Enerplex Packr solar back pack
Much as I like to recommend the simple life, free of gadgets and modern communications, it’s a fact of life that it can be very annoying trying to keep phones, laptops and other devices charged while camping.
We have had our Packr for a while, but a recent trip (to Weymouth, so lovely in May) enabled us to test it out properly – it is a back pack with a difference – a built in solar panel made of thin, light and flexible material with a charging port inside.
The manufacturers suggest the panel can provide 3w of power, enough to charge a smartphone or similar within around 4 hours. The panel really is light, so the back pack is no different really to carrying around a standard pack in terms of weight, and the panel is fairly discreet, too.
Purely as a backpack, the Packr gets good marks from me. It’s comfortable, with side water bottle pockets, a myriad of internal pockets for pens, gadgets and supplies, plus a padded sleeve to take a laptop or tablet safely. The panel really is light enough to make no difference in weight to a normal pack, and the straps are wide and comfortably padded. Our version is a snazzy charcoal and orange – discreet enough on the outside but with a flash of colour to brighten it up, and the fabric seems of lovely quality, so I do think this will last.
The charger works as you would expect it to, and is quick enough on a days hiking for me – good for camping and walking holidays, but actually, if you are the type to carry a backpack on a more regular basis, I would definitely go for this – smartphones are notorious for battery use and having this to charge on the go at any time is rather comforting. Win!
Booq Taipan Shock padded back pack for 13 – 15” laptops – around £90
Although not solar powered, we have also had a nose at the Booq Taipan shock this week, and as a backpack, it does compare favourably. In a hardwearing dark grey fabric, it has covered zips, comfortable padded straps and a handy sternum strap which clips to provide extra support if you are carrying heavier loads on your trip. It is also waterproof top provide your gadgets with a bit of extra protection.
Space wise, there is a small front pocket, zippered stretchy side pockets roomy enough for a water bottle and several internal pockets in the main section including pen holders and a mesh section for smaller items. Behind this is a protective padded section perfect for holding a laptop or tablet safely, whilst keeping your back comfortable with the load. The fabric is breathable too, so on a longer or hotter trip, it isn’t too sweaty.
Booq also have a system known as Terralinq, which essentially works as a unique reference code which can be registered online, so that in case of loss, if the bag is found the finder can contact Booq who will then do their best to reunite you with your possessions. That of course assumes it will be found by someone with the conscience to follow it up and that it contains no identifying features, but it’s a nice security quirk.