Introduction: Brown Dog Gadgets Solar Powered Backpack Charger

About: At the Eureka! Factory, we love making things, and thinking about things, and learning about things, and enjoy helping empower others to a curiosity driven life, too, so we can all live and learn in meaningful…

We enjoyed tinkering with Brown Dog Gadgets Solar Wallets for our March Instructables Build Night and while we looked a lot of different ideas at the Land O'Lakes Library Makerspace Open House, when we held our Build Night and invited people to play with the solar chargers, everyone ultimately came back to very basic, practical uses of the device.

Here in Florida, where we have an abundance of sunshine, and an abundance of places to hike and camp, the idea of having a portable, sunshine powered cell phone charger is too appealing not to address. Our Brown Dog Gadgets Solar Powered Backpack is a simple but very useful application of the Brown Dog Gadgets 5 watt solar wallet that works really well!

Step 1: Materials Needed

For this build, you'll need:

  • A Brown Dog 5W Folding USB Solar Cell
  • A backpack
  • A USB cable
  • Hook & Loop fastener
  • And a cell phone or whatever other small device you want to charge.

Step 2: Attach Hook & Loop

This is a pretty basic build. Just attach the hook & loop fasteners to your solar wallet and to your backpack. We used the sticky back stuff for our prototype, but would recommend putting a few stitches in the fabric fasteners when you've got them positioned where you want them, so they don't come off. Heat and humidity and the motion of walking and swinging the backpack around will loosen or rub off the fasteners if they aren't secured firmly.

Attach the fasteners that go on the wallet just above the USB port, and then where you attach the bottom fasteners depends on the size of your backpack. The bottom set is to keep the unfolded wallet from swinging and bouncing when you walk.

Step 3: Secure Your USB Cable

This step is sort of optional, but you may want to incorporate it, so you don't lose your cable and can easily access it. Just attach a small strap of hook & loop to the cable, and then you can attach it to one of your existing hook and loop fasteners on your solar wallet.

Step 4: Attach Your Cable

No explanation needed - attach your cable

Step 5: Attach Solar Charger to Backpack

Just like it says

Step 6: Strap on Your Pack & Plug in Your Phone

Works great and you never have to worry about your cell phone dying on a hike! (At least not in Florida!)

Step 7: Store in Backpack

Tuck the solar wallet with attached USB into your backpack, and it's ready to use whenever you're ready to hike!