10 watt folding solar panel, weighing around 600g with 2 charging options – 5v usb or 12v, allegedly capable of charging laptops, as well as mobile phones, ipods and other portable electronics. The panel comes with adapters for all main phones and laptops. Optional extras include the Power Gorilla, a battery pack which transfers stored energy to your chosen device. This adds extra cost/weight to the set-up, so I only use the panel to charge the device directly.
Robust rubberised structure, compact folding and comes with its own storage bag.
I took the panel to Germany in September on a cycle tour and successfully charged my Nokia phone whilst static on a campsite from flat to full in around 3 hours of bright sunlight.
In April 2010 I toured Europe for 3.5 months (www.farewellburt.wordpress.com) and took the laptop. To be honest, the Gorilla was pretty useless at charging the laptop, increasing its battery life by only 3% after a day in the sun. The laptop in question is a 40w Samsung N120.
I also carried a Samsung digital camera with a 5v USB charger and the panel charged this with no issues.
I bought this panel because of my previous negative experiences with the Freeloader solar charger. I wanted something which could keep my electronics charged on the road.
After the European tour, I can say with some confidence that the Solar Gorilla is fine for 5v USB charging, but very dubious when it comes to 12v charging (items such as laptops). The panel cost me £135. For £25 I can buy a USB charger on ebay that will run off my hub dynamo. I’ll leave you to reach your own conclusions about the cost effectiveness of this product.
Additional reviews (quite interesting) from Amazon>>
Manufacturer’s website>> Power Traveller
Portapow 15 watt solar panel
3 way folding solar panel that packs to around A4 size, fitting neatly into front or rear panniers. 2.3 amp output from two USB sockets which sit in a pouch with a velcro closure. The pouch is also useful for storing USB leads, plus whatever you’re charging at the time.
The panel also has fabric loops for attaching to rucksacks, racks, or wherever is useful for catching the sun.
I’ve owned a Portapow for around 3 years and it’s been well used, both on my boat and on my travels. It’s durable and water resistant, although inevitably there’s going to be some wear and tear if it’s left out in the rain for prolonged periods of time.
Solar chargers have come down in price in recent years. This cost me £36 and I consider it money well spent. I’ve had zero issues with this panel and it’s charging ability has been admirable in all but the most miserable of conditions. It’ll charge under cloud cover, but the current obviously reflects the conditions. On a sunny day, it performs very well and is probably comparable to mains charging.
Based on my experiences, a highly recommended solar panel.