Gear Review: RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports

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I am enamored with all things solar.  What is not to like about getting free energy from the sun?

Perhaps that is why I am always anxious to test every new solar gizmo that comes along.  In doing so, I have come across some great items, but of all of those items, portable solar panels rank right up there at the top of list.  With that said, I have a fantastic new solar charging system to share with you today: the RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with dual USB Ports.

Plus, as always, I have one unit to give away to a lucky Backdoor Survival reader.  More about that in a moment.

RavPower 15W Solar Charger - Backdoor Survival

Just the Basics Please

Let me start with the most basic of technical details.

The RAVPower is a 3 panel system that folds up into a lightweight, compact, folio that is small enough and light enough to carry in your pack.  The actual folded dimensions are 7.5” x 10”.

Inside the folio itself is a pouch with a Velcro tab that contains two USB ports.  Now here is the nifty part; the two ports output a total of 5V and 3 amps.  Using what they call iSmart technology, these ports figure out how much juice is needed for each device and delivers just what is needed to charge them in the least amount of time.

So, for example, if you have a tablet and a smartphone, each with a different charging requirement, the RAVPower will figure it out.  I tested this myself by mixing and matching connections, moving things around to ensure that I was getting a charge.  It worked.

Testing the RAVPower 15W Solar

The day I chose for my test was partly cloudy but not quite overcast.  This was not optimal full sun conditions but heck, the reality is that when we need to use emergency power, we need to use emergency power.  We do not get to pick the time or the date.

With the three panels fully extended, I was able to get a charge on all of my devices, including an iPad, iPad mini, Kindle, iPhone, and a Goal Zero Guide10 USB battery pack.  As I mentioned, I switched things around, making up different combinations of gizmos but in all cases, was able to see the lightening bolt, indicating a charge.  (The Goal Zero has a flashing red light.)

RavPower 15W Solar Charger - Backdoor Survival

Next, I moved the RAVPower to my shaded porch where only two of the three panels were exposed to the sun, and even then, it was partial sun.  There was not enough juice to charge the iPad or the Goal Zero, but the phone and Kindle did just fine.

One thing I should point out is that you do not want your electronics to bake in the direct sun.  Smaller devices can be tucked into the pocket while charging whereas a larger tablet can be shaded by setting up the panels in an accordion fashion.  Just be wary what you do need to exercise some discretion, especially with the iPad which will shut itself down if it gets too hot.

Other Options

A come-with option is a set of four carbineers that can attach to metal grommets in the folio.

As you can see, I attached the RAVPower to my pack so that my devices could charge while on the move.  You could also use the carbineers to attach the solar array to branches, or some fencing or practically anything else as long as you had some cordage on board.  (And you do have paracord in your pack, right?)

RavPower 15W Solar Charger - Backdoor Survival

RAVPower makes an optional USB battery pack.  I have tested similar packs in the past and they are very convenient to  use for both powering and charging your devices at night or when you are indoors or in your vehicle.  I can not tell you how many times I have been on the ferry traveling to the mainland, and have needed to use the the stored juice in my battery pack to power my iPad.

If you are considering a RAVPower solar charger, definite take a look at this option.

The Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing I using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

The RAVPower is easy to use and I can prove it.  Shelly (aka the Survival Husband) did the initial testing.  He took it out of the box, leaving the instructions behind.  About 20 minutes later he came inside and I was expecting him to ask for help since I am the resident gizmo guru.  Instead he gave me a “Look Ma, No Directions Needed speech”.

The bottom line is that the RAVPower solar panel is very easy to use.  Just unfold it and plug in your devices.  Easy peasy. Performance is best when the panels are pointed directly toward the sun, but if not, you still get enough juice to charge most devices; it just might take longer.

This is a fantastic product that will make a fine addition to my emergency pack.  I hope you will enter the giveaway so that you can win one for your emergency pack as well.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to items related to today’s article.

RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports: This compact, three panel, solar charger will charge two devices at once, including tablets, smartphones, Kindles, and even AA/AAA battery charges.  Value priced at about $60.

RAVPower® 3rd Gen Deluxe 15000mAh External Battery: Use the sun to power an external battery pack.  By doing so, you will always have battery power to spare without being dependent upon electricity.  Perfect to have on hand for dark, stormy days, night time, or when you don’t have the time to wait around for a full charge in the sun.

