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Solar Panel Backpacks


Gearspoke
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Hello, all lovely campers! So I have seen a ton of advertisements for these solar backpacks and no my curiosity has been peaked. Has anyone used these backpacks. Besides using them for water purification, what else would you use them for?

See I think I know the obvious one, but I had always thought the point of backpacking is to take yourself out of society and become one with nature. :) So besides laptops and phones what would you use it for? Also if anyone owns one, what do they like about it?

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Solar panel backpacks for water purification??? I use a water purifier for that. Do you have a link?

There are a few threads in another forum that discussed the variety of solar panels that people put on their packs to charge cell phones, ipods, etc. The common consensus is that if you stop long enough with good sunlight or are hiking in an arid area they are okay most of the time. If you are anywhere in forests, trees, (think Smokey Mountains or Appalachian Trail) or on an overcast day it never gets enough light to do much. It also didn't seem to matter if it was a really expensive version or a cheap one, they just didn't get enough light at the top of a backpack until you were stopped and could align it directly at the sun.

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Solar panel backpacks for water purification??? I use a water purifier for that. Do you have a link?

There are a few threads in another forum that discussed the variety of solar panels that people put on their packs to charge cell phones, ipods, etc. The common consensus is that if you stop long enough with good sunlight or are hiking in an arid area they are okay most of the time. If you are anywhere in forests, trees, (think Smokey Mountains or Appalachian Trail) or on an overcast day it never gets enough light to do much. It also didn't seem to matter if it was a really expensive version or a cheap one, they just didn't get enough light at the top of a backpack until you were stopped and could align it directly at the sun.

Water purification, I had assumed is why people use solar panels.. haha, next time I shall google first. It is possible, but it would take hours to heat the water to get new drinkable. lol I assume you could have a stove top and boil the water, but that would be for something for a very long camping trip :)

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I use a Gravity Works Platypus 4liter for my water purification. If I question it after that the MSR stove comes out and boils it for a few minutes. I used to have a solar powered water heater when I lived in Fla. It was a 6' square solar panel backed by electric heating and it took every bit of that to work decently. Even then it wasn't going to bring it to a boil which is what's needed to kill off and purify. I'm trying to figure out where the solar system you mentioned would purify the water? Do you have a link or something?

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Aaron Zagrodnick

I could see how you could utilize a solar panel to keep something like a Steripen Freedom or Ultra charged in the field. As far as solar panels go, it's not built into a backpack but I have the PowerFilm USB+AA, which does a good job, but for any trip less than say, 10 days, spare batteries / careful use of any electronics probably makes the most sense to me. But the potential is there to recharge my camera batteries, headlamp, inReach, etc. Not solar panel related, but in regards to solar water treatment I ran across the Puralytics SolarBag the other day:

http://www.rei.com/product/868821/puralytics-solarbag-water-purifier

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I could see how you could utilize a solar panel to keep something like a Steripen Freedom or Ultra charged in the field. As far as solar panels go, it's not built into a backpack but I have the PowerFilm USB+AA, which does a good job, but for any trip less than say, 10 days, spare batteries / careful use of any electronics probably makes the most sense to me. But the potential is there to recharge my camera batteries, headlamp, inReach, etc. Not solar panel related, but in regards to solar water treatment I ran across the Puralytics SolarBag the other day:

http://www.rei.com/product/868821/puralytics-solarbag-water-purifier

Hey there we go! That looks like a really useful item to have around. It looks like a great way to supplement your other types of water purification. I always have one of these tucked in my pack somewhere, just in case.

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Solar bag that can treat water without external light? (????)

For about the same money I'll continue to enjoy my Platypus 4.0 and get 4 liters of clean clear tasty water in about 4-5 mins including filling vs. 4-6 hours if there is enough sunlight. Interesting idea but... uhmm.. Yeah.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

True, I don't think I'll be giving up my Sawyer system any time soon either, but if as advertised seems like it could be used in some type of basecamp situation. If anything, interesting concept either way. :)

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I think if you want to store water as well as purify it, this isn't a bad idea. The price is a little high, and I could see myself buying several of them if they were in the $25 dollar range. I see benefits and problems with this system, but that's with everything. I think price point is the biggest issue for me.

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