The solar backpack is typically a cloth sack that is portable enough to be carried on the back or over the shoulders of the individual. It is normally equipped with a flexible moncrystalline solar panel, batteries, cords, plugs, light bulbs, and charge controller. The mechanism allows for the conversion of sunlight into usable electricity to provide power to common portable electronic appliances and devices.
Normally the limitations of the solar backpack are for equipment that is rated for a maximum of 300 watts only. It usually delivers power that can last for up to 120 watt-hours per day. There are many practical applications that can make this device extremely functional like in the case of field research, international aid, emergency power, or disaster relief among others. Consider the following factors when buying this particular device:
- Powerful design
The original design of the solar backpack is known as the REPPS (Rucksack Enhanced Portable Power System) and was intended for the use of the United States Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center. The system featured a 62-watt solar panel blanket for use by the US Army stationed in Afghanistan. This however was not the first implementation of this system.
Previously the US Air Force and the Marines used almost the same type of system for their operation. The REPPS has proven valuable in the field that it has remained in use by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Logar, Afghanistan. When buying this type of device, make user that it has the same powerful design to get the most out of your money and remain functional with every use.
- Capable of powering laptops
Undoubtedly the functionality of this type of device can vary substantially depending on its manufacturer. When on the market, make sure that you look for one that is functional enough to power laptops for 3 hours on the average. This will give you a good gauge of just how much it can deliver in terms of electricity. It is likewise important to realize that not all solar backpack models are capable of charging laptops, which means that those that can are a bit more expensive.
One important thing to consider though is that not all laptops were designed to receive power from an external battery source. This means if charging laptops is one of your intended uses for this device, you must consult your product manufacturer of the availability of this feature. Otherwise, you may have a functional source of solar energy, but your device may not be fully compatible with the electricity it outputs.
- Length of exposure
Essentially, when buying this type of device, you want to take into consideration the charging factor. Models can have significantly different charging time requirements, which mean that the length of exposure to the sun to achieve a full charge can be different. Basically, you would want to consider a solar backpack that is capable of powering emergency lights for approximately 14 hours after just six hours of exposure to the sun.
This is extremely advantageous especially for those who are living off the grid as well as those in jurisdictions where sunlight is extremely limited. The longer the exposure time, the more waiting time required before this device becomes fully functional. If you are continuously on the move, you may not have the luxury of waiting. You also have to consider that not just because you are outdoors, you automatically have complete access to sunlight.
- Capable of higher power outputs
The flexibility of these types of solar power devices is normally measured by the type of devices they can power up. One of the more challenging equipment that you need to take into consideration, especially when in humanitarian relief missions is the ability to deliver power to medical equipment. It is safe to say that not all portable solar power sources are capable of delivering this kind of functionality.
To get optimum value for your money, you must realize that an important factor to consider is the ability of solar backpacks to store excess power, which you currently do not need, but can be readily called upon later on. This will allow you to absorb as much of the free solar energy that you can and have the peace of mind that you can use it immediately in cases of emergency.
- The best solar backpack can deliver power even in remote areas
When considering solar backpacks, you must be very keen on the factor that your location should never pose a hindrance on the manner of charging. For this, you would need to inquire from the manufacturer the flexibility of using the solar backpack charger. Essentially, there would be no problem with charging if you are at home or in the campsite, but, when on the move, there may be some issues you will be forced to contend with.
There is a solar backpack review that suggests that it would be ideal to opt for a solar backpack charger that allows charging not only from sunlight, but also from conventional electric sources. This type of flexibility allows you to take advantage of the device even when stationed in localities where the sun never shines for months for example. This also gives you the convenience of charging the unit at home at night to be ready for use in the morning.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
The common driving motivation to buy this device is convenience and flexibility. This purpose would be negated if it is extremely difficult to carry because of its weight. Essentially, you would want to gain access to a simple device that will make your life easier as well as cut down your bills while limiting carbon footprint. It the unit is not lightweight and not designed adequately for on the go activities, then it is not worth your money.
It is equally important to consider a solar backpack that is waterproof. Keep in mind that majority of the uses of this device would be outdoors and in remote areas. This means that it needs to be functional regardless of the weather. It is therefore an important factor to consider the capability of the device to charge and deliver power regardless if it is raining, snowing, or cloudy.
Do not get the wrong notion that all of these factors can only be satisfied by high-end solar backpacks. There are a number of affordable devices in the market that will give you the best value for your money. Keep all these factors in mind to have the best solar backpack for you.