Like it or not, cellphones and cameras are a part of the modern outdoor experience, and it can be very frustrating when you gadgets run out of juice.
That’s where the SunJack foldable solar charger and 8000mAh battery pack can come in handy. This compact power solution can charge all of your gadgets in the field as long as you have an few hours of sunlight. Unlike some older solar panel designs, the SunJack is durable and actually provides enough power to quickly charge your electronics.
Here are the technical specs from the manufacturer’s website:
Solar panels: 14 watts of high efficiency mono-crystalline
Max output voltage/current: One 5V/1.5A USB port
Battery: 8,000mAh lithium-polymer battery ~ 5 hours
Unit Size folded: 9″ x 6.5″ x 1.75″ (23cm x 16.5cm x 4.5cm) – similar to an iPad.
Unit Size unfolded: 9″ x 31″ x 1″ (23cm x 79cm x 2.5cm)
Unit Weight: 1.75 / 0.8 (lbs/kg)
Packaging Dimension: 10.5″ x 8.5′ x 2″ (27cm x 22cm x 5.1cm)
The SunJack website states that the 14W solar panel can fully charge the 8,000mAh lithium-polymer battery in about 5 hours with bright sunlight. I found that to be pretty accurate, and it took me anywhere between 5-7 hours to fully charge the battery depending on the amount of sunlight available. Surprisingly, the panel can also fast charge a cell phone if you have a compatible model. My Samsung Galaxy S7 was able to charge from 30% to 100% in just over an hour, which was very impressive. Being able to get a full charge while directly connected to the panel should be a major selling point, and since there are two USB ports you could also charge multiple devices at once.
The 8,000mAh lithium-polymer battery is slim and easily removed, so even when you don’t have available sunlight you can take the compact battery with you. The battery pack also has a small LED light built into it. While it can’t be used as a primary light, it’s a nice little backup if you are fumbling around in the dark. The battery pack has enough stored energy to charge most modern devices 2-3 times before it runs out of juice. However, during the review I did experience some issues with the battery pack.
Much to my surprise I had a battery pack short out during testing. The battery stopped accepting a charge via the solar panel or a wall outlet. Instead of the normal blue LED charge indicators, there was just a constant red LED indicating a battery fault. I let the manufacturer know and they quickly sent a replacement. The good news is that if this happened to you in the field, you could still directly charge off the panel so you wouldn’t be without power.
The battery and panel combo sells for $150 on the manufacturer’s website, but you can find them for cheaper at other retailers. Overall the package is a good value considering the power output, size and cost. If you are looking for an entry level solar charge to take with you on backcountry adventures, then the SunJack unit would be an excellent choice.