If there's anything our mobile-obsessed world has taught us, it's to always carry around a powerbank.
No smartphone in the market right now lasts a full day and a power outlet is not available all the time. What more if you're traveling, hiking, biking, or just taking a tour around the city? You'll need something a bit more reliable and, more importantly, rechargeable. That's where solar backpacks come in handy.
Since you'll be walking around under the sun all day, get mother nature to help you out a bit and carry your own charging station. Solar backpacks aren't meant to be your sole power source, but it's the best tool to save you from running out of juice at the worst time. Just imagine the nightmare of a dead phone battery and being lost in the middle of a foreign country.
There are many options out there. Just keep in mind that price is a huge factor in how much power you actually get. Solar panels have become much more affordable nowadays, but the more you need, the more you'll pay.
So, in this detailed review we are going to look at the best Solar Backpacks for your travels.
SolarGoPack sells bags and solar panels of all sizes, colors, and shapes. They have a long list of solar backpacks in their roster, and each one has its own pros and cons.
The SolarGoPack 10K Solar Powered Backpack is the best in the roster for different kinds of use.
Like most outdoor solar backpacks, the SlarGoPack 10k Solar Backpack features a 7-watt solar panel that charges a 10,000 mAH waterproof li-polymer battery. The solar panel is also removable, so you can point it anywhere you want, or just take it off for nighttime strolls. The nylon material makes the bag lightweight and waterproof and makes this the ideal outdoor adventure pack.
The inside is packed with lots of nifty features as well. There's an internal laptop sleeve if you're out and about with business in mind, or you just need to upload your photos from your camera. There are smaller pockets for gadgets, batteries, and miscellaneous items, and the back of the solar panel holds the powerbank. The main compartment of the bag is roomy with more inner pockets so documents or maps don't get lost inside the bag.
The design has stress points that are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity. It also has padded straps and back for comfort, and a sternum strap for stability.
Solar backpacks are all about charging your electronics on the go, so there are a few things you want to watch out for.
The amount of power that the battery in your backpack can hold is a big issue as it determines what you can charge with it.
Find out what the full charge of your device is (in mAh - which is milliamp hours) and see if the capacity of the backpack battery matches or exceeds that.
Most of these chargers are only meant for smaller devices. Check the specs or questions and answers in Amazon to be sure your device can be charged.
Because you are carrying a battery around (to store the solar power) these backpacks will tend to be heavy. The bigger the battery, the more charge you can store, but the heavier it will be.
Ivation sells nifty little gadgets and appliances for the home, kitchen, office and outdoors. The company is based in New Jersey, and manufactures or distributes items all built with technology, big or small.
The Ivation 7-Watt Solar Hydration Backpack delivers a lot of power with even more functionalities.
The removable 7-watt/6-volt ultra-efficient solar panel powers a waterproof 10,000 mAH battery. The battery has 3 USB charging ports that has the capacity to charge two devices at the same time (the pack includes one micro USB cable).
The front pocket holds a built-in 1.8 L bladder bag has a flexible water pipe that can reach around to your lips without having to take off your pack. Given this, the IVATION Solar Hydration Backpack is not a full-sized backpack. It won't have enough room for camera equipment, shoes, and other big-ticket items.
While it's slimmer than the ECEEN Solar Backpack, this bag is heavier at 2.6 lbs.
There are small internal pockets, including the one at the back of the solar panel to keep the battery and other gadgets. The zippers are watertight, making this bag waterproof and wear-proof.
Here's a hefty bag with some hefty features (and pricetag).
Voltaic Systems designs high-performance panels and chargers either as standalone or integrated into other items like this backpack.
The Voltaic Systems Array Solar Backpack may be one of the best solar backpacks out today. It features three rugged monocrystalline solar panels with 10W total peak output at 6V or 18V. The panels are waterproof, lightweight, and coated in self-healing urethane for durability and scratch-resistance.
