In the 21st century, it’s hard to imagine life without smartphones, tablets, music players, and other gadgets like solar-powered backpacks. Sustainable and tech-savvy adventures, in particular, help travelers and green energy enthusiasts ensure a greener and more connected way not only to explore the outdoors but to make their daily lives easier.
Typically, our smartphones provide battery power for 1-2 days. However, if, for example, you need to work on a tablet for half a day outside the office, you’ll need to carry a charging device with you. But if you find yourself in a place without electricity, you’ll need a long-lasting, eco-friendly companion. A solar-powered backpack charger is an excellent solution to charge any of your devices while you’re on the move.
This innovative invention is rapidly gaining popularity. The global market volume of solar backpacks reached $61.59 million in 2021. It is expected to reach $104.07 million by 2027.
With this mini power station, you can stay connected wherever you are. All you need is a bit of sunlight and time, and you’ll never face the problem of your device’s battery running out again.
If you’re considering buying a solar panel backpack but don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We’ll help you make the right choice. In this article, we’ll explore the technology, considerations, features, and benefits of solar-powered backpacks.
What Is a Solar Backpack?
A solar-powered backpack is a bag equipped with thin-film solar panels. These panels convert sunlight into electricity, allowing to power portable devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and MP3 players.
More often than not, solar panels are located on the external surface of the backpack, allowing it to charge while you walk in the sun. The solar backpack’s design includes a special compartment or pocket that secures the batteries, protecting them from mechanical damage.
The battery itself consists of thin, flexible sheets with thousands of photovoltaic converters necessary for transforming solar energy into electric current. The generated energy is stored in a battery with a USB port, which also has a designated place in the backpack.
The most robust models of solar panels and batteries can be used not only to charge various gadgets but also, for example, to illuminate a tent or power small household appliances up to 150 watts. The capacity of the built-in solar backpack batteries in some models reaches 24,000 mAh.
Advantages of Backpacks With Solar Panels
A solar power backpack is indispensable during travels, business trips, and other journeys. It provides a continuous power supply, which is particularly valuable for those who need to stay connected at all times.
This is by no means the only advantage of the accessory. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Solar radiation is the most environmentally friendly and safe source of energy for household use. Each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated during the operation of a solar panel has a carbon footprint of 6 grams of CO2e. This is one of the lowest values compared to other sources.
Using solar charging backpacks to charge gadgets helps reduce dependence on traditional energy sources and the negative impact on the environment.
Typically, a backpack with solar panels is made from durable, abrasion-resistant, and waterproof materials, giving the products a long service life.
When it comes to photovoltaic elements, their expected lifespan is around 30-35 years, although some can generate electricity for much longer. Depending on the panel type, the degradation rate averages around 0.50%.
A solar bag is low-maintenance. The solar panels on the backpack are usually covered with a special layer that prevents moisture penetration and protects them from environmental influences. However, to keep the solar backpack clean, regular cleaning of the surface from debris, dust, and other contaminants is necessary.
Solar backpacks are convenient and easy to use, making them a practical and sustainable solution for those who appreciate minimal hassle when using such technologies.
Types of Solar-Powered Backpacks
Solar panel backpacks can be classified based on their purpose and the method of attaching photovoltaic elements.
Solar panel backpacks by purpose:
|The most popular types of solar panel bags include models for students, schoolchildren, professionals, and those who find it convenient to move around the city with a backpack. These models often feature compartments for laptops, tablets, pockets for water bottles, and various small items.
|Specifically designed for the safe transportation of laptops around the city and for taking gadgets on business trips and travels. Inside such solar backpacks, there are compartments for laptops with special straps for secure attachment. There is also space for carrying accessories and personal items.
|These models are characterized by their functionality, making them suitable for day hikes or extended week-long journeys. They typically feature an ergonomic back, numerous pockets, and external attachments for securing necessary equipment.
|A wide variety of models with differences in appearance, construction, capacity, suspension types, and many other characteristics.
Based on the method of attachment of photovoltaic cells, solar panel bags are divided into the following:
|With built-in solar panel
|Panels are integrated directly into the fabric of the backpack. They are located on the front of the product and may be additionally covered with a transparent film that protects against dust, dirt, and rain. These solar backpacks are lightweight, user-friendly, and can provide continuous device charging throughout the day.
|With detachable solar panel
|The lineup comes with a separate, detachable solar panel that is usually attached to the solar backpack using special fasteners or clips. It provides greater flexibility, allowing you to detach and reattach the panel anytime.
Additionally, all the models mentioned above are divided into women’s, men’s, and children’s categories.
What To Consider When Choosing the Best Solar Backpack
When choosing a bag with solar panels, it’s important to pay attention to several key points.
Smartphones consume approximately 10 watts when charging via a USB port. However, the power stated by the manufacturer is valid only for sunlight directed at a certain inclination angle (you can check the optimal angle for your region here) and not shaded by clouds or other obstacles.
This means that a solar panel with a claimed power of 10 watts actually produces much less energy in reality, as the panels’ efficiency ranges from 17% to 20%. Therefore, it’s advisable to purchase a device with a power reserve of 2-3 times to ensure comfortable operation.
Purchasing a backpack with solar panel power of less than 10 watts makes sense if you plan to charge something small, such as an electronic watch.
Presence of a Battery
Solar panels come with or without a built-in battery. In the first case, the panel charges a built-in battery, which can then be used to charge any gadget. Pay attention to the size of solar panels for backpacks: the smaller it is, the longer it will take to charge the battery.
Batteries without an accumulator only function on sunny days and transmit energy directly to the gadget. In this case, it’s not possible to accumulate the charge for later use. Additionally, consider that a lithium battery increases the cost of the device and reduces its service life to a couple of years. Meanwhile, the solar panel itself operates significantly longer.
Also, it’s essential not to forget that, in addition to the charging device, the product serves as a backpack. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the basic characteristics, namely:
- Volume and dimensions: Choose the accessory considering its intended use. Solar backpacks with a volume of 22-28 liters are excellent for outdoor trips and leisurely walks. Models with 30-35 liters are suitable for travel and hiking. Backpacks with a volume of less than 16 liters are ideal for urban strolls.
- Design and color: The market offers a wide variety of solar backpacks. If you prefer practicality and simplicity, focus on models in black, gray, green, or dark blue without unnecessary details. For those who crave vibrant shades, there are options with colorful prints.
Another very important aspect is convenience. Convenience is a crucial aspect since solar panels add extra weight to the product. Therefore, the solar-powered backpack should have wide, soft, and adjustable straps for proper weight distribution on the shoulders and back.
A backpack with solar panel charger is an indispensable companion for travel, work, and study. The accessory has numerous advantages, contributing to its rapid rise in popularity.
Before purchasing a solar panel bag, carefully examine the models and specifications of the products available on the market. Based on this, you can choose an accessory that best meets your needs. It is also crucial to consider the power of the solar panel. The higher it is, the faster and more electrical energy it can produce.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do backpacks with solar panels last?
The lifespan of solar backpacks will vary depending on the quality of craftsmanship, materials, and photovoltaic elements. With proper usage, the product can last up to 10 years or more.
Can I make a solar backpack DIY?
Yes, it is possible to create a DIY solar charging backpack, but it requires specific skills and knowledge of electronics.
How to choose the best solar backpacks
When choosing an accessory, it is essential to consider the power of the panels and the presence of a battery. Also, paying attention to the solar-powered backpack’s design, size, and functionality is equally important.