I will be doing an 8 day backcountry trip out west. I wanted to see about a possible solar charger for my phone and my Garmin (definitely will need to charge the Garmin nearly every day). Do you have any suggestions for something that is lightweight and reliable? Thank you.
@Hammer Great question, sounds like an exciting trip!
There are many good options here and I encourage you to continue your research using the robust reviews about solar charges located on REI.com. Often times there has been someone using the product in the same way you would like and checking the reviews can save you time and headache in the future.
We carry several lightweight solar panels that can plug directly into your devices and charge while you are hiking. I would recommend making sure that the device has a built in regulator that keeps the power flowing at a constant rate. If it is variable it might not charge your device as well as you would hope. Additionally you can pick up a lightweight battery that you can charge while you hike and then you can charge your devices from that once you get to camp (this prevents you from using your device on the trail and having to be connected to your solar panel).
I hope this helps and have a great adventure!
My best luck has been combining the solar charger (Net Zero) with an external battery and figuring it will take a couple of days with strong solar exposure to charge the exxternal battery. If I start with a full charge on the Anker 20K external battery and recharge it throughout the week I can keep my phone and Garmin charged all week.
@Hammer, even though you posted this question on the "Ask an REI Employee" board, you may also get suggestions from other members of the community. We wanted to provide a friendly reminder (from our User Guidelines) that "only posts from a user with the “REI Employee” rank should be regarded as employee-generated content." Looks like both @REI-JohnJ and @DBH20 have responded with helpful suggestions!