The Voltaic V72 Laptop Battery Pack has a whopping 20,000 mAH capacity with a 5-volt and 2-amp USB port. The USB ports also have selective output: a 12-volt and 4-amp output, a 16-volt and 3.5-amp output, and a 19-volt and 3-amp output. This powerhouse battery pack has enough juice to charge up your laptops, which can fit snugly in the internal laptop and tablet sleeves. One hour in the sun can power up your laptop for up to 40 minutes of use.
If you're taking a break at home or at your hotel, the battery pack also comes with a DC connector. It can be plugged into a wall outlet or even a car charger.
Padded shoulder straps and back panels ensure ultimate comfort over long hikes. The sternum strap keeps the bag secured regardless of movement.
Aside from the many internal and external pockets and compartments, the bag has external carrying straps for a tripod or blanket. It also has an expandable water bottle pocket on the side.
It's not the biggest bag available at 25-L capacity, but it definitely packs in the punch in terms of power and functionality. Because of the hefty technology and durable PET material, it does weigh you down by 5 lbs.
This solar backpack comes with separate warranties for the backpack itself and for the solar panels. This ensures that you're covered for quality and functionality.
ECEEN is a Chinese company that specializes in solar chargers and batteries. They mostly supply panels to various manufacturing companies like Nokia, but has also created a retail line of their own.
The ECEEN 7-watt solar backpack is ultra-lightweight at just 1.06 lbs.
The solar panel packs a hefty 10,000 mAH battery. That means you can charge your mobile phone 3-4 times before you drain the battery. It features a 7-watt output of the solar array and 22% efficiency rating of the charger, so you can pretty much have a steady stream of power for as long as you're under the sun.
The SUNPOWER made-in-the-USA solar cells are built into a protective anti-scratch hardened coating & sewn into high-wear PVC fabric for weather-resistant outdoor durability.
It comes in four colors: Black, Green, Nature Green, and Red. The extra large space with dimensions of 18.5 x 4 x 13 inches provides 30L of volume for all your gear, equipment, and hiking essentials. The many compartments and internal and external pockets also ensure that your items are organized and stay put no matter how active you get.
The rip and water resistant fabric makes this backpack good for outdoors. The solar panels are also removable via buckle, so it can also be used for daily commute or strolling around the city. Stress points are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity.
The pack comes with a 5V USB cable and a micro-USB port.
EnerPlex specializes in power supply. They manufacture both mobile power chargers and full-sized generators.
The EnerPlex Packr Commuter Solar Backpack is a handy pack best for daily commutes and city travel.
Unlike hiking and outdoor bags, the EnerPlex bag has features fit for techies and is made as a regular daily bag. It doesn't skimp on the features, though.
The flexible solar panel has a 3-watt output. While it doesn't come with a battery, it's enough to power your small devices while on the go.
It has an interior laptop sleeve with a charging pass-through, so you can charge your laptops without having to take it out of the bag. The inside has multiple pockets and compartments to hold other items such as notepads, pens, and gadgets.
There are two external zippered pockets for water bottles as well. The front portion carries the solar array, but it's not removable.
The shoulder straps are padded for comfort, but it doesn't have a strap to secure around your waist. If you have some business to attend to while you're traveling, this bag has enough compartments and pockets for all your items.
At a relatively low price point, the EnerPlex bag is an ideal backpack for techie travelers on-the-go. While it may not be the best bag for outdoor activities, it's definitely a convenient bag to carry around as you jump from one city to another.
Since you'll probably be spending a lot of time under the sun anyway, might as well make the most out of it. Solar backpacks are handy inventions that make sure you have enough juice to power up your devices whenever you need it. You may not be on your phone all the time, but solar backpacks are extremely useful in emergency situations - especially when you are traveling.
You don't need the most expensive bag or the one with the largest panels. It depends on how often you need it and what exactly you'll be doing. But if you're a frequent traveler, a solar backpack is a great thing to have in your travel arsenal.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!