Why solar power? Well it's cleaner, more sustainable energy. It's virtually infinite, unlike fossil fuels, and you don't have to drill into the earth to get to it. It doesn't seep or spill into our oceans. It doesn't pollute our air or give people black lung disease.
It's also really convenient for powering consumer gadgets when you're on the go. You may find yourself without an outlet, but chances are, you'll always be near the sun. With the summer months coming up, prepare for hiking, camping, or days at the beach with solar-powered products that will keep your phone charged, music blasting, and room lit.
This ECEEB weather-proof hiking backpack is made of nylon and polyester and comes with an attachable 7-watt solar panel. The solar panel doesn't hold a charge—it's not a battery pack—but will charge your device when it's light makes contact with the panel, which has a built-in five-volt port to charge your USB devices. The backpack weighs less than three pounds, has plenty of storage pockets, and comes with a 1.8-liter hydration bladder. $60.
The AVAWAY weatherproof LED bike lights can be charged via solar power or USB cable. The set comes with a headlight and taillight—both with 750mAh batteries—and accompanying mounts that fit most standard bikes. The 800-lumen headlight has four LEDs and three lighting modes—flash, on, and off. The taillight has two LEDs and four lighting modes—flash, slow flash, on, and off. The lights come with a microUSB cable for charging. $17.
These Simpeak flashlights come with a built-in battery that can be charged using the solar panel—it even absorbs light from strong lightbulbs—or by using the hand-crank. A one-minute crank will produce up to ten minutes of light. The flashlight has an attached carabiner, so you can snap it onto your belt loops or backpack. $16.
Logitech's wireless K750 keyboard is only 1/3-inch thick and connects to your computer via a USB receiver plugged into your laptop. Any light source will power the keyboard, which holds a three-month charge. This model only works with PCs, but you can get a Mac version as well. $38.
Anker's 14.7-ounce, 21-watt solar charger is encased in a durable, weather-resistant polyester canvas. It delivers a super fast charge to your device—there are two 2.4-amp USB ports—and comes with a microUSB cable. It folds up, making it pretty portable, too. $66.
This Suaoki Collapsible LED tent lantern has three separate solar panels to charge itself—or it can be charged via microUSB. The lantern has three lighting modes: SOS blinking, high-beam, or low-beam. $19.
These Swiftly Done solar outdoor lights require no wiring, are weather-resistant, and automatically turn on at night and off during the day while they recharge. The adhesive material on the back allows you to stick the lights to any surface. $15.
The RunningSnail AM/FM weather alert radio can be powered four ways: by hand crank, solar power, microUSB, or AAA batteries. The radio features a one-watt LED flashlight, 2000mAh battery—12 hours of light or about six hours of radio—and has na SOS alarm that makes a loud noise and flashes a red emergency light. $30.
4Ms educational solar rover kit comes with everything you need to build a single solar-powered soda can vehicle. It's recommended for ages eight and up. $13.
Keep the music bumping as long as the sun's up. This Dreamix 4.0 Bluetooth speaker has a rechargeable lithium battery that provides 30 hours of music, plus more if you recharge your battery while the sun's shining. Ten minutes of solar charging will generate half an hour of battery life. It also has a built-in microphone so you can make calls, and is both shock and splash-proof. $30.
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