Help me make sure that my camera battery is still alive when I reach Everest Base Camp!
August 16, 2010 4:31 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for solar powered chargers that will charge my camera battery and will work while hiking...

I'm off on a 16 day trek in the Himalayas later this year, and want to make sure that my camera doesn't run out of juice at the crucial moment! I won't have the opportunity to recharge my camera batteries during the 16 days. In general, I've found that one battery lasts 3 days at my rate of taking photos. I have 3 batteries. I can buy a couple of extra batteries, but I'm unlikely to have much use for them after the trek.

So I'm looking at solar powered battery chargers. I'll be hiking, so need something that can be easily attached to the back of my backpack and that won't be fazed by a bit of movement.

I have a panasonic lumix TZ-03, if that matters.

Bonus points for something that will charge my iphone 4 as well (but that's just a "nice to have").
posted by finding.perdita to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
REI. Pick one.
posted by artdrectr at 4:54 PM on August 16, 2010

Response by poster: Additional information - my camera has a 3.7v Li-ion battery, so I need a solar charger that will charge that, rather than a standard solar charger, as the connectors won't allow me to charge the battery. The best I could find on google was the freeloader pro (with a cradle that will accept the battery to charge it later), but the reviews suggest that while this works well when left in the sun to charge, it doesn't work nearly as well when strapped to the back of a backpack while hiking.
posted by finding.perdita at 5:06 PM on August 16, 2010

Best answer: Ok, not what you asked, but personally, I'd go for extra batteries. Here's why:
• Probably less expensive. Consider off-brand batts with high reviews
• Smaller/lighter (will charger need extra cabling and attachments?)
• Much less to go wrong, less fuss & concern. Save that energy for your aching body.

Most chargers need to be in direct-full-sun. Can't target that as you're hiking. And, how many cloudless days can you guarantee on Everest?

I don't like contributing to the lithium waste stream, but batteries are best in this case.
posted by artdrectr at 6:01 PM on August 16, 2010

Yeah I'd go with extra batteries and extreme dilligence in shutting your camera off quickly.

I hitchhiked through Newfoundland with a Canon 5D and 3 batteries. Now...I did get a chance to recharge them once in a while, but I took an insane amount of pictures too. I was gone for 40 days.

I can't imagine the solar charger thing is going to work that well.
posted by sully75 at 6:55 PM on August 16, 2010

What does the camera charge at? Is the charging input 3.7V or is that the battery output to the camera?

If you do want to go for solar rather than spare 3.7V batteries, and charge input is 3.7, you probably need to run a chain something like this: solar panel -> battery -> charge converter -> camera. That ends up being a fair amount of extra weight on your back, and isn't really cheap.

However, such a setup should enable you to charge the battery while you're hiking then recharge the camera overnight. Also frees you from any issues the camera might have with simultaneously charging and taking photos - ie you won't have to plug and unplug constantly.

As an added bonus, if you get a multi-output charge converter, you can keep using this thing with other devices after this particular trip.

REI has Brunton stuff, which is reasonably priced, and seems to get positive reviews. I don't know it first hand.
posted by Ahab at 12:17 AM on August 17, 2010

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