The 10 Best Solar Backpacks

Updated April 17, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

10 Best Solar Backpacks
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Instead of planning outings around the time and distance between power outlets, get a solar backpack to keep smartphones, tablets, laptops and music players charged up wherever the trail takes you. With a selection from our handy assortment of hiking, camping and commuter-friendly designs, you can do your bit for renewable energy and juice up those electronic devices while you're on the move. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best solar backpack on Amazon.

10. EnerPlex Packr Commuter

The EnerPlex Packr Commuter is comfortable enough for all-day use, thanks to its adjustable, cushioned shoulder straps. It offers 30 liters of packing space and features multiple dividers with a cable pass-through to keep your tech handy, charged and secure.
  • 2 side storage pockets
  • panel is flexible and resilient
  • interior could use more padding
Brand EnerPlex
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Eceen Hiking

Whether the path ahead is open road or rugged trails, the Eceen Hiking is a lightweight and practical way to make sure you don't run out of juice before you reach your destination. Available in a wide range of styles and colors, it's a versatile choice for digital nomads.
  • high-efficiency 7w cells
  • optional hydration bladder
  • less durable than other models
Brand ECEEN
Model 4326540882
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Voltaic Systems Array

For the most dedicated of eco-warriors, not only does the Voltaic Systems Array rely on renewable energy to refuel a wide range of portable electronics, including DSLR camera batteries, it's also constructed from recycled materials to reduce environmental waste.
  • rugged uv-resistant canvas
  • consistent power output
  • one of the priciest options
Brand Voltaic Systems
Model 1022-S
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Allpowers 3-in-1 Business Bag

The Allpowers 3-in-1 Business Bag comes with a low-maintenance laminated collector with integrated controller, an ultra-thin 6,000-mAh lithium-polymer battery, plus eight handy compartments, including dedicated storage spaces for your tablet, smartphone and laptop.
  • lightweight and easy to carry
  • reinforced base
  • panel is a bit fragile
Brand ALLPOWERS
Model AP-SPB-002-BLA
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Voltaic Systems Converter

Featuring a tough monocrystalline panel, the Voltaic Systems Converter provides 3.69 watts of peak output at 6 volts, so a smartphone needs just over four hours to be charged fully in fair conditions, and it comes with a 4,000-mAh compact battery bank for backup anytime.
  • canvas made from recycled bottles
  • fabric is uv resistant
  • backed by 24-month warranty
Brand Voltaic Systems
Model 1025-C
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Fanspack Oxford

A detachable charger makes the Fanspack Oxford a convenient choice for your daily commute to work, classes or the local coffee shop. With plentiful sunshine, it can keep devices topped up wherever you go, and it's waterproof to protect them when the weather turns foul.
  • breathable mesh back
  • cushioned shoulder straps
  • usb port for on-the-go power
Brand Fanspack
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. SolarSak Powered

If you're the type to be prepared for just about anything, the SolarSak Powered comes with seven watts of photovoltaic power for your gadgets, as well as lots of cargo space, a one-liter hydration bladder, a SunStraw water filtration system and a rain poncho.
  • great go-bag for camping trips
  • weather-resistant components
  • extra-roomy interior
Brand SolarSak
Model pending
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. BirkSun Boost2

The BirkSun Boost2 is TSA-approved for domestic and international travel, so you can keep charging all the way up until final boarding, and be ready for liftoff with an output rate of 2.4 amps from a 3,000-mAh lithium-ion battery.
  • built to withstand the elements
  • integrated power bank
  • 2 hrs of sunlight for full capacity
Brand BirkSun
Model BKSSUN30-BLK
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Renogy Waterproof

With an integrated collector panel, a weather-resistant shell and multifunctional interior pockets for all your devices, the Renogy Waterproof puts the Sun's energy to good use, whether you're trekking up a mountainside or just heading to work and back.
  • front organization compartments
  • holds up to 16-inch laptop
  • carabiners included
Brand Renogy
Model RC-SBP-01
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Voltaic Systems Offgrid

For reliable backup power in rain or shine, the Voltaic Systems Offgrid is good for a formidable 10 watts of rapid charging via USB and an included 44V battery bank. Its 25L easy-access clamshell design is roomy enough for a 15" laptop and the rest of your everyday gear.
  • 2-year warranty
  • water-resistant
  • hardshell pocket for fragile items
Brand Voltaic Systems
Model pending
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Power In The Days To Come

Look to the horizon, and tell me if you don't read apocalyptic omens there. If you don't, you're not looking hard enough. Of course, the impending collapse of functioning society as we know it isn't the only reason for you to invest in a solar backpack, but it is the most exciting to talk about.

