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Solar chargers

NomadJMJ

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May 2017
#1
Does anyone have experience with these solar battery chargers?
Are they effective? Is it worth the weight?
Are there ample plugs in the albergues for charging devices?
Thanks in advance for your comments!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
#2
Does anyone have experience with these solar battery chargers?
Are they effective? Is it worth the weight?
Are there ample plugs in the albergues for charging devices?
Thanks in advance for your comments!
Hi, I posted something related to this is in a thread about sleeping bags yesterday, copied and pasted below, BC! :)

'Another tip, instead of worrying about finding a charging point for your phone and even worse, worrying about if it'll get nicked while on charge get a 'solar power bank' (search on eBay or Amazon), start at around £7 on eBay and go up to £15 or £20 on Amazon. A few naysayers claim they don't work, either they have older type ones or they bought the £7 ones off eBay. After a bit of research I got one particular one off Amazon for £20 (I almost got a £13 from Hong Kong off eBay) . You hang it off your rucksack, it charges throughout the day, if it's sunny it'll charge in a day, if it's raining (I got a waterproof one) it'll take up to 4 days but when full you'll be able to fully charge a decent smartphone 3 times with it. They also double up as a torch/lantern and weigh around the same as a large smartphone, I don't mind the extra weight but you might :) I can send details of the models I looked at if you're interested in one.'
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#3
Hi, I posted something related to this is in a thread about sleeping bags yesterday, copied and pasted below, BC! :)
..

SNIP.....
You hang it off your rucksack, it charges throughout the day, if it's sunny it'll charge in a day, if it's raining (I got a waterproof one) it'll take up to 4 days but when full you'll be able to fully charge a decent smartphone 3 times with it. They also double up as a torch/lantern and weigh around the same as a large smartphone, I don't mind the extra weight but you might :) ?..SNIP......
Have you actually used this on a long distance walk?...hanging on your pack?
Did it work as well as you post..?
As you say...many have posted here that they have been disappointed.
They probably did not all buy the cheap ones.

Personally, I have never had a problem with keeping a phone charged.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
#4
Have you actually used this on a long distance walk?...hanging on your pack?
Did it work as well as you post..?
As you say...many have posted here that they have been disappointed.
They probably did not all buy the cheap ones.

Personally, I have never had a problem with keeping a phone charged.
I've only bought mine recently (last few days) so I'm still running it down in order to charge it up but was recommend to get one by someone who uses theirs on fishing trips and is very happy- it charges his phone and a small camera too. The technology in this is developing and improving rapidly, which is why I said 'older type' and the one I got is a recently released improved version of a very well reviewed one, not just on Amazon but on many independent sites too.

I think people have unrealistic expectations about how long it takes to charge in the sun, rain or shade anyway... the manual says 40 hours exposure to charge in the shade so possibly up to 5 or 6 days walking on the Camino but most reviewers say much less than that in use. I'm prepared to just keep mine hanging/resting on the top of my rucksack, where it will get the best light (not sure hanging down at the side is as good) all week, I won't be using the phone much anyway and it should last 3, maybe 4 days before needing to be plugged in so even if it took 10 days to charge the powerbank, that's fine with me.

For me, it's as much about the security benefit of never having to leave my phone plugged into a wall somewhere in an albergue or having to babysit it if I did. You can charge these powerbanks from a wall charger too btw, an hour plugged in will get you up to 90-95% anyway regardless of the exposure to light and if that gets nicked, you've only lost a £15-£20 powerbank and no worse off than you would have been without one in the first place.

BC! :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#5
I got a (good quality and expensive) solar charger for a long pilgrimage walk in Ladakh, to places where there is no power at all.
In that situation it was useful, but only marginally so. The charge time was very long, even in full sun, and the discharge time was the opposite--very fast. (I attached it to the top of my pack so it was in full sun through the long summer days, but even so...)
For the Camino I'd say leave it at home.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#6
Lots of power outlets, in albergues and cafes. Many albergues now have an individual outlet by each bed so you can recharge your phone while in bed. I normally recharge every two days, using the phone mostly as a camera.

