One of the major concerns when going outdoors is keeping our electronics – smartphones, tablets, laptops, GPS, and so on – charged and ready to go when we need them. We rely on these devices and having a reliable power source is something every outdoor and hiking enthusiast wants. And this is where solar backpacks come in.
Solar backpacks harness the power of the sun via solar panels to give you a constant supply of energy to keep your devices charged and working. These backpacks ensure you remain connected to the world even if you are in the remotest locations on this planet.
They trap the power of the sun and store them in batteries that come with the backpacks. This way, you can charge your devices even when the sun is not up.
Solar backpacks are portable and even stylish. And they’ll put your mind at ease when you are hiking, camping, mountaineering, etc. as you are confident you won’t be without power. Also, they will solve your backpacking problems as they will contain all your gear.
All solar backpacks are not made equal. We’ll take you through a buying guide so you know the features to look for in a solar backpack. Here we go.
Do I Need a Solar Backpack?
Yeah, we figure you’ve been asking yourself that question. And the answer to that is yes. Solar backpacks are just like any other backpacks you take outdoors but with one massive advantage – making sure you don’t run out of power.
Many solar backpacks are waterproof. And this means you can take them to the beach, kayaking, snorkeling, or in any other wet conditions. We have a number of electronics – phones, laptops, GPS, cameras, and so on – and charging them can sometimes be an issue when you are outdoors.
There are many benefits to having a reliable power source. You might need to power your phone to call for help in case of an emergency. Or you could simply want to listen to some cool music as you relax in the wild. You can now see the reasons why you need a solar pack.
How to Choose a Solar Backpack?
At the end of the day, a solar backpack is still a backpack. And it must be comfortable to carry. In light of this, manufacturers design solar backpacks to be lightweight and thus easy to carry.
Also look out for backpacks with ergonomic designs, shoulder padding, or back padding. Some even have shoulder straps and hip belts. All these features are to make the backpack more comfortable to carry. And this will allow you to carry your solar backpack for a long distance without tiring out.
Size, Capacity, and Weight
The capacity of a backpack is expressed in liters. ‘Normal’ backpacks are usually between 15-20L and will easily accommodate all your stuff. If you’ll be going on a long-distance hike or trek, then you’ll want to go for backpacks that are over 30L. Some solar backpacks come with hydration bladders to keep you hydrated on your adventures.
The size of a solar backpack or any backpack, in general, doesn’t necessarily correlate with its weight. This is because the weight of a backpack depends on the material used. And the solar panels also have an effect on the weight of solar backpacks.
Check the measurements of the solar backpack before buying and go for the ones that meet your needs. You definitely do not want to end up with a backpack that’s too small.
Compartments and Pockets
It’s important for your solar backpack to have multiple compartments and pockets. A backpack with well-designed compartments will allow you to organize your gear by providing you with a place for each item. The advantage of this is that you can take items out without having to offload the whole content of the backpack.
This attribute determines the activities you can use your solar backpack for. Waterproofed solar backpacks can be used for kayaking, snorkeling, taken to the beach, or in other wet conditions.
Also, your gear is protected from rain. Remember that you’ll be having electronics such as phones, cameras, and laptops in your backpack. And these items do not agree with water. Some manufacturers also include rain covers to protect your backpack and your gear better.
Solar Panel Power & Quality, Removable?
All solar panels aren’t made equal. Most solar panel ratings are between 3-10W. The higher the rating, the faster the panel will charge your devices. Also, the more powerful panels are also larger too.
Some solar panels can be removed from the backpack. You can then expose only the panel to the sun and keep the rest of your gear in the shade. Removable solar panels bring more flexibility and convenience.
Battery Included or Not?
mAh is the unit used to measure the capacity of a battery. The more the mAh, the higher the capacity of the battery. Some solar backpacks come with a rechargeable battery while others just have the solar panel and USB ports. It’s important to have a battery as you can charge your devices at night or when it’s cloudy.
Even if your solar backpack doesn’t come with a battery, use your own external battery or power bank. Charge your powerbank when it’s sunny and use it later to charge your devices.
The size of the battery also varies. But when choosing a solar backpack, go for those with batteries that can charge your phones at least twice. The same applies if you want to get an external battery.
There you have it, the very best solar backpacks in the market and a buying guide to help you choose the one that’s right for you.
They may not be the most common gear but if you spend a lot of time in the great outdoors with some gear, it can be a really useful investment. In any case, I hope this selection of backpacks and this guide were valuable to you and helped you make your choice.