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Your Devices Will Never Run Out of Juice With One of These

Hiking, trekking, backpacking; all great activities that can help you to get back to nature, and discover new areas of the world. Some of the best adventures are off the beaten path, but there is sometimes a need for some modern technology.

Indeed, in many situations, it is sensible to be carrying devices for communication, or for navigating. Flashlights, smartphones, GPS; all of these are handy devices to have when you are miles from civilization, or alone.

Backpackers traveling through Southeast Asia, or South America, will find it handy to have a fully charged smartphone. Even if it is just for listening to music on that long bus ride to Surat Thani, or when relaxing in a hammock in Four Thousand Islands.

The problem is with some activities such as wild camping, or hiking, you might not be anywhere near a power source. And every backpacker knows the pain of forgetting to charge their phone before checking out and joining the bus. 

What could every hiker and backpacker use today?

Clearly, from the introduction above, they need a way to charge their devices. Okay, not everyone needs this. Some hikers are seriously experienced and delight in going completely off-grid and away from technology.

Some people, though, like to take some home comforts on long travels, and others enjoy the reassurance of having a line of communication. There are many different types of backpackers, and some have different needs from others.

One device that seems to be gaining traction with various groups of people is backpacks that are able to connect to mobile devices. Sounds pretty space-age, but they simply use solar power to charge connected devices.

How can your backpack provide you with solar power?

These new developments in the world of backpacks are designed to appeal to eco-friendly users. Indeed, solar backpacks use photovoltaic panels to charge up various electronic devices through USB ports.

This means that your devices can be charging or have their batteries maintained while you are on the move. Whether that means sitting on that bus to the south of Thailand, or while roaming around Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies.

Seeing as many devices are powered through USB now, this also means that the most common devices that you would take in your backpack are capable of being charged. So long as you remember to bring the cables. 

There is electricity everywhere now, why use solar power?

For backpackers, some might not see the need for solar-powered backpacks. After all, even the cheapest dorms and hostels have power points. You can give your phone a boost from your laptop, along with your Bluetooth speakers at the same time the laptop itself is charging, right?

You can indeed, however, there are some advantages to using solar power that you may not have considered. Many backpacking destinations such as Cambodia, and Laos, are poor. And those cheap hostels are not run by business moguls, they are run by families trying to make a living.

If you charge all your devices in your hostel, you are increasing the owner’s utility bills. Of course, you are paying for your room, but by using solar power at least partially, you will be helping the planet and your hosts. 

Who are solar backpacks made for, and where could you take them?

It is true that solar backpacks won’t be for everyone, but they will provide solutions to many. Here are some people who may benefit, and where you can go with them. A bit further below are some disadvantages of solar backpacks too. 

They are ideal for students and digital nomads

Many of these solar backpacks come in smaller sizes. Think daypack or laptop bag-sized. As many of these backpacks also have compartments for backpacks, they could suit digital nomads and students.

Easy to carry around campus, but also constantly powering, they could be very useful for the digital nomad tramping around Chiang Mai teaching English online.

Some also have some very nifty anti-theft mechanisms installed. Numeric codes, hidden zippers, and RFID technology are all utilized to make sure no one is getting hold of your devices or important documents. Solar backpacks can give you more freedom and make you safer.

Firstly, by using solar power you will be able to go anywhere and still have power for your devices. This to many will be important.

Nowadays, many people are keen on getting off the beaten path and trying wild camping. The USDA Forest Services has guidelines for dispersed camping which are worth noting before you go. One listed rule is that you are unable to stay near designated campsites. Therefore having your own power source is important.

They can also make you safer for the same reasons. You can always have your mobile devices charged for communication. You can charge a flashlight if it has a USB port, and you can keep power banks fully maintained too. 

Solar backpacks make you more independent

You won’t need to rely on whether your hostel has powerpoints, and you won’t be worrying about when the bus will next make a stop.

All your power needs will be sorted, and you might be able to help that person on the bus next to you too. After all, part of backpacking for many is to meet other people. 

Solar backpacks can help you adopt a ‘leave no trace’ mentality

One of the best books about hiking is the Backpacker’s Field Manual which talks about the principles of Leave No Trace camping. This is important more today than ever, especially for anyone going off-grid.

Waste that gets left behind can hurt the wildlife if eaten, and also the environment in general. One of the worst things that get dumped is used batteries. Using solar power to charge up devices cuts out the need for any batteries. This means that you will save cash too.

What are the negatives of solar backpacks?

One of the first considerations will be durability. Many solar backpacks are made with durable PET, but there will be some concern over the panels. If you are going trekking then search for one that is up to the task.

When backpacking, it is common for bags and backpacks to be thrown into storage under the bus, and this is when breakages can happen. You may prefer to buy a smaller pack and keep it with you on journeys.

They can be smaller than typical backpacks. While this is useful for students, or small journeys, they are not ideal for 12-month trips around the world. You may need to use one as a daypack or wear it on the front with the main pack on your back. This may not be desirable or practical for some.


Summary

Many countries across the world are spearheading the move towards solar power and more sustainable energy sources. The World Population Review lists the top ten solar-producing countries with China, the USA, and Japan being the top three.

Other popular backpacking destinations such as Vietnam and India are also forging ahead with solar power. In fact, India has some of the largest solar farms on the planet. This is all very encouraging for the future, but it doesn’t mean that individuals cannot help too.

Using a solar backpack may not be for everyone, but those who do use them will not only find their devices always charged, but they will help the planet too.

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