View Full Version : Solar on the trail?

12-03-2006, 17:02
Hey - has anyone had good/bad experience with using solar powered gadgets to charge items on the trail (phones, cameras)? I've been seeing a few more every hiking catalog that I get and I'm wondering if it's a good investment. Plus, I like being green!:banana

example: http://www.lordpercy.com/solio_ipod_charger.htm

Thanks! :D

PS I tried to post this once already but with a bad connection so sorry if this is a double post.

12-03-2006, 19:27
i had a friend that hiked the florida trail with one and it worked well for him.

but the AT would be different. i would think there would be too much tree shade on the AT to keep anything charged for a significant amount of time.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
12-03-2006, 21:12
The AT is called "the green tunnel"... It would be pretty difficult to get enough sun to recharge your electronics.

12-04-2006, 09:57
There are certainly some sunny areas, but sometimes you'll also have to search them out beyond a shelter. But maybe if you could charge the batteries as you hiked, with the PV cell outside the bag, that might work most of the time.

Either way, there's definitely a good reason you don't see many solar chargers along the way.

12-04-2006, 11:55
My buddy Rainman is going to try it on the CDT this coming year. There should be plenty of sunlight on that trail BUT, will the newer solar chargers work good enough? I know when i traveled around the world in 1993, i had one and it didn't do diddly. Perhaps they make them better now.
If you use a bounce box, you (IMO) would be much better off putting a charger in there and finding an outlet to charge them quickly.
I am a big fan of rechargeable batteries and have been ever since i discovered that they have mercury inside and are very harmful to the environment when disposed improperly.
by the way, i'm working on building a website for Rainman's CDT thru coming up in the spring, here's the link if anyone's interested: http://rainmanvermont.tripod.com/

keep in mind, it's not done yet and will be a work in progress.

12-04-2006, 15:10
What someone really needs to develop is a kinetic energy battery charger. Just attach it to the back of your pack and charge batteries as you walk... I believe I read somewhere that the Army was working on this, but I am sure it will be too heavy for AT backpacking.

Jim Adams
12-04-2006, 15:29
fiddlehead--i had the same experience with older chargers. i used one on a five month long river trip in 1990. i was always in the open all day long but it seemed that the batteries only got 1/2 charged even on a good sunny day.