As more of our lives become digital, having a simple way to keep our devices charged poses a dilemma when out in the field, hiking, or during a power outage. Luckily, there are many solar options available and with each passing year, they get lighter in weight and lower in cost. Plus, as technology advances, the panels are producing more sun-juice then the portable systems that were available a mere three years ago.
Why should preppers care about charging our digital gizmos? After all, if the grid is down, cell service will be INOP as well. The simple answer for me, at least, is that my devices are a virtual library of knowledge, crammed with eBooks, PDFs, photos, and a bit of entertainment to keep me occupied during dire times.
With that preamble, I am please to introduce you to the Choetech 19W Solar Panel system.
What I Like About the Choetech Portable Solar Panel
From the 10,000 foot level, the Choetech does exactly what it says it will do. Unfold the unit, expose the 3 panels to the sun, then plug up to two devices into the integrate USB ports. Whether you plug in a smart phone, eBook reader, tablet, or external battery pack, using the built in smart technology, the device will immediately begin to charge. No fiddling with cables, no figuring out which of the two USB slots to use (they are both the same), and no technical ability required.
Coming down to the one foot level, the best part of all of this? I have one to giveaway to a lucky Backdoor Survival reader! More about that in a moment.
Choetech Smart 19W Solar Panel: The Basics
In my usual style, I am not going to give you a 2 page laundry list of specifications. Instead, I will walk you through the key features.
First of all, it is truly light weight. I weighed it myself and it came in at 15 ounces, less than a pound. This is important because if you want to include it in your Bug-Out or Get-Home Bag, every ounce counts. (Remember that I like my pack to weigh no more than 20 pounds – a challenge at times.)
Size wise it is also compact, measuring 10.25″ by 6″ when folded up, pouch-like.
The two USB ports put out the same amount of power. What this means is that both are rated the same so a tablet, for example, can be plugged into either port. There is no guessing involved.
When the solar panels are facing an adequate amount of light, a red light in the charge controller with illuminate, letting you know that everything is working the way it is supposed to. Of course I confirmed this myself. If you have Apple devices, and especially an older iPad2 like mine, you know how persnickety they can be when charging. Even with the supplied adapter and cable from Apple, sometimes they refuse to charge.
Over a period of days, I used the Choetech to charge my iPad and it worked 100% of the time. I wish I had kept better notes on the charging time but the one time I did keep track, my iPad went from 15% to 100% in about 3 hours.
The Choetech comes with a single mini-USB charging cable. That worked fine but only fit my Kindle. I used my own cables for the iPad, iPhone, and EasyAcc power brick (which can be charged superfast using 2 cables so having two fast USB ports was a bonus).
The cables, as well as smaller devices that are being charged, fit into a zippered mesh pouch on the rear of the panels, keeping things nice and tidy.
I hope you are excited about this one because I am excited for you.
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.
Note: Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States.
The Final Word
As the technology advances, portable solar panels become more reliable and less expensive. In addition, the all important form factor improves. On all accounts, the Choetech 19W Solar Panel ranks right up there as one of my favorites.
Getting some assistance from Tucker the Awesome Wonder Dog and his Kitty!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!
Below you will find the items related to today’s article plus a few other personal favorites.
Choetech 19W Solar Panel: This lightweight and compact solar panel works great. The two integrated USB ports are both rated equally so you do not have to fiddle around to see which one will work with your device.
EasyAcc Monster 20000mAh Power Bank: This is a robust power bank that can be charged from your laptop, a wall charger, or a solar charger. This one is beefy, with 4 USB ports that can be used at once. It also appears to hold its charge for a long time. I charged mine up then set it aside for a couple of months, When I pulled it out of its box, it was still fully charged. A nice unit if you are interested in this sort of thing.
Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: This nicely built charger will charge charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box.
Yes it really works, even under solar power. Read about in this article: How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.
Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath: Think you don’t need to worry about a long-term grid down situations. This hallmark book, by award winning journalist Ted Koppel, will hopefully educate the sheeple and motivate them to embrace the message of preparedness. For the rest of us, there is much to learn about the state of preparedness, or lack thereof, at the highest levels of our government. Read more: Prepper Book Festival 10: Lights Out by Ted Koppel.
100 BIC-style Lighters Disposable Classic Lighter: In addition to power, you are going to need fire. Running about 16 cents each and free shipping, these are great to have on hand for both survival and barter use.
10 Pack Mini LED Flashlights: What a great deal on 10 mini flashlights on a key ring – button batteries included. I happen to like a more sturdy ring so I remove the one that comes with and use a small bit of tie-wrap (zip tie) instead. The included battery seemingly lasts forever and at this price, you can stash them in the car, purse, pocket, tool box and by the circuit breaker box, and still have some left over for other uses.
Shipping is free.