I researched lightweight portable solar panels to recharge my tech while camping for a long time. It didn’t take long before I was totally discouraged. Everything on the market was either way too expensive, too heavy, didn’t generate enough power or simply not durable enough to bring on hikes. That’s why when I found SunnyBAG’s Leaf+ on KickStarter, I couldn’t wait to test it. Gladly, I can now say my search is over. The Leaf+ is an efficient outdoor solar system and independent electric power supply for the outdoor adventurer.
Out of the box, the Leaf+ comes with everything you need for a truly portable outdoor solar system experience, including:
- Solar panel module w/ dual-port cable (lightning/micro-USB)
- 6,000 mAh powerstick (power bank) with 2A & 1A Current, 4-Stage LED Display, Flashlight
- 2 carabiners
- 2 suction cups
- 4 loop ties
- 1 USB to micro-USB cable
- 1 micro-USB to USB-C converter
- 1 micro-USB to lightning converter
HYBRID SOLAR SYSTEM – EFFICIENT POWER OUTPUT
Let’s start off with what you all really want to know the most – how much power does the Leaf+ produce.
The Leaf+ has a unique hybrid system of two advanced solar panel technologies, which obtain a power output of 6.2 watts.The outside edges of the the SunnyBAG Leaf+ contain a highly efficient SUNPOWER® panel. The middle panels of the SunnyBAG Leaf+ are highly flexible and utilize a unique Triple-Junction technology which allows the solar cells to produce power even in partially cloudy conditions. The combination of these two world leading and different solar technologies enable the Leaf+ to absorb a wider spectrum of blue, green and red light than competitors.
For its weight and size, the Leaf+ is efficient and quick to charge devices while in direct sunlight. This is due to the hybrid solar system and the efficient connection achieved with the duel-port connector extending directly from the panel module. This dual-port is particularly cool because it can charge lightning or micro-USB devices without having to attach an adapter.
SunnyBAG advertises the Leaf+ to be able to charge an iPhone in 2 hours while in direct light, or 4 hours when in partially cloudy conditions. After testing the Leaf+ on my iPhone 6, I found it was able to achieve a full charge in 2-3 hours when in direct light and took under 5 hours when in partially cloudy conditions. Regarding the 6,000 mAh powerstick, it took 5-6 hours to charge in direct light and double that time in partially cloudy weather. Once fully charged, the powerstick has been able to fully charge my iPhone 3 times.
At the time of posting this review I have not tested charging other devices, but the Leaf+ is compatible with GoPros, iPads, cameras, cell phones, GPS devices, etc.
WEIGHT AND DIMENSION
At 11.8 inches (30cm) x 9.8 inches (25cm), and just under 7 ounces (198g), the Leaf+ is about the size of a sheet of paper and only a few millimeters thick. The powerstick comes in at 4.2 ounces (120g)and is a little smaller than a deck of cards. All together the Leaf+ solar system will add 11.2 ounces (318g) to your backpack, bag or tent – which is totally justifiable given the benefits it can provide while in the outdoors.
DURABLE, FLEXIBLE AND WEATHERPROOF
SunnyBAG designed the Leaf+ to withstand a rugged lifestyle. It is specifically created for the outdoors enthusiast to take hiking, camping, climbing, cycling, fishing, golfing, tailgating and even to music festivals.
In order to function at a high level in these conditions, the Leaf+ is made with a scratch and impact resistant surface that can battle rain, wind, snow and cold weather. Simultaneously, this robust material is highly flexible and can comfortably bend past 90 degrees. This allows it to easily attach to backpacks or tents with the integrated hooks and various fasteners.
The Leaf+ is damn cool piece of gear and a great addition to my hiking pack and hurricane prep stash. It is easy to use, lightweight and gets the job done. I also really like that it is designed to take anywhere in any condition. I have taken it camping, hiking, to the park and beach. At this point it is almost an automatic grab when I am heading outside since it is comforting to have the ability to charge my tech when away from a power source a long period of time. When not in use, I stick it in my bag and never have to worry about it breaking or scratching due to the flexible and scratch resistant material.
Talking about the flexibility, I have bent the Leaf+ past 90 degrees but not in half, yet I don’t recommend doing this. I did it simply to see what would happen, and lucky enough it quickly recoiled back to its original shape. This is cool though since it conforms easily to the outside of any pack.
When I do want to use it, the carabiners and loop ties make the Leaf+ incredibly easy to attach to my daypack or hang from my beach/tailgating tent. The suction cups have even come in handy while I was in the car with friends and all the USB ports in the car were being used. I stuck the Leaf+ to the window and charged my phone, preventing a power cord war with my buddies.
The included powerstick is a great addition to the system. For starters, I always keep the powerstick charged allowing me to have power even if there is not enough sunlight to utilize the solar panels. It is also nice to be able to charge the battery for times when your devices are fully charged, but there is still sunlight left to harvest. The powerstick is well designed and has a 4-stage LED display showing when it is 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% full. This is convenient for obvious reasons. It also has a built in flashlight for emergencies, which comes in handy more than you would think. Lastly, it has the ability to charge your devices through the 1A or 2A USB output ports – meaning you can charge your cameras (which only require 1A) and your tablets (which require 2A).
That being said, I am very happy with the SunnyBAG’s Leaf+ and look forward to testing it out more.
Price: See Price
Dimensions: 11.8 inches (30cm) x 9.8 inches (25cm)
Weight: Leaf+ 7 ounces (198g); Powerstick 4.2 ounces (120g)
Output: 6 Watts
Compatibility: Phones, Video And Digital Cameras, Tablets, GPS, etc.
Outlet Direct Charger: Micro-USB & Lightning Outlet In One Plug
Powerstick: 6,000 mAh, 2A & 1A current, 4-Stage LED Display, Flashlight