Before we start, I just want to say something quickly. I, the owner of this website, has always been skeptical about solar backpacks. I’ve even written an article called “5 reasons why I am NOT buying a solar backpack“. However, my cousin in the US is a solar backpack nerd. So I gave him permission to write an article about how great they are.
Whether you trust him or me….well, that’s up to you. But I think he wrote an excellent piece of article, which I wanted to share with you.
Jason, take it away! 🙂 /out
If you’re always out and about, whether commuting, traveling, or simply walking around town, chances are you had to deal with the frustration of a dead battery at least a few times.
It may be your phone, laptop, camera, or any other electrical device, but the result is always the same – a definite hassle.
This is where a solar backpack comes in, offering a clean yet efficient solution for one of today’s main problems: battery life.
Continue reading to find out more about this fascinating piece of technology as we discuss 7 advantages of buying a solar backpack.
What is a Solar Backpack?
To put it simply, a solar backpack is a backpack that functions as a portable outlet. It allows you to charge any electrical device by simply plugging it in.
If you’re like most people, this gadget can be a lifesaver since you’re probably always carrying some battery-powered device that requires charging throughout the day.
A solar backpack is equipped with solar panels, which enable it to collect solar energy because its surface can be exposed to sunlight for extended periods. Through an integrated mechanism, the solar backpack then generates enough power to keep your electrical devices charged.
Contrary to popular belief, solar backpacks aren’t all that expensive. Granted, if you want higher quality, you’ll need to spend more money, just like any product.
However, prices do vary a lot for such an item, ranging between $20 and $250 on Amazon. The cost will depend on the number of solar cells on the backpack, the kind of devices you plan on charging, the durability, and so on.
How Does it Work?
As we mentioned above, solar backpacks run on solar panels. These panels are made up of a number of photovoltaic cells, which are responsible for collecting sunlight and converting the solar energy into usable electric energy to power your devices.
Serving as a semiconductor, solar cells contain silicon as part of their construction that’s necessary to actually conduct electricity.
When sunlight reaches a solar panel on the backpack, the silicon semiconductor takes up a certain amount of the light and its energy. The absorption of energy causes the electrons to move, creating an electric current. To harness this current, the photovoltaic cell is outfitted with metal contact points at the top and bottom.
Once the energy is obtained, it can be stored in a battery (or series of batteries) to be used later on, or immediately used as electricity.
In order to see how a portable solar panel can benefit you, feel free to have a quick glance at the video below:
Advantages of Buying a Solar Backpack
Now that you understand what a solar backpack is and how it works, it’s time to learn some of the benefits that accompany the purchase of such an item.
1. Uses a Renewable Source of Energy
For many people interested in buying a solar backpack, the biggest advantage is that it relies on a renewable, clean source of energy, as opposed to the traditional use of fuel energy resources.
Just think about it, solar energy is inexhaustible. It’s going to always be available for use, completely unaffected by the worldwide energy crisis or the unstable factors of the fuel market.
Not only is solar energy attainable as long as the sun shines on the earth, but let’s not forget that it’s also a green energy source for the environment.
This means there’s no pollution involved whatsoever, so you’ll be doing your part in reducing the production of fuel exhaust due to the use of diesel generators or similar power resources. Solar cells won’t produce any waste or toxic gases, serving as an ideal environmentally friendly energy source.
Additionally, you won’t have to deal with the smell of the diesel fuel or the annoying noise of such generators.
All you need to do is expose the solar panel on your backpack to the sun, and you’ll be making use of a reliable, renewable, source of clean energy.
Video: Renewable Energy 101
If you’re still curious about the efficiency of renewable energy, I will recommend watching this short (3 minutes) clip from National Geographic:
Cool, right? 🙂
2. Allows the Use of Electronic Devices Anywhere, Anytime
Carrying a solar backpack, you’ll get to use your electronic devices whenever you want, wherever you may be.
You see, solar energy isn’t limited by the geographical distribution of resources. It doesn’t matter if you’re somewhere low on gas or fuel, your solar backpack will always provide you with electricity as long as it’s been exposed to the sun.
This is a huge advantage if you’re always on the move. Just imagine the freedom you can enjoy when you carry a solar backpack outdoors.
Whether you’re strolling through the park, taking a hike, running, or even cycling, you’ll be able to simply plug in your mp3 player and listen to your favorite tunes without worrying about the remaining battery life.
Similarly, if you’re using a GPS in an unfamiliar place, you won’t have to worry about getting lost as your GPS will always be powered. You can also use your solar backpack to power your laptop or tablet to work remotely if you need to schedule apportionments or keep track of important business meetings.
Solar backpacks are also great to carry during camping trips since you can take advantage of the solar panel to generate power without making stops – they’re just so convenient.
3. Easy to Figure Out
As part of their outstanding convenience, solar backpacks are also incredibly easy to use.
Generally speaking, such an item has little to no moving parts, so it’s simple to install and maintain. There are no extension cords or electrical outlets required, allowing for a hassle-free operation.
Moreover, most of the best solar backpacks available on the market offer you the option of removing its solar panels. This can be a particularly handy feature because it usually allows for better charging.
Before going outside, you can simply take the solar panel off and set it on a window or a table to charge up while you get ready.
