Category Archives: seasonal

Eco-Chic: 7 Must-Haves for a Stylish, Eco-friendly Summer

A couple of summers ago, our Solar/Dynamo Waterproof LED Flashlight and Handy Dynamo Radio were featured alongside a number of other eco-friendly brands in “The Green Outdoors: Backyard & Beyond”, an article written by Sophie Novack for Organic Spa Magazine.

Because summer’s not quite over, and because we think our flashlight (and the other products featured in the article) are as great as ever, we wanted to share the write-up from Organic Spa Magazine (or you can find a link to the original post here).

Enjoy reading and happy adventuring!

Aug13_green outdoor_1

Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, whether in your backyard or at a campsite. The best gear should be environmentally friendly, in the spirit of truly delighting in nature, but ideally also preserve our daily comforts. Here are some of our newest and greatest eco finds for the season.

PRETTY LITTLE TENT

The Alite X Free People tent is a lightweight and stylish place to sleep two on a summer night. The mesh canopy is ideal for ventilation, and comes with a waterproof rainfly, in case of rain. Designed in collaboration with the clothing brand, Free People, in a range of colors. $168, freepeople.com/alite-x-free-people-tent-28046068/

POWER PACK

Aug13_green outdoor_7With a compact solar panel and battery pack for charging, the Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit is the ultimate eco-efficient, weather resistant, portable power charger. $ 159.99, goalzero.com

PETITE WATER PURIFIER

SteriPEN relies on eco-friendly UV-light technology to keep your water safe while camping. The world’s smallest, lightest UV water purifier, the light kills over 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in 48 seconds, so you can feel safe drinking water on the trail without having to carry some along. It can be charged through a computer, outlet, or solar panel, via a micro USB B port. $119.95, steripen.com/freedom/

Aug13_green outdoor_3

A BRIGHT LIGHT

This Solar/Dynamo Waterproof LED flashlight is equipped for all terrains and situations. It is water-proof, flood-proof, floats on water, and is built with durable casing to prevent shock from loose wires. The flashlight can also be recharged with solar power or by the hand crank, so you’ll never worry about being left in the dark. $19.99, solarrific.com

CRANK IT

Small and extremely portable, the Handy Dynamo radio weighs in at 0.32 pounds and is powered by cranking—one minute of cranking yields 10 minutes of radio time—and includes a built-in cell phone charger, too, ensuring you’ll never be too disconnected. $19.99, solarrific.com

OUTDOOR TRACKSAug13_green outdoor_6

The ECOROX Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker is equipped to bring 10 hours of playtime to your most exciting adventures. It is lightweight, compact and 100 percent waterproof and shockproof; the speaker floats face-up and can safely be placed directly in a lake, river, or pool. Plays music from any Bluetooth-enabled device and answers calls over a built-in speakerphone.$129.99, ecoxgear.com

Aug13_green outdoor_2ECO COOK STOVE

The BioLite CampStove uses twigs and other biomass rather than non-renewable petroleum gas to create the fire, reducing your carbon footprint. It also doubles as an off-grid power charger, with surplus electricity available to charge small electronic devices. $129.95, biolitestove.com

Out and About in the Pacific Northwest: A Solarrific Reviewer Weighs in on Our 4W Solar Charger

solar charger leaning against a tree with waterfall in background
One adventurer brings her 4W solar charger on hikes throughout the Pacific Northwest. Pictured: Ramona Falls, Mt. Hood National Forest

Where do YOU go solar?

For many fans of solar and dynamo products, exploring the great outdoors means embracing alternative energy, where the main source of power isn’t electrical outlets, but the sun.

When traveling abroad, solar- and dynamo-powered products are also key to staying connected.

Northwest Adventures

One Solarrific user has been taking her 4W solar charger for a ride (and a hike, and a ferry) on day trips and camping excursions in Oregon and Washington.

And that’s fitting, because traveling these days often means relying on a smartphone for directions and maps.

This can get tricky when you’re sleeping under the stars with no way to recharge. The 4W Solar Charger turned out to be useful in these—and many more—situations.

solar charger on picnic table with tent in background
Direct sunlight is best for getting a solar charge. Pictured: Manchester State Park, Washington.

Staying Connected

For our traveling reviewer, sharing what she’s up to via Instagram, Facebook, etc. is particularly tempting when embarking on epic adventures, like hiking a seven-mile loop to Ramona Falls.

Nevertheless, as she discovered, sharing your agenda can really eat up your phone’s battery.

Easy fix: setting up the 4W charger over a lunch break helps you get the shots you want whether or not everything was fully charged when you left home.

Get a Boost from the Sun

Our outdoor adventurer knew that getting away from the crowds with an overnight stay in Manchester State Park, Washington, also meant getting away from electrical outlets.