Sure, you might want to keep your camera and cell phone batteries charged when you're hiking in beautiful wildernesses, or be able to rely on a constant, free source of power when hopping around from country to country without a converter, but isn't it more thrilling to think that this backpack might someday not only be a convenient source of natural power, but also your only source of electricity?

Either way, the solar backpack is a life saver. By simply adhering a series of solar modules to the back and top areas of a simple backpack, these manufacturers have turned your carry-all into its own veritable power plant.

To understand how these packs work, it helps to understand how solar panels work. Essentially, a solar panel is comprised of a ton of little power pods called PV (photovoltaic) cells. These cells work like Velcro in a sense, as they each have a complimentary side to them, one negatively charged, the other positively charged.

The respective charges of each are the result of doping either side (both of which are silicon-based) with either boron or phosphorus. When boron and silicon combine there are holes left over by boron's deficiency in the valence electrons needed to form bonds to other substances. When phosphorus and silicon combine, the opposite is true, and an extra electron exists where the atoms meet. Thus, the boron-doped silicon carries a positive charge, where the phosphorus-doped silicon carries a negative charge.

In the space where the two sides meet, the extra electrons on the phosphorus side jump over to fill the holes in the boron side, creating an electrical field in the space between, called the depletion zone.

When a photon of light passes through a PV cell's depletion zone, it knocks an electron loose of its hole and either side will scramble to balance the depletion zone back out, ejecting the free-floating electron toward and along a metal wire, forming the electrical current.

How Far Will You Go?

Choosing a solar backpack may seem like an aesthetic decision at the outset, and it's true that you want a pack that you'll actually be willing to wear out in the sunlight. Otherwise, you might as well pick up a simple backpack without any of that glorious solar technology to it, and that would be a shame.

Once you've narrowed down our list to a smaller number of stylishly pleasing packs, you can start to evaluate them based on their features, and the features that will be most important to you depend on the distances you plan to travel.

If you're going for longer stretches without access to reliable electricity, you'll want to focus on a pack that can produce more juice than its competition from less sunlight, and ideally one with an internal power reservoir for storage. These tend to be a little heavier than the charge-as-you-go style of bag, but they prove more useful in the long run.

You might just want to keep your phone charged while you're on the go in another country, though, just to make sure you have enough power to run any apps you need for navigating foreign soil. The smaller, lighter bags with just a panel and a plug will probably be enough for you.

Power Pulled From The Sun

While a French physicist named Edmund Bequerel first made note of a photoelectric effect in 1839, the first photovoltaic module as such wouldn't come into existence until Bell Laboratories built it in 1954. Of course, this was well after Albert Einstein won the Noble Prize in 1921 for his work on the photoelectric effect among other things.

Those early modules made by Bell and others were small and pretty inefficient, with short lifespans and grotesque price tags, but they were necessary to the development of the much more durable, less expensive solar technology we use today. Another big boost in the development of solar technology came from NASA in the 1960s, who began using solar power on their spacecraft and satellites in earnest.

In recent years, the vast majority of research into solar electricity has been geared toward the consumer market, with companies offering to share in the investment to help offset initial costs to homeowners.

In the public sector, you'll already have noticed the inclusion of solar arrays on street lamps and road signs, and that's just the beginning. A small portion of America's iconic Route 66 roadway is getting a huge solar makeover, replacing its pavement with a special, experimental solar street which is designed to power nearby communities while directly melting ice on roadways and providing driver feedback about animal crossings, accidents, and more.


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Last updated on April 17, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience—with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist—she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new.


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