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus USB Power Pack:  With the Guide 10 Plus Recharger you have a portable, rugged charging kit that will charge AA batteries from the sun or any USB port.  With the charged up batteries, you can also power your phone, MP3, GPS, or tablet.  Just to be clear, the Guide 10 Plus USB Power Pack can be charged by connecting it to any USB power source, including Goal Zero Nomad Solar Panels, a wall USB charger, or car USB charger.

Paracord Planet Type III Nylon Paracord:  An ideal all-around utility cord in the field, paracord is tough and long lasting. It is made from 550-pound test nylon and features a seven-strand core for maximum strength. Also, it is manufactured in the United States.  Note that some colors may be more expensive than others.  Need ideas?  See 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival.

AmazonBasics USB A to Lightning compatible Cable – Apple Certified: I have never had a failure with the cables from Amazon Basics.  Never.  They do cost a bit more than those cables you can get for a buck or two from China, but honestly, these work 100% of the time and are about half the cost of similar cables direct from Apple and other manufacturers.

Amazon Basics Cables:  Not everyone has an Apple device.  Here are some more cables from Amazon Basics.

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9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival




Comments

Gear Review: RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports — 159 Comments

  1. This was a very thorough article; looking forward to future posts! Very interested in topics/product reviews that incorporate kid-friendly usability as well! Kudos!

  2. I would appreciate learning about More solar options including larger solar items that would provide power for small to large appliances.

  3. I love the folding solar charger. The one thing we will all need is a way to charge
    our various phones and tablets in an emergency. If we have stored our information
    on a thumb drive we can have it when we needed it most.

    I especially like the charge as you walk feature.

  4. How about a review of a 2 person backpacking tent for use in a bugout situation. Maybe look at a few based on price and how frequently we might use one. As some are very inexpensive 30-50 vs those that are in the stratosphere in price.

  5. I would like to see reviews of travel sleeping bags, inexpensive but still easily transportable tents or other things that could be used for shelter (especially is a colder climate). Thanks

  6. I would like to see sling shots reviewed for ease of shooting, how difficult to pull,
    ease of aim, and any other features we would find helpful. We will need silent ways,
    renewable ways and less likely to be humanly dangerous ways to hunt small game. They also conceal easily and fit in a pack nicely.

    The sling shot fills that slot. We do not need one that is too strong to pull and aim however. We need to know which one to order that we can count on in time of need.

  7. We are looking into solar here, but are concerned that there is not enough sunny day. We just moved from Arizona to Tennessee. But I still would like to see more articles on them to supplement my research. Thanks.

  8. I bought a small solar charging device for my hubby’s cell many years ago. He often runs out of charge on long treks, forgetting to turn it off to save battery so it searches for signal for a few hours and dies. The charger has saved him more than once when he was in need and his phone was dead, and has lasted perfectly well. The pack you reviewed looks like it would be great for me with my multiple devices. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Side by side comparison of the various portable water filters. (I haven’t checked to archive to see if you’ve done this already.)

  10. I’m interested in information about solar powered items as well as solar charging electronics. I’m new to prepping/survival planning and find everything you discuss fascinating. My husband and I are beginning our prepping and so far your website has been very informative. Thank you.

  11. I would be interested in reviews on products used to protect one’s garden as well as devices to add in increasing the storage of grown foods.

  12. I have been looking into what solar options are available but have not pulled the trigger and purchased anything yet. I am looking at supplying power to my chicken coop via solar and am real interested in any information I can get. Thanks for this post and I hope I can get lucky this time.

  13. I love this item! I love solar stuff and had been trying to decide if I actually wanted this but the Price was a bit steep for me at this time. Wouldn’t it be cool if they figured out how to make a solar powered Sleeping bag that had a heater in it? Tent too. Anyway thanks for the awesome review as always You have the eye on the pulse of cool!

  14. I would like to see more articles on home canning and food storage. What works, what is high in nutrition and viable for at least 5 years or more.
    Although I do love the gadgets and solar items that have been used and reviewed.
    Thanks Gaye.

  15. I’d like to see some reviews on high quality non gmo and minimally processed foods for long term storage. Short of just buying individual ingredients most seem to have a long stream of ingredients I would eat nor want to consume in a grid down situation.

  16. Thank you Gaye for arranging another great giveaway. I would so love to win. As for the topic you can never have too much solar. I am especially interested in portable solar. I’m finding that perhaps it is best to have several job specific solar devices. I agree with the person who wants to know more about water filters. Personally I’m interested in a comparison of small portable filters.

