Review: Archeer Portable Folding Solar Charger

Who can resist taking advantage of free energy and power provided by the sun?  I know that I can’t and for that reason I opt-in to try out as many solar products as I can.  Free energy that is renewable every twenty-four hours is difficult to ignore!

Over the years I have tested a number of portable solar panels.  I recall the first one.  It was heavy and cumbersome and the stupid mix and match of cables was a nightmare.  These days, portable chargers rely on USB ports and standard USB cables you already own and not an oddball mish mash of proprietary cables.  Thank goodness.

With that introduction, I would like to introduce the newest solar charger in my collection, the Archeer 21W Foldable Solar Panel.  And,of course, I have one available to give away to a lucky Backdoor Survival reader.  More about that in a moment.

Archeer Portable Folding Solar Charger | Backdoor Survival

The unit itself is very lightweight and compact,  This belies how sturdy it is.  The outer covering appears to be quite durable as well as water resistant. It is a three-panel system and for those of you that don’t know about these things, the more panels you have, the faster the charge.  Three is good, and In this case, the three panels deliver up to 21 watts of power to the USB ports.

Something else that is good is both USB ports are equally rated at 2.4A which eliminates having to remember which port is “high” (typically for Apple devices), and which is not.

Inside, there is a pouch, and inside the pouch is the controller with two USB ports.  For my testing, I used both ports, one for my iPhone and the other for my Goal Zero battery charger.  I chose these two devices because by now, everyone knows that portable solar panels are great for charging phones and tablets.  The reality, however, is that life does not begin and end with gizmos.  Having some way to charge your AA and AAA rechargeable batteries is more than handy,it is essential.

Archeer Portable Folding Solar Charger | Backdoor Survival

As with all solar chargers, you get the fastest and most reliable charge in direct sun.  The problem this poses is that phones and tables will literally fry in the direct sun and in my experience, will power themselves down as a protection mechanism if the sun gets too intense.  Please do keep this in mind with any solar charger you may be using to power up yur devices.

One other thing I like about the Archeer Solar Charger is that it has an easily used pouch for tucking your devices out of the sun for the duration of the charging process.  The same pouch can be used for storing extra charging cables when the unit is not in use.

Finally, I want to mention there are four braided loops you can use for using carabiners to hang the charger from your pack while hiking.  This makes it easy to keep your devices charged while outdoors.

How Did It Perform?

I did not have the time to closely monitor the charging process other than to note the time I started which as 10:25AM.  Here in Arizona, the sun was quite bright and the phone was at 18% and the batteries were deader than dead.

Archeer Portable Folding Solar Charger | Backdoor Survival

Totally dead battery!

Note:  These were 10 year old rechargeable batteries and old technology, nothing like the Eneloop’s I prefer.

At 1:30, as I write this, the phone is 80% charged and the batteries are fully charged.

One thing I was unable to figure out was the red light on the USB controller.  It came on indoors under normal lighting conditions and stayed on while outside, even in partial sun.  It went off in the shade.  Although I did not test it, this leads be to believe that the unit may work, albeit very slowly, from a bright indoor location.

As far as technical specs, in my usual manner, I will send you to the product page here for details.  Specs notwithstanding, what I care about most is that it works  It is a portable solar charger and it does what it is supposed to do easily and intuitively.

The Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in 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 MST 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 those with a mailing address in the United States.

The Final Word

As we head into November, I have lined up a number of reviews and giveaways so you can win some great survival gear for free between now and the end of the year.  That being said, truth be told, I hate doing reviews.  A good thirty percent of the time, the items are not worth sharing plus, the process gets costly for me personally.  Still, when I do share a review you have my word that the product is something I will use myself.

Subscribers, take note.  You will be getting some exclusive giveaways of your own via email as a thank you for your loyalty and trust.  Not a subscriber?  No worries, you can join the fun by subscribing now.

Getting back to business, I do hope you enter the giveaway so you have a chance to win the Archeer Foldable Solar Panel.  Like I said, it simply works.

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


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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article as well as other personal favorites.

Archeer 21W Foldable Solar Panel:  This portable solar charger does a fine job of charging up phones, tablets, cameras, batteries (using a USB charger) and more.  Lightweight, compact, and very sturdy.  The Archeer does what it is supposed to do and does it well.

