Best Portable Solar Options for the Adventure Seeker
We are not your typical full time RV family, if there is really such a thing. We are not typical by our size, as we are 14 deep! Yeah, you read that right! Not typical by our purpose, we RV for extreme adventure, we are whitewater kayakers and backcountry snowboarders, we are surfers and spelunkers, we are dirt bikers and mountain bikers. And we are certainly not typical by where we choose to camp, which is rarely in a campground and typically down by some river somewhere or at the base of a snow covered mountain.
But the one area where we are typical, where we go to head to head with every other family in the United States is our heavy reliance on power. Man, we NEED to be connected! Luckily our rig has a badass 6500 watt generator on board for the big things like cooking and a/c and powering our fridge, but we’ve done the math and it costs about $20/day to run it continuously and since that’s about $600/mo we do not run it continuously.
Instead, we utilize solar power for everything from keeping our camera batteries charged to our computers to our phones, iPads and Kindles along with every other electronic device that we as consumers can possibly collect.
And hands-down our favorite portable solar power provider is EnerPlex. They make the most rugged, portable, solar power EVER! When I say rugged, I mean like crazy rugged, so rugged our destruction minded kids have yet to break any of their products and these kids are accredited with destroying countless phones, computers, walls, windows, paddles … so trust me on this when I say RUGGED, I mean Kellogg Kid rugged!
Currently in our arsenal is the Kickr II, the Kickr IV, the Jumpr Slate 5K, and the Jumpr Max. I dare say we couldn’t live without them, as having power to charge our cameras and cells (which double as cameras) is very important to us – especially since we are always out in remote areas and low-quality cell reception drains mobile phone batteries faster than you can charge them!
The Kickr II is a sweet little weather resistant, uber lightweight (less than 1 lb), 3 Watt solar panel. When we are out hiking or mountain biking or even when cruising through zoos and adventure parks we simply hook this baby to the back of a camelbak and we summon the power of the sun! It’s totally flexible, and by flexible I mean it can bend in half, and totally portable. Anywhere we go, it goes! No more worrying about crummy battery life, with the Kickr II you’ve got non-stop power so you never miss that perfect shot or that last minute call to go run Westwater! The Kickr II keeps you plugged in, connected and free!
The Kickr IV is the II’s big bro. While it’s also super flexible, crazy durable and surprisingly lightweight (0.6 lbs) it packs a whopping 6.5 watts of juice which is more than enough power to charge your phones, cameras and other USB electronics at the same rate as a wall outlet!! Power and Speed, now we are talking our language. This powerful guy has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion and we don’t have to guard it for fear that it will get destroyed. It sits prominently on the dash of the RV or on top of a picnic table, on a rock, or a mound of dirt just soaking in all the suns’ rays. You can use the Kickr directly to power any of your USB electronics or you can use it to charge an intermediary battery, like the EnerPlex Jumpr. I love the versatility and the freedom that the Kickr offers!! The Kickr IV is perfect for those amazing sunsets atop of a Colorado 14’er and your phone battery is sauced.
Now, all this is great, but what gives the EnerPlex Kickr the edge over any other solar power is it’s honest to goodness ability to take a beating. Outdoor Adventurists, like ourselves tend to be pretty hard on our gear because we aren’t sitting in in office or hanging out in the library, instead we are out in nature and our gear is exposed to the elements, hard core. The Kickr can actually get left outside in the pouring rain (we know this thanks to our own inadvertent product testers known as the children) and keep on working. It can get run over, yes, we learned this on our own as well, when I brought our Kickr II outside and placed it on the hood of the truck, forgot all about it (both are black), jumped in the truck, ran to the store and realized halfway back that I’d forgotten about the Kickr. Backtracked and there it was in the middle of the road in Ohiopyle, PA, so in addition to getting run over, it can also get dropped and keep on ticking. As a mom of 12 I am so grateful for products that can actually stand up to abuse.
Next, in the lineup are the sweet EnerPlex batteries that we treasure and literally take everywhere with us.
Behold the amazingly slim EnerPlex Jumpr Slate 5K! This mega 5100 mAh battery is so slim it can slide into your pocket! It’s skinny size makes it ideal for those of us who have to cart gear and/or children everywhere we go! And it’s dummy proof. It has a tethered Micro-USB cable that makes it easy to charge any number of USB-enabled devices whenever needed without the hassle of having to bring extra charge cords. It also has binder holes which mean you can hook it to your backpack, your bike or heck, even your belt making the Jumpr Slate the adventurers constant companion!
Rounding off our collection of EnerPlex awesomeness, we have the Jumpr Max which is the Macdaddy of all our portable solar powered batteries. This powerful 10,000 mAh battery is a workhorse, charging a huge variety of devices, at the same time!! Like all EnerPlex portable solar batteries, it’s lightweight, and so it can be tossed in a gear bag or a diaper bag without notice, The Jumpr Max is my ultimate travel buddy/lifesaver/save the day solar battery, BECAUSE, it powers multiple devices at the same time! Genius! For us, this is really genius!
Just a few more tidbits that make EnerPlex our go to solar technology. Aside from the fact that they build absolutely stellar quality units, EnerPlex is a product of the USA, in fact their manufacturing plant is located in our home state of Colorado in Thornton, which is just a few miles north of Denver. You should totally visit them, take a tour, they would love the opportunity to show you how revolutionary “solar-on-plastic” is made right here in the good ole USA!!
Also, EnerPlex solar can collect power all day long even on cloudy and overcast days! Which is a huge plus, considering we spend a lot of our time on the East Coast where the sun often plays an epic game of hide-n-seek! Mind Blown!
On the go, outlet free power is an absolute must for our adventure seeking family. EnerPlex delivers in their compact, yet powerful and rugged devices, making them the obvious choice for portable solar. Be sure to check out their website here and check back often as new products are being offered at the end of the year!!