  17. I know nothing about solar power but would love to learn more. Are solar panels expensive and how long do they last?

  18. I currently have a 5 watt folding solar charger that is very old. It is falling apart but it has gotten me out of a lot of problems keeping my phone charged along with other items needed in a pinch.

  19. I think solar is a great means to get power. It has become widely known and getting cheaper. But the sun does not always shine. I would like to see reviews on other forms of energy like wind power. Those wind turbines seem very expensive. Are there any reasonable options? Any small enough to be portable? How about a solar and wind combined unit?

  20. I love the solar products because we can use them when we go out with CAP activities. I would like to see some kid centered camping items – tents especially. My youngest is 3 and his brother is 15. It’s been a few years since I was in Cub Scouts. I know they are mostly truck camping, but I need a good backpacking tent that can hold 1-2 people. We got the oldest a 1man backpacking tent for $30, but I think we pretty much got what we paid for there.

  21. This is exactly what I was looking for. With your recommendation even if I don’t win, this will find it’s way into my gear.

  22. Another great give away! Your website is my favorite prepper website (as voted already!). Thanks for a wonderful site, full of information. This solar pack seems very convenient and easy to carry.

  23. Not sure this qualifies but would be interested in finding a way to make a root cellar when u cant have one in house.

  24. Even though an event may take down the web, I could still access my articles that I have turned into documents and are to large to print out. That has always been my concern. This appears to address that problem. Thanks for all you do. I think I have become a more prepared person.

  25. I agree with most of the comments so far. Additionally I am interested in propane powered generators. I like the solar charger for small items and am looking at a solar system for my home after completing a class on solar energy at our local community college. I just wish it was not so expensive.

  26. I really would like to see a side by side review of the water purifiers Like Kaitdyn vs Life Straw vs Berkey
    Something like that, I see reviews about each but I don’t think Ive ever seen a side by side review. Of course I’m still trying to catch up with everything so it could be out there and I haven’t come across it yet.

  27. I’d like to see a comparison of defensive weapons, like stun guns, pepper spray, a knife vs a firearm. Maybe a best in class article. I just have the spray and a stun gun but both not top of the line. I know there are newer products out since a few years ago and I’d love to see that review. Thanks

  28. Not new to the concept but new to actually beginning to ‘prepare’. I am thrilled to have found you all and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the materials, guidance, and support. Many thanks!

  29. I just asked, the other day if they had a solar charging set up for use with a Kindle. I want a bunch of these. Everyone in my family group needs one, or more of these.

  30. I’d like to hear more about trying to garden without a nice sunny southern exposure – maybe greenhouses as well. Plus more alternative power options.

  31. item or items I’d like to see reviewed. How about a comparison of backpacks? What to look for in a backpack for different purposes, long term survival vs two or three day quick getaway backpacks, single person vs family backpack etc. Backpack vs BOB.

  32. I’m interested in buying a generator. I didn’t even know they made solar generators that would be some good information.

  33. I would like to see larger solar panels that can power appliances & furnaces compared.

    Thank you very much for this giveaway!

  34. The cost of batteries for solar have gone sky high, I would like to find a source for reasonable cost 6 or 12 volt batteries.

  35. I would like to see a review & comparison on larger solar panels that could run a furnace, well & appliances.

    Than k you very much for the giveaway!

    • OOPS – Sorry! I posted 2xs because I did not see my post & thought it did not go through. Hope this does not disqualify me – I could really use this. Thanks so much!

  36. I would also love more information on solar items we can afford. So can you find solar for the poor prepper?? I also am constantly looking for more ways to store my food within a small cottage, no central air, humid mid west. This is a fabulous give away!! Thanks Gaye!

  37. You have covered quite a few so I’m currently at a loss as to what else you can cover. On the Solar Power theme maybe you could touch on home solar power which is of real interest to me,

  38. I would seriously love to try this little fellow to charge my Kindle which I use almost constantly. At the present I have almost nothing solar powered but I am deeply interested in getting a first-hand education using this device. Thank you for this opportunity.

  39. I’m really anxious to compare this to the other one I have… the one I have is really small and takes a long time, this looks like it is better made and has a lot more cell area…. plus it has 2 usb ports

  40. i’m surprised this charger only costs $60. usually something as sophisticated as this item are a lot more expensive.

