Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Covet: Solar Bags

Do you need to charge your iPod, camera, GPS, and phone? But you are on a long trek, at a picnic, homeless, or in an area without constant electricity supply? A solar panel bag might be perfect for you. Most bags on the market charge to a battery with USB and 12 volt car-charger ports.

Noon Solar Bags' going price at the moment is around $450 for a bag. They look fantastic mixing old craft processes with new age ideas.

Eclipse Solar Gear makes the Fusion messenger bag sold for a much cooler $190. The style is urban but the panel looks small.

Juice Bags by Esc Outdoors go for $200 and look rugged enough for adventure. Built with a padded laptop sleeve and flexible ballistic nylon solar panels instead of solid panels, this could be a worthwhile solution.

The Generator by Voltaic Systems is the first solar bag powerful enough to charge a laptop. Rather impressive, but looks like carrying the deathstar. A bit expensive at $600. Voltaic also makes smaller and cheaper bags, but they look even worse.

Or, for the DIY-er in all of us, one could buy a flexible 12 volt solar panel and sew it into an existing bag. PowerFilm Inc. manufactures super thin and lightweight solar panels. Silicone Solar Inc. has a diverse line of consumer ready flexible solar panels, and they are waterproof. DIY Instructable on building a solar bag.