Amprobe BAT-250 Battery Tester:  I do not know anyone that is sorry they purchased or gifted an inexpensive battery tester.  Mine sits in my desk drawer and is used 3 or 4 times a week.  This newer version is an upgrade from the BAT-200 and well worth the additional dollar in cost.  I  especially like the redesigned side cradle that holds batteries securely in place during testing – no more erratic battery readings from movement off contacts.

Panasonic eneloop AA New 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries:  These days, I try to use eneloops as much as possible.  They hold a charge forever – or so it seems – and work well in flashlights and small electronics.   Note:  I also use the Amazon Basics brand and will purchase those if the price is less.  I have done a lot of reading and to the best of my knowledge, they are an eneloop twin, branded by Amazon. 

SunJack USB Battery Charger for AA/AAA Ni-Mh and Ni-Cd Batteries:  Keep your AA or AAA battery powered devices fully charged anywhere. The SunJack USB battery charger charges your AA/AAA Ni-Mh/Ni-Cd batteries from any stable 5V USB port or power bank.  It will charge fully drained batteries in about 5 hours.

Note:  I own the Goal Zero charger but I think it is a bit pricey.  I bought it years ago and it is a study little thing.  As an alternative, I suggest the SunJack Charger.  I just ordered one so I can do a head to head comparison.

Carabiners: If you have never used these or don’t know what they are, check these out.  They are extremely handy for all sorts of things, most notably for handing things from your pack.

Sunferno Flintstone Portable Solar Panel with Rechargeable Battery Pack:  This sturdy solar power pack is lightweight and small enough to be used in an EDC kit.  I especially like that it has 2 USB ports. 

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 that comes in very handy when power is out.

iRonsnow Dynamo Emergency Solar Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, LED Flashlight, Smart Phone Charger & Power Bank: This $20 unit has it all in one portable package.  It can be also be powered using 3 AAA batteries.  This is a great value.

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Learn about the Archeer Portable Folding Solar Charger and how it can be used to charge phones, tablets, and other electronic devices.

  1. We tested our off grid generator before a probable hurricane and found it did not work!! Hurricane threat passed and hubby made sure the generator would work – thank goodness we didn’t need it. Otherwise we have tested the 3 cooking sources we have and they all work well. We also decided to put ALL the off grid stuff in one place in the house and larger stuff one place in the garage. How convenient if we ever need it all.

    1. We haven’t intentionally gone off the grid, but have had some power outages that accomplished that for us…thing is, we add to our emergency supplies, lighting etc all the time, so haven’t had a complete set of anything to really give them an A-1 test, but we survived LOL…guess thats what counts heh?

  2. As someone who “retreats” into the woods from time to time. I’d like to check this out…it’s a lot more convenient than trying to remember to charge before leaving home and hope things don’t get depleted! Never thought of trying a solar device…and especially like the protective pouch feature!

  3. I tried once but because I am on oxygen 24/7 I found that to be impossible without a generator. I’ve been trying to save enough for a solar generator that would run my oxygen concentrator, but on a fixed income that’s difficult. But I’ll get there eventually. Thank you for the opportunity to win this great solar charger. Good luck everyone.

  4. I have a similar unit (SunKingdom //tinyurl.com/z7643ba) that was made many years before, it has twice the number of panels yet it puts out only 28 watts. It’s also fairly heavy. Solar Panel technology advances almost as fast as cell phones do. This would be a huge improvement over what I have.

  5. Hey, Gaye. Do you compete in your love of ballroom dancing and which ballroom dance is your favorite? Keep up the good work.

  6. I have tried some of the things I’ve acquired if I have any doubt of will it work or question on how make use of it. I have read many of the books you have recommended. Your site continues to be a wealth of information. Thanks again for what you do.

  7. While I have not lived totally off the grid, I do test various preps while camping. And always any new device or technology I have acquired since last camping trip. No fun in having a handy-dandy new gadget and no clue how to operate it in an emergency.

  8. Great review of the solar charger. We all need to check out our equipment before SHTF and we need to be familiar with how it all works. During an emergency is not the time to check things out.

  9. I have a friend who practices off-grid preps with “Pioneer Weekends”. He turns off the main breakers to the house, and let’s his family of 7 survive as best they can. While I haven’t gone that extreme yet, I do a fair amount of off-grid camping – no power, no restroom, no water faucets. It has prompted me to change some items out for alternatives, but it also gives me a great, low-pressure way to use things often enough that I’m familiar with them. Practice makes perfect!