The 4W charger provided peace of mind, as it was the perfect way to keep phones ready for use without worrying about saving that last 10 percent of battery life.

solar charger on car dashboard
(Solar) Dashboard confessional: just leave it on the dash and drive to your destination.

Passive Solar: Just Leave It on the Dash

Driving from Issaquah, Washington to Portland, Oregon wasn’t an all-day trip for our intrepid traveler, but she observed that three and a half hours on the road was plenty of time to leave the 4W charger on the car’s dashboard to charge her iPhone.

The 4W charger’s optimal location is in direct sunlight, so leaving it on a flat space in the sun like your dashboard is the perfect way to stay charged.

 

3 Versatile, Eco-Friendly Products for City-Dwelling AND the Great Outdoors

SONY DSCMemorial Day Weekend is the holiday that lets us know summer’s nearly here. And, since barbecues, road trips, and camping weekends are just around the corner, it’s officially time to prepare for outdoor adventures.

But what’s a resident of a big city to do when it comes time to venture out into the wild? Limited apartment or condo space often requires city-dwellers to own fewer possessions than their suburban counterparts, and storing outdoor gear can be inconvenient.

First, try to find gear that can do double-duty, helping you transition smoothly from the city to the great outdoors. This keeps the bang-for-your-buck factor high and your environmental impact low. Here are three products that can help you save money and minimize your footprint as you gear up for the great outdoors.

Pocketful of Sunshine

Solarrific’s Solar Charger with External Battery for Mobile Phones will keep your devices powered up anywhere you go. The external battery is the size of a tube of lipstick and the slim solar panel straps conveniently onto a messenger bag or backpack and fits inside when not in use. You can use it sitting in the park or the campground as long as there is sunshine. This is especially useful if you like to Instagram your vistas and trails—photo apps are a great way to capture the scenery, but they can be real battery hogs!

4W Solar Charger with 2000 mAh External Battery for Mobile Phones and Small 5V Digital Devices. Comes in 3 colors: black (C5018), orange (C5019), and camouflage (C5020).
4W Solar Charger with 2000 mAh External Battery for Mobile Phones and Small 5V Digital Devices. Comes in 3 colors: black (C5018), orange (C5019), and camouflage (C5020).

Reuse, Rewind, Renew

Whether you’re prepping s’mores or trying to fix something under the sink, the Handcrank Head Lamp has got it covered. This ultra bright LED light won’t ever need a new light bulb or batteries. It just takes a little elbow grease to keep things running smoothly and save a few bucks.   

L2012-handcrank-headlamp
Handcrank headlamp with 3 ultra-bright LEDs (L2012)

Say No to Bugs

It’s a long-held truth that some people are just tastier to mosquitos than others. Rather than smelling like chemicals all day, check out the Solar Mosquito Zapper. This is perfect on the patio, porch, or camping pad if any buzzing bloodsuckers are nearby. A small solar cell keeps it charged so you can use it anywhere you’d like to be without leaving a big, muddy carbon footprint. 

Solar-Powered Mosquito Zapper (G4041)
Solar-Powered Mosquito Zapper (G4041)

Now that you have a few earth-friendly, solar-powered tools for both city-living and outdoor adventures, get ready to make this the best summer ever.

15 Reasons to Go Solar in 2015

orangesunsimmeringThe United Nations has declared 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.

This initiative is intended “to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.”

And what greater source of our light to appreciate than our ever-loyal sun? There is no better time to consider—and embrace—solar technology. Here are 15 reasons why going solar in 2015 makes sense.

By doing so, you will reduce energy costs related to household utility bills (specifically, electricity).

Even if solar systems and products cost more upfront, they end up being more affordable to use and maintain over time.

solar panelSolar technology is continually being improved, meaning increased efficiency and lower production costs—which eventually mean savings for the end user.

Handheld solar products don’t depend on electrical outlets for power, making them portable and useful.

The energy gained from the sun is renewable—free and unlimited.

The increasing demand for solar is producing jobs at an ever-increasing rate.

Solar systems and products often require little maintenance over time.

Reduce the need to purchase batteries to power devices.

Decrease your environmental impact (billions of batteries are thrown away each year, all of which end up in landfills.

When using or purchasing solar energy systems, tax credits or rebates may be available, on federal, state, and local levels.

Use of solar-powered devices decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar products and systems are not noisy; they silently produce energy.

Helps prevent the depletion of natural resources.

Solar power is versatile; useful for both high-powered and low-powered devices and applications.

Handheld solar products are reliable in emergency situations.

Whichever of the above reasons help motivate you to make the transition into using solar energy, you can be assured that the change will benefit you and your family for years to come.

This Holiday Season, Shop Green; Save Green

Christmas-greenBlack Friday was the indisputable reminder that holiday gift giving is well on its way—and that many stores stop offering steep discounts after the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

But if you’re like many shoppers, there are many things still on your list to purchase for friends and family before Christmas. What’s a person to do?

