When your gear gets low on power today it’s easy to find a wall outlet and plug in for a few hours. What happens when that wall outlet doesn’t work any more? When the SHTF power will be one of the first things to go. With nobody running the power stations or to repair downed wires, all those gadgets you have will become useless within just a few days.
So what’s the solution? You could stop using electronics entirely now to prepare, but that’s nearly impossible and ultimately unsafe today. You need to use communication devices, recharge flashlights, and keep your GPS up and running. Above that, it’s nice to have an e-reader, iPod, and even a laptop running for information and entertainment.
Solar chargers are just what you need. They come in sizes and capacities ranging from the size of a cell phone that’ll charge small devices up to backpacks that can charge laptops and beyond. Check out 5 of the best chargers you can get, choose the size you need, and get your electronics a security blanket now before they need it.
WakaWaka Solar Charger
The WakaWaka charger is pretty unique. It’s small, lightweight, durable, and is pretty powerful for its size. The WakaWaka charger comes with a built-in battery so you can charge even after the sun goes down, which charges completely after 12 hours in the sun.
The WakaWaka charger can bring an iPhone 5S to full charge in 2 hours, and even comes with a built-in light that has adjustable brightness. For $79, the WakaWaka charger is pretty great.
Folding USB Solar Cells by Brown Dog Solar
When talking about supplies in a bug-out-bag, you need to not only think about usefulness, but size and weight as well. Some solar chargers can be large and bulky, mostly due to their built-in batteries, which makes them somewhat of a burden in an already tight bag.
In these situations a charger that’s light and foldable is your best bet. The foldable chargers from Brown Dog Solar don’t come with batteries to store the sun, but instead let you charge your devices directly from the sun itself.
Depending on the capacity you need, you can pick up a 5-watt solar cell for $65, up to a 10-watt cell that’ll set you back $110.
Bear Grylls SolarWrap Mini
Keeping with the idea of staying small and portable, the SolarWrap Mini from Bear Grylls and Bushnell is a great little 5w charger. This charger comes with a small built-in battery so you can collect the sun during the day and charge devices throughout the night.
The solar cell is meant to be hung on the back of your pack as you walk, collecting the sun without you even thinking about it happening. The SolarWrap Mini rolls up to a compact size when not in use, both making it easy to store and protecting the cells from damage. For $69, it’s a good buy.
If smaller, low-powered chargers aren’t you thing, then stepping up to something like the Instapark Mars20S might be for you. The Mars20S looks more like an assassin’s briefcase full of Tools of the Trade than a solar charger, but that’s where this charger get’s its strength.
The case opens up to reveal two large solar panels that sit above a built-in 145w lithium battery. This battery is capable of supplying 110V AC power using a standard wall outlet like you’d find in your house. If you want to go solar only, the panels can provide 20w of direct solar power.
The Mars20S weighs 12lbs, can fully charge itself in 20 hours, and will set you back $419.
Nature Power 40400
If portable power really isn’t your thing and you’d rather have something to power your retreat house, then the Nature Power 40400 is basically the best thing you can buy.
The Nature Power can fun 1,800-watts of power through four 120v AC outlets and utilizes a modular design so you can add more panels and batteries on for more power and longer runtimes.
The solar panel included will supply 40w of power by itself without the batteries and will set you back around $1,200.
Depending on what type of power you’re looking for, one of these chargers will get you the power you need and keep your electronics running well past TEOTWAWKI, keeping you into your game of Angry Birds well into the foreseeable future.