  10. We have done some camping, up to 4 or 5 days at a time, but I have never tested my preps by going completely off grid. That’s probably something we should do….but I’d have to convince my family.

  11. We have an off-grid cabin, and it is a LOT of work, folks. Constant monitoring, tweaking, maintenance, repair, rotating fuel, chopping & stacking wood, etc. You can’t just flip a switch! For now, it is a fun getaway, but I can’t imagine what would happen if people had to live without electricity…

  12. I have been looking for something like that to charge my phone and other things at my off-the-grid Farm, Hope it comes in the mail someday! Cheers! Robert

  13. I have a Goal Zero Nomad 20 solar panel, it will be really interesting to see how this one compares. The more “universal” power cables thing is a HUGE plus in my view.

  14. Love it! Thank you again for all of your hard work in making our lives better. We have not gone completely off grid for a test but I would like to start to plan to do this. Reading all of your amazing information has helped so much.

  15. to answer the question- no I have not. I am hoping to have a big change this summer and hopefully I will be able to do more of the things that interest me.

  16. I haven’t tried full off-grid, only some alternative cooking and lighting methods. I need to try out my little portable non-electric washer.

  17. I don’t know if this counts, but I have been running my ham radio gear from solar since I set up, over a year ago. A two meter mobile (12 volt) transceiver and a 100 watt hf ( shortwave) transceiver. I also have a solar flashlight that stays in a window, where it stays charged and where I can easily find it!

  18. We go off grid twice per year for a 3 day weekend at home. I take the grandsons camping several times a year with tents and go off grid to teach them things. Thanks for all the information you share and the giveaways you share. Enjoy so much!

  19. I light weight panel is good to have if you are hiking. Keep it in the sun all day attached to the pack and it will charge while you are moving.

  20. I have not intentionally gone off grid to test my preps, but because we live in some rural mountains, I often get to test my lighting, cooking, and entertainment options without power! Two winters ago we got to test how well we would survive without heat. Not fun. We now have a new furnace (but I also bought a cheap woodstove to go in the fireplace). I would urge everyone to go without something (for me the bugbear is water) just to see if your thoughts will translate to reality.

  21. Several solar items are on my wishlist on Amazon. All reviewed by you, Gaye. I’ve had plenty of power down times to ‘play’ and become familiar with everything I’ve found or purchased. Having lived up to 3 years without power & running water in the past, no, it isn’t fun. This is much needed for my Kindle.

  22. I have found camping in a local that doesn’t provide any electricity or water. Finding a water source is a must, using all the gear is a testament in patience. You will probably want to do this several times before you’re comfortable with your equipment and skills. Keeping pack weight down is key to survival.

  23. No, I have not done a full on test. Sort of like “role playing” in school – I find it hard to take “pretend” situations seriously.

  24. Every so many years we lose electricity due to hurricanes. The outages can last up to a couple of weeks in our area, longer for some of those in more out-lying areas. After the power companies get minimum services back online, they generally move to what are known as *rolling* power, where what power is available is moved around to the different areas and shared so that as many as possible can have a certain number of hours of power. What I have found is that I personally need more light sources strong enough to read by (I’m a big reader).

    And, as I suspect many other Gulf states’ people affected by these type of outages can attest to, the most amazing thing I’ve discovered is how the people pull together to help one another at these times of adversity. A big shout-out to all the states and people who periodically battle difficult weather conditions…and to all the people who help get crucial services up and running again! 🙂

    1. I’ve lived off the Gulf coast all my life. Been through many hurricanes and yes, most people pull together to help each other. Oh, and the lights, there never seems to be enough strong lights to read by. I need more too.

  25. I’ve not gone off grid and tested my preps but I agree this is a must. Only a couple of weeks ago I was out of town staying with a family member and I scraped my shine pretty bad. The wound was about 2″ long 1 1/2″ wide. Of course I grabbed the first aid kit that is always in the car. I quickly found out that I didn’t have the extra large bandaids. As soon as I could I picked up 6 boxes and have them in all the kits a plus extra.

    If you’ve purchased gear of all sorts of types and styles, tents, camping stoves, lanterns, first aid supplies, solar ovens, what ever. Testing, using, reading, understanding the instructions and safety notes needs to be done when times are good. Plus you can include your group of supporting neighbors, helpful hints are shared, the group practices together and everyone is trained. If we get the gear out when it’s all fallen down around our ears and some one is severely injured because a safety precaution wasn’t followed then what.

