Gear Review: Sunjack Solar Charger – Hunting Buddy

By: Frank Medicine Wolf Springer
By: Frank Medicine Wolf Springer

Going to the woods and fields has been the passion of my family for my entire life and of the lives of those who had raised me. Whether it was in the dark timber along the flowages in Northern Wisconsin, the Rockies in Colorado, the western Sierra mountains in California or the Sierra Madre in Baja, Mexico; the one necessity of camp was always making a trip into town to the phone booth to call home and let everyone know of your safety or the success of the hunt.

 

When the cell phone first came onto the scene in the 90’s, the burden was somewhat lessoned to a drive up to the top of a mountain that could “line of sight” a tower somewhere.   And by standing on one foot, slightly raising the other leg 45 degrees from the ground, and turning 22.5 degrees South/Southwest you could upon occasion get good enough reception to let the loved ones know you still had a heart beat in your chest…until the battery of the phone ran out anyway.  This convenience was often very short lived for those who would stand the weight of hauling a ‘bag phone’ along in their back pack. It generally wasn’t long before the little wedge showing battery charge melted down to a tiny pin point of light… In those days there was not a great amount of useful battery time for sure.

 

But, as all things do, times changed, phones got smaller, more cell towers were added and calling from remote locations became logarithmically easier. However, with the invention of new technologies comes its own set of problems and along came e-mail, voice mail, texting, cameras, file sharing, and even doing some work from hunt camp for those who just can’t leave the ‘grind’ back home. More tools, more power drainage.  And the one problem for a remote land hunter was still the situation of battery life—or the lack there of!

 

Eventually some bright bulb thought up the concept of solar energy being more than just a tool to grow plants and heat water, and the invention of solar electrical generation was spawned.  Yet, this was not something that could easily be affected in a light weight product of any useful size and function for many years.  And although it was a novelty for those who came to stay in a fixed camp or trailer, the back woods trail hiker who wandered “off the beaten” was still left behind—until just a couple of years ago.   New more useful solar panels were finally developed and with the upgrade in efficiency of solar collection and electrical storage came the miniaturized heft and dimensions so long waited for.

 

I recently laid my hands on a new Sunjack Solar Charge array for field testing.  And the results could not have been more surprising and welcome.  I now easily have a way to venture as far into the woods as I wish, and still be able to recharge electrical devises I choose to carry along.  Phoning home is a daily promise now.

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At 1.75 pounds, the folded dimensions of the SunJack are only 9”x 6.5”x 1.75” and the tiny size of the folded 4 panels of the Sunjack solar charger does not reflect the actual power and usefulness of this road buddy.  Technically speaking, this is a 14 watt high efficiency mono-crystalline solar collector that gathers sun energy and transfers a maximum output of voltage/current at 5 watts and 1.5 amps though one or both of the USB ports by a 2 amp fast charge cable to the 8,000 Amp-hour fast charge lithium-polymer battery or directly to your phone…or both. Sounds kind of like that lightning fast ‘liability disclaimer’ at the end of commercials on radio…right?  Yep.  So, here is the blue-collar lowdown–

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This solar charger folds out to 9” by 31”.  It comes with two small carabineers to clip it to anything you wish to while you gather the sun and charge your phone, tablet, camera, jambox or any USB devise.  My totally dead smart phone recharges completely from the solar panels in 1 hour and 45 minutes …slightly longer than advertised, but the day I  checked on the charge time for this field test it was slightly hazy for sure, and far less than “full sun”.  At home, my wall charger does the job in roughly the same amount of time, but I’m not hunting in the wilderness of my choice while charging it there…so you’ve got that! At the end of each day, if I have placed the solar pad in a spot that will get much of the Sun light, I come back to camp to a fully charged phone AND a completely charged Qualcomm quick charge battery, which is excellent backup for all my wilderness electrical needs.  5 hours direct sunlight would charge the battery fully, and this provided enough energy to recharge the smart phone 4 times or my tablet once. The battery also has a built-in flashlight that activates by holding the ‘on’ button for a couple of seconds and is very bright and long lasting far past what is needed to do those necessary after dark camp chores and read a chapter of your book under the stars. This battery can also be charged in an urban situation by using a standard plug-in wall charger for use when you are not in the wild lands.  The Sunjack Solar Charger is weather and bump resistant and at $139.00 it is economically priced for a charger of this usefulness and quality.

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This is not the first solar charging system I have field tested over the years…but it is by far the best in function and usefulness of the group.  It is amazing to me how this technology has made such advancements in efficiency and durability in so few years. This unit one quarter the size and weight of previous solar chargers on the market is now able to satisfy a massively larger power demand, faster, with more durability and at an economical price…Sunjack Solar Charger is exactly that one.

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I now have no excuse not to make that phone call home at the end of each day…and that is making it much easier on me when I let the wife know I have another trip planned to the woods…”okay, just call me when you get back to camp”.

For more please go to: Sunjack Solar Charger

For more please go to:  Frank Medicine Wolf Springer