Best Portable Solar Gear

Best Portable Solar Gear If You Need To Bug Out

Paul Neidig

Solar powered gear is perfect for survival situations because it enables you to use the comforts provided by electricity without the need for a reliable power source like an outlet.

Chances are high that outlets and grids will be down anyway, if it’s a major SHTF event – and more importantly, you’ll probably be on the move out in the wilderness bugging out in that kind of situation.

There’s a wide variety of portable devices that can be used with solar power, whether they’re reliant on a separate solar charger or they have built in solar panels on the devices themselves.

Having access to electricity can be very comforting in a stressful time, but it can also provide you with a huge advantage in numerous ways. It can allow you to stay connected with important information, give you light to see where you’re going, and keep things like GPS devices powered to let you more easily track your location.

Below, we’re going to go through some of the best portable solar gear and gadgets you want to carry with you in a bug out situation so that you can communicate, navigate, and see your way through a situation while also being more comfortable.

Solar Chargers Keep Your Best Portable Solar Gear Powered Up

Solar chargers, which you may also see referred to as solar power banks, are small, portable battery packs that can use solar panels to charge up internal batteries. Once charged, you can use this pack to charge any number of smaller electronics, usually any that can be powered from a USB outlet.

Most of the time, people use power banks like these to charge up their phones, which would be a valid use for it in a bug out situation if you were able to get cell service, so that you could communicate with friends and family.

One item it might be useful for is an electric lighter. The only problem with using an electric lighter out in the wild is that you won’t be able to keep charging it up, but you could do so with a solar power bank. Electric lighters are windproof and can make it very easy to start fires for the sake of warmth and cooking.

Any other small electronics, such as handheld GPS devices, smart watches, or anything using a USB end charger will be powered with ease by a solar charger. They’re small enough to fit into a large pocket, and will easily fit on top of any backpack, allowing you to charge your devices while on the move.

You should look for one that’s especially weather resistant and durable, since you’re going to be out in the elements for the bulk of your time in a bug-out situation. Even if you have shelter like a tent, it could still get dropped into some water while crossing a stream, so if you can get a waterproof charger, that would be ideal.

Another aspect of solar chargers to look for is the battery capacity. Measured in mAh, or milliamp hours, the battery capacity will determine how many things can be powered and how much they can be charged up. The higher the mAh, the more energy it can store, allowing you to charge more devices.

Some solar chargers even come with useful features like flashlights, and others can be expanded out to provide a larger surface area with which to charge up the power bank. A few even include the capability of using wireless charging, which would allow you to keep charging certain devices even if you lost the cable.

Solar Powered Radios Keep You in the Loop

In a major bug out emergency, you wouldn’t typically have access to any form of outside communication, so you wouldn’t know what’s going on with the emergency or what to do. Having a solar powered radio can be a great help and keep you in the know at all times.

Some bug out situations won’t stem from a major life changing event, but rather a major weather event like a blizzard or a hurricane. These can last awhile and force you to flee from the area, but they won’t last forever, and there may be vital information being transmitted via NOAA radio frequencies.

In a non-weather emergency, these frequencies might still be used by the government to keep listeners in the know and direct people towards safe locations. Without a reliable radio that can be powered without batteries, you couldn’t tune into these channels and get potentially vital information.

Many emergency radios are able to be powered in four different ways. Batteries and power cords are the first two common options, but they’ll be unavailable in a bug out situation most likely. The more guaranteed options are the hand crank and solar panels.

Both of these will allow you to power your solar radio anywhere, and the crank lets you use it even at night when you’re without any form of sunlight. Fortunately, these also often act as power banks, allowing you to store any excess charge from the solar panels or the hand crank to use later.

Most of these radios are able to tune into 3 different bands, including AM, FM, and NOAA channels. While this is generally sufficient, some even include the ability to tune into shortwave radio channels, which might allow you to pick up information from amateur radio operators.

Be sure to pick out a rugged radio with all of the features and capabilities that you might want. Even if you already have a flashlight and a power bank, these features can come in handy on the radio as well just to act as a backup, since things do inevitably get lost when you’re travelling long distances trying to survive.

These radios are very reasonably sized and will even fit into small daypacks with relative ease. By staying in the loop with government alerts, you’ll be able to find your way to safety more easily.

Solar Lanterns and Lights Allow You to See Your Path

In a bug out situation, you may find that it’s safer sometimes to travel at night. It might be too hot during the day to travel long distances, or there might be the threat of other people around you that might harass you or try to steal from you.

Either way, travelling at night with no lights is both dangerous and difficult. It can be hard to stick to established paths, and you might not notice hazards like wildlife and objects that can make you trip or twist your ankle.

Having light around your camp at night is also very important. You might need to do things like get a fire started or administer first aid, both of which are very difficult to do in the dark. It can also simply be comforting to have some light around you instead of being in complete darkness.

By using solar flashlights and solar lanterns, you can reliably keep your area well-lit and follow paths with ease at night. Both serve slightly different purposes, but they are interchangeable if you prefer one over the other.

Flashlights are more directed, making them better for walking a path, so you can see what’s ahead and where you’re walking. Lanterns, on the other hand, are better at lighting in an area around it, so they easily light up a campsite or inside a tent.

