Emergency preparedness from a Counterintelligence Agent

Suntactics sCharger-5 solar charger review – what I carried in Afghanistan

sCharger-5 ReviewThe Suntactics sCharger-5 Solar Charger review (with video).

As a soldier, I need tough, dependable equipment and the Suntactics sCharger-5 solar charger is one of the best items a prepper or camper can put in their backpack for backup power out in the wilderness or during any kind of a power outage these days. As most of my regular readers know, I deploy to combat zones and remote locations all around the world and this is one of my must-have devices so I figured I’d use it for my first review. In fact, I’m writing this review on my iPad as we speak.

When I travel, I try to keep as light as possible but I like to maintain connectivity. One of the things I always have on me is my iPhone so I can take photos or use it on wi-fi. Since I do a lot of writing also, I started also bringing my iPad this deployment. The problem is that these two items use up power fairly quickly when you’re sitting out at a remote FOB somewhere for hours waiting to meet someone or for the convoy to head out (the military is still very fond of their hurry-up-and-wait thing). It’s very difficult to find a suitable solar charger for an iPad or iPhone due to the power requirements.

So because these remote locations don’t always have power, and the power systems in third-world countries aren’t very good anyway – and add to that that I was heading to Afghanistan for a year pretty soon, I needed some kind of backup power. The problem was that I could never find one that would both charge an iPad (it requires 5Watts) and fit into my ruck sack or bug out bag. After buying a couple other solar chargers that didn’t work, I sat down on the Interwebs and looked at a LOT of reviews of different solar chargers for campers that would work. One that kept popping up with great reviews (and no negative ones that I could find) was the Suntactics sCharger-5 solar charger. I finally pulled the trigger and ordered one.

When I first opened it up, it was definitely smaller than I thought it would be. folded up, it’s about the size of a CD case. I went outside to test it out (after I grabbed a Guinness for moral support – I wasn’t deployed at the time so General Order #1 wasn’t relevant). I grabbed my iPad, white charging cable and solar panel and headed outside. It was a bit cloudy out so I wasn’t if it was going to work. I unfolded it and laid it out, plugged in the charging cable to both the solar charger and my iPad and bling it started charging! I knew I’d made a good purchase.

You’ll need one of these

Since then (I’ve had this charger for a year now), it’s worked flawlessly. I keep it in my go-bag in a small pouch along with a charging cable and a backup USB battery that I’ll also be reviewing soon. Because it’s flat, I can slide it pretty much anywhere in my backpack with no problem.

What I’d suggest is that you get something like a USB battery to make sure that you can charge your electronics at night. Some electronics actually stop charging if a shadow or a cloud passes over and don’t pick back up when the sun comes out unless it’s really bright. By using a USB battery charged by the solar panel, you fix that stupid crap. Just get one with a higher mAh rating so it’ll hold more charge. I currently have an Incredicharge, which has been great, but no longer sold. Luckily for you, and for when I decide to replace this, they now have even better USB batteries out there. The best one I’ve found so far, and my next purchase if I get another is the 24000mAh 5V/4.2A Limefuel Blast USB battery. It holds a LOT more charge than my current one does and actually costs less than I paid for mine when I got it.

Here’s everything you need to know about the sCharger-5 specs, reviews and price etc…

  • Standard USB “A” connector
  • USB output: 5 volts, 1 Amp (1000mA)
  • Open size: 6-1/8″ x 11.5″ / 15.5 x 29.2 cm
  • Folded size: 6-1/8″ x 5-3/4″ / 15.5 x 14.6 cm
  • Indicator LED, surface mount circuitry
  • State of the art flex circuits
  • Weight: 7-8 oz / 200 g
  • Handles temps up to 160F
  • Water and weather resistant
  • Patent Pending

Product Features

  • Solar charges direct from the sun to your device at wall-rates. Charge, talk and surf at the same time
  • Long life, Water and weather resistant, Simple to use, Very reliable and durable, Non toxic, Clean and Green
  • “Auto-Retry” Technology to eliminate charging interruptions on devices caused by partial clouds and intermittent shadows
  • Includes pouch that also stores accesories, Lightweight and compact yet very powerful
  • Standard USB “A” connector, Solar USB output: 5volts/1Amp (5 Watts) , Open: 6.25″x11.5″,Closed 6.25″x7.75″ ~8oz/230g, optimized, flow protection circuitry

 Click below to take you to the sCharger-5 page

scharger-5 solar charger review

sCharger-5 shown with sCharger-12. Click on the image for the sCharger-12 review

So if you need a good, sturdy solar charger for your iPad or iPhone, this sCharger-5 is a great choice. If you want something bigger, check out my review of the sCharger-12. If you want to put together a full bug out bag electronics setup so you don’t ever have to worry about running out of power for small electronics like a tablet or cell phone – or flashlights, check out my Almost unlimited power for your camping or bug out bag electronics article.

About graywolfsurvival.com

I am a former federal agent and military veteran who has deployed to combat theaters in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and have almost three decades of military and military contracting experience.

My goal is to help families to understand how to intelligently protect their family and their way of life against real threats, without all the end-of-the-world doomsday crap.


  1. I’ve been checking out all the suggestions,band find them all worthwhile. I was wondering about your thoughts on electrolyte replacement tabs or powder, and would that be good to add?

  2. What is the typical output power in watts? Or how long does it take to completely charger your 24000mAh 5 V battery?

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