A power bank to charge your electronics is a great thing to have. But what if you have kept it in your backpack long enough without remembering to charge it that the battery charge has degraded? That was the question that bothered me with the various power banks I have available. I remembered to periodically charge them, but I hated that I had to. When I found out about the UCO Gear Flexible Folding Solar Panel Charger, I was excited and relieved to add it to my go-bag.

Never without power again: UCO Gear flexible folding solar panel charger

Granted, having USB power for your cell phone or other electronic device is typically a luxury – not a necessity – there are often times when having a charged cell phone in an emergency can be critical for getting help when you need it. I’d rather err on the side of caution and make sure I have a power source.  There are also lots of survival items such as flashlights that rely on USB power these days and it is good to be able to keep them charged too. At $99 MSRP, UCO Gear’s solar panel charger is a great addition to a vehicle, backpack, or pocket – particularly when you consider that it folds down to the size of the average smartphone. It weighs only 4 ounces.

Comprised of twelve Dow solar modules, it is light, compact, and efficient. It is capable of charging cells from 0% battery or simply topping it off. When in direct sunlight, the average charge time is from 0% is 2-3 hours for Apple, Samsung, and LG phones. It requires direct sunlight on all 12 solar modules, but that does not necessarily require you to be static. The panels can be attached to a backpack using the available grommets (not shown on my model) while a person is on the move as long as it is receiving direct sunlight. It is water resistant, shock resistant, and virtually tear-proof, so it is not something you have to treat delicately. Unfolded dimensions are 17.1” wide x 8.6” tall x .43” thick. Folded dimensions are 4.3” wide x 2.8” tall x 1.3” thick. This is a great piece of gear to have at least one of for those extended camping trips or everyday backpacks to make sure you are never without power when you need it.