4.3 x 1.25 in
|Charge From Wall||
|Charge From Solar||
While it has some significant limitations, the Bushnell…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60
While it has some significant limitations, the Bushnell Solar Wrap Mini 100, works well as a lightweight backup battery for a variety of electronics in the field. Using the product, I kept an iPhone 4s and an iPad Mini charged throughout a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail.
- Can be charged by plug, USB or sunlight
- Relatively inexpensive
- Slow to recharge by sunlight
- Enough power for one complete smartphone charge - at best
In preparing for a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail, I figured I would need more battery power to supplement the internal batteries of my iPhone and iPad Mini. I planned to be on trail for up to six days between resupplies. In researching options, most supplemental battery charging systems were either expensive, too heavy for backpacking, or typically, both. What I decided to carry was the Solar Wrap Mini 100, for a number of reasons.
- Weight of only 4 ounces, including the cord.
- Same battery capacity of some of the larger Bushnell products.
- At $60, the cheapest solar charger that I found.
Ready to carry (4 ounces)
At each overnight resupply, I would attempt to fully charge the phone, tablet and Solar Wrap using an AC outlet. The phone, in airplane mode, would typically last three days or so before needing a charge. The tablet would last a day or two longer, often making the next resupply with just a bit of a charge.
Generally, the Solar Wrap could recharge the phone from the AC fill I gave it back in town. I would then lay it out in the evening sun after making camp in an attempt to build up the battery supply in case it would be needed. This would never completely "reload" the Solar Wrap, but would give me enough juice to either add battery life to the IPad, or recharge the phone an additional 20% or so if needed.
My feeling was if I had kept the Solar Wrap out in the bright Colorado sun for the ten hours listed on the instructions, I would have been able to fully recharge the phone again without using AC current, but I never got into that situation. It did seem to take pretty bright sun to work, so I'm not sure how well it would work in a cloudier or shadier environment.
The phone/iPad recharge is reasonably fast. With a fully charged Solar Wrap, I brought the battery in my iPhone from 38% to 100% in 90 minutes.
Soaking up some sun and charging an IPad at the same time.
I felt the Solar Wrap provided me with some cheap and lightweight insurance. If I were ever hurt on the trail with a dead phone, I'm confident the product would put enough charge back into the phone to make a phone call. Or, if I was out of cell range I'd have enough battery power in the phone to at least play "Knocking on Heaven's Door."