The 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 from my room in Afghanistan right now.
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).
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 USB Solar Charger. I finally pulled the trigger and ordered one.
When I first opened it up, it was definitely smaller than I had anticipated. folded up, it’s about the size of a CD case. I immediately 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.
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 the Incredicharge I-11000 External Battery Pack and Charger. Also, Suntactics now makes a 12-watt version (12-14W actually) called: you guessed it – the sCharger-12. That thing could probably charge on a pretty crappy day but it’s definitely bigger so I’m not sure if it would still be optimal for a bugout bag. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has one. I may end up getting on once I get off this deployment. So enough from me, here’s the solar charger:
If you’re wanting something a bit more powerful though, check out this freaking sun-tracking solar briefcase rocks! Watch this video. This thing’s awesome. I wish I had one right now…
- 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
- 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