Solar PowerWith summer now upon us, we have this wonderful opportunity to bask in the sun’s rays and enjoy this glorious weather. Maybe you’re the kind of person who loves heading to the beach to build sandcastles. Maybe you’re more likely to go camping in the woods or fishing at the lake. Whatever the case, the sun is this great source of energy and you can totally tap into it for your advantage.

It doesn’t have to be the zombie apocalypse for you to consider some survival tactics. In fact, there are a range of lifestyle-geared portable solar gadgets that will make your outdoor adventures that much more enjoyable. You might still need an extra battery pack here and there, but capturing the sun’s energy will surely come in handy when there is no wall outlet nearby.

Solio Bolt Battery Pack and Solar Charger

Sundial Rotating Solar Panels with Solio Bolt

Sundial Rotating Solar Panels with Solio Bolt

So, you’re out on a great summer picnic with the family and you want to get that group photo when you realize that the battery on your smartphone has run dry. What can you do? The Bolt from Solio is a combination battery pack and solar charger. There are two swing-out solar panels on this device, plus a standard USB output. What this means is that just about anything that can be charged via USB can take some power from the Bolt. What’s more, it has an internal 2000mAh lithium-polymer battery (user replaceable) that you can charge ahead of time, in case you don’t have too much sun where you are. The Solio Bolt sells for $70 online.

Devotec Solar Sound 2

Solar-Powered Bluetooth Speakers

Solar-Powered Bluetooth Speakers

Are you hosting a BBQ in your backyard? Maybe you’re going to a pool party? Whatever the case, most of us would agree that music is an absolute must for any of these outdoor exploits. As far as solar gadgets go, the Devotec Solar Sound 2 is one of the coolest. This is because it’s a wireless Bluetooth speaker that also happens to integrate its own solar panel on top. What this means is that, assuming you’re getting enough sun, the wireless tunes will never run out. The Devotec Solar Sound 2 retails for about $100.

EnerPlex Kickr IV Portable Solar Charger

Four Fold-Out Solar Panels

Four Fold-Out Solar Panels

Part of the trouble with most solar chargers on the market today is that they have relatively small solar panels. Given that solar charging isn’t quite as efficient just yet, it means that these smaller chargers can only provide a limited amount of juice. If you need more powerful portable solar gadgets, then you might want to take a look at the Kickr IV. It has four solar panels that fold out, fully charging an iPhone 5 in as little as 1.4 hours. The universal USB connection makes this very versatile too. It sells for $129.99 and offers a 1.0A output.

Eclipse Solar Backpack

Backpack with Integrated Solar Charger

Backpack with Integrated Solar Charger

Maybe you’re not a fan of separate portable solar gadgets, because you want your stuff to be a little more unified. Maybe you’re going camping or hiking and you want to keep things as tidy as possible. The Eclipse Solar Backpack, shown here in universal camo, could be the ticket. Proudly made in the USA, it’s a top quality bag with an integrated thin-film solar module. This gives you up to four watts of power to charge your handheld electronics while you’re out and about. It even has a 12V charging outlet for more versatility. The Eclipse Solar Backpack lists for $179.99.

Brunton Solar Roll

Rollable Solar Panels

Rollable Solar Panels

Part of the struggle with other solar gadgets is that they can take up a fair bit of space, particularly if you have larger solar panels. The Solar Roll from Brunton addresses this problem by providing a roll-up design. This way, you can take that “incredibly durable fluoropolymer construction” and roll it up to fit in a bag of your choosing. It’s available in your choice of 9 watt or 14 watt output, and then you can daisy-chain multiple units together for even more output. It does get pricey though, as the 9-watt Solar Roll is $435, while the 14-watt model is $590.

Image credit: DanLockton / Flickr

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