I have been given a protective Iphone case which also serves as a back-up battery.

Because I also carry my Mini-Ipad, I brind a dual USB charging adapter. This way I free up the outlet faster if others are also wanting to use it.

https://www.amazon.ca/EZOPower-Europe-Charger-Adapter-Samsung/dp/B00MV6UBIC
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#7
I have one of those solar chargers, I haven't taken it on the camino, but use it for other trips that power supply is a problem, and have found it very good.
For my phone I now have a battery charger in the phone case, this is an excellent piece of kit. At home I only have to charge every four days or so.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#8
I have tried several of the combined solar charger/battery pack type and have not yet found a very effective one. For my recent Camino Frances walk I took a folding 7W solar panel with a USB output that worked very well in direct sunlight. When closed it is about a 15cm square. No built-in battery. Not really necessary along the Frances but I wanted to test-drive it for use on more isolated walks where electricity may not be available. Not this exact model but something very similar. solar panel.jpg
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#9
I looked into solar chargers as well, but decided not to get one because of the very mixed reviews (+ more negative than positive). Unless you are venturing into areas without power outlets, I think you are better off with a good powerbank as a back-up battery and a good multiple port usb charger. The last one being of social use too: with only one outlet available I was able to charge my phone and make three friends real quick!

anker.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#10
I got a (good quality and expensive) solar charger for a long pilgrimage walk in Ladakh, to places where there is no power at all.
In that situation it was useful, but only marginally so. The charge time was very long, even in full sun, and the discharge time was the opposite--very fast. (I attached it to the top of my pack so it was in full sun through the long summer days, but even so...)
For the Camino I'd say leave it at home.
My experience is very similar. I took a Power Monkey and its solar charger to San Anton, where there is no power reticulated to the albergue. I don't think I achieved full power on the battery or my phone for the whole week, although part of that might have been that San Anton is also right at the edge of the reception zone, and I expect my phone was using much more power as a result. At the end of my time there, I sent the solar charger to Ivar, and retained the Power Monkey as a backup for my phone should that have been needed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
#11
Well the range of opinion here is pretty much indicative of the range of opinion I'd seen when looking at which ones to buy, but decided that because of this wide range of experiences the only sure fire way to find out was to buy one and find out for myself.

If they had been anymore than £20 then I probably wouldn't have bothered and the only reason I got the £20 model was because it had a slot to stand the phone in, otherwise it would have been the £16 previous version. It's also not much larger than a normal non-solar powerbank anyway so if you're going to take a powerbank, may as well take a solar one right?

Basically, it's the price of a couple of rounds of drinks down the pub and if does turn out to be a load of rubbish then if I come across a pilgrim in the albergues rustling packets of crisps late at night (like in the film...) then I can always throw it at their head :)

BC! :)
 
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linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#12
I have a PowerMonkey with a battery pack that maybe similar to the one Doug mentioned. I live in south Florida and have never been able to get the battery fully charged from the solar panel. I have used the rechargeable battery though. I think it charges my iPhone around 8 ~10 times, and the iPad 3 ~ 4 times.

I also have a Goal Zero Nomad 7 and a Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Battery Pack. This thing does work well. I have used it on several 2 week trips canoeing in Canada to recharge AA and AAA batteries. Instead of charging a proprietary battery pack like the PowerMonkey, it has the ability to charge AA and AAA batteries. You can then use the batteries to charge devices like an iPhone offline from the solar panel. The solar panel does charge the iPhone faster than the batteries.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#13
I took a Waka Waka Power+ along with me to San Anton in 2015, like Doug I had limited success with it. It is about the size of an iPhone 6 and is capable of adding a charge to a cellphone. It definitely wouldn't charge anything larger. I offered it as a resource to anyone who needed a charge but then as Doug said getting service there was nearly impossible. It has a very bright LED light which at the lowest of the 3 setting would have one heckled at an albergues early in the morning for using it.
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#14
firstly; a simple battery bank is preferable: carge this instead of your precious smartphone in the wall socket. thefts have known to happen, though they are rare and a battery bank is much cheaper.

