Call it a (quarter NOT mid!)life crisis, but I was recently thinking about taking a weeklong hiking trip, to get away from it all. Of course, being that it's winter, this is a pursuit best saved for spring/summer. And being that I run an Apple video channel, "getting away from it all" means still bringing the iPhone, just finding a way to charge it.
Enter the Solio Magnesium Edition Hybrid Charger. The Solio is a solar and conventionally charged battery pack for the iPhone/iPod, or just about any other tech gadget. (It includes a generic usb connector, so be sure to pack your device's cable, or use an iTip.) Really, it's more of a wall-charged pack with a solar backup option. Our experience, which doesn't seem unique from customer reviews is that relying solely on the sun to recharge the pack will be a LONG (as in days) process. Best to leave with a full charge, which the device holds amazingly well in cold weather, for several days, and rely on the sun to top off the charge.
The Solio has a distinctive fan-like look when it is in solar charging mode. The "magnesium" in the name comes from the tough, light material this model uses, rather than plastic. Unfortunately, one of the solar panels is exposed and looks like it could be easily damaged, although after a few weeks of normal use, there are no scratches on the panel.
At the list price of $169, the unit is priced a bit high for all but the most eco-friendly/adventurous lots, but it can be found online as low as $85 new, which makes it a good deal for a high-capacity battery and charger, that happens to have a cool solar option as well.
Take a look: