InstaPark Mercury 10 Solar Panel Charger
On a week-long, dark backpacking trip, I kept my phone/camera and GoPro fully charged. I can only imagine if I have SUN. Very affordable and would highly recommend.
- Best value I found
- Worked as designed
- Weighs a little over a pound with two batteries
- A bit bulky for packing tight
- Still about 3-4 hrs to charge
As weight conscience as I was, I never regretted bringing this on my trek. I looked and research other, more popular, chargers, but they offered less, lower watts, and cost more.
This solar charger is a 10 watt, three-panel charger that includes two external batteries (USB and Micro connections) cables and even a special iPad/iPhone port.
The day I got it in the mail, I grabbed the 1-page instructions (thank goodness, 1 page), a dead GoPro, and put it outside my office door on a sunny day. I had a quick question about the LED's on the spare batteries, and Support responded within 24 hours or much less. It charged the GoPro in about 3 hours. OK, so it works in these ideal conditions.
The Smokey Mountains are a totally different story. I had the two (included) fully charged external batteries and the charger. The first 3.5 days of my trip were up and down from 4000 ft to 2500 ft; shaded, misty, wet. Nothing ever dried and little sun to charge.
I used the external batteries to recharge my phone/camera and GoPro, then chased the little bits of late-day sun all over my backcountry campsites. Maybe 1 hour of filtered sun a day. This was just enough to keep my cameras functioning, but I needed to be miserly on use. Finally, the end of day 4, I had full sun for 3 hrs, charged my devices then started on the spares.
This is a solar charger (read: needs SUN) so I don't blame the product at all. I think it did a great job all week. We just have to remember that if there is no sun where we're going (weather DOES happen) better be prepared to say "Oh well" rather than "Oh SH-T." Don't COUNT on a solar charger, APPRECIATE it.
It folds down nicely to about the net size of a two serving freeze dried meal (9 x 6 x 2). It comes in a nylon cover with a perfect pocket for the extra batteries and needed cables. I was a little concerned at first about the durability, so I was very careful, but, I am backpacking, and finally just started stuffing it in like a stove or dried meal. No problem. It suffered through rain, still OK. In fact, I was so desperate for charging, I used the handy loops on it and strapped it to the outside of my backpack (hoping to catch SOME light). It fared very well.
I'm impressed. It's handy, easy, and works as designed. It is a pound however, and another space using"chunk" in your pack. I'd prefer NOT to pack it, until I got home and wished for more images. It seems to be a great quality and a great value. It got pretty abused through the week, no special treatment and I really used it. At this price, you can afford to take chances.
If I didn't already own it, I'd buy it again. I can't wait to use it on my next outing.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
Quality charger, but somewhat heavy.
- Charges very fast
Charger looks solid, charges very fast. Problem is that for me it is a little bit heavy for backpacking (about 0.5 kg) and too expensive.
It can be attached to a backpack, but I think it will be not comfortable when you have a tent and sleeping pad already attached.
In the future I most probably will give a chance to another more lightweight options, which are many in the market.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $62.70
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Reviewers Paid: $62.70-$65.00
10-watt Mono-crystalline solar panel
5V Standard USB port x 2
|Maximum output current
9 x 6 x 2 in (folded) / 9 x 22 x ½ inches (unfolded)