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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Solar Chargers > Bushnell SolarWrap Mini > Test Report by Dawn LarsenTest Report
Bushnell Outdoor Products Powersync SolarWrap Mini
Initial Report - 8 August 2013
Field Report - 4 November 2013
Long Term Report - 7 January 2014
Name: Dawn Larsen
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT gmail DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last several years have backpacked private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper and paddler in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my twenty year-old son.
Manufacturer: Bushnell Outdoor Products
Maker's website: www.bushnell.com
Model year: 2013
Dimensions (measured unrolled for solar charging): 18 x 4.25 inches (45.7 x 10.8 cm)
Dimensions (measured rolled and capped): 4.5 x 1.375 inches (11.5 x 3.6 cm)
Photovoltaic panel (measured): 35 inches sq (232 cm sq)
Weight (manufacturer): 3.1 oz (88 g)
Weight (measured): 3.0 oz (85 g)
Battery type: Li-Ion
Power output: 5v, 1amp
Output ports: 1 USB
Supplied accessories: USB-to-micro USB cable
Advertised time to charge battery via USB connection: 4 hours
Advertised time to charge battery via solar panel: 10 hours
MSRP: USD $89.99
Warranty: one year
8 August 2013
The unit was wrapped in hard plastic and a plastic bag. It included the solar charger, a USB/micro USB cable, a quickstart guide, and a registration card.
I have some experience with solar chargers, but am not a technically oriented person AT ALL. Last year I bought a small solar charger that was absolutely useless. It would only charge my iPhone if both were lying in the sun. A more informed person told me that it's really all about how much of a charge the charger will hold. I have high hopes for this one.
To unroll the device, I took off the protective end caps from the rolled charger. There is a 5.75 in (14.6 cm) piece of fabric at the end of the roll. In the picture below, the fabric is the piece that has the name, Bushnell, in orange and a hole outlined in orange. The fabric has hook and loop closure on the back of it to secure it when rolled. The hole is for securing it onto my backpack or to stake in the ground in order to keep it from blowing in the wind. On one end of the roll, there is regular sized USB port labeled "output" and on the other end is a micro USB port labeled, "input." On the micro end of the roll, there is also a lighted indicator.
Per the instructions, I pre-charged it using my computer. I attached the supplied USB cable by inserting the micro end of the cable to the device and the regular end of the cable to my computer. Once I did that the indicator on the micro end of the roll glowed red. The instructions said it would take 4 hours to charge the device, but the indicator changed from red to green (indicating fully charged) in a little over 2 hours.
This device is very simple per the instructions. As well, there are instructions printed on the device that say: "Red light indicates charging. Green light indicates charging complete. Caution: Roll solar panel facing out to avoid damages." Seems like that is all a non-techie person like me would need to know in order to use it. I really like its simplicity!
How it works per the instructions (and my fiddling with it)
I can pre-charge it by using the supplied USB cable and my computer (see explanation above). If I want to charge it via solar, I unroll the device and leave it in the sun for 10 hours in order for it to be fully charged. Then, when I want to charge my iPhone, for example, I plug the iPhone cable into the phone and the USB end into the solar charger, and wait. It held the pre-charge for 24 hours.
Design & Materials
I really like the design. I like its portability and packability because it rolls up to such a small thing. I like the fact that it's thin and unrolls to attach to my backpack. It seems to be well-built and sturdy. The photo cells are so thin! The fabric seems tough and I love the hook and loop closure attached to it so that I don't have to hold the roll in place with the end caps, smart design feature! That way the photo cells are protected when I'm using it to charge my electronic devices.
Wow, I hope this thing works because if it does, it will be one of my favorite pieces of equipment.
What I like
The photo cells are so thin and the device is so small!
It rolls up very well.
It is simple to operate.
What I don't like
Nothing at this time.
Long Term Report
7 January 2014
I went on one overnight and two day hikes this period, all in the freezing temperatures of Southwest Missouri. Temperatures during the day averaged 40 F (4 C) and at night below freezing (0 C). All trips had clear weather. The trails in Missouri are wooded, fairly steep and rugged.
Because I washed the first charger, I had to order a new one (see my Field Report). The new one arrived much earlier than expected on 15 November though the date they quoted was 28 November.
Use was consistent with my field reports. I charged my iPhone and iPad during this test period. It was very difficult to time charging in the field because the availability of sunlight on a wooded trail is inconsistent. Obviously, it took longer for the Mini to charge up when sunlight was inconsistent. Like at Burning Man, dust often accumulated on the panel causing the device to charge ineffectively. As well, when I strapped it to my backpack, it would continue to turn in the wind, so I was not sure when I was hiking if it was turned around or not. I often wished there was some sort of gauge so I would have known how much charge was in the device. A couple of times, the light read green and I would try to charge my phone. It would drain the charge out of the Mini without really charging the phone much at all. It really was guess work to know if it would charge my phone adequately.
This time I also used it in my car on the dash to charge up the Mini. That way I could keep the charger in my purse and charge my iPhone or iPad when they ran down. It worked very well that way and its small size made keeping it in my purse or backpack easy.
This is a great little item that I will continue to use daily, probably. It is so packable and simple to operate. I really liked that. And I'll try not to wash it in the future! Though I really liked the Mini, please find some suggestions for easier use below.
Read more reviews of Bushnell gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen
Reviews > Electronic Devices > Solar Chargers > Bushnell SolarWrap Mini > Test Report by Dawn Larsen
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