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This article was published on September 6, 2016

This solar-powered backpack could end your battery woes forever

This solar-powered backpack could end your battery woes forever
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

After a week using BirkSun’s solar-powered bag exclusively, I can honestly say I’m hooked. Why we don’t have solar panels on all our backpacks is beyond me, but the ability to charge a device without having to worry about first charging an external battery is a godsend — especially here in California.

A single solar panel on the face of BirkSun’s bag sucks power from the sun and stores it in a small battery inside a zipper pocket. While the power station isn’t a large one, it’s fully capable of completely charging a dead iPhone. In fact, BirkSun says it can charge it one-and-a-half times. That wasn’t a problem for me though, the backpack’s power station never actually died while I was using it due to the panel constantly grabbing more energy from the sun.

I would be curious, however, to see how the backpack performs in less-sunny locales — although there is the option to charge the built-in battery with a standard wall charger.

The battery is also smart enough to charge devices at the optimal speed.

Aside from the ability to charge your devices using a multi-purpose battery capable of handling anything you can throw at it — laptops, mobile devices, cameras, etc. — the bag is rather devoid of cool features. In fact, that’s my one gripe.

As a fan of organizational tools in backpacks, this one is essentially a large main pocket a slightly-smaller front pocket and a laptop sleeve in the rear. The laptop sleeve is a nice touch, but using the other two storage areas would quickly lead to a tangled mess of cords and a lot of digging to find any specific device.

At $249, it’s probably priced out most of the people looking for a simple laptop bag, and the lack of storage options aside from throwing everything into one large space shows it’s probably not designed for that anyway. Instead, it seems the bag is best suited for the outdoorsy types (it’s waterproof and durable) or those that find themselves traveling with some regularity.

The bag is available in six color options and you can purchase yours at the BirkSun website.

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