With Superstorm Sandy leaving so many without power for days on end, a lot of people are thinking harder about what alternative energy solutions they should add to their emergency kits. We have quite a few suggestions for where to start looking for the best options.
First, check out our 5 Best Portable Solar Laptop Chargers. These are great options for laptops from companies like Brunton, Go Power, and Sunlinq, and you can also use them to charge up smaller devices like cell phones. The prices make them an investment but they'll get the job done.
Next, we like the solar chargers launched by Swiss Army. It folds up nicely to fit in an emergency backpack and is a much lower price tag. But that also means less charging capability. It'll work for cell phones, flashlights, extra batteries and radios, but it would take ages to charge something as large as a laptop.
Another great option is the customizable solar charger kit from Voltaic Systems. You can buy components to create a system for your own needs -- whether you want just a small backup charger or if you want a larger system for charging laptops. It's a great way to get only what you need for an emergency.
If you don't want to mess around with gadget chargers and want to make sure you have the ability to generate some serious electricity via solar in an emergency, then we recommend the products from Goal Zero, including the Yeti1250. The Yeti1250 pairs with two 30-Watt solar panels, which are framed in metal to provide extra durability. Together, they need 20-22 hours of sunlight to charge the charger to full, which then provides 1250 Watt hours. Now that's some off-grid energy!