    It’s best to practice now, and if injury occurs advanced medical care is close by.

  26. Some were great ideas. Some of the ones I expected to work just fine were a total flop. And a couple I had no faith in surprised me.

  27. Without a doubt solar energy is the way to go providing mother nature allows sunshine. Living closer to nature is important because those that are not used to being without their electronic toys and fast foods will be in for a shock – and they will deserve it.

  28. After a hurricane I’ve gone without power as long as 3weeks. We have a gas powered generator, but in a disaster situation gas is very hard to come by. I learned that I really need a solar powered generator, or a system of solar panels that store the excess in marine batteries, and I’m currently working on that!!!

  29. Lost power and heat during hurricane Sandy for a couple days, but haven’t tested the new (hopefully) improved preps yet. Think it needs to go to the top of the to do list.

  30. I’ve done some camping with reliance only on what I had in my pack with mixed results. It at least showed me where I have some deficiencies which I have worked to rectify. Still more to do.

  31. Other than using equipment on camping trips and trying other equipment out in the backyard and on the gun range, I’ve never gone off grid. Nevertheless, I’ve learned how important it is to stay in practice with my equipment.

  32. In these uncertain times, and given our reliance on electronic gear, it only makes sense to incorporate solar power into your survival plan. The reviews gear is a great start!

  33. During a power outage this past spring I cranked up my two portable solar generators (Goal Zero Yeti 1250 and Humless 1500 Watt) and had extension cords running everywhere. Now I will invest extension cord splitters for added convenience.

  34. Yes- but only when the power is knocked out from a storm, or when I “forced” my daughter to practice outdoor cooking and fire building for home school.

  35. I learned everything takes longer to do and it is exhausting work without any helpful electrical appliances, especially without AC in the summer. .

  36. I would love to have one of these solar panels. My son and I were just talking about some similar and how neat it would be to have something like that for backup. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  37. Only tested a few items while out in the woods – no off-grid living just yet. Do you know how this one compares to the Goal Zero backpack mountable charger?

  38. I was “off grid” for 4 days when our power went out several years ago. That was before I started prepping. I learned some things needed then. Thankfully I had a wood stove and cast iron skillets and all metal pots to cook in. They were life savers since this was the middle of winter!

  39. When we have power outages…….especially during the Winter……..I get to test out my alternate light, heat, food, and water sources. Thank goodness the outages never last long. It has taught me to always have multiples of flashlights, blankets, etc. and to know where they are when I need them.

  40. I’ve been looking for a solar charger for my phone and iPad for when we dry camp. This one looks simple enough even for me and a good size to fit my needs.
    Thank you for hosting this give away.

  41. I do have one of these except by a different vendor.

    I’ve had it for several years now and I must say that it does work as advertised.

    Really great when you are out in the wild.

  42. The only off grid prep is our frequent camping trips. We could use more off grid practice while staying at home.

  43. I’ve been camping for years. It’s only just recently that I’ve started using solar chargers, etc. as part of that. I’ve learned that a solar charger definitely does much better in direct sunlight!

  44. I have not tested my preps except for when losing electricity for almost a day. I was home and had enough water, food prepared, light (since it was dark) and didn’t panic. Every time we have a major earthquake in the world, I prepare a little more since the big one is coming here in California, but yes, need to test my preps at some point.

  45. Been wanting to jump in and get a good solar charger, but they keep getting BETTER (more capacity & speed & ports), and lighter, and cheaper. It’s hard to know when to just do it! Great problem to have, right? 🙂 Thanks for all you do for us, Gaye! Hope you’re enjoying our beautiful AZ weather now!

  46. when the lights go out solar is the way to go. storing gasoline for a generator is very dangerous and the fumes are deadly if not vented properly. However I test our lights out no electricity resources several time a year.

  47. Can you tell us of the 2 solar chargers you have done now which one would you recommend, I didn’t win that last one but bought it and have not had the chance to use it yet. Did enter for this latest and hope for my name to be drawn”
    Being in the NW Were we don’t get a whole lot of sun I didn’t get time to use the charger yet as I was not able to have the time to keep an eye on it.
    Thanks for the contests you offer and the time you put in to do your reviews.they are very helpful.

    1. There is not a lot of difference between the two. Those I have that are 3 or 4 years old, however, are larger, heavier, and not as efficient when charging two devices at once.

