Skip to main content

Gearing Up with Solar Power

06/08/2013 15:52, Published by Grant Johnson, Categories: Shop+Eat+Drink, Sports, In Print




By Jennie Lay

Steamboat Springs, CO - Power to the pack, the paddle, the pop-up. Real solutions for backcountry recharging have arrived in the form of mini solar panels with beefy little batteries and USB output that lets you charge just about anything.

No longer do you need to put your iPhone on an energy diet while you’re off the grid. Whether you’re backpacking the Flattops or floating Yampa Canyon, go ahead and take photos, use your GPS, read an e-book and rock out. Downhillers, run your GoPro on every last slickrock thrill. Technology is finally up to the task of making power portable.

Powertraveller makes two pint-sized charging systems that jumped to the top of our summer gear wish list (while knowing that these would be killer accessories for winter backcountry pursuits too). Each one includes a pair of solar panels that charges a lithium-ion polymer battery from zero to full in a single bluebird day. Primed for adventure and designed for rugged handling.

 

Solarmonkey Adventurer is our top choice. Compact (6.5x3.5” and less than an inch thick) and light (9.4 oz), the integrated 2500-mAh battery gives you nearly two complete fills on an iPhone 5, and zips into its own thermal insulated travel case. Clip this slim, water-resistant treasure on your tent or the back of your pack and ignore it while it soaks up the sun for 6-8 hours, leaving the battery ready to re-fill your phones overnight. $130

 

We also like the 16-oz. Powermonkey Extreme with its 9000-mAh-capacity battery (that’s more than six full charges on your iPhone 5, or one 80% charge on your iPad 4), with panels that are the same size as the Solarmonkey Adventurer. The bigger battery is separate from the panels and connected by a cord – perhaps not as sleek as the Solarmonkey Adventurer, but ideal for longer trips where you have multiple people with more devices to charge. Plan 10-12 hours for a full charge. Also, it’s waterproof (submersible in up to three feet of water for five minutes). Think river trip. $200

 

Both come with a range of interchangeable adapter tips designed to accommodate charging most every energy-sucking device. They have short-circuit protection, overload protection and low voltage protection, plus thermal insulation battery protection giving an operating temperature range of 14 to 194 degrees F. Plus, you get 600 cycles (that’s a complete charge and dump) before the battery starts degrading – that’s a lot of electrified nights on the trail. 



Steamboat Steamboat Magazine Steamboat Springs backcountry recharge backcountry recharging solar backcountry solar portable power solarmonkey adventurer powermonkey extreme


  • Prince Fearless Trio

    06/27/2017
    11:00AM

    Guitar and ukulele playin' Princess Fearless, along with whimsical musical pals, serves up an int...


  • Musical Talk with Mark Gould

    06/29/2017
    07:00PM

    Meet 2017 Strings Music Festival conductor Mark Gould, one of the best known trumpeters of his ge...


  • Art on the Mountain

    07/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Local and visiting artisans bring a great variety of their work to display and sell in Gondola Sq...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Holy Eucharist

    07/02/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    All are welcome at this Episcopal communion service


  • Art on the Mountain

    07/02/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Local and visiting artisans bring a great variety of their work to display and sell in Gondola Sq...


  • Holy Eucharist

    07/02/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    All are welcome at this Episcopal communion service.


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/02/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Art on the Mountain

    07/03/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Local and visiting artisans bring a great variety of their work to display and sell in Gondola Sq...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/03/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Driftwood Live at Schmiggity's

    07/03/2017
    10:00PM

    When most people think of upstate New York, they either imagine bucolic landscapes or working-cla...


  • Prince Fearless Trio

    06/27/2017
    11:00AM

    Guitar and ukulele playin' Princess Fearless, along with whimsical musical pals, serves up an int...


  • Yoga and Classical Music

    06/28/2017
    09:00AM

    Speakers in the Strings Park will broadcast the classical rehearsals going on inside the Pavilion...


  • A Night in Prague

    06/28/2017
    07:00PM

    Czech chamber music


  • Musical Talk with Mark Gould

    06/29/2017
    07:00PM

    Meet 2017 Strings Music Festival conductor Mark Gould, one of the best known trumpeters of his ge...


  • Art on the Mountain

    06/30/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Local and visiting artisans bring a great variety of their work to display and sell in Gondola Sq...


  • Go behind-the-scenes with our Curator to see the thousands of artifacts being preserved in our on...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    06/30/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Art on the Mountain

    07/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Local and visiting artisans bring a great variety of their work to display and sell in Gondola Sq...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Holy Eucharist

    07/02/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    All are welcome at this Episcopal communion service


  • Art on the Mountain

    07/02/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Local and visiting artisans bring a great variety of their work to display and sell in Gondola Sq...


  • Holy Eucharist

    07/02/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    All are welcome at this Episcopal communion service.


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/02/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Art on the Mountain

    07/03/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Local and visiting artisans bring a great variety of their work to display and sell in Gondola Sq...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/03/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Driftwood Live at Schmiggity's

    07/03/2017
    10:00PM

    When most people think of upstate New York, they either imagine bucolic landscapes or working-cla...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/04/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/05/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/06/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/07/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/08/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Holy Eucharist

    07/09/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    All are welcome at this Episcopal communion service


  • Holy Eucharist

    07/09/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    All are welcome at this Episcopal communion service.


  • Steamboat Bike Week

    07/09/2017
    05:00PM

    If you like to ride bikes, Steamboat Springs, CO is the place to be July 9-15. Bike Week offers ...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/09/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Steamboat Bike Week

    07/10/2017
    05:00PM

    If you like to ride bikes, Steamboat Springs, CO is the place to be July 9-15. Bike Week offers ...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/10/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...


  • Steamboat Bike Week

    07/11/2017
    05:00PM

    If you like to ride bikes, Steamboat Springs, CO is the place to be July 9-15. Bike Week offers ...


  • Colorado Nature Photography Exhibit

    07/11/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Steamboat Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that an exhibition of photographs showcasin...