Solar charger

Solar chargers

Even while trekking more and more electronic gadgets are brought along, from GPS and mobile phone to iPod. They are light and handy and all, but for treks into the uncivilized they have a big weakness: their batteries. For example, my GPS logger runs for about 14 hours on a full charge, which is decent, but also about one and a half day. bringing more batteries is an option, but for a decent trek you'll soon need four or five batteries... Hence my research into solar chargers.


The most obvious criteria are weight and compatibility. For the first one, count on a 100 to 200 grams. For the second, most modern devices that can be charged from a USB port are fine, many other as well, but check!

Other criteria are solar power, battery capacity (many chargers have an internal battery as well), option to charge the internal battery from a car cigarette-lighter or the grid, flexibility and waterproofness. Well, and price of course.

The table

Type Weight(gr.) Solar power(I/V/P) Battery capacity Charge from other source Flexible Price($) Price(€)
Classic Hybrid Charger 156 155mA/6V/0.93W 1600mAh yes no 99.95  
Magnesium Edition 170 150mA/5.5V/0.85W 1800mAh yes no 199.00  
Hybrid1000 130 ?/?/0.6W 1000mAh onlyfromUSB no 79.95  
SolarUno11 95 ?/?/0.84W 2AAA onlyfromUSB yes   49.95
SolarFacil30 140/165* ?/?/2.1W - - yes   99.00
SolarMio31 165 420mAh/6V/2.52W 900mAh yes yes   149.00


I owned a Solio Classic (it was stolen) and used it in Norway, not a sunny country, and it had problems charging even in lightly clouded circumstances. Also it would not charge my Sony-Ericsson W810i via USB and the SE tip for direct charging was hard to come by in the Netherlands. Also the rigid design made mounting it on a backpack awkward. For this summer I have set my eyes on either the Uno 11 or the Mio 31, the balance between power and weigth. This year holiday is to Spain, so that would vote for the Uno 11. I'll try to get a grid-to-USB converter as well...