Review: Array Solar Backpack
The Voltaic Systems Array Backpack is a solid backpack with a solar panel and storage battery attached. The pack has a main compartment with mesh sleeves, a padded laptop pocket close to the wearer’s back, and two small zippered side pockets. It is not weather resistant, and a rain cover is not provided—so plan accordingly. The three solar panels provide 10 watts of charging when exposed to full sunlight and can charge the 16,000mAH battery while you ride. A standard USB port on the battery can then be used to charge phones, cameras, GPS units, and other devices. Adapter plugs for a variety of common ports is provided. A switch on the battery pack flips between 12, 16, or 19 charging volts. I had no problems charging my phone and cameras but had mixed results charging my laptop (a Dell XPS13 with USB-C) with the pack. A plug adapter bought for the laptop didn’t always work. Sometimes it charged the laptop; at other times the battery would go from full to empty without charging the laptop.
As with all solar panels, full and direct exposure to the sun works best. A red LED above the panels indicates whether they’re receiving enough sun to charge the battery. The solar panel and battery section of the backpack can be detached from the main pack and used separately, which is what I did when I mounted it to the rear rack of a Honda Africa Twin on another trip.