Review: This SunnyBAG Solar Backpack Can Charge Your Gear

How many times do you find yourself without power and no outlet nearby? Well, if you're trekking in a sunny area, you have a nice and nice looking option. In fact, my daughter will be backpacking in South Africa this summer, so I was excited when I received the Solar Backpack ICONIC ($119.90) from SunnyBAG. It's a backpack with a solar panel built-in to the exterior.

Related: 5 Best Bags for Your iPad or Laptop

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The panel is somewhat flexible and a testament to how well solar panel technology has advanced lately. It looks like an integrated design element and not a geeky add-on. It even zips out if it needs to be replaced. Inside the backpack are numerous internal compartments for business cards, a laptop and iPad, and all the cables and gear you might need. Several compartments have zippers or padding, so you can really optimize storage. Still it doesn't look bulky, thanks to the sleek design and quality materials in two color choices, Cool Gray or Olive Brown. Backpackers will appreciate the comfortable straps and padding.

One concern I have is that there is no battery included. The solar panel is hooked up to a USB-A female port. The idea is that you provide your own Lightning cable and charge your phone or tablet with it. I would recommend that you plug in a portable battery, at your own expense, so that battery is always charged, then you can connect one or more Lightning (or microUSB or USB-C) cables to that battery pack. This way, your battery pack can be charging via the sun while you might be using your phone or tablet without a tether, and then plug in to the battery pack, perhaps at night, without worrying about the availability of the sun.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Numerous internal compartments
  • Quality materials in two color choices
  • Solar panel cleanly integrated
  • Comfortable straps and padding
  • 7 watts of power and can charge a smartphone in two hours of direct sunlight

Cons

Final Verdict

If you want to keep your gear powered, off the grid, the Solar Backpack ICONIC from SunnyBAG, combined with your own battery pack, is a great option.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.