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IdealTarHeel
senior member (53)senior membersenior member
  
05/04/2023 02:37PM  
I am looking for a good solar charger that has its own battery. I do NOT want to have to leave my (whatever needs charging) plugged into it all day when I am on the water. I want to leave it at camp and come back to find it charged up some, then transfer the charge to whatever I want to at the time.

Needs to be lightweight and reliable. Any suggestions?

The IdealTarHeel
 
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Bjfinnegan
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
  
05/04/2023 02:51PM  
MPowerd makes a Luci lantern that also works as a power bank and has a solar panel built in. Looks like a 4,000mAh battery on the current model.

Efficiency of solar varies greatly, you'll want to be realistic about what is possible. They quote 28hrs to recharge via solar, which is probably in optimal conditions. So probably 2-3 days in reality. It's a small panel but doesn't seem out of the ordinary unless you're bringing those large folding panels out.
 
05/05/2023 07:48AM  
I have a Goal Zero. You can buy them with or without a power bank. Don't raise your expectation as to how much charge you'll get. Having the proper angle is important. Leaving it at camp all day won't necessarily mean you'll get a lot of charge. It really needs to be adjusted throughout the day to match the angle of the sun. If it's cloudy or raining, expect very little charging.
 
05/05/2023 09:22AM  
Bjfinnegan: "MPowerd makes a Luci lantern that also works as a power bank and has a solar panel built in. Looks like a 4,000mAh battery on the current model.


Efficiency of solar varies greatly, you'll want to be realistic about what is possible. They quote 28hrs to recharge via solar, which is probably in optimal conditions. So probably 2-3 days in reality. It's a small panel but doesn't seem out of the ordinary unless you're bringing those large folding panels out. "


I use these. I bring 2-3 and use them primarily as lights, but also as a backup solar power bank. These are designed to be used as lights that will charge enough in an average day to use at night. The original version can get a full charge in about 7 hours of direct sunlight. At least that's what the website says, in reality it takes longer but even without charging, the battery would last me about a week. The power bank model is the same thing, but with a bigger battery and a USB port.

I always set mine out in the mornings to charge. Sometimes, depending on the site, I'll arrange them on the clothes line so the morning sun will hit them without me needing to do anything. Usually that is enough to keep them fully charged the whole trip unless I need to use the charger function.
 
kebs
  
05/05/2023 09:53AM  
I got a Goal Zero for my last trip 5 or 6 years ago. I let it charge a battery bank all day and plugged my phone and/ or headlamp in to that bank overnight. Never had any issue. No more bringing AA batteries for cameras, lights, or anything else.
 
05/05/2023 02:28PM  
I've had luck with a cheaper Amazon solar panel like this one and also a goal zero nomad 20. For me I don't think it's worth it going smaller than the 13w panel. I pair either of them with a good Anker battery bank.

One thing I've found really nice is to make sure you get one with the tie-in points around the edges and corners as you can attach them to thwarts, packs, etc while on the move to get as much charge time as possible. Try and make sure you get one that's at least water resistant and do what you can to keep the battery bank dry as well.

If anyone knows of an integrated solar panel and charging bank that's waterproof and 15 watts or so or larger I'd love to know about it. I've thought about permanently attaching a battery bank to one of the panels and sealing the connections. Not sure why nobody makes something like this yet...

I won't bother with the solar panel unless I'm gone a week or more. Otherwise weight-wise it seems better just to bring a battery bank or two.
 
05/05/2023 04:14PM  
I bought a GoalZero 7 a while back but only brought it on one BWCA trip as I found I could charge my few devices at the time from a power bank for up to 10 days. Two years ago I upgrade to an Amker 21W which as I recall produced more electricity and weighed less - guess that's what happens as solar panels get better.

I got the Anker for a 20 day fall trip where I felt I might need to charge my headlamp, phone, Garmin Mini and Gopro several times. I brought a 10kmAh Anker bank along too. I think I only had to top off the power bank once in 20 days. I could probably have gotten by without the solar panel, but was glad to have it in case an emergency drained my devices for some reason. Depending on what all you have to charge, how many mAh, and how many times, it may well be work just brining a power bank.
 
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