In a time when we are ever more connected to our phones, even when traveling to remote locations where cell phone service is non-exsistant, and access to the internet is the least of your worries. We still want to listen to music, take photos, and access content on our phones. If you plan on being away from your outlet and car’s cigarette lighters for more than a day, you need a solution.
There are a lot of portable power solutions out on the industry but the Bushnell SolarWrap Mini caught our eye for a number of reasons. The all in one design is very convenient. It’s easy to roll out the wrap, or roll it back up. Velcro holds the wrap closed during storage. We also like the size, it’s easy to attach to a backpack, tent or tree. It would have been nice if some additional attachment tools were included like a carabiner, but you can fold the velcro back on itself to create a loop to attach to a small tree branch. Additionally, it would be nice to have a way to secure the battery to the bottom of a backpack from swinging away from the pack.
The rated charging time of 10 hours may seem like forever, but in reality, if it was 8 hours or 10 hours, we were going to leave it out all day and charge our phone that night from the SolarWrap. Additionally, we appreciate the size of the solar portion vs increasing the size just to reduce the charging time. We were happy with the size to charge time ratio.
Once the charging surface is exposed to the light source, the charging light immediately comes on. We used it to charge phones, GoPro cameras, and it worked perfectly every time. Never had any issues. One thing that was missing was an indicator of how much power is left in the SolarWrap battery. Sometimes we were just topping off our camera battery and only using a portion of the battery to charge. It would be nice to know about how much juice was left.
Pros: Small, light weight (3.1 oz), great for backpacking and charging for one person, durable, still charges in lower light, can precharge before a trip
Cons: No juice indicator, could use more built in attachment options, confusing light instruction
There are some discrepancies in the instructions that lead to confusion as to if the unit is actually charged or not. The printed instructions included with the device states:
“The LED near the INPUT port on the side of the SolarWrap Mini’s cylinder will change from red to green to indicate a full charge.”
However, when you look at the instructions included on the actual battery of the Solar Wrap Mini it has different instructions than what were included on the printed instruction that are conflicting. The instructions state on the battery:
- Blinking light indicates charging (The light never blinks for me)
- Steady light on indicates charging complete
- Charging from solar will blink until full, then steady light for 10 min.”
This is very confusing for us the light never blinked if it was charging from the sun or from USB. Additionally, to make things even more confusing, we noticed when charging via sunlight if the sun wasn’t directly on the panel, but still present, the Green light would light up (which you would think meant it was completed charging). However, when more direct sunlight hit the panel the light would change to Red (Charging). It’s just really hard to determine how much juice the battery actually has stored.
Charging via USB is a little better, when plugged in the light glows Red, and when the charge is complete the light turns green.
Once you figure out how to charge the unit, it’s a great option for portable power. For a lightweight personal use, one device, off grid charging option it works well once you kind of figure out the Solar Wrap Mini. It’s extremely durable and simple to use. There are no buttons, no extra wires, attach it to a backpack while you’re on the move and you forget it’s even there. If you have ever been off the grid for more than a day you know what a benefit portable power is, and it our opinion this is one of the best options out there. Our only complaint is not knowing if and how much charge is in the unit.
You can checkout some of the tech that goes into Bushnell solar products at the link below to Bushnells website.
Specs of the Bushnell Solar Wrap Mini:
Weight: oz 3.1
Size: in 4.3″ x 1.25″
Deployed Length: in 18.25″
Charge From Wall: 4 Hours
Charge From Solar: 10 Hours
USB Outlets: 1
Power Output: 5v, 1a
Battery Type: Li Ion
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