Charge it up! A small, lightweight, and powerful solar charger would be very helpful to hardcore outdoorsmen in the field. Is this the one to get? We’ll see.
Communications, lights, GPS receivers, emergency beacons, water purifiers, cameras, etc, etc. Face it, electronics are part of your kit and they have to be powered to justify the weight and space so you have a couple of choices on how to keep them up and running. Carry enough batteries to get you through or use some sort of recharging system.
I have done a fair amount of research on this and Powertraveller products keep cropping up as good test candidates. I have not used the Solarmonkey Adventurer in the field yet but here is what the manufacturer has to say about it.
“The solarmonkey adventurer is a slimline, compact 2-panel solar charger with a 2500mAh internal lithium polymer battery. The clamshell design offers optimum weight-to-efficiency at just 265g and the 2 solar panels output 3 watt max. The adventurer features auto-load, self sensing switching technology, meaning when a device is connected, the adventurer will automatically start to charge your device and will optimize the charging parameters required.
The polysilicon solar panel offers photovoltaic efficiency up to 17% and features a USB 700mA @ 5v output, fully supporting Apple iPhones, iPads, iPods, mobile phones and other 5v gadgets such as portable games consoles, handheld GPS systems, e-readers, etc.
The solarmonkey adventurer also has a solar energy detection feature which activates the incorporated state-of-the-art MPPT (maximum power point tracker) technology, allowing it to charge your device more efficiently in low light conditions. The solar panels will charge the internal battery in just 12 hours in optimum light conditions.
Users can also charge the solarmonkey adventurer and their devices simultaneously, thus saving time. You recharge the adventurer by the mains (UTC sold separately) via the DC 5v 600mA socket or via the solar panel. Whilst the adventurer is being charged the LED light will be red, once the internal battery is fully charged, this light will turn green.
The kit comes with a handy carabiner so it can be attached to tents or rucksacks and is made from high quality durable materials which make it both water and shock resistant – perfect for the outdoor adventurer and the busy traveller.
We’ve also included the white Apple monkeytail cable to allow easier connection to your Apple devices, as well as a specially designed travel case.
The travel case is made from a tough, condura-type material and features a thermal insulation layer to protect the solarmonkey adventurer from the elements. The technical details inside the case include thin elasticated straps on both halves to hold the adventurer securely in place whilst the solar panel is open and an elastic self-securing buckle that fits through the hinge slots of the adventurer, ensuring it is held in place. The top half of the case features a netted storage area for cables, etc and the tough, waterproof zip keeps the solarmonkey adventurer protected. External features include a hang loop at the top of the case and belt loops at the rear.
Packed full with protection features including short-circuit protection, overload protection and low voltage protection and importantly, thermal insulation battery protection giving an operating temperature range of -10 to 90 degrees C, the solarmonkey adventurer adds an exciting new dimension to the existing Powertraveller range.
1 x solarmonkey adventurer portable charger
5 x adaptor tips for BlackBerry, HTC, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG & Motorola (including Mini & Micro USB)
1 x USB connection cable
1 x carabiner
1 x neoprene travel case
Input: solar and DC 5v 600mA
Output: USB port: 5v 700mA”.