Solar Panel/Battery Solutions

I’ve used panels a good bit on sailboats, but in trying to miniaturize and reduce weight for paddling, what advice is there for gear to charge phone and GPS for long-distance trips? Actual brands or models would help. Thanks.

look at Real Goods
I would recommend checking out the product selections along those lines at Real Goods (

They run the Solar Living Institute and, unlike a lot of vendors, RG actually field tests all the items they offer and have good comparison tables for the various units. They sell flexible, roll-up solar panels and even daypacks with a solar panel built in. You can also get a hand crank powered emergency radio and flashlight combo that includes a cell charging inverter on it.

I’ve always been satisfied with anything I’ve bought from them and with their customer service.

here is some more from same race
This company sponsored my solo-3600 mile paddle trip in 2004. I used their roll-up panels for laptop, cameras, and satalite phone.

They roll up like a maps.

Worked great and better than the small compact ones on the mainstream market today!!!

opps the link
Heres the link to the above.

here too
sort of confusing with their web site.

Anyone remember that 4" X 3" AAA/AA
box thing that REI used to offer ?

When will GPS get internal recharge?
Calculators use very little power. Years ago they were making them with tiny solar cells that powered them completely.

Handheld GPS units (eg: Garmin 76 series - without back-light on) use relatively (relative to vhf, etc) little power.

On a kayak, paddling, the sun is out a good percentage of the time. When will it happen? (not the Garmin 78 series, maybe the 80 series?)

Goal Zero equipment
These guys make stuff used in humanitarian campaigns.

Power in the middle of nowhere, literally.

Now they are doing the same thing with watches (wrist type) solar charge. One problem is apparently the designers never heard of winter. Need to have them in direct sunlight something like 20 minutes a day, well in the winter that means you’d need to wear the watch on the outside of your coat? DUMB

Bill H.

Duracell My Pocket Charger
This little charger is run by 2 AA batteries and puts out 5V through either a mini USB to charge cell phones with that connector (Motorola Tundra, Blackberry, etc) or a gen 4 + iPod/iPhone cord.

When doing the MO340 race, I now only have to carry a mess of AA batteries to charge my phone, my iPod, and replace those in the Garmin 76Map GPS. It really is the easiest solution, and you can use rechargeable NiMH AAs if you want.


I have a Solio solar charger and
like it very much. Small and compact. Works well to keep a cell phone or iPod charged.

2nd the Goal0
been using a model 7 (?), their smallest which has 2 small folding panels with USB port & a ‘cigarette lighter’ attachment for devices which plug into a car cigarette lighter socket. Charges a cell phone in an hour, or an I-pod in 2 hours, both from dead. Think their suggested retail is around $99.