I have tried out a low cost solar panel of 2 watts to charge this battery pack and in truth it is very slow, but a good backup if you really in trouble.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino del Norte y Primitivo (2018)
#15
I took a GoalZero solar charger and battery pack on the CF last April. I had absolutely no need for it and mailed it ahead from Pamplona; the weight savings was considerable and appreciated. There were always plenty of options to charge my devices, at least on the Frances.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#16
I say forget about the solar charger. It might be useful in the wilderness but there is plenty of power along the camino. I agree with the recommendations of Purky and Stivandrer, have a multiple USB outlet charger and use that to charge a power bank and then use that on your person or in your sleeping bag to charge your device.

Something else that would be nice is if the charger also had a USB type C port as one of the available ports and your power bank could be charged via a USB type C connection (USB type C allows much faster charging.) I've been looking for these things off and on but I haven't found them yet. Maybe you'll have better luck.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#17
I say forget about the solar charger
Unless it is a powerbank with built in solar panel that superleggera referred to earlier. Chargeable through outlet or sun, that is the best of both worlds. Nifty device, which I'm seriously considering as something to ask for my next birthday...
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
#18
I took a Waka Waka Power+ along with me to San Anton in 2015, like Doug I had limited success with it. It is about the size of an iPhone 6 and is capable of adding a charge to a cellphone. It definitely wouldn't charge anything larger. I offered it as a resource to anyone who needed a charge but then as Doug said getting service there was nearly impossible. It has a very bright LED light which at the lowest of the 3 setting would have one heckled at an albergues early in the morning for using it.
Hi, I just checked out your device on Amazon, £59.95 and to be fair, it gets really good reviews, 5 x 5 star and 2 x 4 star ratings, the worst review being where someone says they would give it 8/10. The fact that people are, and have been, happy to pay £60 for it suggests to me that it does the job it's supposed to. The link is below so you can read for yourselves and remember this device is using tech that is at least two years old, which is a long time with this kind of thing.

Early adopters of tech can often be disappointed with something has yet to mature. The one I bought has only 5 star ratings and is actually the highest rated one by customers on Amazon UK, is possibly a generation newer (possibly), is a third of the price and from what I can see, slightly smaller too so I'm optimistic about it's performance compared to what I paid for it (which is not a lot). I've already got mine so it's a moot point for me, if people ask the question all you can do is offer your opinion and as always, other opinions are available :)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OM1JJ3W/?tag=camidesant-21

My parents are similar in age to many of the members of this forum, I know from experience that even relatively simple tech can be VERY frustrating for them. Over the years, they've become very negative about using it and as a result have become rather narrow minded about any potentially useful technology in general ('we managed fine before, what do we need that for anyway...?' etc etc). For some posters on this thread, maybe something similar is happening, a cursory look tells me the level of nay-saying and dissatisfaction voiced appears to be proportional to the mileage they have on the clock... ;)
 
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grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#19
Perhaps the most consistent bit of information from experienced posters here is that...it really is not necessary and that no one who has actually walked the Camino with one recommends it.

Like others have posted...I take a separate battery charger and simply charge that in place of my phone when leaving phone unattended is not advisable.
Never a problem to find or charge either (or both).

