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Gear Review: Solar Powered Backpacking Gear

Five of our favorite solar items to make your next trip brighter, safer, and less stinky
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SteriPEN Adventurer Opti with Solar Charging Case
Pure water anywhere

The SteriPEN Adventurer was just named a recipient of Backpacker’s Editors’ Choice Award, so you know it’s awesome. And by upgrading to the solar charging case you get the same great chemical-free, pump-free water treatment that’s entirely solar-powered. The protective case holds your SteriPEN and charges the included 2 sets of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. You use one set while the other one is being charged. The solar panel doubles as the case lid, and is moveable to best catch the sunlight (see inset photo above). While attached to the top lid of my backpack in Shenandoah and on the flanks of Pikes Peak I was able to capture enough light each day to purify my daily water and never ran out. Since there isn’t a meter to gauge how full the batteries are, I recommend setting the case in a sunny windowsill for a few days prior to going out to be sure you’re topped off. SteriPEN says it takes between 2-5 days for a full charge depending on solar conditions, which is fine because each charge lasts for around 30 liters.

The Specs:
10.5 oz.

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