Green Backpacking with Solar Chargers

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Reducing your carbon footprint is now made easy through the utilization of solar chargers in charging your electronic gadgets. This is the perfect equipment that nature lovers can carry with them when venturing into the wilderness. A solar charger enables an individual to carry important devices with them during long outdoor trips.

As much as campers, hikers, and bikers would like to leave their cellular phones, mp3s, and cameras behind this can be quite impossible in this day and age. These electronic devices are undeniably important in our lives as they are considered as both highly-functional and entertaining. In addition most of these devices provide a means of communication with other people during emergency situations.

A solar charger makes it a possibility for backpackers to charge electronic devices without needing energy from the mains. As the name implies, a solar charger generates energy from the sun. Solar energy is captured and trapped within the cells that are the primary features of a solar charger.

There are two types of cells that are used in solar chargers. There are manufacturers that utilize thin layers of film to trap energy from the sun. They are more compact and portable than other types of cell technologies, but they deliver below average efficiency ratings. A solar charger that features thin films is only 10% efficient or less. A solar charger that features monocrystalline films on the other hand is more durable and resilient. They are usually larger and thicker than thin panels, thus their efficiency rating is higher as well. A quality solar charger that features monocrystalline films is known to boast an efficiency rating of 20% and above.

A solar charger used by backpackers need to be compact and highly portable. Nobody would like to lug around a heavy bag full of solar panels and batteries for an entire day. Although there are generally three types of solar chargers that are available in the market today, only those that occupy a small space in your bag should be seriously considered.

Although pocket-size solar chargers offer convenience, they may not be able to supply sufficient amounts of energy for your electronic gadgets and gears. Make sure to choose a solar charger that offers a perfect balance between size and capacity.

If you have two or more gadgets with you, such as a cellular phone, a GPS navigation tool, and audio equipment, you may opt to purchase a solar backpack instead. Solar panels are usually stitched onto the outside of the bag. There are also solar panels that slide easily into a pocket. Due to the larger surface area of the solar panels, solar backpacks have the ability to charge more devices at a quicker and faster rate.

Outdoorsmen who are to venture into the wild for longer periods of time and carry a myriad of electronic devices will find foldable solar chargers the ideal solution for their charging needs. Foldable chargers have the largest surface area, thus facilitating faster charging for multiple devices.

Regardless of size and shape, most solar chargers come with on-board lithium ion batteries. These batteries are known to supply energy during the night or whenever a user is indoors. Batteries that are featured in solar chargers do automatically charge when there are no other electronic devices that are connected to the solar panels. This is a convenience feature, as users can make use of the solar power stored in the batteries to charge their gears even without direct sunlight.

There are also solar chargers that feature USB outlets. These types of chargers are called hybrids as they can both utilize electrical energy from the mains and renewable energy from the sun. If you are indoors, you can simply plug the device onto an appliance that has USB connectivity to enable charging. The rate of charging is relatively faster and more efficient when a solar charger is plugged into the mains. A great advice to backpackers is that they should charge their solar panels into a USB socket before a long trip. By doing so, users reduce the need to charge their batteries under direct sunlight. You will have enough reserve energy, especially during long hiking and camping trips.

Shopping Guide when Buying Solar Chargers?

Solar charger prices range from $30 to $150. Solar panels that are lightweight, mobile, and efficient are more expensive than larger solar panels. One of the major considerations of backpackers is the size of solar chargers. The smaller a charger is the more ideal they become for long trips into the wilderness. The quality of the solar cells also contributes to the final price of solar chargers. Chargers that feature monocrystalline panels are more expensive than those that feature thin panels only.

It is recommended to purchase a simple or basic solar charger at first. If you only need to charge one or two devices, all you need is a pocket-size charger. By buying a smaller solar charger, you eliminate unnecessary costs and extra expenses.

  • Duration of outdoor trip

Backpackers on average stay outdoors for three days, campers remain in the wilderness for two days at the most, while hikers may only stay outdoors for an entire day. Serious backpackers live and breathe outdoors for more than a week or so. If you are planning to stay outdoors for more than two days, you may need to buy a larger solar charger with high power capacity features. In addition, you may also need to consider the availability of main electrical outlets in the location where you plan on heading. Lastly, you also need to consider the amount of sunlight that is available in the outdoor location where you plan to go. These factors will also tell you as to which is the perfect solar charger for your needs.

A solar charger is a great device to have during outdoor trips. It supplies an adequate amount of energy when power outlet is unavailable and inaccessible. It’s a great gadget to have during emergency situations. In dire conditions, carrying a solar power with you at all times can even mean saving a life.


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