Lets talk portable backpack gear SOLAR charging.

Ghillieman

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Jan 26, 2022
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Florida
So Ive essentially re-outfitted myself with entirely rechargeable Headlamps, Camp-lights, GPS/INREACH, Phone, Camera and Battery Back up shaving this down to one hopefully, steripen etc etc and on a 14 day hunt want to take a portable solar panel to recharge as necessary. Getting rid of the expense over time and the weight of the spare batteries will be worth it imo.. if it wasnt everyone wouldnt be going this direction..I also plan on at some point purchasing a e-bike..
.Looking for opinions on those who have used/researched them, brands and the pros and cons please. I'm looking at Goal Zero 100.00 9x7 10 watts 1.2#'s - 20 watts 150 bucks 11x7 2.28# and another rollup with 21watts, waterproof P0WERFILM rolled up 1.6 # 14x3"rolled 269.00.
Any other brands or opinions are welcome of course.
 

marksjeep

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Chirp..chirp...

Everything I carry uses a micro USB charger or 18650 (also charged via micro USB). I use an Anker 21 watt panel to recharge batteries during the day while I'm away from camp.
 

BoulderBulls

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Longmont Colorado
The last solar post was in 2015. Curious has tech improved much in 7 years? The consensus on the 2015 post was skip the solar and just bring batteries.
 

marksjeep

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The solar panel I have is 4 or 5 years old, works fine. Batteries are fenix 18650 with the micro usb port. I've had 2 go bad over the same time period.
 

trb

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Ive never used it while hunting, but I have a 6 year old GoalZero 9x7 that I brought and used on a month long canoe trip in Manitoba. I used it to recharge my phone and my inReach. I really haven't done much research at all so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

First of all, where you are hunting matters. Where I was, there was a lot of cloud cover, and that had a huge impact on recharging efficiency and times. It could take half a day to charge my phone with the system I was using. In this regard, I was disappointed with the GoalZero, but hopefully tech has improved since then. So if you're in the alpine in Colorado for example, you probably wont have any issues, but if youre in Oregon or camped in timber wherever, just something to consider.

Second, you should gauge whether you can get away with (or of its the same weight for the same, more reliable benefit) just bringing a battery pack or two. I know that the way I use my inReach, turning it on once or twice a day, sending the occasional message, it lasts 2 weeks on one charge. My headlamp would probably last 2 weeks unless I was regularly doing big night hikes. My phone and probably a camera battery would definitely need charging every 3-5 days due to my addiction to onX. Just wondering if you could avoid dealing with backcountry charging entirely by investing in a couple reliable high quality battery packs.

14 days is a long hunt, and your biggest challenge will presumably be food weight and space. So either you are making multiple trips, using pack animals, or going in really heavy. If its the latter, Id be finding ways to cut my weight in any way possible. Dealing with and relying on as few electronic items as possible is probably the easiest way to do that. Also, I dont know anything about ebikes, but I recently saw a gritty bowman youtube fall bear episode where they used solar to recharge them. Might be worth looking up for you.

Good luck, and post what you find out and how it worked in the field!
 
Last edited:

Nick_CO

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Southern Colorado
I have a small portable solar charger called an x-dragon that I bought about 6 years ago. It is about the size of a smart phone and has both USB and micro USB ports. I use it to charge my phone as well as a nightcore flashlight that I bring. I fully charge it before backpacking trips and I can get a few full phone re-charges from just that, and then charge off of just the solar after if needed. Charging from just solar is ok and better than nothing. This unit has worked great for me for being a cheapo from the china factory.
 

pilsner

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Already have a 26800mah Anker and a GoalZero Nomad 20 solar panel that works well for one person, two max depending on how tech heavy we go in.
For this year's 14 day, 4 person archery elk trip I just picked up a GoalZero 200X lithium. Each person will have their own whatever sized battery pack that we will charge off of the GZ pack.

Thankfully we are going in with horses carrying our heavy gear.
 

Ghillieman

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Florida
Already have a 26800mah Anker and a GoalZero Nomad 20 solar panel that works well for one person, two max depending on how tech heavy we go in.
For this year's 14 day, 4 person archery elk trip I just picked up a GoalZero 200X lithium. Each person will have their own whatever sized battery pack that we will charge off of the GZ pack.

Thankfully we are going in with horses carrying our heavy gear.
I have a smaller Anker But really like your combo
 

Dsnow9

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The biggest lesson I learned with a panel is that they charge very slow. I found it was best to still bring an external battery and then use the panel to keep that topped off and then use the battery to charge everything. My wife stole my Anker and used it atleast once a day for the last 5 years. It just now started having issues charging with certain chords, it still works though.
 

Ghillieman

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The biggest lesson I learned with a panel is that they charge very slow. I found it was best to still bring an external battery and then use the panel to keep that topped off and then use the battery to charge everything. My wife stole my Anker and used it atleast once a day for the last 5 years. It just now started having issues charging with certain chords, it still works though.
I appreciate your responses. It seems like usb charging is definitely the way to go. I have my power bank, steripen, inreach, phone, etc. and your method is exactly what I was thinking. Top off the batt BU. Problem is i keep adding weight to my pack...lol ill be packing 80#'s 3-4 miles before I know it..lol
 

Dsnow9

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I appreciate your responses. It seems like usb charging is definitely the way to go. I have my power bank, steripen, inreach, phone, etc. and your method is exactly what I was thinking. Top off the batt BU. Problem is i keep adding weight to my pack...lol ill be packing 80#'s 3-4 miles before I know it..lol
I know how it goes. I have been trying to figure it out myself!
 

Ghillieman

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Jan 26, 2022
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Florida
I know how it goes. I have been trying to figure it out myself!
weight is an issue,,, dont wanna give up my Grakksaw boot dryers..theyre a lifesaver! just purchased PEAX headlamp for the charging capabilities and duration as well. it'll replace one of my battery HL's. Its legit, check it out if you hadnt..
 

ammo

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Oct 20, 2020
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Denver
My husband and I each carry a Jackery that gets us through a 10-day hunt (our phones - in low power mode / airplane mode - which are our cameras and GPS). Maybe you have too much stuff that needs a recharge? I carry a set of backup batteries for my headlamp. If your inreach is fully charged you shouldn't need it at all (are you texting your wife novels back and forth every night??) We've gone back and forth on radio systems - last year we used rechargable rocky talkies (terrible range, no way to deprogram the loud 'BEEP' after every transmission scaring every elk in a mile radius) I just did search and apparently Jackery doesn't make the little portable battery chargers anymore but it's basically something like this: https://www.amazon.com/External-Bat...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

It saves the liability of missing a charge (eg weather).
 

375H&H

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Northern Wyoming
Ignore all of this recharging nonsense and use a compass, paper map, MSR guardian filter, Inreach for SOS only, and carry extra batteries. Short of your pack getting hit by a meteorite those will work EVERY time rain or shine and probably be lighter too.

One of the main goals (for me at least) while hunting is to get away from all of that electronic crap and connect with the natural world.
 
Yeti

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