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More and more people are showing an interest in solar power and portable solar chargers for backpacking are becoming a popular choice. However, they are not for everyone. Here we discuss some of the things you should consider before making the purchase.
Where are you going?
Solar chargers are much more effective in some parts of the world than in others, for obvious reasons. If you are going to be in an especially sunny part of the world, with many hours of daylight, and you are planning to be spending a lot of time outside then a solar charger might indeed be effective. If, however, you are planning to cycle across northern Europe where a lot of sun is less likely, then you might want to consider other options.
Similarly, if you are going to be spending a lot of time in or near location where electricity is easily available than you might want to ask yourself whether a solar charger is really the best idea at all. It’s just one more thing to carry and risk losing.
Which device is best for me?
This will depend a great deal on what you want the charger for. Charging an old mobile phone and an iPod is a very different scenario to charging the latest smartphone, a netbook and a good camera, and the device that can charge the latter from only the sun will very likely be completely impractical due to size and cost. Some solar chargers have a battery which can be topped up from a wall socket and kept full from the sun during the day so make sure the charger you choose can do the job you need it for.
How much do I want to spend?
A cheap solar charger can be a false economy as there are many unfavourable reviews of cheap devices online. However, good solar chargers are still quite expensive so consider whether the amount you’ll need to spend to fulfil your needs is worth it for the convenience or carrying the device with you.
If you do decide to carry a solar charger then customer reviews are a great source of solid information about which device might be best for your needs – there are many sources online (including forums) which have a great deal of detailed user information and advice about solar chargers so be sure to check these out and make sure you spend your money wisely.
Be sure to check out our related articles on solar cell phone charger and a solar trickle charger for car battery charging.