This has been discussed many times over the past years. There are other threads.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#20
Mine was a gift from my son who knew I would be serving as a hospitalero at San Anton for 2 weeks with no power options. I had no idea what it retails for and as I said I ended up offering it to other pilgrims to charge phones and cameras. I didn't need it due to the lack of cellphone coverage there and haven't used it since because I agree with the other comment regarding the availability of power point in almost every place along the Camino.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#21
For the average pilgrim on the move, I think the solar panel charger would be useless. The battery bank ones? Yeah, maybe. The multiple port USB outlet thing? Yeah, that looks very handy.
I never had a problem keeping my phone charged while walking the CF. I always kept the charge cord with plug adapter handy, and juiced the thing up at every chance. Turned it off at night and most of the time when walking. Anytime I charged it up at an albergue, it was on a outlet within sight of my bunk. Sometimes I got bunks with the outlet on the wall right where I slept. That was cool, except when other pilgrims needed it after my phone was charged up, ha ha. If I was at a cafe for lunch or dinner and there was a outlet within sight of me, I plugged in the phone.
I also carried two inexpensive plug adapters (American to Spanish) with me. Easy to forget/lose it, and once I even met a fellow pilgrim that lost her's so I gave her my extra.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#23
Mark you are a saint. I little duct tape on the adapter always helps me remember it is attached to my device plug.
That's a good tip, Don. Save some inconvenience on a trip.
I have several inexpensive plug adapters that I acquired while working overseas. We literally had bags of them and the IT techs handed them out like candy.
I now have several USB/plug charger cords for devices as well (old phones, etc I don't use anymore). I carried an extra one of those as well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
#24
Unless it is a powerbank with built in solar panel that superleggera referred to earlier. Chargeable through outlet or sun, that is the best of both worlds. Nifty device, which I'm seriously considering as something to ask for my next birthday...
I'll just clarify something, this isn't a solar charger... it's a waterproof/rainproof and shockproof powerbank that has solar cells on one side which slowly and constantly trickle-charge the powerbank and there's torch & lantern panel on the other side. The solar cells are not designed to charge devices, they don't have an high enough output/wattage, the powerbank does that once it has been charged either by the cells or by being plugged into a USB phone charger running off the mains wall socket etc. I think people on here are confusing solar chargers and solar powerbanks, they're designed to do different jobs to achieve a similar end result- ie a fully charged device.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01I0X26FA/?tag=camidesant-21

BC! :)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
#25
For the average pilgrim on the move, I think the solar panel charger would be useless. The battery bank ones? Yeah, maybe. The multiple port USB outlet thing? Yeah, that looks very handy.
I never had a problem keeping my phone charged while walking the CF. I always kept the charge cord with plug adapter handy, and juiced the thing up at every chance. Turned it off at night and most of the time when walking. Anytime I charged it up at an albergue, it was on a outlet within sight of my bunk. Sometimes I got bunks with the outlet on the wall right where I slept. That was cool, except when other pilgrims needed it after my phone was charged up, ha ha. If I was at a cafe for lunch or dinner and there was a outlet within sight of me, I plugged in the phone.
I also carried two inexpensive plug adapters (American to Spanish) with me. Easy to forget/lose it, and once I even met a fellow pilgrim that lost her's so I gave her my extra.
I'm certain there will be more opportunities to charge up than I'm planning for but I'm taking the powerbank to give me options. I'm taking my rechargeable hair clippers/trimmer which is 120/240v mains only so that will be my priority when I hit the albergues. I might take a small digital camera too which can charge from USB via the powerbank too

As far as cafes/bars etc go, it's not really why I'm doing the Camino so I'm not expecting to able to top up here and there- only in the albergues and I'm only intending to stay in municipal ones where practical, you see. Maybe that won't be the case when I get there but if I'm planning for the worst case I'll hopefully not get caught out anywhere.

Messing about getting a USB cable out and charging your phone for 10 minutes every time you see a power socket sounds like pain in the a*se to me- I much prefer the idea of charging the powerbank in an albergue for an hour or two once a week, or even less than that if stays topped with the help of the sun.

As for what some others have posted regards the multiport chargers and making friends, OK if people need a 'prop' like a phone charger to help them make friends... er, well... fair enough but I've always found a smile, an open mind and something interesting to say works just fine.

BC! :)
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
#26
I understand there will probably be more opportunities to charge up than I'm planning for but I'm taking the powerbank to give me options. I'm also taking my rechargeable shaver/trimmer which is 120/240 mains only so that will be my priority when I hit the albergues etc, it can't be charged from USB etc so will have to plug in the wall on it's own or on an extension. I'll probably take a small digital camera too which can charge from USB via the powerbank too, but that's not definite.

As far as cafes/bars etc go, I'm not intending to visit them as much some others might be, as I mentioned in another thread it's not really why I'm doing the Camino so I might not have the same opportunities as you regarding being able to top up here and there- I'm expecting to only be able to charge in the albergues and I'm only intending to stay in municipal ones where I can, you see. Maybe that won't be the case when I get there but if I'm planning for the worst case I will hopefully not get caught out anywhere.

