Solar Tech Must-Haves for Camping or the Field

Modern life has become so technology-dependent at the most basic levels, it’s starting to get in the way of people enjoying the outdoors on an extended basis. Not only do we constantly need a regular power source to recharge devices, the typical batteries don’t seem to be able to handle an extended period of device use in the field unlike normal daily use. Between the two, devices run low and everybody is fighting over the running the car and plugging into the vehicle sockets, which doesn’t do wonders for the very environment folks are trying to enjoy outdoors. Fortunately, along with all that high tech demand, there are also high-tech tools that can be used making life in the field a bit easier.

The ECEEN Solar Backpack

Designed to combine both function and solar power generation in one unit, the ECEEN Solar Backpack allows a hiker or camper to generate a power source for charging devices while actually walking, hiking or sitting in the sun. The solar panel sits off the external long-side of the pack, and generates enough power with a day of exposure to charge a phone and other small electronics. While it doesn’t have enough room for a full size trekking backpack, the ECEEN Backpack definitely has sufficient storage for a day trip or using a backpack for outings while working from a car and tent for bigger storage at a campsite. The ECEEN connections include cell phone connections, USB, Bluetooth and GPS hookups. Of course, the key factor is keeping the backpack in the sun, which won’t be such a good idea if your lunch is in there too. The ECEEN is not the most affordable backpack out there, but when combined with solar power it pays its way with utility.

Moultrie Solar Camera Charger

The Moultrie Solar Camera Charger

Photographers in the field know how frustrating it can be to run low on a battery when taking a series of shots, especially when waiting for the right moment can take hours of sitting in the middle of nowhere. Most have to compensate by either buying expensive cameras with extra battery capacity or bring more lithium batteries for replacement swap-outs. But even then, these options run out too. The Moultrie Camera Charger is specifically designed with a broad solar panel to hookup and charge cameras, both still-shot and film for heavy use in the field.  The one downside of this tech is that it is specific to Moultrie cameras, so you will want to check on compatibility first before buying.

Solar-Compatible Cooler

The Engel Solar-Compatible Cooler

How many times have you had to keep buying ice to keep your food a drink cold at a campsite over a weekend or for a few days in the outdoors? Probably every morning and night like most folks. With the Engel Solar Cooler the food and drink stored inside stay cold while the unit provides its own cooling circulation powered by the sun, the very hot thing that makes your food go bad otherwise. The Engel Cooler models work so well, they keep ice from melting and drinks can be kept cold with multiple temperature levels. You can choose from basic cooling to freezing. And, the Cooler can easily switch to cable power when not needed in the field for an extra food storage on a boat or garage. The weird part about this product, however, is that one needs to buy the cooler and a solar panel separately; they don’t come packaged.

BW Distributors Solar USB Charger

BW Distributors Solar USB Charger

For just a basic solar panel that functions as a generic power source for phones, laptops and other digital devices, the BW Distributors Solar Charger fits the bill. Designed with a rugged case for being stuck in backs and taken to the field, this unit is very simple to use and powerful in benefits. Simply put it out on a flat surface in the sun and the charging starts collecting. With a dual USB port multiple devices can be charged at the same time. It’s a great tool for day-trippers, river fishing, camping on the weekend, boating, or deep field trekking a ways from civilization. A typical BW Charger juices up at least five smartphones before needing more exposure. The best part about the combination, in addition to the performance, is the price point being very affordable.

Goal Zero Solar Panel Multi-Tool

An optional choice for a portable solar panel, the Goal Zero Solar Panel choice is designed for fast solar absorption and charging on the go. The Multi-Tool aspect comes with some accessories for attaching a fan for cooling as well as USB connections and a flashlight, also connectible and powered from the same Goal Zero panel. And, supposedly, the charging cables that come with the kit will never tangle, they promise. However, Goal Zero’s performance is limited to smaller devices; it does not work so well charging full laptop computers.

The Snow Lizard SLXTREME Phone Case

Many would at first think this device is an overkill phone cover protection kit. However, the Snow Lizard Phone Case is designed for two purposes. First, it keeps a compatible smartphone safe and dry, even if it falls in water or snow. This is a big plus in wet environments or where there is a chance of dropping a phone in the water and otherwise shorting it out. Secondly, the case includes a solar panel for charging the same phone kept inside it, keeping your smartphone functional and working even if you have been out in the boonies for 30 days straight. The case is waterproof to a depth of at least six feet, and the casing is designed to take a knock or rock and keep the phone inside protected. The best part of the package is that while the unit is exposed, it is putting your phone on a trickle charge so that it’s ready to go as needed in the field versus waiting for a charge and being stuck for a while. And, unlike many protective cases, the Snow Lizard pops open and closed in a quick snap. Expect a higher price point than most rugged covers, but keep in mind the combined benefits you’re getting with the Snow Lizard versus a regular cover that may not even be waterproof.

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