Power up. (Glen Jackson via Unsplash/)
For modern sportsmen, the smartphone has become a must-pack piece of gear, whether it’s loaded with topo maps, weather tools, or scouting guides, or just an easy way to snap photos of a trophy. Portable solar chargers have eliminated needing to lug heavy battery packs into the backcountry to keep your smartphone and other devices charged. But portable solar chargers aren’t one-size-fits-all. These four top-rated chargers each have different intended applications, but they’ll all undoubtedly keep you powered up when you drop off the grid.
A hard-to-beat foldable charger. (BigBlue/)
As far as portable solar chargers go, you’d struggle to find one that tops the BigBlue 3, at least if you plan on spending a few days stomping around the backcountry. The BigBlue 3 is super lightweight, at 1.31 pounds, and folds down to about the size of a notebook for easy packing. And with four 7-watt, high-efficiency solar panels, it’ll charge your smartphone and devices fast, and all at once, with its three USB ports.
A rugged, waterproof charger ideal for fishing. (Outxe/)
Foldable multi-panel solar charges like the BigBlue 3 are great, but sometimes you need a device that can charge while you’re on the move, and in the river or stream. Enter the Outxe Savage, a 1.1-pound waterproof charger, perfect for hanging from a fly vest or sling. Roughly the size of a smartphone, it has a 2-watt high-efficiency solar panel, along with a built-in flashlight, Micro USB port, and crush-proof design, making it the perfect addition to your fly kit or tackle box.
A perfect mini-power station for long wilderness stints. (Jackery/)
OK, if you really plan to get off the grid for an extended amount of time—we’re talking a few weeks in an Alaskan moose or bear camp—you’ll want a serious portable power station in camp. Jackery Explorer 500 includes three USB ports, an AC outlet, and a 12V car output, and boasts a 518 watt-hour-capacity lithium battery, rechargeable via AC outlet, DC carport, or Jackery solar panels (sold separately). Fully charged, Explorer 500 has enough power to charge an iPhone about 50 times. Amazon customers especially praise the Explorer 500 for its display which shows precisely how much power it’s using and generating at any given time.
A handy device for a crisis. (Goal Zero/)
In camp, the Torch 250 can double as a light source, with a built-in 180-lumen spotlight and 70-lumen floodlight, and a solar charger, with a 0.8-watt solar panel and hand crank. Together, these features will ensure that you have power and light when you need it most. The Torch takes about a day to charge via the solar panel (it charges via USB, too). But, stashed in a go-bag or survival kit, it could no doubt come in handy in a crisis, especially with its 48-hour runtime.
Read more: outdoorlife.com