Charge your outdoors electronics with ease with this simple-to-use and durable portable solar charger from EnerPlex: the Kickr IV.
When EnerPlex designed and built the Kickr IV it’s clear they put an emphasis on durability. While other solar chargers on the market contain fragile glass elements, the Kickr IV is made of much more rugged material and can therefore better sustain the abuse outdoors gear is typically given. A few things to keep in mind, modules do the hard work! Take care of them. Don’t let anything scratch them and don’t get them wet, in fact it’s likely a good idea to keep the unit in a zip lock (easily accomplished given the unit’s size). EnerPlex says weather resistant, but also makes it pretty clear to not get the unit wet. As for the power capabilities, it collects and uses 6.5 watts of solar power. Obviously, it works best in direct sunlight, but it still worked with overcast skies. It seemed to charge my phone at a slightly lower clip than your standard wall outlet.
The charger folds up accordion-style to a very compact 10.5 x 7.5 x 1.2 inches.
Imagine this… You’re backpacking along the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail and you happen upon an overlook with a breathtaking view. You stop, take it all in with a few mental snapshots, have a drink of water, a quick snack and get ready head back on the trail. Before you go, you need to take a few quick photos for your soon-to-be-famous Instagram account, but oh no…. your phone is dead. You didn’t bring a camera because well, you phone takes just as good of pictures right? If only there were a solution. Well, we are happy to say that there is; and EnerPlex has got you covered!
The Kickr IV comes with bungies to make it easy to attach to your pack or tent, we fit everything in a handy mesh sack (but we recommend a ziploc if traveling in wet weather).
We’ve spent the last month getting intimate with the EnerPlex Kickr IV. It’s been used repeatedly in the Boise National Forest, in the windy abyss that is southeastern Washington and around the Bay Area. Our initial tester is more of a duct tape and rub some spit on it type of fellow so he was quite skeptical of the idea he’d ever want to carry a solar charger when backpacking, moaning “it’s going to be bulky, heavy and a waste of pack space.” We didn’t tell ‘ole duct tape and spit anything about the specs or the company prior… actually we did the opposite saying “you are right, it’s not going to be much fun. It kind of looks like a folded up car battery with a USB port.” You can imagine his surprise upon receiving the Kickr. The Kickr IV is pretty darn tiny. Folded up it is a little over a foot long, a half a foot wide and about an inch thick. It’s flexible as well, so there is a little give but that is not a license to bend how you please. You will mess up the charging modules if you get too fast and loose with it. We found the best place to charge while hiking was on the backpack hood. The Kickr IV is also on the lighter side at under a pound. Maybe a touch heavy for those counting ounces, but it’s hard to argue with the ability to charge your electronics on the trail. Your DSLR, phone and GPS will all charge nicely with the standard mini USB - iPhone users don’t forget your power cord! Also, we did notice that it didn’t like Apple products as much (to be clear, it still worked we just had to unplug and plug it back in on occasion). We contacted EnerPlex about this issue and understand that it has been resolved in later models. This is the only reason we give it 4 stars out of 5.
If you find yourself in a bad spot, the ability charge your phone could very well be the difference between getting out safely or not!
Disclosure: EnerPlex provided TrailMob with the Unit for testing and review purposes.
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This gear was provided to TrailMob.com free of charge by the manufacturer in exchange for our fair and unbiased review.