Solar Backpacks Can Take A Licking, Startup Says
There’s a new, solar-powered backpack in town, and it’s called the ZenTrek. Offered in three models—the slimline Xplorer, the full-sized Instinct and the hybrid Endura—the ZenTreks line of rugged solar-powered backpacks promises to provide energy-on-the-go for your electronics, and the company is looking for help to launch its products.
Startup ZenTreks, whose designs were inspired by mobile-power backpacks used by the military, is offering its products for a wider audience through a promotional program called Kickstarter, which provides public funding in the form of individual or business pledges to interesting, noteworthy or experimental offerings in product design, the arts and publishing. ZenTreks’ says its design, by San Francisco creator Norman Ho, offers fully mobile solar photovoltaic power for portable electronics via highly flexible, second-generation, silicon wafer technology panels that won’t crack under pressure, thus ending their useful life forever.
With a tandem focus on sustainability and durability, ZenTreks mobile-power backpacks provide 30 percent more electricity than currently available from a similar device, the company says, in a compact design featuring carbonate-hardened ballistic fiber materials three times stronger than leather. This fabric is said to be abrasion-proof, puncture resistant and waterproof, thanks to its Kevlar-like composition, yet fully conformable to the user and designed to allow airflow between user and pack for added carrying comfort. And thanks to its impermeability, it offers 100-percent protection for your expensive, fragile electronics.
ZenTreks slogan of “Get outside, stay outside” suggests the enduring quality of its mobile-power backpacks, slated for delivery in May (the hydrogen fuel cell upgrade is still in development). The weight, capacity and durability of all three models seems to reaffirm company founder Ho’s pledge to deliver a fully "green" product whose quality is warranted and whose pricing —or pledging ($199 to $399)—is comparable to similar products on the market.