Each trek, we question ourselves about how to optimize our backpacks and the energy needs dedicated to headlamps, mobile phones, GPS and cameras. At first, we had a good capacity battery able to recharging a phone 5 to 6 times. With the improvment of phone batteries, the relevance of this device decreases.
Quite quickly we combined this system with a RavPower 24W 3-port charging solar panel because the external battery was empty on the fourth day. Carrying both was similar to add 3 lbs in our bags as a » just in case » measure.
Now no way ! That’s how we can be confident in this device.
We use the Ravpower solar panel with three charging ports. We bought it 4 years ago, it was a very good product, and it still remains one. A Perte de Vue shares with you its features.
Three devices can charge at the same time. It has four folding solar panels of 30 by 16.5 centimetres, smaller than a magazine. It unfolds to obtain a total surface area of 84 by 33 centimetres, for a total weight of 1,7 lbs.
How it works
As we know, a solar panel operates on an intermittent resource. This is the main point that we needs to be taken into account before being used. One can wonder about its usefulness when it’s overcast or rainy.
The optimal output of a solar panel is perpendicular to the sun. However, when it heats up too much, when it partly shades, or when the weather gets cloudy it loses efficiency, but it still charges! During the hike, we fix it on one of the backpacks with the carabiners provided in the pack.
As an example of the power generated, Marvin’s phone (which has a 1700 mAh lithium battery) gets approximately one percent charge per minute at optimal exposure. However, for Zoe’s phone, things get more complicated. With a capacity of 4000mAh and without a C-type charger, the first 50 percent charges relatively quickly, and then the rest doesn’t charge anymore. Luckily her phone lasts 2 days in airplane mode when it is half full !
During the trek in the Djebel Saghro and the Valley of the Roses, we decided to take only this solar panel as Morocco benefits from a large range of sunshine in winter. This choice made sense since it allowed us to recharge our electronic devices more than with the external battery. We also limited the weight of our backpacks.
Whatever the electricity supply system you decide to use ( batteries, solar panel, or the campstove 2+ biolite stove …) some basic precautions are to be taken.
The cold discharges the electronic devices. Keeping them as close as possible to body heat helps to alleviate this. Turning them off does not preserve the battery so much. So, we’re required to sleep with them. It’s best to put your smartphone in the duvet and the electronics in the tent. When using the headlamps, cables can be used to put the battery in a pocket.
When choosing the itinerary of a hike or trek, prefer south to north. The sun in the back will allow a better loading of your devices and backlights will be minimized, which is much better to admire landscapes !