I update this list constantly, because there’s always something new & interesting. Either it’s new efficiencies, or it’s new formats.
I want you to avoid giving, or receiving, solar charging equipment that doesn’t do the job. We outfit remote work camps, expeditions, and professionals who need to have the most reliable equipment when they are hundreds of Kilometers from nowhere.
Because, after all, what does Amazon know about solar? Nothing beyond how much margin they can make to cover their free shipping.
So, why these products?
Simple… they work great. That’s the point, isn’t it?
I’ve seen & used the solar chargers & battery packs from big box stores, and I’ve read the reviews. They simply aren’t at this level.
How to Read Amazon & Box Store Ads…
Usually Amazon & big box outlets are sources for garbage – this is where you find the landfill fodder. Even reviews can be easily faked. So, hopefully this will help…
Trust manufacturers that have been doing it for years!
Look for devices with at least 3 watts of solar, and at least 15 Watt-Hours (4,000mAHr @ 3.7V) of on-board solar power storage. If they don’t specify either? Leave it on the shelf… it’s likely garbage.
A common device like a smart phone will take approx 12 Watt-Hours (3800mAHr with losses included) to fully charge from dead (try not to ever fully drain your batteries by the way… not good for them). So a 2Watt solar panel in summer months might only get you 40-50% of your charge (if you drain your smartphone daily). This is workable, but you’ll get only 5-10% in the shoulder seasons, and if you have other devices to charge, you will find such a small charger just won’t keep up.
This is the feature that allows you to charge your device from the battery while the battery is also charging from a source. Rather an important feature for solar batteries, but something that is usually left out of standard battery pack designs. Even big names like Anker don’t do it.
If they don’t say that it is pass-through, it isn’t, which means cheap overhead circuitry… leave it on the shelf!
So, without further introduction, here are the solar gadgets that actually work well.
Extreme Solar Kit by Power Traveller
A new addition to the Modern Outpost catalogue in 2019, but from a company that has been doing stellar work in Europe for years. This package includes a rugged clamshell solar panel that delivers 5W of power in full sun. Enough to offset 1-2 full iPhones in a summer day. Paired with the solar is a ruggedized 12,000mAHr solar battery pack – enough reserve for 3 smartphones. Lightweight, rugged, reliability.
LightSaver by Powerfilm
Sensitive 3W solar panel, plus built-in 12Wh battery bank. Thin film solar is your best option for effective charging in the widest range of light conditions. Supports all your USB devices. Smartphones, tablets, GPS, cameras, GoPro, and more.
LightSaver MAX by Powerfilm
Powerfilm’s bigger LightSaver, with more solar and more energy storage. A sensitive 10W thin film solar panel rolls around the 60Wh battery core (18,000mAHr). Thin film solar is your best option for effective charging in the widest range of light conditions. Supports all your USB devices. Smartphones, tablets, GPS, cameras, drones, and more.
Fuse Tablet by Voltaic Systems This nifty little solar charger case packs a solar panel & solar storage battery in a rugged zippered case that can attach to any backpack or bike panier rack. It has room to store your iPod, iPhone, GPS, or other small USB device safely inside. Best of all, Voltaic didn’t skip on performance… this package has 10-times the power of typical pocket solar chargers.
Arc 20W Solar Laptop Charger Kit by Voltaic
Compact and powerful, the Arc 20 Watt Solar Laptop Charger powers your laptops (including MacBooks with optional adapter), DSLRs, smartphones, and other USB devices. This versatile system easily attaches to your pack and folds up neatly for storage when traveling. Multi-voltage output, USB-c PD in/out. Easily offsets 4 hours of daily laptop use May-Sept.
20W solar, 88Wh storage.
Arc 10W by Voltaic Systems
Looking for a lightweight solar option that someone can plug their phone directly to for charge? This is one of the best. The Arc 8W provides USB devices with the power they need. Regulated, and Apple-compatible. Simple plug-n-play solar with plenty of power to get the job done quickly.
KA550 Self-Powered Radio by Kaito
It’s been a reliable bit of home emergency kit for over a decade. The multi-band radio is a must for any home, and the ability to charge from solar, dynamo, wall, or USB means it is always ready to use.
1560 Dynamo USB by Coghlans
When you want a reliable emergency charger for your personal electronics like phones, radios, and lights, look no further. Keep it on a window sill, and ordinary daylight will keep the battery charged 24/7/365. During a blackout, if you manage to drain the 6000mAh battery, fold out the handle and crank it for a few minutes.
RedStart 50 by Power Traveller
It’s a fantastic car safety accessory that’s able to jumpstart most 4 cylinder card and light trucks. It also keeps your phones and USB devices charged. Anyone who relies on their vehicle should have this in their glovebox.
Sport 25 by Power Traveller
Looking for a tough battery pack to handle the great outdoors? This is it! The Sport 25 is IP67 rated to handle dust and brief water submersion. Charges all USB devices, and interfaces with any USB solar panel. Includes a big 150 lumen flashlight. Don’t get caught on a wilderness trek without!
Merlin 15 by Power Traveller
Forget those whimpy battery packs you see on Amazon. Get a tough one that charges phones, POV cams, and other USB devices. This is also a big 100 lumen LED flashlight. Waterproof & dustproof to IP65 rating, means it’s tough enough for all your outdoor activities.
Lighthouse Micro USB Lantern by Goal Zero
Popular pocket lantern. USB rechargeable, dimmable and IPX6 weatherproof. A perfect companion for weight-conscious adventurers. Also plugs into any USB solar module to recharge right from the sun.
Modern Outpost always has a selection of great equipment that’s being replaced by the endless march of solar & battery technology. Get fantastic deals on discontinued models and limited-time offers.
Can’t Decide? How about a Gift Certificate?
That’s it for this presentation. Please click here to tell me about a cool product that you want my opinion on. I will reply as fast as I can. There are a lot of ‘deals’ on the web that don’t turn out to be deals in the end. I’d like to help you if I can. Cheers!