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So, even though I'm getting old (maybe because of it) I'm planning on returning to The Bend this winter, solo again after many years of bringing my kids, to do some long-distance backpacking. In order to reduce weight and bulk, I'm considering - no promises yet - relying on my iPhone to replace several other electronic items like my GPS, camera, headlamp, maybe my PLB, and also a few non-electronic items like my journal and the slew of printed field guides I like to tote. If I can pull this off, I won't be using any battery operated devices other than my iPhone. The rub, of course, is iPhone battery life: it sucks. Anyone out there using a solar charger on long trips? If so, which one, and how has it worked out for you? I've done a bit of research on these boards, but technology changes so fast, I thought it might be time for a hive-mind update.
The question of solar charger vs. portable battery pack reminds me of the debate between canister stoves and alcohol stoves. The answer may depend upon trip length and backpacking style. In my case, since I want to use my iPhone for so many different purposes, I'll probably drain the batteries quickly and have to recharge every day. On a long trip, that might add up to a lot of backup battery weight. The Anker set-up, both battery back-up and solar charger, sounds like it would do the trick, but it's a bit heavy. I've also looked at Powerfilm, SunTactic, and the Solio Bolt. Badknees, you raise a good point about the ideal vs. the actual. Given that I'll be mostly on the move most of the time, sun angle could be tricky with a solar set-up, even on the brightest of days. I read conflicting reports from users. ME, I'd love to see that link from Backpacking LIght. I wonder if it's from Bob Gross. I've read some of his solar charger stuff. He's brilliant, but he wades into the deep end of the pool pretty fast for a non-brilliant non-engineer like me.
So, even though I'm getting old (maybe because of it) I'm planning on returning to The Bend this winter, solo again after many years of bringing my kids, to do some long-distance backpacking.
Heresy alert. While they are still available, has anyone considered an Android device with user serviceable batteries? I don't have any batteries handy to weigh, but suppose you carried a handful of batteries that equaled the 8 oz. Anker battery that all of the east coast hikers like. That seems pretty fool proof. The Suntactics 5 has been successfully used on the Pacific Crest Trail and is a tiny bit lighter than the Anker battery. BiBe has sunlight available similar to the Left Coast. The Suntactics charging the Anker battery might be the answer. Wayne
OK HMoD I am back in country and you have maybe already seen this by now but here is the thread on Experiments in ultralight solar from the Backpacking Light forums, it seems specifically aimed at I-phone recharging too. Bob Gross and Richard Nisley and the other big minds all chime in. Very detailed and interesting (I have not read the whole thing closely).At roughly 3 oz., depending on how much power it produces, you might could realistically cut out a number of items like you are thinking about and come out ahead weight wise. It would be an interesting experiment but I would also want some redundancy in case of some failure until proven to take field abuse but of course you know that.
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