As a Greenland-style kayaker I’m a minimalist. However, I also like to have electronics on my trips, including a GPS, VHF, cell phone, waterproof digital camera (that fits in my PFD), a high-quality digital camera (for land use), and sometimes even an MP3 Player/radio.
On very long trips in remote areas, the problem of how to recharge those devices, is always an issue. Usually I just carry a ton of batteries, several chargers and make detours into villages to recharge.
On my Newfoundland trip I will be evaluating a new Solio Magnesium Hybrid Solar Charger. Unlike most solar chargers, this unit features an internal Lithium-ion battery, so that you leave the unit in the sun, charge the internal battery and then charge your cell phone and other small electronic devices anytime, even at night. One hour of exposure to the sun is reported to yield about 25 minutes talk time for a cell phone, on average. You can also charge the device’s internal battery via an electric outlet (plugs are provided for different outlet types for different countries allowing you to use it all over the world). A full charge has enough juice to recharge a normal cell phone several times. You then place the charger in the sun to charge again to repeat the cycle. The unit is just slightly larger than a large bar of soap. It unfolds to reveal three solar cells.
For my Newfoundland trip Solio will be providing me with a new Magnesium charger, Solio’s highest capacity and most rugged unit. This unit has been used by both the US military and by arctic explorers. This unit has the following specs:
- Nominal DC Output: 3V 3A
- Maximum Wattage: 9 Watts
- Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion 3.7V 1.8A cell
- DC Input: 5-6V 0.4Ah
- Dimensions (LxHxW): 4.72 x 1.34 x 2.56 in (120 x 34 x 63.5 mm)
- Weight: 6.38 oz. (179g)
- Temperature Range: -4F to 131F (-20C to 55C)
I will have the Solio in a clear Aquapac and strapped to my rear-deck to take advantage of long hours of sunlight while at sea. The unit charges on cloudy days, but not as well as in bright sunshine. I’m interested to learn how well it performs in Newfoundland. Hopefully I won’t have too much fog!