Is a Solar Power Backpack for Everyone?

Solar power backpack, which are durable and water-proof, can be used to charge all of your electronic gadgets such as your cell phone, iPod, blackberry, or laptop through the solar panels and battery packs (for stored energy) within your backpack. This is a great way to ensure a connection with the outside world when in the outdoors. Whether you are hiking, camping, hunting, skiing, biking, on a school trip, or on a boy/girl scout outing, these backpacks can relieve some stress from not only the owner, but their parents, leaders, and teachers to name a few. These backpacks use thin film solar panels, which are lightweight, with an average weight of 3.5 pounds, and flexible. Thin film solar panels are great for receiving and using energy from the sun’s indirect light – so you will still be receiving a lot of energy on those not-so-sunny days.

You won’t look like you are going off into space with one of these things either. It’s not a bulky backpack revolving around solar panels to capture the sun’s energy. Instead, this solar backpack is stylish and adaptable. There are a variety of styles for different occasions, such as outdoor use, business trips, traveling, school, etc. Solar panels are placed on the outside of the backpack, where they are easily exposed to the sun. They include adaptors, which usually consist of an AC adaptor or a DC cigarette lighter that can provide an alternative way to charge the batteries.

If you buy a solar power backpack you won’t have to worry about any of your electronics going dead while you are in the middle of nowhere or on a long trip. At night time when there’s no energy from the sun light, you use the stored energy within your battery pack to charge your electronics. This is a great way to ensure that your GPS will always work and will eliminate the stress of potentially getting lost without your navigation system. You’ll also be more at ease, knowing that you can always make that emergency phone call.

How much will you have to pay for a backpack that will charge your electronics? The price range for a solar backpack ranges between $100-500. The cheaper backpacks consist of a 4-watt solar panel and a lithium-ion battery (which will not be enough to charge a laptop). The more expensive backpacks usually contain a solar panel with about 14.7 watts (such as the Generator by Voltaic Systems).

How will you know which backpack to buy? You need to determine what you plan on charging and the amount of time you will be outdoors in the sunlight. The two leading solar power backpack manufacturers are Voltaic Systems, a company based in New York, and Solar Eclipse Gear. Voltaic backpacks, priced at $250, come with 4 watts and 11 adapters so you can have a back-up charger for each of your electronic gadgets. Voltaic also makes a solar powered bag that will charge a laptop. It has the following Solar Charger Specifications:

  • 15 Watt Solar Panel generates power in sunlight. It is waterproof, lightweight and built to withstand abuse.
  • Power: 15 Watts total peak output at 20 Volts
  • Charge times: 1 hour in the sun will provide between 12 and 45 minutes of runtime, depending on your laptop. 1 hour in the sun is typically sufficient to charge most cell phones and other handheld electronics.

The fabrics of these backpacks are made out of recycled soda bottles, making it even more environmentally friendly. The best selling solar power backpack > is made by Voltaic, which includes a battery pack, AC travel charger, DC car charger and USB connection. Solar Eclipse Gear backpacks, priced around $130, only include 2.5 watts and one 12V charging outlet which is to be used in your car.

It makes sense to buy a solar power backpack that contains a battery pack, so that you are able to use the excess stored energy at another time when you may not have been directly in the sun for a period of time. If you plan on only charging small items (no laptops), Helius makes a great solar power backpack for a good price.

These solar power backpacks are not just for the adventurous type, they can benefit everyone. A solar power backpack can be used to charge all of your everyday gadgets for free, either during your daily commute through the city, or while you are getting ready for work (by placing your backpack outside in the sun).

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