Solar lights are important because there’s no guarantee that you will have enough batteries to last you with a traditional flashlight or lantern. Even if you did have enough, the batteries can add a lot of extra weight for your travels.

One thing you should look for – especially in flashlights- is different light features. Ideally, you’d have one that can shine at two different brightness levels and also use some kind of strobe light that can be used to signal for help. The different brightness levels help conserve power by using dim light to walk normally, and bright light occasionally to see farther ahead.

For lanterns, you should try to find one that can be collapsed to save room in your pack. The less overall space you have taken up in your bug out bag, the better, because you can fit more supplies. You’ll also want your lantern to have some way that it can be hung up, so that it can evenly illuminate your campsite.

If you can find a flashlight or lantern that’s waterproof as well, that would be even better. There’s no doubt that you’ll run into things like heavy rain, and you might have to cross a small creek here and there.

Solar Fans Help Keep You Comfortable in Warm Weather Conditions

One of the most difficult things to deal with in a bug out situation is the weather. Most people are generally used to being inside for the majority of their days, where they have things like AC or heat running constantly. In the outdoors, though, you’re purely subject to the weather when it comes to the temperature.

Both high heat and extreme cold can both be very difficult to deal with. The cold can, with the right clothes and supplies, be easy enough to handle, because you can keep layering up and start a fire to keep warm. Most tents are insulated as well, so you’ll keep a lot of your body heat in at night.

The high heat, on the other hand, is a hard one to deal with. You want to keep some light but long sleeved clothes on to keep the sun off of you, but beyond that, you have very few options for keeping cool. In this case, a solar powered fan can help keep you comfortable and cool, especially in a tent.

The comfort provided by staying cool is more important than you might think. Comfort is an often overlooked aspect of survival as a whole because it’s not technically essential, but when you’re comfortable, you’re less likely to act irrationally or do something foolish, which can help you avoid some serious mistakes.

Apart from just keeping you comfortable, it’s important to keep your body temperature down in the heat so that you don’t sweat as much. Constantly sweating will slowly dehydrate you, meaning that you’ll have to drink a lot more water to stay healthy. By keeping cool, you’ll be more comfortable and you’ll conserve more water.

Another great use of a fan in a survival situation is to get a fire burning hot. While too much airflow on a small ember can put it out, a constant flow of air can help get a fire roaring once it’s started, making it easier to cook and keep yourself warm if needed.

Many solar powered fans are small and foldable, so that you don’t have to sacrifice a lot of space in your pack for them. There are larger options as well that provide a more powerful breeze if you have weight and space to spare in your pack.

Some even double as power banks, allowing you to charge smaller devices like your phone through them while you cool off. You should also try to get one with a variable speed, because if you don’t need the maximum fan speed, you’ll save power by using a slower one.

If you have more of a semi-permanent campsite to bug out to, you can use some of the solar fan kits that are available. These have a separate solar panel and a few attached fans that are extended by cords that you can set up in your tent while the solar panel works outside.

While they’re often intended for things like chicken coops, if you don’t plan on moving camp very much, they could come in handy by keeping fresh air circulating in your tent at all times, making it much more comfortable to stay in.

Solar Backpacks Provide Power on the Go

While you’re travelling from place to place, which might be a majority of your time in a bug out situation, you wouldn’t really be able to easily charge your devices with build in solar panels, as they have to be out facing the sun. They can all be charged fairly easily in the sun at camp, but not while you’re hiking on foot.

By using a solar backpack as your bug out bag, you can still easily charge your devices while you’re on the move. Many solar backpacks come with multiple plugs inside that you can connect to multiple devices at the same time, and charge them all while you’re walking.

Solar backpacks are particularly effective because they’ll almost always be catching some sunlight while you’re walking, and they have a much larger surface area, meaning that they’ll be able to generate more electricity.

These backpacks come in a wide variety of sizes to fit your needs. Some are smaller daypacks if you just plan on taking a handful of essentials, while others are large hiking packs with plenty of storage space for all kinds of items.

For those concerned about their water supply, some solar backpacks even have built in water bladders, with a straw that you can use while on the move. This is a great way to store a large amount of drinking water, and convenient to use as well.

Some backpacks allow you to detach the solar panel, which can be useful under certain circumstances. For example, if you wanted to sit inside your tent and bring your pack with you, you could detach the solar panel and run the cables inside through the tent, allowing the solar panel to continue working while you get out of the sun.

You should definitely try to get a waterproof or water resistant bag if you can. Many of the essential supplies you’re going to want to bring with you can be damaged if they get wet, especially things like medical supplies and matches for starting fires.

When searching for the right solar backpack you should pay attention to the watts. The wattage is the amount of power produced by the solar panel on the back, so the higher the wattage is, the more power it will be able to output, allowing you to charge your devices more efficiently.

While a high-watt backpack isn’t a necessity, it can be useful if you have a wide range of gear that all needs to be quickly charged up. The amount of watts is also highly dependent on the size of the solar panel, so larger backpacks will be able to put out more power.

Having solar powered gadgets in a bug out situation not only elevates your ability to get through the crisis at hand, but it makes it less stressful because you’re bringing the comforts of home like light, communication and cooling into the great outdoors.

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