The 7 Best Solar Backpacks

Updated November 27, 2017 by Melissa Harr

7 Best Solar Backpacks
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Instead of worrying about running out of juice when you're out and about, get a solar backpack and keep your electronic devices charged up no matter where the trail takes you. These bags look so good and work so well, in fact, that it would be a shame to use them just to power up your smartphones or tablets when camping or hiking. Why not use one every day and do your bit for renewable energy? When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best solar backpack on Amazon.

7. Luisvanita Eco Solar Charger

If you’re not too concerned with brand names, you might give the Luisvanita Eco Solar Charger a shot. Although its 6w panel is coated in self-healing urethane and designed to stand up to rough treatment, it’s stylish enough for office or school use.
  • two side mesh pockets
  • three large compartments
  • logo is obtrusive
Brand LuisVanita
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Eceen 7W

Hit the road with the Eceen 7W and its 1.8-liter hydration pack, 5-volt USB port, and 10,000-mAh power bank. This eco-friendly supplement to your camping gear will turn heads, too, with its eye-popping red color and gray detailing.
  • anti-scratch panel
  • many organizational compartments
  • short warranty period
Brand SunLabz
Model 5814650
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. SolarGoPack 10k

Both kids and adults will enjoy the SolarGoPack 10k, a stylish option with a removable solar panel that features extra padding in the back and shoulders as well as a sternum strap. Also, it's waterproof and rip-resistant to protect your gear.
  • great for emergency preparedness
  • some device adapters included
  • some colors not always available
Brand SolarGoPack
Model SB_01_Blue_Bldr
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Lumos Thrillseeker

Designed with cyclists in mind, the Lumos Thrillseeker will not only charge any USB device but also keep the commute efficient by way of cross straps, a hydration hole, and a water-resistant fabric. It comes with a fluorescent rain cover for those heavy downpours.
  • reflective outline for visibility
  • lightweight yet roomy
  • from a relatively unknown bag maker
Brand Lumos
Model pending
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. EnerPlex Packr

The EnerPlex Packr fits comfortably for all-day use thanks to its adjustable, cushioned shoulder straps. It has a charging pass-through and a padded laptop sleeve, so your tech is always handy and secure, as well as slots for business supplies.
  • opens wide for easy loading
  • two water bottle pockets
  • good entry-level product
Brand EnerPlex
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Voltaic Solar Converter

Featuring a tough monocrystalline panel, the Voltaic Solar Converter provides 3.69 watts of peak output at 6 volts. You’ll be able to totally charge a smartphone after about 4.5 hours in the sun; you’ll get 1.5 charges from the included V15 backup battery pack.
  • fabric made from recycled bottles
  • uv resistant fabric
  • color refers to panels not pack
Brand Voltaic Systems
Model 1025-C
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Eceen ECE-635

Carry the Eceen ECE-635 while you’re out, then pack it into its own front pocket for easy storage. Because it weighs in at around one pound, you’ll hardly notice that it’s there, and its tear-resistant nylon will ensure it stands up to a fair amount of use.
  • solar panel folds down
  • excellent for vacation and day trips
  • includes four carabiners
Model ECE-635
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 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 November 27, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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