Charged up and ready to go! We took the Waka Waka Power for a 15 days trek around the Annapurna Circuit.
At 138 grams, there was just no excuse not to bring this light/solar charger for the trip. I read that electricity can be an issue on the teahouses around the Annapurna Circuit, and we brought the Waka Waka first and foremost as a light during the dark hours, but we also needed to charge our GPS-watches, Steripen and mobile phones. Actually, we didn’t expect to have much reception during the trek, but it turned out that the mobile net was developed very well. Anyway, we had told our family at home not to expect too much phone calls, so the phone was mostly in our backpacks turned off.
The makers of the Waka Waka claims it need 8 hours to fully charge at 50 degrees latitude – Nepal is at 27-28 degrees – so we are on the «good side of the world for solar charging». At 100% it should give light for 40 hours or fully charge an iPhone.
I made a routine out of strapping the Waka to my backpack with a chord and keeping it there during the day. When you move it is off course impossible to keep it at an optimal angle towards the sun all the time, and there will be clouds and shade – hence charging on the go will be sub-optimal. I made sure when we stopped to rest, to put it in the sunny spot so it could soak as much direct sun as possible.
The Waka Waka kept up with our power consumption – charging two GPS-watches, our steripen and lighting up our surroundings at night.
Just the idea of being self sufficient in terms of energy is appealing to me – and when you trek of the grid, you won’t have any other choice. The device is too small to keep up with an active smartphone usage (but who would anyway, on a trek).
For those who plan to do this trek, a solar carger is not a strict necessity – there is charging possibilities everywhere, and you can charge your devices at a small fee – which in turn is a welcome contribution to the nepali family economy. However – you will need a light.
When you buy one Waka Waka – the organization automatically donate one solar light unit to a developing country where people live off the power grid. Currently the victims of the typhoon catastrophe in the Philippenes. Read more here