The Brunton Restore Solar Panel is a super light device that ensures you’ll have a power source on missions where you’ll be far from electricity. It’s water resistant, has a durable outer-casing, and can be charged from the solar panel itself, or from either a computer USB or DC adapter (which is included). The power gauge helps you know how much juice you can pull, and the panel automatically shuts off when it’s not in use. The lithium battery is also a plus as it’s a much better “eco-option” as conventional batteries are seldom disposed of properly or last long enough to warrant the hazardous waste they produce.
This panel is ideal for charging an iPod, and I can only see it being super useful for weekend, week-long, or multi-week backpacking trips. It’s easy to operate, and you’ll get a charge even if it doesn’t seem too sunny out. I was able to get a full charge on a flat-light overcast day at 14k+ feet, and listen to a full length audio book that night.
There’s also the option to purchase other adapters to charge other hand held electronics, which I would recommend if you want to charge anything other than an iPod. A few friends tried to charge their cell-phones, but it never worked. One fully charged panel should be able to charge both, along with several other electronic devices, but we were unable to access these benefits.
When you’re on a mountain for a month, or in the wilderness for an extended period of time it’s nice to have music. Of course it’s a luxury, and many go to these places to escape modern technology, but this lightweight, durable panel will ensure you can be dancing on the trail if your heart desires.
However, I was surprised that my crew and I had trouble with charging a cell phone, and since I haven’t be able to charge anything besides the IPod, I wonder how much use this device will get in the long-run. Nonetheless its place on two expedition trips this past spring/summer was invaluable, especially during storm days at high camp where we literally didn’t leave the tent unless our digestive systems made us and the pee bottles were full. That being said it’s a relatively cheap well made piece of gear that can be hugely beneficial.
Brunton Restore Portable Power Device product specs:
Ave. Price: $80-125.00
Weight: 7.2 oz
Solar Panel: Two (2) 100 mA polycrystalline
Battery Storage: 2,200 mAh battery
Output: 1,000 mA /5V (USB 2.0 compatible)
Dimensions: 3” x 5.75” x 1.13”