I recently had a chance to try out the TinyCharger5, by roadiesolar.com. The TinyCharger5 is a lightweight solar panel that has more surface area than a lot of other solar panels for travelers, and its very lightweight. I used it in conjunction with a soundlogic XT power cell (battery pack), and the solar panel charged the battery pack, and the battery pack kept my cell phone charged for a multiday bike trip plus two weeks at home.
The TinyCharger5 is 8″ by 11.75″, with the solar cells mounted on a card that appears to be weather resistant if not weather proof. The solar cells are covered by a plastic sheet which appears to be heat fused to the plastic card. It is 0.10″ thick, about as thick as a credit card, and weighs 4.2 oz.The solar panels have eyelets at each corner which would be used to secure the TinyCharger5 to a backpack or bike, or to hang it from a nail. I don’t see the TinyCharger5 on their website, but the Featherweight5 looks very similar and is $14.95.
I would get into camp on the bike ride in the early afternoon, set up my tent, and position the solar panel facing the sun. It would get about 4-5 hours of direct sunlight, and put a fair charge on the power cell. The power cell had enough juice to charge my cell phone twice. When I got home, I kept up the charging routine for two weeks, and kept my phone charge for 2 weeks with no connection to wall current. I was totally impressed with it. See www.roadiesolar.com for ordering information on the TinyCharger5. The bike ride provided phone charging services, for $5 per charge! I got two charges per day for free.
The soundlogic XT power cell is also very cool. I got it at Bed Bath and Beyond, and its available on Amazon. It has 2 usb ports, and an input jack that goes to the solar panel with a usb plugin in the back of the solar panel. The power cell has a power level display that is 4 LEDs, which show when you press a button, or when the solar panel is connected. The power cell weighs 5.0 oz, and the connecting cable weighs 0.5 oz, and similar units are on Amazon for around $12. It is 5200 mA, and one usb port is 2100 mA and the other is 1000 mA. This panel is great for cyclists on a road trip, backpackers, boaters, or anyone who has some devices to keep charged. I got a usb battery charger for my camera and flashlight, so I can keep everything charged in the field or when the zombie apocalypse knocks out the power grid.