I recently came across an interesting question about backpacks which goes like this, what is a solar powered backpack? If I came across that question before I started this blog I would have asked myself why on earth is someone asking that, is a backbag even capable of being able to do that?
Luckily, with my exposure to a lot of bags because of this website, I know for sure that such a type of bag exists and I intend to use this post to give a detailed answer to those questions most especially the first.
Technology is rapidly changing and improving on a daily basis that even the backpack industry is now been influenced by this rapid change.
A feature I recently noticed been introduced in some packs is the use of solar energy in powering appliances like mobile phones, mp3 players and more.
Is a bag actually able to make use of the energy of the sun? How on earth is this even possible? You would find your answers in this post as I answer the question on what is a solar powered backpack. By the time you finish reading this post you would…
- Have a clear understanding of a solar panel backpack
- Know how they work
- Know some of their advantages and disadvantages
- Know how to build your own solar powered pack
The introduction of smart backpacks to the backpack industry has largely contributed to the technological changes we see in a backpack and one of these technological changes is the introduction of solar panel backbags.
Before you know how to build your own solar panel bag, first you need to understand exactly what they are.
What is A Solar Powered Backpack?
A solar panel backpack or a solar-powered bag is a type of pack equipped with thin film solar cells or solar panels and batteries capable of converting the sun’s energy into electrical energy.
In some cases, the solar thin-film solar cells or solar panel and batteries come with the pack while in other cases only the solar panel is included with the bag.
What this means is that you would have to get your own battery if you intend to store the current to use for a later purpose.
How Exactly Can A Backpack Store Current?
Now what you need to know is that the current does not exactly come from the backbag itself but rather it comes from the solar panel which was attached to the bag.
The sun produces solar energy and when these solar energies come in contact with the solar panel, they are converted into electrical energy which is then stored in the batteries.
Like I said, some packs come with batteries that are connected to the solar panel used to store electricity but if yours doesn’t come with a battery such as a power bank then you might have to get yourself one.
The solar panels are able to charge your devices without making use of any battery to store the converted energy as long as the panels are under the sun but if you intend to use the energy later on then you would have to store it in a device capable of storing electrical energy preferably a power bank.
The power bank can then later be used to power up or charge your appliances.
Advantages Of A Solar Panel Backpack
1. They are powered by a constant source of energy which is the sun
The sun is considered as one of natures most constant sources of energy available to anyone that intends to make use of it. It is totally free energy and can be used to power your devices when converted using a solar panel.
2. They are lightweight, hence easy to carry
Because of the type of panels used on bags, they can be pretty light which therefore means they add very little weight on the bag making them very easy to carry.
3. Some solar panels can be manually removed from the bag and used separately
Not all bags with solar panels are able to do this because they probably were built in a way that makes it difficult or nearly impossible to remove them from the back bag.
However, the way some of these panels are attached to the bag makes it pretty easy to remove them from the bag and probably place them where there is better contact with the sun’s energy
4. Flexible solar panels also are light and portable, as well as waterproof
Disadvantages Of A Solar Powered Backpack
1. They can be pretty pricey
The higher the quality the more expensive an item is. The same is true for a solar bag. For those of you planning to get one with really good quality, you should be ready to spend more than $100.
The really good ones cost way more than that. Do you feel that this is not an option? Then considered building your own solar bag. This is a very cheap option and anyone should be able to do it.
2. There are not a lot of options to pick from
These type of bags have not always been around and are kind of limited in supply. You won’t even find them in some countries and are mostly accessible through online purchases.
Luckily there are some brands strictly focused on creating solar bags so hopefully, we should be able to see more of them in the market pretty soon.
3. It has to be under strong sunlight before it can be able to function properly
This can be a major disadvantage of this type of bag because if they are not under strong sunlight then they would not be able to properly function.
4. The angle of the sun might not directly face the solar panel of the pack
The backbag is always meant to be at your back so what happens if the angle of the sun is not directly facing your back. This can be a problem especially when carrying your pack and can actually make the panels not to function properly.
If you would be able to hold your bag with your hand then you should be able to position it in an angle whereby it can be able to properly face the sun.
A solar panel backpack can be used for several reasons
1. It can be used to power a laptop for up to 3 hours depending on the type of solar panel being used
2. After exposure of about six hours, it can power an emergency light for 14 hours
3. These type of bags can be used to power cameras for use in remote areas
4. They can be used to power electronic devices for up to 6 hours
How To Build Your Own Solar Powered Backpack
Most of the time, a really good pack with a solar panel can be rather expensive and because of this a lot of people would probably not be able to afford it. Our solution to this is building our own personal backbag with a solar panel attached to it.
The steps involved are pretty easy to follow and can be done by anyone. If you intend to build your own backbag having its solar panel then follow the steps below.
You either watch the video I provided below or you can follow these steps
1. Purchase a solar panel charger that can easily fit the size of your pack.
You would need to make sure the one you get is thin and flexible with a USB cable that can be used to charge your battery or your appliances. It is advisable you try to get panels that are weather resistant and also make sure you get more than one because the more you get the better impact they would have.
2. Get the required equipments
Aside from getting the solar panels you would need to get the required equipments which are
- two plexi glasses
- battery holder
- adhesive tape
- epoxy glue
- screws and nuts
- USB port
Note that depending on the type of solar panel you purchase would determine if you won’t need some of the tools listed above. For example, some panels come with USB ports while others don’t.
My advise to you would be that you first of all read the steps below and also watch the video before you decide on the procedure to follow.
3. Know the length of your bag
You would need to measure your bag so you know its length. By knowing its length you would be able to know the number of panels you would need that can properly fit your backpack.
4. Drill holes on the plexiglass
You would need to drill holes on the plexiglasses because you would need to screw them together later on. Drill 4 little holes at the corner of both plexiglasses.
5. Assemble the panels
Your next task would be to assemble the panels by making use of the adhesive tape. Use the adhesive tapes on the back of the panels and attach them to the plexiglass. Make sure they don’t cover the little holes that you drilled. You then apply the glue and make sure the panels are properly stuck to the glass and then allow to dry for about an hour.
6. Connect the wires
After allowing the glue to dry up your next task would be to connect the wires and the usb port if the panels don’t come with a usb port. Also, connect the adapters that you wish to include.
7. Make use of the other plexiglass
After connecting the wires, use the second plexiglass and place it on the side of the panel without plexiglass making the drilled holes align together. After doing this you then put the nuts on top the holes and screw them together.
8. Attach To Your Backpack
The best way to do this is to sew a patch to hold the panel and then you would have to attach the panel in its patch to the part of the backpack you feel would be more exposed to the sun.
Congratulations, you have just built yourself a solar-enabled backbag. Note that there are several methods in getting this done. If you would prefer a visual lesson then click on the video below.
In this fast-moving world we currently live in, having a solar panel backpack can be of huge help in keeping your devices charged.
The best part about this is that the energy used in charging the solar panels come from the sun which is totally free to everyone interested in harnessing its power for their personal use.
If you feel purchasing a backpack with an already attached solar panel is expensive then you can, by all means, consider building your own. It is really cheap and very easy to build if you followed the steps provided above.
Having a pack with a solar panel is a really good idea for those that spend most of their time outdoors like a cyclist, hikers, campers, and even travelers. You can always keep your appliances charged so they are always available for use whenever you need to make use of them.
Have you ever bought a bag with a solar panel or have you probably built yourself one? I would like to read about your experience. Please leave your comments below and if you have any question you can also leave them in the comment section below and I would reply to you as soon as I possibly can.
All Image Source From Amazon