Solar charger

Are there any reliable, cheap, solar powered chargers that I could use for my cell phone on long kayak expeditions? I’m talking a week or longer.

I am looking too!
There is a link on rogue paddler that shows a pretty cool looking electric pump and 10 aa battery panel charged by a solar panel as a do it yourself kit that all fits in a pelican case behind your seat.

you could just as easily make this a charger only for small electronic devices also.


Me, too. . .
. . . I would like to find something that works. As it stands I have about half a dozen batteries for my cell phone (Nokia). My phone will last about a week on a charge.

This one works
I’ve been using this one for the last few months, so far so good. It works well for small stuff like phones. Comes with various cell phone plugs and ipod adapters.

googel it, should find it under $20

I picked up an inexpensive solar charger on eBay before I took a 10 day trip down the Columbia. This charges standard batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, etc.). Stuck this into a waterproof map case and left it on my back deck. I was using this to keep my GPA going (charge one set of batteries while a second was in the GPS).

My paddling partners on the trip had an unit that allowed them to use 4 AA batteries as a charger for their cell phone. He charged up a set of batteries using my charger one day.

I just checked and it looks like they still lit the same unit as what I use - it is called “Deluxe Solar Battery Charger w/ Meter For AA AAA C & D!”. But they also list a bunch of solar chargers which are made for cell phones and MP3 players. Maybe they have one that will work for your phone?

You might find some ideas here…

I have not personally ordered from this merchant.

Convenience or Safety?
We spent 6 weeks around Baranof Island (AK) this summer. I brought a Brunton Solaris-12 (12W) charger and used the car charger for my phone.

When we were close enough to villages to get cell service, it was a convenience, but we did not rely on it.

I would recommend using the photovoltaic array (“solar panel”) to trickle charge a 12 or 13 V battery pack. Then use the battery pack to charge the phone, radio, camera, etc. We often found that when it was convenient to charge, the sun didn’t cooperate.

Bottom line, if you are even kinda depending on your phone for safety, don’t be cheap. You will probably spend around $300 to be effective and reliable.


What Justine Curgenven does
Went to a launch showing of This is the Sea IV, with Justine Curgenven, last night. After the showing, there was Q&A. One question came up was what equipment she carries (both safety and camera) and how she keeps them charged.

She used her trip around NZ’s South Island as an example - that took some 2 months. GPS, EPIRB, cell phone, satellite phone, VHF, and 3+ cameras were all on the list of stuff she carried.

Interesting to hear she does not use a solar charger. She said she has tried them, but found that on the sunny days they are usually paddling, so didn’t have much chance to charge things up. The rest days are usually when the weather is bad, and those are days that don’t really have much sun.

She brought extra batteries and did bring the chargers. Even on this trip, every week or so they would find someone who could let them borrow a charge for their batteries.

I recently saw a real simple setup
2 very large batteries 6 volt? (the kind that go into those big square flashlights) with one wire between two posts and the other two posts with a wire split going to a cigarette lighter receptacle. the guy says he charges all his stuff that has a cigarette lighter charger with it.

seems like quite a lot of power? Does the cigarette lighter receptacle have some sort of filter to reduce the current?


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that is a cool set-up
if you didn’t have a pump you could downsize the package considerably and just go with two 10AAcell packs being charged from the 5watt panel.

how about simplifing things…
while some of the previous posts seem to address the need for a solar panel and related electronics that go with it, if your need is strictly having longer talk time for your cell phone I don’t think you can go past this little device:

AA batteries are extremely easy to find, don’t cost much and take very little space.

Now, if you have cameras, laptops etc then a different set up is needed.


Google it, and you will find the the manufacturer website, and REI sells it.

Solar…and wind! I haven’t tried it

– Last Updated: Nov-12-08 5:22 AM EST –


Batteries in wired series
What you are describing are two 6v batteries wired in “Series”. That provides you with 12 volts (6+6=12).

12v is what a car adapter expects, so no current reduction required.

Well then, isn’t that
just about the easiest way to keep your stuff charged then? I woudl think those two honkin batteries should keep a cell phone, gps and mp3 player charged for quite a while?


thoughts comments?
Keep 2 6 volt batteries in the day hatch in a dry bag and charge when you need to?


or a dry box
The only problem might be that the two lantern batteries might not have enough oomph to charge 12v devices when they slip below 12v.

As a matter of cost carrying two lantern batteries is a dirt cheap solution but if your devices run on AA batteries I’d look at how long a pile of AA lithiums would last. I am guessing a stack of lithiums weighing as much as one lantern battery would end up being more effective,and costing about four times as much.