My husband and I were on a short 4 day training ride last summer. As with most bicycle tours, we found ourselves becoming friends with a fellow tourist and the obligatory checking out the different things he brought with him on his tour. We took particular interest in his solar panel for charging his phone and other electronics. This got me to thinking: maybe we should get a solar panel for our next tour. We checked out the various options and found that portable solar panel technology has come a long way.
We wanted a solar panel that was: lightweight, durable, and had a battery capable of holding a decent amount of charge. We ended up going with the Bushnell Mini Wrap solar charger for our 2,500 mile trek across the Southern Tier. The Mini Wrap met almost all of our needs and we were satisfied with the purchase. Here are our takeaways:
Product: Bushnell Mini Wrap
Weight: At just 96 grams, this solar panel is very lightweight. As a luxury item, I didn’t feel like it was too much extra weight to bring along. It also rolls up and takes up very little space.
Durability: Made of a flexible material, I didn’t feel like we were going to break this solar panel. We used Velcro to attach it to the top of our Bearikade can while riding. It laid around the can perfectly. The Bear Grylls version claims to be waterproof as well. We used it for one tour and haven’t really given it any more use since.
Functionality: This solar charger has a battery that charges up in about 10 hours of direct sunlight. It charges even on a cloudy day, it just takes longer. The battery also comes with a mini-usb in port so you can charge it using a wall outlet. The USB output means you can charge up your phone, camera, e-reader, or anything else that has a USB cord.
Cost: At around $60, this is a great addition to your cycle touring tool bag.
Recommendation: Highly recommended for sunny tours.
All opinions about any products mentioned in this article are my own. I have not been compensated in any way by anyone. I will, however, receive a small commission if you choose to purchase the item from Amazon after clicking the link I provide. Use your own discretion.