The Bushnell PowerSync is a compact, durable and lightweight solar panel system with an integrated high-capacity lithium-ion battery. It comes in several solar roll models that would be applicable for biking, including the SolarWrap 400 and SolarWrap 200, and the smaller and lighter $90 SolarWrap Mini (shown above), which I tested since its the most ideal for biking-related activities. They also sell two larger foldable systems, the SolarBook 600 and SolarBook 850, which are better suited for camping and backpacking. The SolarWrap Mini kit comes with the battery pack with its attached flexible solar panel, an instruction booklet, two end caps with elastic cords and an USB-to-micro-USB connecting cable.
The PowerSync uses an Amorphous Thin Film panel to collect solar power to recharge the battery, and works in less than ideal conditions, and doesn’t require a direct angle to the sun. The PowerWrap and Mini solar panels roll back around the battery body for compact storage. The Mini weighs 3.1 ounces and is 4.3″ x 1.25″ in size when rolled up, and has a 2200mAh Li-Ion battery that outputs 5V/1A and takes four hours to charge from home or 10 hours from the 11.25″ x 3″ sized solar panel. Once the battery is charged, you can hook up a USB connector to the battery and do off the grid charging of a smartphone, camera, MP3 player, etc. A nice benefit of their systems, is that you can simultaneously charge a device and keep gathering solar energy to replenish the battery, albeit at a slower rate. The underlying technology of this flexible and thin-film photovoltaic (PV) was originally developed for the U.S. Army, in which they needed a lightweight solar panel that was durable enough to be deployed in harsh military field environments.
You can attach the SolarWrap Mini to the back of your pack to recharge the battery while out on the trail, or just unfurl it and lay it in the sun or hang it from a tree at camp or during a break. I do wish they had some sort of tie down locations or straps on the battery body for attaching the unit to a pack during solar charging, though I did end up using the end cap covers and their elastic cord as a workaround for attachment purposes. Although the solar panels’s material is thin and flexible, it’s still tough and durable, and the solar cells are independently wired so that even if a cell or two gets damaged, the charger can continue to function.
Continue reading for more on the SolarWrap Mini and full photo gallery.