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05/25/2020 10:15PM  
I am looking for advice on what to purchase for long term battery charging capability for a week long trip. There are numerous solar powered devices out there ranging in price. I am looking for something compact and lightweight.
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distinguished member (365)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/26/2020 04:45AM  
How much equipment do you have to charge? For a week, most people just carry a power pack from companies such as "Goal Zero" or "Anker".......Most of the portable solar panels don't charge direct to the equipment, but to a power pack anyway.....There was a recent discussion about these with a lot of good information over in the "Equipment" section of this Forum. See below Link.


Power pack discussion
distinguished member(836)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/26/2020 05:44AM  
Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger. If it is cloudy you ,might need 2 if you have more than 1 or 2 devices.
If for just a few days I just bring a jump pack.
05/26/2020 06:43AM  
I purchased this one for the upcoming season. I haven’t used it in the field yet but I’ve tested it at home. It has done a good job charging my iPhone and my Anker 10,000mAh Power bank. It has two USB ports for charging a power bank and another device at the same time.

Big Blue Solar Phone Charger
05/26/2020 02:08PM  
Don’t bring anything that needs charging
05/26/2020 03:02PM  
kjw: "Go to and look at their ratings for the devices. They are usually fairly accurate on ratings of different items. You might have to do a search when you hit the site but they rated lots of solar charging devices. Solar reviews "

I thought this was an interesting review. I bought a GoalZero Nomad 7 maybe 5 years ago, and stopped taking it on my canoe trips after about 2 years. My trips are usually 7-10 days or so. Seemed to always be cloudy when I needed to charge, and it did not impress me speed wise. I also started using a Luci light for most of my evening/early morning lighting needs, and I got a headlamp with a lithium batter that seems to go for a long time - does get below 50% even after a week in winter - so my need for charging is not great. I found I was better off carrying a small Anker, which I mentioned in the post JATFOMike mentioned. I'd guess if I were going on a trip over maybe 18-20+ days, I'd likely go include solar, but for me on summer trips 12 days and under, its easier/faster/lighter/cheaper to brink my Anker.

I noticed in the Outdoorgearlab review, the Anker21W was highly recommended, and I'd personally consider that one if I were upgrading. Its 21W vs 7 for mine, weighs the same, and is just a little over an inch longer when folded. Their review trashed the GoalZero14.
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
05/26/2020 03:40PM  
The most compact and portable one is the one that you don't bring. As others have said, what do you need to charge?

If you need to replenish batteries, I'd bring a small portable battery bank instead. Solar chargers are slow, especially if it's cloudy.
05/27/2020 08:56AM  
I have a preference for GoalZero brand power banks and solar panels. Excellent reliability and customer service. They are more expensive in general but mine have been in use for 10 years or more. Specifically a Yeti Power Station and a pair of Nomad 13 panels used singly or paired to double the charge rate.
I will not take the Yeti on a canoe trip too heavy and cumbersome, but 1 or both panels would be fine and charge up a Anker 21000 easily, which I also use.

I still have a replacement battery vs charging in field break even point around 10 days. Less spare batteries, more a charge/bank system. My power needs are for GPS units and cameras, my cell phone is left in my vehicle or turned off (I also have spare batteries if I needed).
The big Yeti power station is for racing events of several days where camp power access is used to power laptops and cameras.

Lots of other solar charging solutions available, I choose Goal Zero because of my experiences with the products and in person discussions with company personnel at Canoecopia several years ago.

distinguished member(801)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/28/2020 08:09PM  
Unless you're packing a huge arsenal of power-hungry equipment with you, you don't need solar for a week. A power bank will suit you much better. Heck, even then, solar only really shines (pun) over longer periods of time. I basically just view solar chargers as being inappropriate gimmicks for most people. Sure, there are situations where they're great, but the vast majority of BWCA trips? Nope, just pack the appropriate amount of power in power banks.

mschi772: "Nimble, Anker, & Aukey are the best choices. What size depends on your needs, and you don't need to guess. The mAh of every device you plan to use should be pretty easy to find either on the device's battery, in its manual, or via a quick search. Multiply each battery's mAh by the number of times you expect to have to charge it. Add the products of each device up, then round up to the nearest power bank size.

My Moto G5+ has a 3000 mAh battery.
My gf's Moto G6+ has a 3200 mAh battery.
Our two headlamps run on AA, and we use Panasonic Eneloop Pro to power them which have 2500-2600 (but we'll say 2500) mAh.
We also use a 10 ft Luminoodle which doesn't have a battery, but knowing its wattage (5), voltage (5), and estimated time in use (2 hr per night; 5 nights) gives an estimate of 10,000 mAh.

