Solar Recharge

April 15th, 2008

My last backpacking trip to Sykes was great, but my GPS watch ran out of juice after a second full-day of use. Sigh. I figure if I ever do any multi-day backpacking trips and want to record the GPS waypoints the whole time, i’m gonna need a way to recharge. Plus I like being green, so I looked into a solar panel charging device.

My goals for a device, most important ones first:

  • Recharge my Garmin Forerunner 305
  • Recharge my 5G iPod
  • Recharge my iPhone
  • Can’t break easily
  • Lightweight, small
  • Under $100
  • Bonus: works with AC outlet and DC car cigarette lighter
  • Bonus: work like my current iPhone AC to USB charger
  • Bonus: minimal attachments

This roll-up solar charger looked cool – It can recharge a laptop – but was too big and expensive. Solio was pretty popular on the ol’ google search results, and they have 2 models that met my goals – the Solio Classic and the Solio Hybrid 1000. Looking at the tech specs, the classic has a bigger battery and more juice, but the 1000 is a bit more rugged, as this guy suggested. The H1000 doesn’t charge as well as the other Solio products, but I liked that it was the most durable and cheapest. We have a winner that meets all my goals. Watch video. I paid $74 including shipping/taxes at thenerds, and it arrived 2 days after I ordered it. I confirmed it worked as expected with my GPS watch, iPhone, and iPod. Hurray.

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