We’ve seen jackets and backpacks with solar panels in them to charge your devices when you’re out and about — but we’ve yet to see a solar panel-equipped jacket that also turns into a backpack.
Evolution Wear released its first clothing product in December of 2015 — the Winter Solstice jacket that’s also a convertible backpack. Now it all comes down to function over design and if you don’t mind wearing a reflective rectangular slab on your back.
The 3.5 watt CIGS solar panel is removable and flexible, and pairs with a separate 4400mAh charge pack that apparently “stores more than a full charge of an iPhone 6 Plus,” which sounds about right, as the iPhone 6 Plus has a battery capacity of 2195mAh. The panel charges one USB device at a time, and you can charge your phone while wearing the jacket.
The water-repellent jacket actually looks pretty ordinary, until you turn it around — you’ll see the solar panel stick out like a sore thumb. The company says the jacket is made of a polyester and nylon blend, and comes with a detachable hood. It’s “highly durable” and “ultra rugged,” according to the company’s website. To add the solar panel, attach it to the six buttons on the back with the USB port at the top.
Turning the jacket into a backpack seems fairly easy as well, as there are adjustable buckles from the mini pockets on the front of the jacket that you attach to the buckles on the inside of each sleeve. It can store a laptop, tablet, books, and more, but you shouldn’t have any more than 30 pounds in the backpack, according to the company’s website.
It’s hard to tell how comfortable it will be to wear the Winter Solstice, with all its adjustable buckles, zippers, and solar panel on the back, but at least the panel is flexible so you won’t have to walk stiffly.
The Winter Solstice comes in color combinations of white and blue, white and pink, and an all-black variant. The company lists “lady” and “men” options for each jackets so you can find the right fit and size. It’ll cost you a pretty penny though, at $250.
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