Backpacks that just hold gear are becoming rather boring — the Voltaic Array and OffGrid use built-in solar panels to charge your DSLR or laptop while on the go. After launching on Kickstarter earlier this week, Voltaic is less than $5,000 shy of its funding goal with more than a month remaining.
The Kickstarter is the company’s second crowdfunded solar backpack after successfully launching its original Converter backpack. The two new backpacks offer expanded charging capabilities over the company’s original product. The OffGrid backpack nearly doubles the original 3.5-watt backpack at six watts, while the Array boasts a 10-watt solar panel and 19,800mAh battery, big enough to charge a laptop.
Voltaic says the Array is the only solar backpack powerful enough to charge a laptop — it is also capable of charging a drone, DSLR or smaller devices like tablets and smartphones. The Array’s battery takes 12 hours to charge via sunlight, or four hours with a wall outlet. The company says the solar battery has enough capacity to give a 1.7 charge to a laptop, or about one drone, 4.5 smartphone charges or up to 6.5 DSLR fill-ups.The OffGrid is the company’s streamlined option, with a shorter 4.5-time solar charge but not quite as much juice. The OffGrid can power a smartphone or DSLR about one time but is not big enough to refuel a laptop.
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Both bags use waterproof exteriors using recycled PET made from soda bottles, while interior dividers are sold as add-ons for using the bags for camera gear. The built-in solar panels and battery packs put the bags on the heavier side for a normal bag, but still seem fairly manageable considering the extra power packed inside — the OffGrid weighs 3.5 pounds while the Array weighs 5.1 pounds.
The bags are available for pledges starting at $119, with a camera insert adding $30 to the cost. The OffGrid is expected to retail for $199 while the Array is priced at $379. The earliest backers could see their bags as soon as February, with the remaining bags expected to begin shipping in March.