Keep your gadgets charged on the go with this solar panel-battery pack combo

Keeping all of our electronic devices charged while traveling, or living off the grid in the backcountry, can be a real challenge at times. After all, it is not uncommon to set off on a backpacking trip with a smartphone, tablet, GoPro camera, rechargeable headlamp, or any number of other electronic devices. Carrying a USB battery pack is often a good way to alleviate this problem, but sometimes even that isn’t enough to get you through a longer journey.

Enter the Kogalla Solar Storage Bank, a device that combines a solar panel and a USB battery into one lightweight package designed to keep all of our gadgets powered on the go. This unique all-in-one solution provides travelers with everything they need to collect clean, renewable energy, without having to worry about whether or not they will be able to recharge their devices while away from a power outlet for an extended period of time.

The Kogalla features a foldout design that allows it to draw power from four individual solar panels when fully deployed. At peak efficiency, those panels are capable of generating up to 22 watts of power from the sun, all of which is stored in the device’s onboard battery pack, which features a respectable 10,000 mAh of capacity. Two built-in USB ports allow users to plug in a wide variety of devices and recharge them, even after the sun has gone down.

We’ve seen a variety of solar panels for use in the outdoors over the years, but most don’t come with the ability to store the energy they collect onboard. That gives the Kogalla a distinct advantage over the competition, most of which require you to bring your own battery pack and plug it directly into the solar panel. With the Kogalla however, you simply place the device in the sun and it automatically begins generating power, without the need to wire anything up. This ensures that it will always collect even a minimal amount of energy and store it in the battery for use later.

The solar panels included on the Kogalla are even efficient enough to collect energy in low-sunlight conditions and can restart the collection process if clouds happen to block the sun for an extended period of time. Some other solar chargers will stop functioning altogether when that happens, which can prevent them from generating power for extended periods of time, even after the sun returns. This is a nice feature to have, as it allows you to basically set up the Kogalla at your campsite, leave for the day, and return knowing that it collected as much power as possible while you were gone.

One of the other nice features of this product is its ability to fold down to a relatively small and thin footprint for storage in a backpack while not in use. The Kogalla is made from flexible and durable waterproof materials, which makes it easy to transport without fear of damage. It also comes with a handy built-in zippered pocket to store USB cables for charging your devices too.

All told, the entire unit weighs 28 ounces, which is considerably more than Goal Zero’s popular Nomad 7 solar panel, which tips the scales at a svelte 12.8 ounces. But the Kogalla includes two more solar cells, which allow it to generate more power of course, and it has the built-in battery pack too. Those additions probably make the extra weight worth for most users.

Just how well the Kogalla works in the field remains to be seen. As we pointed out, hikers have had mixed results when using solar panels in the past. There are a lot of environmental factors that have an impact on how well they work in real-world situations, but as the design of these devices continues to evolve — and solar panel efficiency improves — we should see better solar charging options in the future. The inclusion of a built-in battery pack is a step in the right direction, as it helps eliminate one more piece of the puzzle.

The Kogalla Solar Storage Bank is available for $240. Find out more at Kogalla.com.

Outdoors

This ebike is so good it won a prestigious design award

The Gazelle Arroyo C8 Elite ebike picked up a prestigious IF Design Award, scoring high marks for its comfort and balance, while also looking good and offering excellent range at an affordable pice.
Mobile

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.
Mobile

App schools fishing fans on the best time and place to hook that dream catch

Fishbrain, a fishing social network and forecasting app, has introduced BiteTime, a new feature that takes the guesswork out of when and where you are most likely to catch a certain species of fish.
Outdoors

Hyperlite’s new 2-person tent weighs slightly more than two bags of marshmallows

Hyperlite Mountain Gear took the wraps off its new ultralight Dirigo 2 tent. Weighing only 28 ounces, the Dirigo 2 is the company's first self-contained, three-season, two-person shelter.
Deals

REI cuts prices on Osprey, Patagonia, and The North Face backpacks

Whether you're hiking, camping, or traveling, you're always going to need a decent bag to carry your things in. And with REI's Outlet sale going on right now, it's is a perfect time to pick one up for cheap.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Outdoors

Yamaha’s Wabash ebike takes on gravel, single track, and more

The Wabash gravel ebike from Yamaha gives riders a versatile and powerful option for riding trails, pavement, mud, sand, dirt, and more, with plenty of range and power for all-day adventures.
Health & Fitness

Under Armour HOVR is more than a running shoe, it’s a fitness tracker

Under Armour HOVR running shoes bring more to the table than just a comfortable fit. With UA's Record Sensor technology, you can track distance, duration, and even the path you take as you run.
Outdoors

Trek’s new bike helmet is 48 times safer than the one you’re wearing

Trek and Bontrager have taken the wraps off of a new cycling helmet that uses WaveCel technology to dramatically reduce head injuries by dispersing the impact in a way that is 48 times safer than current helmets.
Deals

Under Armour cuts prices on waterproof backpacks with this outlet sale

Under Armour built its name on athletic clothing, but this maker also offers great bags and backpacks for everyday use. If you're looking for a waterproof backpack to keep your stuff out of the rain, Under Armour’s ongoing sale might have…