Portable solar panels make it easy to charge your devices without a power outlet in sight, allowing you to keep your phone, satellite communicator, and whatever other gadgets you rely on properly juiced while slumming it in the outdoors. The Sego Solar Charger works much like any other portable solar panel, but in a clever design that allows it to collapse into a compact bundle.
Designed with an origami-based folding pattern, the solar panel is able to shrink into a fraction of its actual size when collapsed, allowing you to fit one in a jacket or even multiple panels in your pack without much trouble. According to the outfit, it’s a pattern inspired by the space-based solar arrays NASA uses, which employs similar origami folding techniques to stow into a small size for easy deployment towards the Earth’s orbit and beyond.
The Sego Solar Charger measures just 7.5 x 7.5 x 1 inches (width x length x thickness) when folded, making it incredibly compact compared to other portable solar panels. Despite being so small, it deploys into a 25W hexagon-shaped solar panel resembling a satellite dish with 25.6 square feet of surface area all covered in solar cells for soaking in the sunlight. It uses SunPower’s monocrystalline solar cells that, the outfit claims, can deliver 25W of charging in optimal sound conditions. Because of the origami design, the panels are precisely cut in triangular shapes that are then connected via the integrated circuit boards.
The panel is covered in ETFE coating to give it IP67 weather resistance, ensuring it won’t get damaged if you suddenly experience rain on an erstwhile sunny day. The back of the panels, on the other hand, are fitted with high-pressure fiberglass laminate substrate, giving them a durable structure that should handle the rigors of camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
The Sego Solar Charger has its charger module in the back, which comes with a USB-C port that you can connect to a power bank for storing the power or to a device that needs urgent charging. There’s also another port that you can use for daisy-chaining multiple solar panels together, making it possible to generate higher amounts of power for filling up larger portable power stations. According to the outfit, a single solar panel can generate enough power to fully charge a smartphone in one to two hours, a tablet in three to four hours, and a 10,000mAh power bank in four to seven hours. Granted, it can take longer without optimal sun conditions, but it’s still pretty powerful all the same.
It comes with a two-legged kickstand, by the way, that slot right into the charger module, allowing you keep the panel stable when you set it on the ground. Do note, you will have to tend to this day several time throughout the day to ensure it’s facing the direction of sunlight to ensure optimal charging. The kickstand can retract and stow in the same pile as the collapsed solar panel when not in use.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Sego Solar Charger. You can pledge a unit for pledges starting at $289.