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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
solar powered 200x170solar powered 200x170

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.

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