BC! :)
Lot's of outlets in the municipals for you to charge up all your items, and that combined with less pilgrims on the Camino during March and you should have no problems.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#27
For the average pilgrim on the move, I think the solar panel charger would be useless. The battery bank ones? Yeah, maybe. The multiple port USB outlet thing? Yeah, that looks very handy.
I never had a problem keeping my phone charged while walking the CF. I always kept the charge cord with plug adapter handy, and juiced the thing up at every chance. Turned it off at night and most of the time when walking. Anytime I charged it up at an albergue, it was on a outlet within sight of my bunk. Sometimes I got bunks with the outlet on the wall right where I slept. That was cool, except when other pilgrims needed it after my phone was charged up, ha ha.
I also carried two inexpensive plug adapters (American to Spanish) with me. ..
I have previously looked into the solar units - I saw a video from a fellow cyclist who had one - but then he was using a: gps; go-pro video camera and some other electrical/battery operated stuff and he thought that the solar unit would keep these at or above 50% battery life.
I now have one of power packs which has 3 USB slots - I am using it with my smart phone on training walks and so far its keeping the phone charged above the 50% mark (when starting from fully charged). I also have second plug-in charger unit - with 3 international plus and 3 USB places. I might get brownie points by sharing the other slots!!?? Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#28
Hi, I posted something related to this is in a thread about sleeping bags yesterday, copied and pasted below, BC! :)

'Another tip, instead of worrying about finding a charging point for your phone and even worse, worrying about if it'll get nicked while on charge get a 'solar power bank' (search on eBay or Amazon), start at around £7 on eBay and go up to £15 or £20 on Amazon. A few naysayers claim they don't work, either they have older type ones or they bought the £7 ones off eBay. After a bit of research I got one particular one off Amazon for £20 (I almost got a £13 from Hong Kong off eBay) . You hang it off your rucksack, it charges throughout the day, if it's sunny it'll charge in a day, if it's raining (I got a waterproof one) it'll take up to 4 days but when full you'll be able to fully charge a decent smartphone 3 times with it. They also double up as a torch/lantern and weigh around the same as a large smartphone, I don't mind the extra weight but you might :) I can send details of the models I looked at if you're interested in one.'
Yes please! Details would be much appreciated
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF [StJean-F'rre] (March 2017)
#29
Yes please! Details would be much appreciated
Here you go, the latest version, I got this one, I might find the phone stand useful:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01I0X26FA/?tag=camidesant-21

The previous version, if you don't want to spend the extra £4, it gets great reviews too. The loop for hanging looks more robust but not sure that's an issue anyway and the newer one will hang straighter:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LEF9MUS/?tag=camidesant-21

Hope it's useful :)

BC! :)
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#31
I carry my phone in a Mophie case which has an extra battery and I found will charge my phone twice on one charge. At night I charged the entire unit by plug in which charges the phone and Mophie. The other thing was to set my phone on power saving mode.
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2016
Portugues April 2017
#32
I am thinking of buying a solar pack for when I do the Via de la Plata in April. I agree that if you are just doing the CF then with so many albergues, it is not necessary to have anything much above a 10,000 mAh charger.

When I did the CF last year I had an Anker 13000 mAh which is around 250 grams and I never ran out of power, despite heavy use of S5 smartphone and a Samsung Tablet. I am essentially a perpetual traveller so pretty much carry everything I need to live. It's amazing how little stuff you actually need, but I am going off topic there!

I am thinking of purchasing the Anker model linked below. While on the Te Araroa in New Zealand recently I met a few people with this model and they raved about it. The TA is much more of a wilderness hike so a solar pack would really come into it's own.

Solar technology has come on a long way and I do believe everyone will have some kind of solar charger in the future, particularly for hiking. I am in love with the idea of limitless renewable power from the sun!

