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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Solar Powered Backpacking Gear

Five of our favorite solar items to make your next trip brighter, safer, and less stinky

by: Joel Nyquist

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

LightCap 200 Lantern - See page 4 for the full review

In the United States alone billions of dry-cell batteries are purchased every year, many of which are thrown away according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Not only is that a lot of waste piling up, it’s also a lot of money taken out of your pocket. You probably pay around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity at your house, while a battery costs around $160 per kilowatt-hour! Sunlight, of course, is free.

Improvements in rechargeable battery design and improved solar panel efficiency have made it possible to run many devices entirely off the grid. That not only saves money and helps the environment; it also means you can travel abroad or in the backcountry without lugging around spare batteries. Here are some of my favorite solar-powered devices.


PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

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READERS COMMENTS

Kathy
May 04, 2011

it didnt switch on for me...took it back to the store, tried 3 more reutrns, still didnt work....

Joel N
Mar 16, 2011

Backpackerzac- The manufacturer doesn't recommend water over 120 for the cap, and over 150 for the BPA-free bottle (included with the Lightcap 300 model). They said the plastic *may* deform slightly.
As for freezing temps (I'm assuming that's the root of your temp question), what happens with any bottle is the moisture freezes between the threads, which can make the cap be frozen on, or can sometimes deform the cap and make a small gap, but that can happen with any bottle. It's not any more or less likely with the Lightcap.

Joel N
Mar 16, 2011

Steve- The shower head is threaded/screw-on. I actually carried it about 1/2 mile inside my pack (loaded with water) and none leaked out.

Steve
Mar 16, 2011

Does the shower head on the solar shower have a good shut off valve? I own a different brand that has a leaking problem with the push/pull valve.

Backpackerzac
Mar 16, 2011

Will the lightcap withstand boiling temperatures and is it leakproof in all temps?

Bill
Mar 15, 2011

...eh, maybe not for through hiking, but perhaps for surfing.

Bill
Mar 15, 2011

This I like. As a throat cancer survivor with radiation fried salivary glands and no spit I will be able to find my W/B at night without fumbleing around the tent.

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