We have good news: Solarrific is offering discounts to our online shoppers for the rest of the holiday season, until December 31st. (Which means you can find stocking stuffers and larger gift items for just about everyone on your list—all without leaving home.)

Just use coupon code HOHOHOSO at checkout (when shopping via our website and on Amazon), and you’ll receive 20% off your order until December 31st.

Here are our picks for just about everyone on your shopping list:

The Kids

When shopping for the younger members on your Christmas list, you can’t go wrong with fun, colorful stocking stuffers. These flashlight keychains are perfect for this purpose, and our stick-on bluetooth speakers are a kid favorite, too.

Solar/ Handcrank LED Flashlight Keychain (W4010)
Solar/ Handcrank LED Flashlight Keychain (W4010)
Bluetooth Rechargeable Stick-On, Splashproof Speakers (S8001, 2, 3, 4)
Bluetooth Rechargeable Stick-On, Splashproof Speakers (S8001, 2, 3, 4)
The Travelers

Whether taking a road trip or an international flight, traveling can present both hazards and minor inconveniences that can be remedied simply by being prepared. Our auto emergency tool is perfect for road travel during colder weather months, and the international adapter is perfect for the jetsetters in your family.

Auto Emergency Flashlight (E6001)
Auto Emergency Flashlight (E6001)
International Travel Adapter with USB Ports (C5021)
International Travel Adapter with USB Ports (C5021)
The iPhone Photographer

Make sure your family’s shutterbug has all the power he or she needs for impromptu family  photos and special holiday moments. This power bank provides a convenient backup for your cell phones and tablets.

Mobile Digital Power Bank, Dual USB 7800mAh (C5014)
Mobile Digital Power Bank, Dual USB 7800mAh (C5014)
The Gardener

For green thumbs, this solar floating fountain will enhance any garden, whether you have water features or want to create your own.

Solar Floating Fountain (G3033) - birdbath not included
Solar Floating Fountain (G3033) – birdbath not included
The Outdoor Enthusiast

This portable solar charger is a great gift for the explorers in your family, whether they may be hikers, fisherman, or mountain bikers. Not only does it provide a steady energy source for connected digital devices, but it can be easily attached to a bag or backpack. The charger comes with a 2000 mAh external battery, and can be used for mobile phones and small 5 volt digital devices. Available in three colors: black, orange, and camouflage.

4W Solar Charger with 2000 mAh External Battery for Mobile Phones and Small 5V Digital Devices. Comes in 3 colors: black (C5018), orange (C5019), and camouflage (C5020).
4W Solar Charger with 2000 mAh External Battery for Mobile Phones and Small 5V Digital Devices. Comes in 3 colors: black (C5018), orange (C5019), and camouflage (C5020).
And Now, for the Festivities!

Last but not least, get into the Christmas spirit—without spiking your power bill during the winter months—with these solar-powered string lights (available in both color and white).

Solar Multi-Colored String Lights (G3031)
Solar Multi-Colored String Lights (G3031)
Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 2.13.12 PM
Solar White String Lights (G3030)

 

Runners: Are You Ready for Daylight Savings Time?

The days have been steadily growing shorter, but in a few days Daylight Savings Time will abruptly truncate our evening light.

Many will mourn the loss of that hour of light as we drive home from work under the setting sun, but a few groups will cheer the extra illumination during the morning hours.

runnerRunners who prefer mornings will appreciate greater visibility and a little more time to sleep in.

But while the next couple of weeks will be a respite from dark early hours, it’s not time to set aside the headlamp and reflective gear just yet. It will continue to grow darker, earlier, for the next month and a half.  And for those who still want to squeeze in an evening run or bike ride, safety becomes even more crucial.

Even with waning daylight hours, you can make the most of alternative energy while on your morning runs. Our Handcrank Head Lamp provides you with 40 minutes of power using three LED lights or 80 minutes of power using one LED light. (This affords plenty of time to squeeze in practice for that 5k before work.)

If you’d rather carry a light, try our Dynamo and Waterproof LED Flashlight. You don’t need batteries or bulbs—simply leave it next to a window and allow it to charge. Crank it up and you’ll have up to 110 minutes of light on your run. It’s also waterproof, which will come in handy on rainy days.

And whether you’re a runner or not, it’s important to be cognizant of safety as the evenings grow darker. One handy tool to give you peace of mind is our Handcrank LED Flashlight Keychain. Having illumination readily available cuts down on time you’d ordinarily have to linger in a parking garage or on a doorstep as you try to find the keyhole.

While Daylight Savings Time can be frustrating for some, it offers an opportunity to enjoy autumn morning light before the winter months set in. There’s no need for darker evenings to stop you—Solarrific will help you harness daylight hours, Daylight Savings Time or not.

