Generally considered to be delicate technology, solar devices are nevertheless needed in the most unpredictable conditions. Waterproof and dustproof certifications are a must-have for basic accident-proof protection and usability in rough conditions on the trail. Weather “resistant” should never be confused with “waterproof.” Durable coating is a positive, but waterproof and durable construction is better.
Designed for use in disaster relief, the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger is made to withstand unpredictable conditions. Rated IP67 waterproof and dustproof, it’s also certified for durability. LuminAID products are tested in the field and used frequently by humanitarian responders and communities where they’re a main source of light or phone power. In short, the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger is designed to last and last when it’s needed most.
A large portion of solar phone chargers on the market can recharge your phone--but only in direct sun. When a cloud passes over, or when you need a quick boost after night falls, the solar panels might as well be shiny paper. Battery packs on the other handstore energy and ensure uninterrupted charging, creating a more versatile solar device for charging whenever it’s needed--even if the sun’s out of sight.
The PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger’s integrated battery cuts out the cost of an external battery, lightens your gear load, and makes it easier to use. Plus, the USB input charger allows you to charge the integrated battery from a car or wall charger, giving your gear an energy boost before you head out on your adventure.
Size and portability are among a gear junky’s biggest worries. Ideally, your solar charger will not only be compact but will also be fully integrated--no extra battery packs or cords. Design, and by extension efficiency, are what differentiate bulky chargers from practical ones. Make sure the solar phone charger packs flat for easy portability, and that it won’t weigh down your pack. Solar phone chargers on the market tend to weigh between 10 to 30 oz (280 to 850 g), including integrated or external batteries.
Weighing in at 8.5 oz, the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger ranks among the lightest of its counterparts. It’s about the size and shape of a paperback (6 in2, or 15.2 cm2), so can be easily slipped into your bag at the last moment. Smaller than other phone chargers, the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger’s high efficiency solar panels and integrated battery nevertheless provide comparable energy output in a more portable size. The expandable design of the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger also guarantees full lantern capacity without increasing device volume.
It’s not all about the sticker price here. Let’s look a little closer. Besides the price of the charger, it’s important to incorporate the following characteristics: durability, charging capacity, and whether the battery is incorporated. We can’t highlight this last one enough. If the battery isn’t incorporated, you’re looking at a hefty purchase and a bulky charger. Most solar phone chargers (with battery) run between $50 and $140 USD.
At $39.99, the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger is one of the most affordable high performing solar chargers on the market. In contrast with other solar phone chargers on the market, it has an incorporated battery and an expandable solar lantern. Let’s just say it lightens your load without lightening your wallet.
The sun is all well and good for clean energy on the go, but does it have enough power to charge your devices? The answer of course depends on the kind of solar charger you're packing. Things to look for: 1) How much phone charge you can get out of a full solar battery; and 2) How much battery weight relative to its efficiency. With this equation, you'll find the perfect balance of charging efficiency and portability.
A single charge from the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger will charge a smart phone 75%-100% in one go. A standard camera battery can be charged one to two times over from a single charge from the solar charger. And at only 8.5 oz, this efficiency won't cost you any extra weight. When you're on the go, there's no need to wait around for a full charge: with the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger you've got it all in hand.
Ease of Use
Ask yourself, “How much of a hassle will it be every time I want to start charging my phone?” Is there unfolding, unpacking, a whole struggle of finding the perfect rock to prop up the panels? If so, it may not be the solar phone charger for you. Ideally, the solar charger will be easy to hook to a backpack, or sit in one hand. It should be able to recharge its battery even when your phone isn’t connected (another important reminder about integrated batteries!). That way, you can take advantage of a sunny day, and recharge your phone later that night when it’s actually running low on battery.
The built-in adjustable strap on the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger allows for easy on-the-go charging. Snap it onto your bag as you hike, or lay it flat while you take a break for lunch. With both the adjustable strap and a stand-alone expandable design, you can use the device’s lantern function to easily diffuse light wherever it’s needed.
This is a bit of a bonus, but there’s only a handful of solar phone chargers on the market that incorporate a solar-powered lantern as well. These handy lights are great for campers and festival-goers alike. After all, if you don’t have an outlet to charge your phone, no need to use precious phone battery for its ‘flashlight’ function. In terms of lantern brightness, the thing to look for is lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter and farther the lantern can shine. The device should also have an easy way to set up the lantern to light up a tent or campsite.
Good gear hinges on utility and portability: how can I get the most out of the least weight? This philosophy informs the design of the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger, which maximizes the utility of the solar parts by putting it to use for device charging and lighting--the two biggest demands for portable energy. The expandable design allows for compact carrying, while incorporating a full-use ambient lantern. What’s more, the PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger does this in under 9 oz, eliminating the need for multiple devices and additional weight.
Solar phone chargers are an investment in communicating more easily, and sharing moments no matter where you are. It’s therefore important to ensure that the solar phone charger has a solid warranty. This includes the length of warranty, as well as what it covers. It goes without saying that full warranties are always more dependable than “limited warranties”.
With a 1-year full warranty, LuminAID is ready to stand behind all of our solar products. We proud ourselves in an insistence on quality and working closely with our users. Feedback has been an important part of our continuing innovation. At the core, we create LuminAID products to share our delight in the possibilities stored in the power of the sun. We want all of our customers to share this delight and work hard to ensure full satisfaction in our products.
Rajany Matthew, a peace corps volunteer in Madagascar, distributes LuminAID lights to silk weavers as part of our Give Light, Get Light campaign.