In the last few years, there have been several new portable solar products to arrive on the market. This is great, for a couple of reasons. First, solar energy provides the prepper with relatively unlimited power for portable devices, such as cell phones and tablets, without the need for stocking up on batteries and such. Second, and just as important, using solar energy helps to lessen our reliance upon more traditional, and finite, sources of power.
The SunJack Portable Solar Charger is one of the newer entries into this niche and, I have to say, one of the best that I’ve used.
Right out of the box, I saw that all of the accessories for the solar panel fit into a handy zippered pouch on the back. The SunJack comes with the folding solar panel, the battery, a USB cable for connecting the battery to the panel, and two carabiners.
The battery has two USB ports, a smaller mini-USB port, and a built-in LED flashlight. On the front is an on/off button and five blue LED lights. These lights serve as your power indicator, each light representing 20% battery power. The solar panel has two USB ports as well, which are located inside the zippered pouch.
Charging the battery is mind-numbingly simple. Run the included cable from one of the USB ports on the solar panel to the mini-USB port on the battery. Unfold the panels and face them toward the sun. The moment the panels begin to absorb and convert the solar energy, the LED lights on the battery come on, showing you the progress as the battery charges.
The enclosed literature says the SunJack works most efficiently when placed outside in direct sunlight. As a test, I left it sit on a windowsill inside my home on a partly cloudy day. This window faces south and is in shade much of the day. After about 5 hours, the battery had charged 40%. Not too bad, considering the conditions.
When it comes time to use the battery to charge a cell phone or tablet, you unplug the battery from the solar panel and use a USB cord to connect it to your device, then press the on/off button. It took about 90 minutes, and 20% of the battery, to charge my cell phone about 50%. Same with my Kindle Fire.
You can also use the solar panel to directly charge or power your devices. Just plug them into the USB ports on the panel on a sunny day.
While the built-in LED light on the battery isn’t terribly bright, it will be helpful when connecting the cables to your devices in the middle of the night.
For you tech heads, here are the specs, as stated on the SunJack website. Note, they sent me the 14watt model. They also offer a 20watt model.
Solar panels: 14 watts of high efficiency mono-crystalline
Max output voltage/current: Two 5V/2A USB ports
Battery: 8,000mAh lithium-polymer battery
Size folded: 6.75” x 9.25” x 1.75” (17.15cm x 23.50cm x 4.5cm)
Size unfolded: 30.75” x 9.25” x 1.75” (78.11cm x 23.50cm x 4.5cm)
Weight: 2lbs (907.19grams)
Notice, folded up it is only about the size of a standard spiral notebook, though a hair thicker. It unfolds to a full 30″ in length, giving you a lot of surface area for those solar panels. There are loops attached to the panels so you can use the included carabiners to suspend the panel wherever you’d like, so as to maximize the sunlight it collects.
In addition to the SunJack Portable Solar Charger, the manufacturer also sent me one of their CampLight LED Bulbs. This is a pretty nifty light. It is powered via an attached USB cable, which you can plug into the SunJack battery or any other USB battery. It turns on automatically when plugged in and provides over 300 lumens of light, courtesy the 8 LED lights in the bulb. This is a great device for use as a camp lantern.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the SunJack Portable Solar Charger as well as the LED Camplight. I recommend both of them without reservation. You can find the SunJack Portable Solar Charger here on Amazon. The LED CampLight is found here on Amazon as well.