Here is the solar panel that I might buy, my only reservation is the weight, but I am use to carrying a heavy pack (sometimes with multiple days food and cooking gear!) so it shouldn't be an issue.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B012VK1I0C/?tag=camidesant-21
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#33
I found the availability of albergues, etc. on the VdlP to be close to that of the Camino Frances when considering the number of Pilgrims.
I never had any issue with charging electronics on the VdlP.
I certainly would not want to carry anything extra.
 

LouiseW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Camino Frances from Burgos to Santiago dC from May first until 5th of June
2017 Camino Frances from St. Jean PdP to Burgos in September
#35
Hi
No need to bring a solar charger indeed. I brought one last year and used it only once in 6 weeks. This year I will leave it at home. You will become very keen in finding the power sockets. Mostly in the edges of the sleeping places. You could consider to bring a plug to share.
I liked the idea to provide in my own electricity during my Camino but in the end I only used it if there was no socket available. And that was once ...
Buen Camino
 

GRR

Member
Camino(s) past & future
August - September 2015
#36
Solar battery chargers work pretty much ok if you are stationary and the charger is pointed at the sun. They won't work well hanging off of a backpack. They weigh about a pound. That's a lot of weight for little utility.

If you must have a portable power source get a 24,000 milliamp hour battery. It will charge your phone at least 10 times and it too weighs about a pound. Difference is that it is reliable.

Electrical outlets are always available somewhere in an alburgue. I recommend that you get a USB charger that has several ports so you don't usurp the available outlets and can share with others. Get a charger that can deliver high amperage. Maybe 5 watts. Charge your electronics or your 24,000mah battery with it.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#38
Does anyone have experience with these solar battery chargers?
Are they effective? Is it worth the weight?
Are there ample plugs in the albergues for charging devices?
Thanks in advance for your comments!

A waste of time and space
Plug and nothing else but duct tape.
Once in Galicia there is not much use for solar;)
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#40
I suppose I could attach a solar charger with Velcro Fastener to my backpack ?

Why??
Unless you are sitting down for a week writing then you will recharge maybe 3 times weekly at most with a simple plug.
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#41
I understand there will probably be more opportunities to charge up than I'm planning for
You will charge 10 times at most for the camino unless you write letters whilst others enjoy the culture;) OK bars and restaurants.
There will be places every 10km where you can stop and recharge , just enjoy the coffee.
In March , enjoy the many private albergues which will have a power point beside your bunk / bed , it won't be crowded.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future, September 2016
#43
Have you actually used this on a long distance walk?...hanging on your pack?
Did it work as well as you post..?
As you say...many have posted here that they have been disappointed.
They probably did not all buy the cheap ones.

Personally, I have never had a problem with keeping a phone charged.
Have to agree plenty of power plus at most accommodation
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Portuguese (2018)
#44
I looked into solar chargers as well, but decided not to get one because of the very mixed reviews (+ more negative than positive). Unless you are venturing into areas without power outlets, I think you are better off with a good powerbank as a back-up battery and a good multiple port usb charger. The last one being of social use too: with only one outlet available I was able to charge my phone and make three friends real quick!

View attachment 31485
That is also what I decided - I got a power bank and and multiport charging thingy - I live in Arizona US and have tried solar panels before, spoken with many hikers and most find them next to useless unless you spend the really, really big bucks. I can use the multiport most often but have my power bank which will charge my phone 4 times as a backup. I have decided that when the power bank gets low its time for a proper bed and hot bath, so i'll recharge my body and electronics in a pensione.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#45
That is also what I decided - I got a power bank and and multiport charging thingy - I live in Arizona US and have tried solar panels before, spoken with many hikers and most find them next to useless unless you spend the really, really big bucks. I can use the multiport most often but have my power bank which will charge my phone 4 times as a backup. I have decided that when the power bank gets low its time for a proper bed and hot bath, so i'll recharge my body and electronics in a pensione.
The OP asked three questions when he commenced the topic
Are they effective ?
Is it worth the weight ?
Are there ample plugs in allergies ?

You have given a good reply to the first, we have never used so can't comment
The answer to the second is the less taken the better
The third has been answered by many........there are power points everywhere.

