Technology is an increasingly important part of our lives. Computers, smartphones, smart watches, tablet computers and many other gadgets with an increasingly strong hardware help us work and play in our homes. But what about the great outdoors? Smartphones and watches are small enough to keep us company while hiking and camping, but their battery life is far from being perfect. Can we find a way to make them last for at least a few days without being forced to look for a power outlet in the middle of the forest?
Portable battery packs and solar cells are the solutions for our problems. There are a variety of so-called “power banks” that have the power to charge our smartphones and other smart portables on the go, providing a short term solution to our charging needs. These devices are small and light (relatively, that is), and fit into our pockets or backpacks neatly, and can hold enough energy to recharge our smartphones and watches once or twice (there are larger ones, too, but they can get a bit heavy). If you plan a short trip to the mountains, for a day or two, these can be the perfect solution for keeping your power-hungry devices fully charged.
What if the trip lasts longer? What if you leave “civilization” for several days, a week, and plan to spend a longer time away from the madding crowd? Well, in this case you can go green and off the grid by using a solar charger – or even a device that combines the benefits of solar cells and battery packs in one portable solution. The best thing about these solar powered batteries is that they are small, lightweight, and they only need a few hours of sunlight to keep your batteries charged. There is a downside, of course – getting a phone fully charged using a solar panel can take quite some time, as the efficiency of solar cells is far from being ideal. Still, it’s better than walking for miles in search for a power outlet if you are in need of a few hours of online pokies at red flush casino.
But wait, there is one more aspect to keep in mind about solar power banks: they can be built at home! Searching on the internet for DIY solar power banks will reveal a series of “recipes” that show you how to build your own solar powered smartphone charger for as low as $20 (of course, the parts need to be sourced from overseas, where they tend to be much cheaper than in the US). All you need besides the parts is a bit of talent and lots of patience, and you can build your own super portable power solution at home, which can accompany you on your trips wherever you go.