Roughing It: Off-Grid Charging
One of the great joys of going camping is cutting yourself off from the constant chatter of work, social obligations, and the internet. There’s a quiet in the woods that becomes its own rich panorama of sounds as your ears learn to listen in a different way. As Thoreau once said, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
On the other hand there are times when a GPS would be useful:
With technology now embedded so deeply into modern life, it’s up to you to determine just how disconnected you want to be when you head into nature. Fortunately, off-grid charging is easier than ever thanks to rugged outdoor power banks and portable solar chargers. Let’s take a look at some of today’s off-grid charging essentials.
Solar panels are the off-grid charging essential
Solar panels have come a long way since the little swatch of green squares that help to keep your basic calculator crunching numbers. Today, explorers and digital nomads affix panels to their bikes or even wear them on their backpacks to passively collect solar charge at all times. Our own 16W model can connect to two USB devices at once, intelligently passing the sun’s energy to each device with optimum efficiency and safety.
Foldable and rugged, there’s little reason not to pack it along on every trip. You never know when soaking up a little extra sun might be a lifesaver.
The old parable about not being able to see the forest for the trees is challenged by the latest drone technology. Fly above the treeline and view your surroundings through the drone’s cameras as never before. Drones are creating new opportunities for mind-blowing nature photography, while hikers use them to scout out potential routes and obstacles.
As we talked about in a recent post, drones are battery hogs, so on a longer trip you’ll either have to weigh yourself down with a lot of spares, or plan for a way to keep your power bank reliably charged off-grid. Combine a durable, weather-resistant outdoor power bank with solar panel chargers to fly greener, longer.
Keep an Eye on the Thermometer
Unless you’re going the full RV/cottage-that’s-actually-pretty-much-a-mansion route, the weather is going to be a major factor during any camping trip. Your mom would definitely scold you if you didn’t bring a rain jacket, no matter the forecast—and we feel kind of the same way about people who don’t pay attention to the temperature while charging off-grid.
Our posts on charging in cold weather and warm weather give you the full scoop, but the lowdown is that batteries become more vulnerable outside of the temperature range they’re designed for (roughly 0° and 35°C, or 32° to 95°F). While your solar panels need as much sun as they can get, keep your devices and power banks out of direct sunlight, and monitor your devices for overheating.
Camp Your Way
Maybe you want to check the internet to see if that handy leaf is safe to wipe with. Maybe you just want some tunes around the bonfire, and you’re sick of the three songs you don’t quite know how to actually play on guitar. Whatever you need to make you feel at home in the woods, off-grid charging can make feasible for you.
Tell us what your off-grid tech essentials are in the comments! What can you absolutely not live without while roughing it?