The Right Solar Bag Or Solar Backpack

So you’ve had a busy day of meetings and you’ve been calling the office, your suppliers, your friends, your family and now its time to catch the train back home. You buy your ticket, find your seat, make yourself comfortable and ready to chill with your favourite tunes on your iPhone. You press play and your iPhone is dead.

This is most people’s worst nightmare – a life-dependent gadget such as an iPhone or Blackberry (commonly know as the Crack-berry) in your hand and no power to run it. The same goes for handheld games consoles, GPS devices and it will be the same with the NEW Apple iPad. Gadgets are great pieces of kit but power is the most vital component.

So what’s the best solution?

Aside from buying a load of extra batteries, solar bags offer an innovative way of charging of your gadgets whilst away from a mains power source. In most cases, the bag incorporates a solar panel in the front of the bag that continuously soaks up natural light and feeds it into an internal storage battery to create an ongoing renewable source that can used to charge your gadgets. It is a glorified and convenient solar charger.

The initial concept was born a few years ago but now, thanks to advances in technology, solar components have now reduced considerably in price and raised the bar considerably in terms of quality. A number of solar bags and backpacks have launched onto the market but only a few can deliver the power required to run a serious gadget like an iPhone, Blackberry or Nintendo DS. The concept is still relatively new so only a few on the market are styled in a sophisticated way. Others are still quite geeky looking.:-)

How do solar bags charge your devices?

Solar Backpacks and bags utilise an integrated photovoltaic or ‘solar’ panel to capture natural light. This light is then converted and stored as energy in an internal battery. This power can be then be used to charge your gadgets and personal devices.

The Solar Panel

The better models boast a sizeable panel which is required to capture enough light to make the bag useful. A solar bag with a small panel will struggle to charge any device – fact. There are a number of cheaper alternatives but they will not work, regardless of what they say. A minimum output of 2.4 watts required depending on the conditions and, on a sunny day, should be able to charge the internal battery in 6-8 hours.

The Internal Battery

Another important factor is the internal battery. If you taking the bag away on holiday or some where for a few days you may be to charge multiple devices such as a mobile phone, camera and a GPS device. If you have a low capacity battery you will only be able to charge one device until the battery is full again, usually at least 8 hours later. Fear not. Simply choose a solar bag with a high capacity battery and you’ll be just fine. I would suggest choosing a solar bag with a battery of at least 2000 mAH capacity and this should allow you to charge at least two mobile phones on one charge. Ample power.

Charging Devices

Charging adaptors are usually sold as standard with the leading bags and cater for most of the gadgets currently on the market. You will find charging adaptors for the likes of Apple (iPhone and iPod), Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, HTC, Tom Tom and more.

Unlike hanging or hand-held solar chargers, solar bags allow you to go about your everyday life whilst it collects the power on your back. These other types of travel chargers that you hand up, dangle from somewhere or leave out in the sun are liable to theft and damage from continuous set-up.

Comfort and Storage

Storage and comfort are the remaining vital factors. Make sure you have strong and cushioned straps so you can carry your belongings with comfort and, from my experience, the more inner storage pockets the better. There’s nothing worse than a new gadget rattling about in your bag unprotected or losing loose change somewhere in a ‘black hole’. Pockets are important!

Environmental Benefits

Solar Bags offer an eco-friendly way of re-charging your devices. The energy is free, you no longer have to use the mains and it means that you can go some way to reducing your Carbon Footprint.


In summary, solar backpacks will play an important supporting role in the evolution of the gadget world and in people’s lifestyles. Features and functionality is one thing but they are nothing without the power to run them. People are becoming more gadget hungry and this form of power makes sense. Solar bags are a necessity of a gadgeteer’s lifestyle and offer vital support to ensure you are never without power to your favourite toys.