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Beat Load-Shedding with Awesome Solar Gear: Getaway Magazine Recommends

Posted by Action Gear on

Written By Melanie Van Zyl

As Getaway’s Gear Editor, Melanie van Zyl gets an endless supply of great action and adventure gear to test, review and smash to little pieces (if it’s not rugged enough). With Action Gear she’ll be getting her hands on some of the latest and best pieces of kit available and putting them through their paces. Check out all the other travel gear she's tested at the Getaway Blog.

Getaway Magazine tested six compact and convenient solar powered smartphone chargers, which will make you very popular when Eskom pulls the plug. They’ve also tested the best solar lanterns and the most effective rechargeable batteries, found awesome games to play that don’t need to be plugged in, carried out trials on long life milk to see what happens when the fridge goes off and, on those dark, load-shedding nights, why not try your hand at stargazing.

TEST CONDITIONS

  • All the chargers were simultaneously positioned outdoors for three days to guarantee the same exposure to the sun
  • Each fully charged unit was used to charge an iPhone 5C and, in one instance, an iPad Mini from a low, two percent battery reading
  • The unit was timed to see how long it took to charge the phone – proof was captured in the form of screenshots to determine exact timing
  • The iPhone was scarcely used during the charge time (only to check incoming messages) to ensure standard testing and all apps were turned off
  • If the unit fully charged the phone, the exercise was repeated to measure how many times it could charge the smart device

 

GETAWAY MAGAZINE RECOMMENDS THE POWERMONKEY EXPEDITION

After testing all the gadgets, we decided this powerful companion was the business.

PROS

  • Best battery storage here at 10500mAh
  • Most powerful solar panels here at 5-watts
  • Rugged body that’s 100% waterproof and dust-tight
  • The aluminium body acts as a heat-sync making the solar panel both efficient and hard-wearing
  • Charges devices in low light
  • Panel can be fitted to backpack
  • Features both 12-volt DC and 5-volt USB outputs to charge iPads/tablets, two-way radios, satellite phones, smartphones, GPS, head lamps and SLR cameras
  • Percentage charging indicator
  • Handy carry case
  • Wind turbine feature planned as a future power option

CONS

  • Very heavy so not great for hiking
  • The hand crank feature is uncomfortable, awkward to hold and it takes ages (longer than three minutes) to power up the unit even one-percent – in the words of a fellow Getaway colleague you need to be pretty desperate to make that call
  • The most expensive smart charger here

FINAL WORD

This device is hectic. For a heavy-duty outdoors adventure companion, look no further. This is the greatest gadget featured here.

Buy it: R6 000 from Action Gear

To see the five other solar chargers we tested, go the Getaway Gear Blog

 

IF MONEY IS TIGHT

Getaway has also tested the smaller Powermonkey explorer. This small and lightweight portable charger is a wonderful travel companion and can be powered up in three different ways – solar power, USB port on your computer or plugged into the electrical mains.The universal portable charger comes with 11 adapter clips and charges up quickly – leave the solar panel for a full day in sunlight and it’s ready to go. It’s compact, tough, picks up on sunlight quickly and is extremely easy to use with a handy battery indicator. Check out the lastest editon the Powermonkey Explorer 2.

Works With:

  • iPhones/Smart Phones
  • Mobile Phone
  • iPods/MP3/MP4
  • PSP/Hand-held/Games Console
  • Hand-held Cameras/Action Cameras
  • Sat-Navs/GPS
  • Head Torches

Available in four colours.

Buy it: R1195 from Action Gear

 

 As Getaway’s Gear Editor, Melanie van Zyl gets an endless supply of great action and adventure gear to test, review and smash to little pieces (if it’s not rugged enough). With Action Gear she’ll be getting her hands on some of the latest and best pieces of kit available and putting them through their paces. Check out all the other travel gear she's tested at the Getaway Blog.


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