Like camping, but can’t give up the gadgets and luxuries of home? Solar power can keep you going when off the grid. The team at Gizmodo Australia has rounded up 10 of the best solar powered gadgets available in Australia to help keep the electrons flowing next time you go camping.
Eton Rukus Solar Wireless Speaker
Like listening to music while camping? This Bluetooth speaker will provide up to 8 hours of audio on a charge.
You can also plug in via a 3.5mm headphone jack if your device is not wireless.
To keep the music flowing, just leave the unit in the sun to top up the inbuilt battery.
A full charge takes just 5 hours. You can also charge via micro USB if it’s cloudy out.
The speaker measures 45 x 149 x 165 mm and weighs 540 grams.
You can get one for $159 from Multiple Powered Products.
Kogan Solar Phone Charger
While solar powered USB power banks are handy, they generally have a fairly small solar panel and take a long time to charge.
If you need to keep your phone or tablet juiced up while camping, then Kogan has a more powerful option.
Using an array of four fold-able solar panels, the charger can output 7W.
This equates to around 1.2 A - the same as a typical USB wall charger. You could also use it to charge the USB power bank you already have.
The whole thing folds up to just 180mm x 100mm x 30mm too.
Pick one up for $45 (with free shipping) direct from Kogan.
Solar Powered Camp Shower
Camping can be hot and dusty and nothing beats a good shower at the end of the day. But away from the grid, hot water is a little harder to come by.
Rather than braving a cold shower, you can use the power of the sun to get a little warmth.
Rather than generating electricity via solar panels, the easiest way to heat water for camp showers is to use solar heat directly.
Solar Camp showers are little more than a black bag that you fill with water and leave in the sun all day. The water heats up, then you string it up let gravity propel the water out the shower head.
They come in a few different capacities, from small single person showers, to big models with enough water for multiple washes.
While not exactly fancy, solar camp showers are simple, cheap and effective. They also roll up small and can be used to carry water in an emergency - perfect for camping.
Grab a Coleman 20l Solar shower for just $12.99.
Sun Rocket Solar Kettle
Like your morning tea or coffee when camping? The Sun Rocket turns solar energy into boiling water with minimal fuss.
The fold out kettle used solar reflectors and a vacuum glass tube to quickly heat 500ml of water to boiling point.
It takes about 30 minutes to get hot, but then can be folded up and stored for hours thanks to it’s thermos like qualities.
The Sun kettle is also super portable - measuring in at 45cm long, 11cm across and weighing less than 1 KG.
You can pick one up for $59.90 from Going Green Solutions.
Solar Powered Fridge
One of the biggest power hogs when camping is a fridge. It’s worth it though for a cold beer (and you know, keeping your food fresh) but all that power needs to come from somewhere.
Aussie Batteries and Solar has put together a range of kits that are designed to power an energy efficient fridge from solar alone.
You can’t just run it from solar during the day either - you need to store extra electricity to keep the fridge powered at night.
The kit has everything you need to get started, including fridge, battery and solar panel.
A 45L fridge and solar kit will set you back $1459, but more larger models up to 110L are available. Check them out at Aussie Batteries.
When you go camping it’s not exactly practical to take along an oven.
Sure, there are gas or even camp-fire powered models, but they are not as practical as tapping into the power of the sun. Unless it is cloudy of course.
The Sun Oven reaches 150 degrees C in about 20 minutes, and can cook to temperatures up to 180 degrees C.
The portable fold up unit weighs 9.5 KG. It’s build robustly and with nothing to break, will last up to 20 years.
The Solar Oven is not just for camping either - you can set up and use the solar cooker every day in your backyard.
The Solar Oven will set you back $550, but that includes delivery anywhere in Australia.
Logitech Solar Powered iPad / iPhone Keyboard
Can’t let go of your technology while camping? The Logitech K760 is a bluetooth wireless keyboard powered by the sun.
You don’t even need to keep it in direct sunlight - normal ambient light is enough to keep it running off the grid.
The keyboard is also designed with PVC free construction and a fully recyclable box - helping protect the great outdoors that you are not actually enjoying because you are using your tablet instead.
Grab one direct from Logitech for $99.95.
Jaycar Solar Torch / Radio
Having a torch is essiental to camping, but it’s easy to run out of power. The same goes for other handy gadgets, such as a radio.
Jaycar has you covered, with a LED Torch / Radio that charges via solar. It can also top up your phone via USB.
Just in case it’s cloudy out, the device also has a hand cranked dynamo to keep the electrons flowing at all times.
You can get one direct from Jaycar for $39.95.
Goal Zero Yeti 150
Need all the comforts of home when camping off grid? The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is a powerful solar battery kit that can run almost any device.
Inside the portable 6.5kg device is a 14Ah battery that can recharge your gadgets over and over.
It has an inbuilt inverter, so can power your 240v devices directly through a universal socket. It’s also got a USB port, a 12v car cigarette lighter plug and an extra 12v connection.
It comes with a 20 watt solar panel that can keep it charged, though you can also charge it from your wall socket at home or through your car while driving.
The Yeti also comes in larger capacity models, up to a massive 100 Ah, or can be chained together.
The Yeti 150 isn't cheap, but it’s power beyond compare from Goal Zero at $549
Lumos Solar Backpack
Solar is a great way to charge your gadgets, but it’s not exactly practical if you are hiking or always on the go.
Carrying an extra solar panel is bulky, not to mention you don’t always have the time to stop and let things charge in the sun.
The Lumos Solar backpack gets round these issues but incorporating a 3 watt solar panel in the bag itself. No matter where you go, it will be turning precious photons to electricity.
The bag has a built in 2200 mAh battery to store the generated electricity and can charge any USB device.
It’s also water resistant for those times the weather turns nasty.
Grab one from Lumos Australia for $104.99.
Solar Car Battery Charger
Leaving your car parked for long periods while camping? You need a solar battery booster to maintain charge.
Nothing is worse than coming back from a long camping trip to find that your car won’t start.
The Super Cheap Auto solar trickle charger uses a 1.5 watt panel to constantly feed your car enough power to keep it topped up and ready to go.
It’s simple to use as well - you can either clip it directly onto the battery, or plug it into the cigarette lighter plug and leave the solar panel safely on your dashboard.
Grab one from Super Cheap Auto for just $22.95.