Have a great Camino and enjoy.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#46
I'm only intending to stay in municipal ones where I can, you see. Maybe that won't be the case when I get there but if I'm planning for the worst case I will hopefully not get caught out anywhere.
In the months of March and April you could get a bit wet
The cost of a private with municipal albergues vary by a few euros.
We walked our first 10 years ago aged 60 to enjoy good health and have continued every year.
However the only thing that makes any Camino hard work is cold showers and accommodation .Believe me they exist.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Portuguese (2018)
#47
The OP asked three questions when he commenced the topic
Are they effective ?
Is it worth the weight ?
Are there ample plugs in allergies ?

You have given a good reply to the first, we have never used so can't comment
The answer to the second is the less taken the better
The third has been answered by many........there are power points everywhere.

Have a great Camino and enjoy.
I was not responding to the original question but a subsequent comment. BC
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (5), Portuguese, Norte, Primitivo(2), Aragones, Finisterre/Muxia (3), Camino del Rey
#48
As has been stated in numerous replies already, having a battery powerbank is the best investment for powering devices on the camino. Useful for plugging in to available outlets when available and can generally be left unattended, so less worry about leaving your phone or tablet exposed and susceptible to possible theft. The lipstick sized tube powerbanks that support 5000 MaH are very light, quick charging and compact, and available at around $10euro.

Regarding portable solar charging devices the Monocrystalline panels you can find online have improved significantly over the past couple of years. When used in conjunction with a power bank they can work well but, and it is a big but, you must be in direct sun for them to work efficiently, Once under cloud, under foliage or even on an angle where the sun is not beating down on them, the effectiveness is reduced significantly or not at all useful, as most devices directly connected to the solar charger require a minimum power from the charger device to charge/recharge at all.

Unless you are walking for a significant period of time (days or weeks) where no power is available, best to just carry a small powerbank which can be recharged quickly when outlet is available and go to airplane mode on the portable device to conserve power. Be wary of some of the scores and comments about powerbanks and solar chargers on various online outlets as these "reviews" can be bogus. Reputable studies and research by real hikers are available online via a google search for any reliable recommendations.
 
Last edited:

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#49
@dgallen has, in my opinion, described the best idea for keeping electronics charged.
I have followed this same plan for many years. I might add that I also bring a multi outlet plug (outlet extender) so that a single plug outlet can be shared. They are very cheap to buy at a Chino shop in Spain. Buying one there makes sense as they have the European plug connection without adapting. Less to fool with.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September 2016
CF April 2017
#50
Firstly, I don't work for Anker. Their products work and deliver the power fast. I've tried so many other combinations.

Anker 2 pin Euro charger with 2 USB ports
Anker 27000mah battery pack
Anker USB cable

You can't run out of power on the CF with this combination.
Just bear in mind that the weaker the reception, the more power your phone will use to search for the signal. So always put it into Airplane Mode.

Buen Camino
 

LouiseW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Camino Frances from Burgos to Santiago dC from May first until 5th of June
2017 Camino Frances from St. Jean PdP to Burgos in September
#51
Thank you for the idea of bringing a powerbank in stead of my solar charger. I did not feel unsafe to leave my Iphone at the power socket but it was an old type. Next time I will bring a new type and maybe that's more interesting. Besides of this I will accentuate that I never felt unsafe in the albergues and I did not have the idea that I couldn't trust the people around me. But oppertunity makes the thief.
I will definitely bring a powerbank and plug to share.
Buen Camino
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#52
@LouiseW Regarding safety, some albergues are quite "open" and make it easy for outsiders to just walk in if they look like a pilgrim. Just food for thought and Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#53
Does anyone have experience with these solar battery chargers?
Are they effective? Is it worth the weight?
Are there ample plugs in the albergues for charging devices?
Thanks in advance for your comments!

I took one when we walked - a Goal Zero 7 which worked well - but in the end I rarely used it as there was pretty much always somewhere to plug a phone into. What I would recommend is a multi charger - we got one we called the Octopus - even though it only has 3 cables. Allowed you to plug it in and then if someone else was using the plug - unplug their phone (if a micro USB phone) and then plug their phone into your charger and charge our phones at the same time. Happiness all around.
 
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