In the modern world, the night sky is almost always blocked out by the night lights of the cities, but if you can get out and far enough away, then you can find what humans had been staring up at since the dawn of time. Not only was that perhaps the most profound experience of my life, the forests also gave me a sense of peace, freedom, belonging, and offered a new way of looking at the world that I was blind to prior for all my life. When you live in a city, the hustle and bustle of the everyday 9-to-5 can dramatically change your quality of life, opening doorways toward anxiety, depression, and unhappiness. But when you get back to basics, and visit a place that’s unspoiled, far away from humans, then you have the opportunity to sort of return to where we evolved from.
Camping is the surest way to get back to basics, so if you’re feeling anxious, depressed or like you’re spinning your tires everyday, try getting away for awhile. Taking a break from the internet, the phone, and from the modern human world is among the finest experiences and most positive things someone can do for themselves. Some of you out there are probably thinking about how uncomfortable camping could possibly be, about no amenities, no power, no heat or A/C, or how much work it is to setup a camp and to start a fire. Or maybe you’re scared of bears, bugs or bunny rabbits… Who knows?! Well, let me tell you that you’re simply making up objections because you’re nervous to experience new things.
Power while camping used to be inexistent, but then came along the gas generator, which brought portable power to the camping experience. But this is bad for the environment, and really bad if you’re trying to be still and quiet and wait for wild animals to appear in or near your camp. The next day, my family came down from that mountain and ventured to a new spot in the forest, and lo and behold, some jerk in an RV parked near enough to our camp that we could hear nothing but his generator going all night. We saw no elk, no moose, no bears, nothing. It was an infuriating experience, which I’ll talk about more in my next Jackery feature.
They also sent along their foldable SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel, which hooks right into the Explorer 500 power station, charging the large 144,400mAh battery from 0% in 16 hours (by solar panel, or in 7.5 hours when charged by AC wall outlet). First, I wish to highlight how cool it is that you can run high powered devices anywhere powered by this battery. Want to bring your TV camping? You totally can with this battery pack. Isn’t that amazing and crazy, all at the same time?! When I saw this power station, I thought, ‘welp, the future has arrived,’ because you can seriously charge an entire mobile office on the go. I used to backpack and work everyday on my laptop to be able to fund my wanderings. Now, with lithium batteries, you can even bring the printer along if you felt up for hauling it around with you.
The Explorer 500 has a 518Wh/144,400mAh capacity battery and is among the lightest and most portable rechargeable lithium battery generators on the market. The entire thing weighs 13.32 lbs and boasts an ergonomic handle bar that makes carrying it around much less of a chore, because it’s also quite small, measuring at 11.84”x7.59”x9.2”. The main output ports include an AC for larger appliances and laptops, 3x USB ports for smartphones and tablets, and includes three ways to charge the Power Station, by AC outlet, DC carport or by way of solar panel. The LCD screen displays battery life, as well as charge and discharge data, which makes it easy to know where you’re at in terms of power at all times.
The SolarSaga 100W is a monocrystalline solar panel that plugs directly into the Explorer 500. It weighs only 5.5 lbs and boasts a high conversion efficiency rating up to 23%, making it a breeze to carry and super easy to use. You can simply setup the solar panel and use the battery live as you need it, and in most situations you can stay ahead and avoid draining it completely on a trip. That is, of course, if you’re not constantly using a large mainstream appliance. What makes this model so special is that it also offers two USB ports on the back so even if you don’t purchase the power station, you can still charge your small devices like your smartphone, tablet, and digital camera. All in all, I found both the power station and the solar panel to be very well made, built to last, easy to carry and to work into my camping experiences, giving me a safer and convenient way to explore the planet’s wilder places while staying powered. I’m a big fan!
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(Main photo by nobarriersusa via Flickr)