Trekking With Brunton Portable Solar, Break Free From The Grid

This morning we came across a review of the Brunton Restore portable solar charger in an on-line post. Though well written, thoughtful and generally concise, we could not help but notice a sense of disappointment in the authors tone.

This was surprising since we have sold scores of the Brunton Restore portable solar battery, with no one able to recall a single complaint. The Brunton Restore portable solar panel that I own has been on many trekking trips to the bottom of the Grand Canyon without a problem.

Upon reflecting more on the subject, I think it comes down to expectation Vs performance. If it is your expectation when you buy a 5 watt portable solar charger that it is going to power everything under a laptop, you will most likely be disappointed. If you think the two small solar panels on the Restore portable solar charger are going to recharge your battery in 45 min., well you are not going to be happy. But really, it takes 45 min to recharge my cell phone from the AC wall adapter. Small portable solar chargers are about options, mobility and freedom from the grid.

Brunton did an amazing job last year when they redesigned many of their portable solar chargers. Most of Brunton’s portable solar products were updated within the last 12 months to match the majority of modern electronics. The key word being “match”.

When purchasing any-type of portable solar battery charger for any electronic gadget, matching equipment is mission critical. The good news is, it is easy to do if you are purchasing from a portable solar specialists dealer. I know it sounds a little self-serving, but we have set up our on-line store to help people make the correct choice.

Back to the Brunton Restore portable solar charger. It works great for all smartphones, iPod and iPhones. the Restore portable solar charger will not charge an iPod. (Actually few things will because of some unique power demands. But that’s another story (see Brunton Sustain & Impel)).

The really neat thing that Brunton did when it designed the Restore portable solar charger is give you options. Options are very cool in this busy world when you are constantly on the go. With the Restore portable solar charger, you have the option of charging the battery with (1) Car Charger (Included), (2) USB port from your computer (included), (3) Mini USB port to use with AC phone charger (not included), and last but not least, the two solar panels.

The options in all the Brunton portable solar products are what sets Brunton aside from the PAC. These guys know outdoor products because, like us, they have been there and done that.

The picture at the top was taken by one of our employees from the top of the Papago Wall in the heart of the Grand Canyon. That sexy all American girl is pointing down the 7 story cliff. The Brunton Restore portable solar panel, when strapped to top of a backpack, will recharge all day. At night, you can recharge your AA batteries with a $10 adapter, your camera, cell phone (although you will not get service there), and iPod.

Here is the post from Heather Millward from Truly Obscure (dot) com. – As an avid hiker and outdoorswoman, I like to not only enjoy peace and quiet in a serene setting but also the potential to listen to my iPod while I am camping. With greener policies and an eco-friendly focus being implemented in today’s society, it is no surprise that the Brunton Restore portable solar power is making their mark with portable solar energy by capturing the sun’s energy with two solar panels and a 2200 mAh battery. According to the Brunton website, a prodigious 90% power capture rate charges your portable solar devices with the hybrid portable solar charger.

The Brunton Restore portable solar charger has an internal rechargeable lithium polymer battery, and can power everything from your iPod to your digital camera. Higher power devices, though, are not able to be charged- as usual, your laptops (even netbooks, really) are on their own.

While on our latest trekking excursion, we put our Restore portable solar charger on the hood of our car as we think it makes a pretty decent charging station. We don’t really have all day to sit around and let it charge as it can take up to ten hours in sub-optimal sunlight. To quicken the pace we utilized our car cigarette lighter, though it is worth mentioning your computer USB port is also a solution. It cut the time drastically, charging in a couple of hours.

Kudos to Brunton for the green lightning bolt that flashes a green light when our item is charging with a neat LED flashlight for nighttime charging. We will digress that, as far as Apple devices are concerned, you’ll have to bring along their special USB cord to connect the device to a USB port on the charger. But the battery can recharge your iPhone or other smart phone two times or more from one charge without broken serviceability.

The downfall of portable solar energy is the amount of direct sunlight needed to provide enough energy to indeed charge your intended item. With all the smartphones on the market and the advanced capabilities the new age phones provide, we did not feel the Brunton Restore was an ample candidate as it lacked in its ability to sustain enough sunlight to adequately charge anything larger than our smart phone.

Overall, the Restore portable solar is suitable for devices having lower power requirements like your Garmin GPS. We liked the solid build and rubberized surface, preventing sliding off of your chose surface. And the flip-open design is smart, protecting the screens during travel. You could use the USB port on your computer for a decent charge to the Restore portable solar charger. If a backup battery is all you really want on your next trekking vacation, the Sync portable battery from Brunton is quite good, and can pair well with the Restore portable solar charger or on it’s own.