In the PowerTraveller Power Monkey Explorer, the solar panels are combined with a removable battery charger. The battery can be charged directly from the mains, via a USB PC link or with the panels. You get international plug adapters as well as a host of adapters to allow discharge of the battery to MP3 players, phones and other devices. The battery has an LCD screen to indicate the charge remaining. Also the battery is described as water-resistant. Most importantly the solar panels have rucksack securing points so you can easily walk with this unit soaking up the rays. There are additional adapters for pro Canon cameras and AA/AAA batteries. So the PowerTraveller Power Monkey Explorer really is a system that can be used to power most devices you are likely to need outdoors. The panels can also be connected directly to devices to charge them without having to charge the battery first. But the internal battery requires 6 hours of good sunlight to provide enough power to charge your mobile, which is a lot in typical British mountain weather. Obviously there are larger devices available that can soak up more sun and there are also lower-priced options too. There’s not a lot wrong here though!
Charging time 6 hours in full sun charges battery by a third, enough to fully charge a mobile phone; 3.5 hours of mains power or 6 hours of USB charging fully charges battery
Power output 96 hours’ talk time on mobiles or 40 hours of MP3 player use or 48 hours’ use of a PDA and up to 1,600 extra photos when connected to a digital camera
Packed size 9x4.5x3.8cm
Weight 164g (solar panels + battery)
Stores in the UK 280
Stockist details – tel. (01420) 542980; www.powertraveller.com
The PowerTraveller Power Monkey Explorer provides plenty of input and output options and is by far the most practical solar panel for hill-walkers on the move. It won ‘Best in Test’.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine June 2010