Solar-powered gear is perfect for those who plan to spend long stretches of time outside, whether it’s on a camping trip, a day hike, or a trip to the beach. It’s often during these types of adventures that you’re off the grid and your phone dies and you have no source of energy to recharge it. Solar-powered gear is helpful because it’s an unlimited resource (many of the best items work in cloudy conditions as well) that you can bring along on your trip and use even in the most remote of locations.
How does solar power work?
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy either through photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation. This energy can be used to generate electricity or be stored in batteries or thermal storage.”
Let’s take a look at different solar-powered items you may want to consider purchasing for your next outing.
Having a light source is very important when you’ll be out past dark — or when you end up out past dark without planning on it. You’ll want to be able to see where you’re stepping while hiking after dark, or where your water bottle is in your tent, or where you’re going on your walk back to the car after watching the sunset on the beach. A light source is one of those things you never need until you do.
A solar-powered lantern or flashlight will come in handy for all of these occasions, especially when your phone battery is dead. They will charge up using sunlight during the day, and work for hours into the night providing you with a reliable light source.
2. Battery Pack
This solar-powered item is probably the one you’re most familiar with. Solar-powered battery packs store energy from the sun so you can charge your various devices all day long. You can buy a plain solar battery pack, a solar battery pack backpack, a solar battery pack phone case, and all sorts of other forms of solar battery packs depending on what you plan to use it for.
For whatever reason, bluetooth speakers seem to die far too quickly. However, they make the perfect addition to many social outdoor gatherings. Solar-powered speakers are exceptionally reliable due to being charged by sunlight. When fully charged, they can last for hours on end. There are even varieties of solar-powered speakers that are water-resistant so you can take them on your next summer river float outing.
There are all sorts of different solar-powered portable stoves, ovens, and grills out there for cooking while camping. It’s a great option if you want to pack lighter or you’re unable to make a fire in the area you’re camping. You can often bake, steam, cook, and fry with these gadgets, and you don’t even have to bring fuel or a lighter. Although these solar ovens work during all forms of daylight, even when there are clouds, not all solar cooking devices work at night. Many of them are electric hybrids that require plugging into your boat or car after the sun goes down.
Not only can you cook with the sun, but you can cool with the sun too. If you get sick of melting ice cubes that leave your food items soggy and wet, a solar cooler might be the way to go. These coolers work during the day and at night to keep your food chilled and dry.
The solar shower is certainly one of the most unique solar items on the list. The solar shower is essentially a water pouch with a tube that funnels a shower-like stream of water onto you. However, the pouch is made from a special material that heats up the water using solar energy so you can take cold stream water and turn it into a nice warm shower out in the wilderness.
If you’ve ever wanted to bring your electric toothbrush camping but decided against it because there would be no place to charge it, we’ve found a solution for you. Try out a solar-powered toothbrush for the same thorough clean as an electric toothbrush, but charged by the sunshine.
8. Water Purifier
Last we checked, there is only one solar water purifier that meets EPA standards, and it’s called the Puralytics SolarBag Water Purifier. Water filters are extremely important to have on hand if you’re planning to drink from any natural water source. You must purify your water to prevent yourself from getting sick due to parasites like Giardia. All you have to do is fill the bag with water, let it sit in the sun for a few hours, and then it’s ready to drink! Puralytics says their “sunlight activated nanotechnology water purifier destroys contaminants instead of merely trapping them.”
9. Hiking Watch
If you’re an avid hiker or mountaineer, you may have considered purchasing a hiking watch. These watches tell you a lot more than just the time. They often include a GPS for location and tracking, altimeters for altitude tracking, barometers for measuring atmospheric pressure, and heart rate monitors. Hiking watches that use solar power are more likely to have improved battery life so your devices aren’t dying on you while off the grid.
We hope you’ve learned something new about all of the solar-powered gadgets and gear that are available these days. Maybe you’ve been inspired to try something new out on your next adventure!
READ MORE: 10 Plants to Avoid While Hiking and Camping
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