight. Redundant wiring through- out allows each cell to collect energy independently, so one damaged cell won’t diminish overall performance.
The SolarWrap is available in two models. The bigger version (Model 400) has an extended panel and weighs about 10 ounces. The standard- length Solar Wrap (Model 250) weighs about 9 ounces. The solar panels on the SolarWrap roll up and stow in a compact cylindrical case for protection and portability. Additionally, the SolarWrap Mini weighs about 3 ounces and can be easily deployed on or atop a pack to collect solar energy on the go. (800-423-3537; bushnell.com)
The Elements InfiniSun from Celestron is a solar-panel charger with an onboard, large-capacity (6,000 mAh) rechargeable battery. The InfiniSun produces charges suitable for iPods, smartphones, tablets, cameras, GPS devices and more. It can be recharged through its USB port from a computer or an AC adaptor. If that’s not possible, place the InfiniSun in a bright area with unobstructed sun- light and it will charge itself. Its slim size also makes it very portable. Just slide it into your backpack for all-day or overnight trips, or keep it handy in your glove compartment in your pickup or boat. (310-328-9560; celestron.com)
Power Practical’s PowerPot V isn’t a solar charger, but it can boil water or cook meals while delivering one of the fastest, off-grid recharging options possible with its 5-watt thermoelectric generator. The Power-Pot’s patented thermoelectric technology creates electricity from excess heat while cooking; it turns any fuel source into power for your mobile devices. All you need is fire and water for charging. This thermoelectric device creates voltage when there’s a different temperature on each side of its base plate. Whether you’re heating water or melting snow with propane, butane, electricity or firewood, you’ll create and harness energy for your recharging needs. Simply add water to the pot, plug its charging cable to whatever device you wish to charge and set the PowerPot atop the fire. In 10 to 30 seconds, the PowerPot starts generating power to charge your USB-equipped devices as fast as your home’s wall socket (powerpractical.com)
DeLorme’s inReach SE Extreme Communication Kit not only delivers reliable satellite communication and navigation via the inReach SE handheld communicator, it also provides a Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel to keep the inReach unit fully charged anywhere you go, whether that’s on or way off the grid. The Goal Zero Nomad 7 is an ultra- lightweight folding panel for charging and recharging the inReach, a smart- phone or any other portable devices needing a boost. It weighs less than a pound, and measures 9 by 1.5 by 17 inches when unfolded, and 9 by 1.5 by 6.5 inches when folded. It recharges devices via a USB port, a solar port and a mini-solar port. The inReach SE unit can send and receive 160-character text messages from outside cell-phone range. In emergencies, trigger an “SOS” and interact with rescuers with GEOS, DeLorme’s 24/7 search-and-rescue monitoring center. (800-561-5105; delorme.com)
Secur’s new Sun Power Bank 4000 combines a high-efficiency solar panel, a built-in lithium ion battery bank and stowable male micro USB and female USB cords and plugs. Secur touts the Sun Power Bank 4000 as four times more powerful than traditional solar panels. This all-in-one recharger is super-compact, the size of a 3-by-5-inch note card, and weighs merely 6 ounces. This unit also has a built-in power indicator light and stores up to 4,000 mAh of power, enough to charge a smartphone, tablet, GPS unit or many other devices. (855-452-8388; securproducts.com)
These days, we not only have pint-sized portable power packs, we also have roll-up and fold-up solar panels of all sizes and capacity to recharge the lights, lanterns, cell phones, tablets, walkie-talkies and laptop computers we haul into camp or tote up the mountain. These seven increasingly compact, reliable charging and energy-storing power sources keep us connected and communicating far from the nearest road or wall outlet.RE
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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE TM Fall 2014 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
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