  48. We’ve never gone completely off grid just to test our preps, but we were without power for 5 days following an early spring ice storm. We figured out how to run an extension cord from a small gas generator into our house to keep stuff going. We plugged our freezer in for a few hours each day, then the fridge and we have our furnace set up so we can easily unplug the power cord for that and plug it into the cord as well. As long as we kept alternating the larger stuff one at a time on the generator it worked fine and we had enough power were we could keep one central lamp on in the house. So we weren’t technically off grid, we just had to get creative on how to keep a small part of it going for us. But it does make you very aware of how many thing we have and use everyday that take electricity.

  49. I have an earlier 12 W All Powers (TM) 4 panel solar charger which is pretty good and has the capability to keep my truck battery topped of when the weather is bad. But 21 watts is a pretty strong charger and with only 3 panels. Sign me up.

  50. Never have done a test off-grid, but have had a few storms that knocked us off utility power and the standby generator has worked like a champ. And since natural gas flow was never interrupted, it was almost like a normal day at home…just without cable TV or high speed Internet after a little bit, since Comcast is terrible about keeping their network running during an electrical outage. It’s why I have large HDs on my DVRs, so we can still have our normal entertainment during minor events.
    Sure, this isn’t a good test for a serious event that would also impact natural gas delivery or an EMP event that would kill unprotected electronics, but I’ve tested individual preps that don’t rely on natural gas or electricity so I think the wife and I are better prepared than most folks around us…the trick will be not advertising it after a serious event. Although I do have plans for that, including some decoy food (dented, expired food that’s probably not safe to eat…) as well as other things to mislead potential enemies.

  51. We have only tested small items like this on bike rides where we carry limited items and frequently are traveling on back roads.

  52. We had several power out situations in our old house so we were kinda forced to make do with cooking in the fireplace and using the “emergency” stuff we had (before I was prepping) That’s why we got a standby generator when we had to replace furnace in “new” house along with a dual battery back up sump in the basement Hubs was tired of mopping up the basement when sump went out. I hope to be able to convince him to put solar on the house This would be great to have him use it to power up his laptop, phone ETC.
    Thank you again Gaye.

  53. So many solar chargers are pricey and not as strong as this one plus it’s right in my price range-FREE!
    Thank you so much for this opportunity.

  54. Yes, we have tested some of our preps before when we lose power etc. We learned our preps were adequate for short term.
    Would like to go whole weekend where a lot more holes may show.

  55. I have no off-grid preps as of yet. I’m still new to the prepping lifestyle. this would be a great start for me. Gaye, thanks for taking the time to review.

  56. I never intentionally went off-grid, but we have had some power outtages where having my electronics fully charged was a plus. Thank you for the giveaway.

  57. Yes camping at home used to be fun when the kids were young but they have grown and the only way we test now is when we loose electricity in a storm, we are fairly well prepared for under 72 hrs. We must get better.

  58. I have never tested any preps, I’m still such a newbie! It is fall here in Iowa and I’ve heard this winter will be harsher than last year so I have an increased interest in preparing. Between elections tomorrow and winter I want to be prepared for about anything! 😉

  59. I will have to check my off grid preps, IDK if my old charger will work. It’s quite a few years old now. Didn’t fully charge when I needed It 6 yrs ago. Might be time to upgrade.

  60. We’ve never gone off-grid and tested the preps. Need to pull the main breaker to house one weekend and see how prepared we really are.

  61. I have not done any off-grid testing for electrical issues, but the rest of my preps are ok, still adding to them. I just got a tablet for my information files, and was pricing solar chargers this past weekend. This would be great to win!

  62. Yes we lost power for 40 hours do to a downed neighbors tree.
    Was greatful for solar flashlights and solar phone charger.
    Love all the information and free ebooks you share with us.
    Thank you ????

  63. Have done short camping trips, testing a variety of cooking methods, site sanitation, tent heater. Use a solar panel with the battery charger. Can get through a few days at home with the power out – that used to happen every winter, but now not so often.

  64. This would be amazing to win! Thank you for the opportunity. I’ve never tested off grid. My husband is just now getting on board with the idea of preparing for the tough days ahead. I hope I’ve done enough.

  65. I try out my new items when I get them but need to live a week on just preps to see how it will all work. My boyfriend says not to worry, between the two of us we will be fine.

    Thanks for all you reviews! I’m putting this on my wish list!

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