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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

2C SLC 410 Racer hat
A headlamp built into a hat with no batteries to change

Just like a waterproof towel or glow-in-the-dark sunglasses, a solar-powered light seems almost like a punchline, but this hat/headlamp mashup works great. The cap itself is made super lightweight wicking microfiber with mesh sides for ventilation, is easily adjustable, and does a good job keeping the sun off your face. If you sweat up a storm you can hand-wash the hat, just don’t submerge the panel on top of the brim. The two super-bright LEDs built into the underside of the brim are angled perfectly for camp chores or walking. The single on/off button under the brim also works as a dimmer, which is handy both for reading and for extending the burn time. A full day (8 hours) of sunlight will provide around 3 hours on full power and 36 hours on dim. The beam doesn’t reach quite far enough for off-trail scrambling or last long enough if you do a lot of all-night hiking, but I never had the lights go out on me through over a week of trail time and found it best for wearing around camp.

The Specs:
3.8 oz.

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

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Star Star
May 10, 2014

The website that you supplied with this post does not in any way lead me to the specific product that you have just reviewed. It does lead me to a sight that has steri-pens, but not the one mentioned above, with the solar panel, battery charging case. Could you provide the exact link to that product, Mr. Nyquist?

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.

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.

Mar 16, 2011

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

Mar 15, 2011, maybe not for through hiking, but perhaps for surfing.

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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