I remember the first time I bought a solar charger for traveling. That was back a few years, and I was disappointed to say the least. It took days to charge and my laptop used up all the juice within a couple of hours.
Things change fast in technology and while I still regard solar-powered baseball caps as a ridiculous fad, other solar-powered devices are a lot better than they used to be.
Solar lamps, for instance, are now cheap and effective. If you go camping or sometimes take the RV places where you might not get an electric hookup, a solar lamp transforms the evening’s activities from hunting for stuff with a torch or headlamp to sitting in a nice diffused glow and being able to relax. At least, it does if you remembered to charge the lamp.
Solar lamps are also great for the garden. You can get some really pretty colored glass lights to hang over a table or in a pergola, which are great for extending the evening a bit longer. No wires mean there’s nothing you can trip over, and hey, no utilities bill either.
More practically, small solar lights are useful for the edges of paths. You can get solar lamps activated by a motion sensor, too, which come in handy for areas you don’t use a lot after dark – for instance, a garden shed or other outbuilding.
Solar chargers for off the grid power have really advanced over the past few years. Which you choose will depend on whether you need them for hiking or camping, or for off-grid power for a garden room or RV. There are some great lightweight foldable charging panels for camping, and even some designed to fit on a backpack; as long as you’re not walking into the sun, you’ll charge as you go. Water-resistant chargers are best for hardcore hikers – though if you’re a fair-weather walker you won’t likely need one.
Remember, though, you’ll need a battery or a power bank to get the best out of the charger. And don’t forget to check the reviews – one reviewer worked out a common solar charger would take ten days of ten hour sunshine to charge fully!
More and more gadgets are going solar. I thought a wireless solar keyboard was a gimmick, but apparently not – keyboards are low power users, so as long as the battery charges up occasionally, you’ve stopped having to worry about pesky AAA batteries.
And you can get solar bluetooth speakers, which mean wherever you are, you can have music – out in the garden, in the boat, or at the beach.
Best of all for those of you with “sweet blood”, you can get solar powered bug zappers, so while you’re drinking your evening cocktail under those twinkly solar lamps, you don’t provide a meal for mosquitoes.
Even full RV solar kits can be ordered from Amazon these days – but before you head off to the site, check out the latest coupons at Vipon to see if you can save a bit of money.
By the way, in Mumbai right now a start-up is developing a solar powered streetlight and EV charger. Not available on Amazon as yet… but I reckon it’s a question of time!