Also, if you’re at a business meeting, it’s a smart move to put the solar panels under sunlight but keep the backpack itself close to you in case you need any papers or documents you got inside.
4. Effectively Resists Weather Elements
A solar backpack is meant to be used outdoors where there’s really no guarantee of what weather conditions you may encounter.
Luckily, manufacturers recognize this issue, and so you’ll find most solar backpacks on the market made to be effectively resistant to all sorts of weather elements. This includes the use of durable, high-quality waterproof fabrics and materials, as well as double stitching and reinforcement structures at stress points to extend the service life as long as possible.
The sturdy construction of solar backpacks ensures that your equipment will stay dry and that the solar panels will efficiently charge in the face of heavy rain or snow.
5. Built for Portability
Portability is another aspect where solar backpacks are known to shine, especially as they typically weigh no more than 4 pounds when empty – definitely lightweight enough to not hurt your back or shoulders.
Obviously, the weight of your solar backpack will increase depending on the items you plan to carry inside. In any case, make sure you choose a backpack with an anatomical adjustment feature so it conforms to the shape of your back for a more comfortable experience.
6. Serves a Wide Range of Needs
Another awesome advantage of buying a solar backpack is the impressive functionality that these units offer.
Solar backpacks are available in a wide range of designs with multiple pockets and dividers integrated to suit the different needs of users. So no matter how demanding your day is, you’ll probably find a model to fulfill your complicated requirements.
For example, some high-end models feature specially designed compartments to accommodate a water bottle or water bladder. This is especially handy if you’re mainly interested in running, hiking, or cycling.
Also read: Have you tried our “Renewable Energy Quiz”? 🙂
Other models also contain a bunch of small pockets to house a lot of gadgets, which is beneficial for people who tend to carry many personal items outside, or those who simply like to keep everything organized.
The high functionality and adjustability make solar backpacks that much more useful. With a variety of styles to choose from, everyone can find a model to fit their needs.
Accordingly, athletes will most likely pick something that allows easy access to water and food, while businessmen and tech-savvies will probably go for a bigger backpack with lots of room to carry around as much equipment as possible.
7.Comes in Various Price Points
A solar backpack may sound all futuristic and fancy, but you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune just to own one.
Just like any product, if you want higher quality you’ll need to pay a higher price, however, you can still buy a decent solar backpack if your needs aren’t that mighty or if you don’t mind compromising on certain features.
The best solar backpacks equipped with a whole lot of features and functions will probably end up costing you more than $200. While the quality and versatility do justify the price, not everyone can or needs to spend that much cash for a solar backpack. When you do a search for “Solar backpacks” on Amazon.com , you will have a wide range of prices to choose from:
Luckily, the prices of solar backpacks differ depending on the size of the backpack, the items you’re planning to charge, the number of solar cells, the materials of construction, and so on, to start from $20 only and up to $250 or more.
Solar BackPacks – FAQs
Q: Can I charge a laptop with a solar backpack?
This is definitely possible, but it mainly depends on the type of solar backpack you own. If you want a solar backpack with the capacity to charge a laptop, it should feature a battery bank that accommodates an AC laptop charger. Otherwise, your battery bank won’t be able to handle a laptop.
As an alternative solution, you can buy an external laptop battery and plug it into your high wattage solar panel.
How long do solar backpacks last?
The lifespan of a solar backpack depends on two key factors: the quality of its construction and the frequency of use.
Normally, if you use your solar backpack every day, it won’t last as long as if you use it only for occasional outings.
Solar panels naturally degrade over time, but this happens at a very slow rate, which means that your solar backpack should last for years unless it’s somehow damaged.
Moreover, many brands offer warranties for their solar backpacks to put your mind at ease. They’re usually 1-year warranties that cover manufacturing errors, degradation, and other common issues. Be sure to check the details of your warranty first before making a purchase.
Q: Do I need to buy charging cords or a battery bank?
Most solar backpacks include a battery bank within the package, sometimes they even come with USB charging cables.
However, this doesn’t happen with all brands, so you may need to separately purchase a battery bank or charging cords that match the devices you plan to charge. This is likely to happen if you need to power a laptop or a drone.
Q: How big is a solar backpack?
The majority of solar backpacks range around 20 to 25 liters in size. This typically offers enough room for your essentials and devices, but you can always go bigger if you need more space. But keep in mind that the larger the solar backpack and panel, the heavier the weight you’ll be carrying.
Q: Can I use a solar backpack in the rain?
Generally speaking, solar backpacks are built using waterproof materials to avoid damaging the solar panels when exposed to light rain.
However, not all of them are actually 100% waterproof, which means you’re better off being safe than sorry. Consider using a backpack rain cover to protect your investment.
Q: Can I make my own solar backpack?
In fact, you can. I found this video clip very interesting. It features a guy called “American hacker”. By the sound of his accent, he isn’t really American. But that doesn’t matter.
He’s quite a genius when it comes to technology. And in the video below, you can see how he transforms some solar panels, plexiglass, and some wires into a very cheap solar backpack. Impressive!
As you can tell, there are many reasons why you should buy a solar backpack. Besides being highly versatile and not very expensive, these units serve as a portable source of electricity that you can simply carry around for convenient use. Additionally, they utilize a renewable, clean energy source, which is great for the environment.