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Unplug from the electricity grid: Solar bags for the eco-minded


November 7, 2007

The Voltaic Solar Charging Backpack

The Voltaic Solar Charging Backpack

November 8, 2007 Adding to a growing selection of solar powered bagsand backpacks on the market, Office Depot has announced the release of a line of Voltaic solar charging bags that feature three lightweight, waterproof solar panels generating up to four watts of power - enough energy to charge nearly any handheld electronic device.

The bags can be used to charge Blackberrys, MP3 players, digital cameras, two-way radios, PDAs and nearly all brands of cell phones, however laptops prove too big a power challenge. Included with each bag is a Li-Ion battery pack, which clips inside the back pocket of the bags and stores any surplus power generated, so it is available when needed - not just when the sun is up. The battery pack can also be charged using an AC travel charger or car charger (both included).

Integrating the solar panels into the back pocket of the bag means there is no need to unpack and setup the panels and they are built into the back of the bag in a way that allows them to articulate, so the bag itself does not feel stiff or restrictive. The solar panels will charge a typical cell phone in 4-6 hours in direct sun. The panels are built on a strong but lightweight aluminum plastic composite, specifically selected to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Further adding to the bags’ environmentally friendly credentials is the fact that the bags are also made largely from recycled plastic soda bottles.

Office Depot carries three products in the assortment: The Voltaic Converter Solar Charging Bag, which can be used as a standalone daypack, or can be easily attached to another bag by utilizing the included fastek buckles. It is fully padded to carry and protect a notebook computer, includes a lined MP3/sunglasses pouch and features high-density padding in the shoulder straps and back panel, and can be worn as a backpack or a sling bag.

The Voltaic Messenger Solar Charging Bag is aimed at the professional or businessperson traveling to the office and/or going on a short business trip while the Voltaic Solar Charging Backpack has 1,850 cubic inches of storage space, includes multiple pockets and wire channels for electronic devices. It also features high-density padding in the shoulder straps and back panel, a nylon mesh backing for better air flow, an adjustable phone/MP3 pouch on the shoulder strap, a padded laptop sleeve, and a lined pouch inside.

The bags and backpacks range in price from US$179.99 to US$219.99

For further info visit Office Depot.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick
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