On my last trip, I used my phone as a gps and for a few photos. I kept in in airplane mode and turned it off at night and anytime I wouldn't be using for an extended period of time. I went into the park at 100% and when we exited the park six days later, I still had something like 10-20% of the usable battery life left. So my phone required 0 mAh of power bank.

My girlfriend used her phone similarly, but instead of using gps, she just took more photos. Her phone also never needed a recharge during the whole week. 0 mAh required from a power bank.

While Eneloop batteries are rechargeable, we do not recharge them in the field. We just bring multiple batteries. By not using brighter modes than necessary and turning them off when not needed, I don't think we even had to change the batteries in our headlamps once all week, but let's say we each would have had to swap once (if we had gone on night paddles/hikes, this would have been likely). Still no power bank necessary as we'd just have brought a total of 4 AA Eneloops.

The Luminoodle runs directly off of a power bank. I have a very small 7500 mAh power bank that I use just for it, and I've never sucked it dry, so clearly the reality is that we didn't even use the Luminoodle as much as 2 hr per day.
If we leave the Luminoodle (I love that name) home, we wouldn't need a single power bank for that entire 6-day trip, and that's with using phones for photos and gps.

The gist of all of that is that tons of power is rarely necessary with the right tools and habits.


But just for the heck of it, let's pretend we burned the crap out of our phone batteries, used the Luminoodle a ton, and had a GoPro HERO7 that we used a bunch (1220 mAh battery).

2 recharges of my G5+ (counting the full batt going in, that's 3 full discharges)= 6000 mAh
2 recharges of the G6+ = 6400 mAh
6 recharges of the GoPro = 7320 mAh
3 hours of Luminoodle running every night = 15,000 mAh

Total of 34,720 mAh required. An Anker 20000 and 15000 would do the job, but you could go with two 20000 units in this hypothetical situation if you're paranoid. Take away my Luminoodle from the equation which is a unique piece of gear, and then all that would be needed for 4 phone recharges and 6 GoPro recharges would be a 20000 mAh bank."
05/29/2020 06:21AM  
I purchased a Suntastics S5 solar charger several years ago and I have been very pleased with its performance. It is lightweight ... only 7 oz. and its waterproof. It is popular with hikers. I use it to charge my Anker 10000 mAh Powerbank that weighs 6.7 oz.

While in Quetico I use my IPhone. I installed a GAIA Map App for mapping and Earthmate APP to pair my cell with my older 7 oz. InReach SE to send and receive text messages.

The Suntastics S5 does a good job of providing me power to my IPhone, InReach and Anker Powerbank.

05/29/2020 06:41AM  
distinguished member(1457)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/29/2020 08:49AM  
recharging? I don't need to buy anything, just take shirt off or whatever and expose bare skin to the sun, weighs nothing.
05/30/2020 08:52PM  
Yea... I think I was blinded by the glare way down here in Savage
distinguished member(2022)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/31/2020 09:30AM  
I purhased and brought a solar charger once. It was too cloudy to do any good. You are much better off with a Anker battery pack. Manage your power consumption wisely. Turn off the functions that you don't use. Make sure that if it's a device that relies on satellites that it's not buried in a pack or it will go dead searching for a satellite connection. Turn it off when not in use.
05/31/2020 10:07AM  
Joel ... great advice.
distinguished member(1332)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/20/2022 08:31PM  
I bring an Anker 21000 mamp power brick. It kept my cell phone and tablet charged for a full week. I brought a solar panel (portable) but never used it.

Stick with a power bank/brick.
10/20/2022 11:26PM  
I just brought a 20000 mamp power pack that had a small solar cell on the face. I didn't always have a lot of time to sit around and let it charge as we traveled a lot. Put it out in the afternoon after we made camp to give a little juice. It stared at 5 light level (full). I still had about 1.5 at the end of a 10 day trip. I only used it to charge my phone ( for pictures, navigation, and paired with my InReach Mini 2), Inreach once, and headlight once.
I didn't use my Nikon enough to drain the battery and had an extra battery for that. I was paddling solo so I didn't have easy access to my camera. Every time you stop paddling, the boat stops! so all my daytime pictures were done on the Iphone. Too much time to unpack the nikon.
My 2c is it's easier to bring an extra power bank and not worrying about deploying a solar charger

I think the Iphone takes a fine picture
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