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Whiteman
06-10-2006, 07:14 AM
I'm surprised I don't see all kinds of solar-powered gear popping up in catalogues. It seems it should be pretty easy to fashion a solar cell onto a backpack to allow for trickle charging of batteries for those marathon trips. Has anybody bumped into useful solar gear for the backpacking set?

sardog1
06-10-2006, 08:25 AM
Brunton sells a line of "Portable Power" (http://www.brunton.com/catalog.php?cat=8), including thin roll-up solar charging panels and other useful items.

I sold some to folks who went on Katrina relief missions. i didn't hear any feedback from them, so I have no more information.

dougb
06-16-2006, 11:56 AM
Brunton sells a line of "Portable Power" (http://www.brunton.com/catalog.php?cat=8), including thin roll-up solar charging panels and other useful items.


I think I can see why there's not a lot of solar backpacking gear. $119 for the cell phone charger (which I assume would also be similar to a battery charger). You can recharge at home for a few cents. Maybe on a looong trip when I was going to be somewhat stationary & would have a way of setting the charger up in the middle of the day.

DougPaul
06-16-2006, 12:28 PM
I think I can see why there's not a lot of solar backpacking gear. $119 for the cell phone charger (which I assume would also be similar to a battery charger). You can recharge at home for a few cents. Maybe on a looong trip when I was going to be somewhat stationary & would have a way of setting the charger up in the middle of the day.
I suspect that solar power is most useful if you are on a long trip with a large amount of basecamping. I also don't know how mechanically rugged the solar panels are.

Doug

KayakDan
06-23-2006, 09:10 AM
With the technology getting better and efficiency rates increasing,solar will become more mainstream for trail use.
Solar has been a regular part of sailing gear for cruisers for years,and solar use has skyrocketed recently. There is now a worldwide shortage of capacity to produce panels,and China is one of the biggest consumers of solar panels now.

Waiting for the solar powered solar powered Beer Cooler Koozie...
Just imagine it.. :D

rup
06-26-2006, 10:49 AM
It's the raw material, polysilicon, which is short capacity.

DougPaul
06-26-2006, 11:06 AM
It's the raw material, polysilicon, which is short capacity.
Uhh...
The raw material, sand (silicon dioxide) is not in short supply. High-efficiency solar cells are made from expensive-to-process single-crystal high-purity (integrated circuit/transister grade) silicon. Polysilicon (short for poly (or multiple) crystal silicon) is cheaper, but yields lower efficiency solar cells. Both materials are inflexible, brittle, and must be packaged and handled carefully (ie easliy broken in a hiking environment). Many (all?) truly flexible solar cell materials yield even lower efficiency cells.

Doug

Kevin Rooney
06-26-2006, 11:26 AM
FWIW - Solar cells are nearly a commodity. I noticed them stacked on the shelf near the vents/ventilators of my local Home Depot. Marketed as 'backup' solar cells - probably trying to sell (cell?) them for remote uses - automatic fence openers, lighting, etc.

skibones
06-26-2006, 07:44 PM
Solar power converts sunlight into electricity. Has anyone seen the sun much in the last month. Might work better in CA.

SAR-EMT40
06-26-2006, 10:28 PM
Brunton sells a line of "Portable Power" (http://www.brunton.com/catalog.php?cat=8), including thin roll-up solar charging panels and other useful items.

I sold some to folks who went on Katrina relief missions. i didn't hear any feedback from them, so I have no more information.

These are probably the best ones around for camping IMHO. They roll up and are useful for recharging small batteries for radios equipment and the such. A 5 watt panel is nice but the bigger ones are nicer but more expensive. They will make you self sufficient for a week long hike with radio equipment. They are not indestructable but they do take a lot of abuse.

Keith

Paradox
06-27-2006, 06:07 AM
In addition to solar, I have a few hand crank driven generators for flashlights, radios, and even a battery charger for a cell phone.