Having a good backpack is a necessity when talking about camping or hiking. We bring food, water and the camping gear we need and pack it all inside. Most of us also like to take electronics with us – smartphones, tablets, music players or laptops. We use them for GPS, entertainment, or communication in case of emergency. However, these devices run on batteries, and sometimes a power outlet is pretty far away.
For this reason, solar backpacks were invented. They gather energy thanks to the solar panels installed, and allow us to charge our devices while we’re on the go. This can certainly give you a peace of mind knowing your device will be working when you need it most.
Of course, not all products offer the same quality and charging capacity. The best solar powered backpack is durable and has a high quality panel which is able to generate a lot of power as quickly as possible. There is also the question of size, weight and added features.
That’s why we chose different models for our solar backpack reviews so you can find the one which is right for you. Be sure to check out the buying guide too – you will get more information about certain features and how to recognize a top quality product.
How To Choose The Best Solar Backpack – Buying Guide
A solar backpack is truly a great product, because it has added versatility compared to a regular one. This makes it an excellent solution for our modern lifestyle. Of course, it still needs to be a proper backpack. This means it has to be strong and durable, with enough space inside for things you need. In addition, the solar panel needs to be a safe and reliable power source to avoid potential risk for your devices. You need to think about how and when you’re going to use the backpack, and then select the features based on this decision.
Solar Power Capacity
This represents the amount of power your panel can generate. Solar backpacks use compact panels, which have a much smaller capacity than those used on home rooftops. It’s directly related to how quick the backpack with solar panel is going to charge your device or a battery pack. This value is somewhere between 3 and 10 Watts per hour, depending on the product. More powerful panels are usually larger too.
Battery Power and Usage
Some solar backpacks will come with a battery included, others will have just the panel with a USB port. The size of this battery also varies, some have the capacity to charge your smartphone once, while others are capable of charging a laptop.
If you need to charge a large device or several devices at once, think about this more carefully. Otherwise, most batteries will be good for smaller devices. If a battery isn’t included you can use your own, or you can charge your equipment directly. Unfortunately, the panel itself isn’t able to store the energy on its own.
When it comes to battery specs, the capacity on your phone or tablet is shown in mAH (milliampere hours). Let’s say that the battery in your solar backpack has 6000mAH capacity, and an average phone battery has about 3000mAh. It means a fully charged battery pack can charge your phone twice before it runs out of juice.
This refers to the time a solar panel needs to fully charge the battery. It depends on two things – power generating capacity and battery capacity. A larger and stronger panel will do the job faster, but it will take up more space and possibly be heavier. In addition, a larger battery pack is going to need more time to charge, so keep that in mind when you’re going out to buy one.
Most small USB devices like phones and tablets need 5 volts to charge, and manufacturers create solar backpacks so that they meet this requirement. This way you can safely use the backpack charger without potential risk to the battery inside the device. You should get a backpack which offers a voltage your device needs (keep in mind that laptops have different requirements).
In order to be efficient, a solar backpack needs to be exposed to sunlight. Manufacturers will specify the wattage it’s able to generate, but you should be aware that this is measured in ideal conditions. In cloudy weather your solar backpack won’t be as effective. For this reason you should try to keep in the sun as much as possible, even if it means changing its position. Only this way can you be sure it will gather the energy your equipment needs.
More often than not you will fully load your backpack with personal belongings, which can make it heavy. For this reason, it’s not very good if the backpack is heavy on its own. This won’t be a problem for short hikes, but if you decide you want to go for a longer walk your back may become sore and everything won’t be so enjoyable anymore. Most manufacturers will usually specify the weight of their product, so be sure to think about this and look it up.
Your new backpack needs to be spacious enough for everything you need, and this is particularly true for camping. You need to bring a lot on your trip, especially if you’re going with your family. Be sure to check the measurements before buying, you don’t want to end up with a backpack which is too small.
On the other hand, if you’re buying one for your child, then the solar bookbag can and should be smaller in size. Dimensions are not always related to weight, meaning that a larger backpack is not necessarily the heavier one. This depends on materials used in making it, and of course the solar panel which comes with it.
It goes without saying that both the backpack and the solar panel need to be durable. Materials used should be strong and resistant to wear and tear. Most manufacturers use nylon, polyester or PVC as products of choice, because they are tough and easy to maintain. Many are waterproof which is an added plus.
You should also pay attention to the seams on your new backpack, because the stitching should be done properly. This is usually the first place where the backpack tears after using it for some time. As for the panel, it needs to be able to withstand outside conditions without damage because it’s going to be exposed most of the time.
Pockets And Compartments
Every backpack should have enough pockets, and in the right places too. The main volume inside can be split into several compartments or you can have one large. Take a look at this because a good design will allow you to properly pack your water, food, survival kit or first aid kit among other things, without needing to take everything out before you find what you’re looking for.
Solar charging backpacks have tight pockets in which you can put the device that is being charged, which is very handy. In addition to this, the best solar backpacks will allow you to remove the panel and use it on its own. This is useful in many situations – you can leave the panel to gather energy in the sun while you take your backpack with you or put it inside the camping tent.
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This is an added feature we though was worth mentioning since we’re talking about camping and hiking. With this feature you don’t have to store a water bottle inside or in a side pocket, because the backpack comes with a reservoir (bladder). This is a bag made of rubber or plastic, and you can fill it with water or other liquid of choice. There is a hose leading outside and it’s easy to use while you’re on the go – very useful if you don’t want to stop and take the bottle out all the time.
Related Review: Hiking Backpack
Q: What Is A Solar Backpack?
Q: What Are The Advantages of A Solar Backpack?
Q: Why Do I Need To Buy A Solar Backpack?
Q: Can I Use My Device While Charging?
Globo Surf Overview
Investing in a solar backpack is a very smart thing to do. As you’ve had the opportunity to see, a good solar backpack can go a long way – you can use it for everyday purposes as well as for outdoor activities. You may run out of power sooner than you think, and a power outlet is not always available. You now know what to look for when shopping, and we’re sure your new backpack will make an excellent addition to your gear.
More Camping Reviews:
- Folding Chairs
- Canvas Tent
- Survival Gear
- Glamping Tents
- Tent Air Conditioner
- Double Sleeping Bag
- Weber Grill
- 8 Person Tent
- Camping Coffee Maker
- Bear Spray
More Backpack Reviews:
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- Backpacking Backpacks
- Tactical Backpack
- Leather Backpack
- North Face Backpack
- Lightweight Backpack
- Camera Backpack For Hiking
- Women’s Hiking Backpack
- Dog Backpack
- Osprey Backpack
- Roll Top Backpack
- Hiking Backpacks Under 100
- Budget Hiking Backpack
- Kids Hiking Backpack
- Black Diamond Backpack
- Adjustable Length Backpack
- Columbia Backpack
- Climbing Backpack
- Picnic Backpack
- Cycling Backpack
Have you tried a solar backpack that made it onto our list? Which one? How well did it work? Does it charge your battery quickly? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.