The discussion about cannibalizing tiny solar walkway lights prompted me to once again remind everyone about one of my favorite tools. Northern Tool & Equipment sells a 5-watt folding solar panel that folds down to the size of a paperback book for only $35. They come with a nice wiring kit that also allows multiple panels to be piggybacked for more power. They’re tough and well-made, with the small panels fit into a ballistic nylon type of carrier to make it fold.
One of these lives in each of our Bug Out Bags (BOBs), along with a small battery charger that takes 12 volt input (just look for one with a separate “wall-wart” [power cube]). I tested these and they quickly charge
a set of AAs and will keep you comms running just fine in an emergency. Those little solar lights are probably about 1/4 watt panels, and if you’re desperate they’ll help, but for planning ahead I think these panels from Northern Tool are one of the must-buy items of the year. Having comms, a small shortwave radio and light at night makes life a lot more pleasant, no matter the circumstances.
Here’s the link. – Bill in Oregon
JWR Adds: Since Northern Tool is one of our affiliate advertisers, if and when you do shop there, we’d greatly appreciate it if you place your orders only through this link: Northern Tool & Equipment, (Otherwise we won’t get our little piece of the action.)