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Monday, October 1, 2012

Gear Review: Brunton Explorer Flexible Solar Panel

Today I am going to review the Brunton Explorer Flexible Solar Panel.  I bought this item off Ebay during one of the daily deals however you can still buy it for $30 Shipped (HERE).

Manufacturer: Brunton
Weight: 14.8oz

The Brunton Explorer is a small portable solar array that has 4 separate solar panels that fold into a conveniently small form factor.  When the array is folded it uses Velcro straps to keep it closed.  It has has carabiner hooks so that you could hang it off of your backpack or use a line.  The website claims that it will output 5V and 800mA to your USB device.

While I have yet to actually use the solar charger while backpacking I did set it up outside in my backyard to see if it worked.  I laid the solar panes out in the sun and connected my phone via the built in USB plug.  It started to charge immediately and with the diagnostic app on my phone I saw that is was indeed charging at 5V however the mA's were in the 300s.  I attribute this to the fact that it was late in the day and the sun was low in the sky.

  1. Small form factor and relative light weight (under 1lb)
  2. USB connection
  3. Velcro to keep the solar array protected.
  1. No Apple support (this is apples fault, not Brunton)
  2. the USB connector on the  array nests against the panel so it has the potential to break the solar panel.
  3. No battery backpack

Overall Thoughts:

While I have not actually used this in the field I have confidence that it will charge my phone, camera, and other USB connected devices.  I can also buy a USB battery charger and have a way to recharge batteries for headlamps and flashlights should the need arise.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative post. Keep up the good work. I would really look forward to your other posts.installers