Most of us can’t remember how we survived before we had electronic devices at our fingertips. We certainly rely on smartphones, iPads, laptops, tablets and more to help us navigate most aspects of our lives.
But what about when we’re away from home and not near an outlet? Those unplugged times are when having reliable phone access is probably most important, of course. We’ve all had that sinking feeling when you need to call and explain a delay or a change in plans only to see your phone is out of batteries and powered off.
One solution: The little power packs you can carry are handy… but you’ve got to remember to keep them charged or else they’re just ballast in your bag.
There have been pricey solar-panel backpacks on the market for a few years, aiming to fill this power gap, but they are prohibitively expensive for many people (we’re looking at you students on a strict budget). Now there’s a more affordable option waiting in the wings.
The Solar Sack is designed to be comfortable when you wear it, whether you’re walking to work or class, hiking mountain trails, or pedaling along a country bike path. The shoulder straps are cushioned and curved, and there’s a chest strap to keep everything snug.
The backpack, which was a crowdfunding hit, is made of sturdy, hard-wearing rip-stop nylon, and it is water-resistant. But of course the heart of the bag is the solar battery, which comes with a dual-headed charging cable so that you can power up your Android device or your i-something.
You can charge the solar battery pack while you’re at home, then use it to charge your devices when you’re out and about. When that power is used up, the solar panel kicks in and recharges the battery pack.
The battery pack is versatile, sporting a USB port and also a mini USB port, as well as an LED flashlight. No more stumbling around in the dark when you’re camping or struggling to find your keys on your doorstep at night.
Since a lightweight backpack like this is perfect for outdoorsy, sporty types, the designers decided to provide some optional add-on items tailor-made for them. A water hydration bladder fits neatly in the Solar Sack, allowing you to quench your thirst hands-free while you’re running or biking. There are also two side pockets if you prefer to tote water bottles or energy drinks.
The backpack’s main zippered storage area has pockets inside, and there’s also a second zippered compartment for stashing your valuables.
One of our favorite features of the Solar Sack, though, is actually one of the smallest details. There are slots in the shoulder straps where you can thread your headphone cords, the drink tube for the water hydration bladder or a power cord. (Personally, we hate endlessly untangling headphone wires, so this thoughtful addition is much appreciated.)
Like to listen to tunes on your travels? Well, there’s an add-on Bluetooth speaker to make music easy. A clip-on multi-tool is also available, and the buckle on the chest strap includes a built-in safety whistle. Seems like they’ve thought of just about everything.