As if you needed more reasons to spend the afternoon enjoying the sunshine, we’ve been amazed at how many new solar gadgets are popping up every day. Not only do they cut your reliance on cords—hello charging on the go!—they cut down on your electricity usage as well. We’ve found our favorite iPad keyboards, charging backpacks, and even a few concept products (a camera strap that charges your DSLR with solar cells) that we hope will make it into the marketplace soon. And if you can’t get enough sun-powered gadgetry, check out a few more solar-powered devices here. Let the sun shine in.
1. Logitech Solar Keyboard for iPad ($130): If you use your iPad for work when traveling, or even at home, this keyboard folio will change your life. Why? You’ll never have to plug it in! The solar panels collects energy from both sunlight and artificial light. Just as long as you store it with the solar panels exposed, you’ll never run into a charging issue.
2. Birksun Levels Backpack ($150): Don’t wear out your cell phone battery while hiking (especially when your device is constantly searching for service in the mountains). Instead, hook your phone to this backpack. Each hour you spend in the sun will give your phone a battery boost of almost 20 percent!
3. Solar Charging E-Reader: Make your own DIY solar product! Follow this project on Instructables to upgrade your e-reader with two solar panels on the back. You’ll never board a plane with a dead e-reader again, and if you do, you can just open the shade and charge it during takeoff. (via Instructables)
4.WakaWaka Solar Charger and Light ($80): Leave this thing in the sun for a whole day and it will store up 16 hours worth of light! Another reason to feel good about buying this charger: not only will you help curb electricity usage, but once you purchase, WakaWaka promises to donate lights to people who need them in the developing world. Plus, they’re yellow, and you know we love anything that comes in a bright hue.
5. Solar Camera Strap: Oh how we wish this wasn’t just a concept. What if you could keep your DSLR charged just by wearing your camera strap around while you’re sightseeing? It’s still not as cool as our DIY camera straps, but we’d gladly give up worrying about when our camera battery will run out. (via Yanko Design)
6. Solvinden Solar/Wind Powered Ground Stake ($40): Add lights to your backyard or patio area with these staked lamps. They are powered by both the sun and the wind, so even after an overcast day, you’ll be able to light up your alfresco dinner. Plus there’s an on/off switch so your patio lights can be turned off when you’re done with them. PS: Is it just us, or are these clearly designed with Brit + Co. colors in mind?
7. Solar Charger from a Playing Card: If you want to take a more DIY approach to solar charging, try this hack that turns a playing card into a charger for AA batteries. It might not power up your iPhone, but it will give new life to those rechargeable AAs that never seem to have any juice. (via Instructables)
8. Solar Powered Cat Toy ($40): We can’t decide if this is genius or a little bit mean. Regardless, it will provide hours of entertainment for your favorite feline. Simply stick it to the window, and when the sun shines, the toy will start to dance. It’s perfect to keep your cat active when you’re not around.
9. Window Socket: We LOVE this one! Another product we’re hoping to see come out of the concept phase, this little gadget suctions to your window (you can use it in the car or plane, too) and either stores energy in an internal battery to charge your device later, or can plug in and charge your device right away. (via Yanko Design)
10. PowerFilm USB+AA Solar Charger ($75): If you’re looking for a good basic charger without a lot of bells and whistles, this is the one to order. It charges most devices with a USB charger and is surprisingly compact. We love the idea of charging it on the dashboard during a road trip.
11. Eton Rugged Rukus All-Terrain Portable Solar Wireless Sound System ($130): One of our picks for the best wireless speakers, this all-terrain sound system can charge your phone while you’re playing music. Plus, it’s splash- and klutz-proof—a must have for any outdoor adventure, or for those with kids.
12. Lighted USB/Solar Rechargeable Leash with LEDs ($30): Stay safe and visible on that last walk of the night with your pup. This leash will charge via the solar panel during your morning stroll, and at night you can switch on the LED strip to make you and your pooch visible when you’re walking after dark. Brilliant.
13. Solvinden Solar Desk Lamp ($20): If you tend to stay up too late reading or worse yet…working, think of this lamp like a timer. On a full charge the lamp will last for approximately four hours. If you commit to only using that lamp, you’ll have to go to sleep once the charge dies dow. No excuses! PS: Another great color match for us here at Brit +Co. :)
14. New York Park Charging Stations: Next time you’re wandering the streets of New York, and your phone is almost out of battery, pop into one of the parks now equipped with solar charging stations. And no need to have your cord, they have hookups for most of the popular devices. (via Treehugger)
15. Flip Flop Solar Plant ($5): Those of you with black thumbs, this is the plant for you. Yes, it needs sun just like a real plant, but only so it can wiggle its leaves a little bit. If you forget it in your drawer for six months, it will stay just as green as the day you took it out of the plastic.
Do you have any solar chargers or devices? Would you try any of the hacks to make your gadgets solar-powered? Tell us in the comments or over on Twitter.