  41. This is great. Since canceling the home phone, I’ve been looking at solar packs for back up when dry camping & if we loose power at home to charge the cell phones.

  42. I think it’s smart to have a battery backup system
    but should I win how can I claim prize
    what is rafflecopter?

    • The Rafflecopter is the widget in the article where you record your entries. Winners are notified by email and are also announce on the widget – usually on the Friday after the giveaway ends.

      Always check your spam folder for emails from Backdoor Survival. Sometimes the prizes go unclaimed which is a real shame.

  43. Love the product reviews! Am just beginning to look at small solar–timing on this one is perfect for me. Thanks!

  44. This is definitely something that I wanted to see…so thank you! But another thing might be different ways to purify water.

  45. Thanks for the opportunity to win cool gear. I’d like to see a review of small camp stoves and lightweight tents/shelters.

  46. I would like to see those water storage things where you fill the bag and its stored in a cardboard box. I’m curious to their durability

  47. Maybe some information on how to get organized and maximize one’s prepping space in an apartment setting. Also, a review of home and portable water filtration systems would be helpful.

  48. What a nifty solar charger setup! Your thorough explanation and pics really show what a great product this is. Would certainly get a charge out this!

  49. well Gaye you have reviewed almost everything I can think of off the top of my head. One thing that is a persistent concern for me would be the different ways to keep food and people cool in the hot summer months(short of having enough solar panels to run the central air and fridge)

  50. OH I just thought of something. I have been wanting to buy some long range two way radios, (in my day they were called walkie-talkies). I bought some that claimed 25 miles but that was a huge joke. We tested them out on a flat area where we could see each other and they wouldn’t even work a half a mile apart. I would love to see a review or comparison of some that were reasonably priced but actually worked at a distance of at least a few miles. thanks in advance and keep up the good work.

  51. I really would love to see some more solar ovens reviewed, as well as cooking equipment. Believe me, that crap you buy at sporting goods stores is cheap, flaky (specifically the coatings flake off). Obviously cast iron is awesome, but who wants to pack around a dutch oven and skillet weighing 10 pounds or more?

      • We have a crossbow that now is mounted on the wall as decoration. I did not want to do a review because readers purchase what I write about, often without reading the details. There is no way I can use it; I can not even pull the bow back. Shelly (who weighs 178 lbs), also struggles.

        I guess I should post a review and let everyone decide for themselves. As I recall, it was about $200.

        • We have a crossbow that collects dust in its expensive case. My husband has to use a special device for pulling it back. We both feel much more comfortable with firearms for self defense.

  52. I would like to see portable solar panels that can run larger household appliances, like blenders, juicers, or even bigger like a range, or refrigerator. Thank you for the opportunity to win this solar charger… I love it…

    • I have a comment about 2 man tents. I bought a camo pup tent. I regret this choice simply because a pup tent cannot be set up inside the house for warmth of body heat in case of a power outage. It requires tent stakes.

  53. I’m assuming that an old fashioned laptop which is usually recharged using an electrical outlet could also be recharged using the USB port on the laptop. However, what about a really old fashioned flip cell phone which only can be charged by plugging it into an electrical outlet? I could not see anywhere on the description page which covered this. Thank you, Peggy.

    • Oops. Forgot to say. I would like to hear more about solar powered items here, especially as concerns charging batteries and charging “only electrical outlet” items. Again, thank you.

    • Negative on the laptop. A laptop is charged by electricity plugged into a wall and not via a USB port. In addition, a portable charger such as this one does not put out enough “juice” to power a computer.

      On the other hand, older cell phones are no problem at all as long as they can be charged via USB. Most can. My “dumb phone” that was retired last September, plugged into a USB port that plugged into the wall. It could also be charged by plugging in to the USB port on my laptop.

      Hope that helps; sometimes it is difficult to explain how technology works.

  54. I am interested in all things solar, but also cool storage products/ideas. Root cellar type ideas, refrigerators that run on alternate power sources. Let’s face it, we would all miss our refrigerators if the shtf and I can’t say I would really know how to store things that need to be kept cool safely and successfully.

  55. I have been looking into small 12V appliances made for RVs and boats. When using 12V appliances in a solar configuration an inverter is not necessary and the juice from the solar panel goes further. Thus it is possible to power a tiny fridge a laptop a fan in the summer etc. 12V appliances can be wired directly to the deep cycle battery. There would also be a charge controller and of course the panel. The point to this is that you do not need as many solar panels or as many batteries as you would when trying to power a house full of standard appliances. Honestly in a grid down situation I would be happy just to have a fan in the summer.

    • Whoops you would need an inverter for the laptop as Gaye said they are made to be charged through regular household electricity.

  56. I’ve been seeing various articles about using outdoor solar garden lights for indoor lighting. Today I checked them out in the garden center and there were so many, some marked “2x”, some marked “3x” and some not marked at all. I assume that’s the brightness of the light but I don’t know. I would like to see some comparisons of the solar garden lights and if they really are a good idea to use inside as an alternate means of lighting during blackouts.

  57. Love visiting your site and all the great info you share, especially appreciate your give awaya keep up the great work!!!! I am grateful for you sharing your skills and talents!!

  58. I would like to see readers compare what they put in their BOB packs and compare what they feel is important to collect in the food and supplies category.

  59. I’m really interested in learning more about the options/tools available for washing clothes when there is no power.

    • Karen C.,
      If you have ever seen the infomercial for the Spin Mop, I have used that to test out washing clothes grid down and it worked pretty well. I washed in the lower part where the water is and then put a piece or two at a time in the top spinner to get rid of excess water. The only drawback for me was the spinner was pretty ineffective at removing water from jeans.

  60. A solar charging system for my phone and kindle was actually next on my list! Thanks so much for this review! I’m impressed with the RAVPower! So, the next thing on my list would be a tent for 2-people that could be easily carried, but doesn’t break the bank. Also a sleep system…sleeping bags, liners, sleeping pad or hammocks. Thanks, Gaye!

  61. I would love to see some of the medical equipment / survival medical equipment reviewed here. I know you aren’t a medic, but all of us should have some basic understanding of things like battle dressings, splints, tick removal devices, etc.

    • “Cindy W”…
      You suggestion is worthy and important. As you mention, all of us should have some basic understanding of first aid. You are also correct in that first aid instruction should be taught and demonstrated by professionals… or persons who have been trained and certified.
      As a suggestion for you and other readers who have come to appreciate the vast wealth of information that “Backdoorsurvival.com” (Gaye and Shelley) have so extensively provided… I suggest that you try to get “hands-on” training and instruction in your area. A good place to learn where the training would be available closest to you… would be through the American Red Cross. ( http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/program-highlights/cpr-first-aid )
      If they are not able to provide it for you… they will help you find the nearest location for doing so.
      Having retired with over 27 years continuous service with an employer that provided annual refresher courses in First Aid and CPR… I know the importance of the “hands-on” part of the training. When it comes to First Aid and CPR, etc…. it is one thing to read something out of book or watch a video… but quite another to actually have someone explain it to you in person… and for you to actually try performing the first aid or CPR actions yourself.
      Hope you find my comment helpful.

  62. I have the Anker 14w panel. Have you compared them to this one. The Anker has some nice features like a smart USB port that reads the max input of whatever you have plugged into it.

  63. You always do such a wonderful job of finding gadgets like this to review. I too have a passion for solar power and would love to see more on items like this and larger applications as well. In particular anything that would work to heat or cool a small greenhouse.

  64. I would like to see info on water filtration, long term food you can purchase, generators, home security. Thanks for the opportunity to win the solar panels. Would love to win.

  65. Solar product comparisons, brand,tri-fuel and solar generator comparisons of at least three brands, every and anything related to camping that will serve as a dual purpose for preparedness in the event we cannot live in our home. Which preparedness expos are the best and most informative to attend around the US

  66. More info on dutch oven cooking and storage meals. Would like to see everyone submit tried and true recipes for our own group cookbook relating to cooking over an open fire, solar oven, Hercules candle oven, charcoal, propane and gas grills, etc. We all need to know how to adjust cooking over some of the many ways and there is no better way than to share our experiences and recipes.

  67. I’d like to see a review of a combo washer/wringer that could be used in conjunction with the Mobile Washer. I have the Mobile Washer (unused as of yet), but have read that the hardest part of washing clothes is wringing them. A very expensive hand wringer is available, but I’d like to know if something like the “Rubbermaid Commercial FG758088YEL WaveBreak Side Press Combo” mop bucket (available on Amazon)would be a good alternative.

  68. Solar, solar, and more solar….I, too, am VERY interested in anything solar. Thanks so much for the great review – have added it to my Amazon wish list!!!

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