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Fall for Green Energy

red maple leavesLast fall, we shared five ideas for celebrating the end of the summer season in Hot Days, Cool Nights: 5 Ways to End Summer Right.

This year, we think it’s worth sharing a few of these pointers again, along with some additional clever ways to make the most of the autumn season—complete with solar and dynamo technology.

1. Host an Outdoor Fall Food Fest.

fall-foods

What better setting for a fall-friendly cornucopia of rich meats, hearty soups, seasonal vegetables, and pumpkin pie than outdoors where the leaves are falling and the air is crisp?

As long as your guests dress warm enough, it’s as good a time as any to enjoy outdoor dining.

Check out these fall foods recipes to get started. Much can still be prepared on the grill, so invite your friends over for an autumn barbecue they’re sure to remember.

The Goods: Equip yourself with a flexible solar powered light. With 16 LED lights and a strong clamp, the portable light is ideal for outdoor food prep after the sun has already set.

2. Plan a Road Trip.

autumn-trail

Now is the perfect time to bundle up and head to the mountains to watch the colors as they change. If you can make time for one more camping trip, do so.

Whether you’re a hiker, a biker, or simply a nature lover, you’ll be glad you did, because it’ll be another six months before sleeping outdoors is an option for most recreational campers.

The Goods: Roughing it doesn’t have to be rough. Solar products have made outdoor play more convenient, especially when recreation takes place far from home and modern conveniences. So toss that outdated lantern, and replace it with one that utilizes alternative energy. Also, Solarrific’s dynamo walking stick makes a great hiking buddy. It’s retractable, crankable, and complete with lights and a warning siren in case of emergencies.

3. Hold a Roast-and-Ghost

campfire at night

Sometimes getting out of town for an entire weekend just isn’t feasible. So at least plan a backyard roast for the kids, complete with hot dogs, marshmallows, and ghost stories.

The Goods: For extra ghoulish drama (and an eco-friendly experience), provide the little ones with solar/dynamo powered flashlights. Plus, kids love having their very own lights, especially ones they can hand-crank them themselves.

4. Prune, Trim, Beautify.

wheelbarrow on walkway near garden with flowers and pumpkins

Now is an ideal time for pruning, tidying, and making your yard a fall retreat.

The Goods: Rather than using excessive electricity, use a solar-powered water fountain kit and solar-powered lights to transform your landscaping. These bubble stick lights are a lovely addition. Also, uplighting, in particular, lends a quick but dramatic effect to tired planters.

5. Tailgate in Style

football field and players

Football season, a quintessential part of American culture, is the time to show your support for your favorite team. So snag your tickets or make plans to tailgate with friends.

The Goods: When enjoying the big game from outside the stands, be sure to have a portable, solar-powered radio on hand. We especially like the European Dynamo Radio.

From all of us at Solarrific, we wish you a happy fall season!

wheelbarrow on walkway near garden with flowers and pumpkins

Summer Adventures, Part 3: Solar-Powered Essentials for Gardeners

Avid gardeners will tell you their hobby can be as great an adventure as gallivanting around the world. After all, when you can’t get away from it all, sometimes retreating to one’s own backyard oasis is the next best thing. Part 3 in our Solar Adventure Series is intended to inspire the gardeners among us, both with ideas for your own outdoor space and products designed to enhance the gardening experience.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

If you’ve ever grown and tended your own plants, you know that the process requires time, commitment and patience—in addition to the crucial elements of water, good soil, and sun. And, since the sun is the biggest factor in the quality of our blooms and success of our yield, it only makes sense that we could use the sun’s energy to generate power for other aspects of our gardens.

Green Products for Green Thumbs

Whether you’re tending produce or flowers, certain tools and conveniences can greatly enhance the pleasures of gardening—and we’ve got the goods! Check out these garden-friendly, solar-powered must-haves:

For aesthetic appeal, these fountains enhance any garden, whether you have water features or create your own.

Floating Solar Fountain on Lily Pad (G3039)
Floating Solar Fountain on Lily Pad (G3039)
Solar Floating Fountain (G3033) - birdbath not included
Solar Floating Fountain (G3033) – birdbath not included
Solar Water Fountain Kit (G3017)
Solar Water Fountain Kit (G3017) – container not included

Stay cool during the dog days of summer with these solar powered fan caps and accessories.

Solar Cooling Fan Cap (W4033)
Solar Cooling Fan Cap (W4033)
Solar LED Cap Light (L2028)
Solar LED Cap Light (L2028)

Solar Inspiration

For some inspiration to help transform your garden into a backyard oasis, visit our Gardens of Light board on Pinterest to see a few outdoors spaces as well as tips and tricks we love. We hope they’ll inspire you to create your very own solar-powered, backyard retreat.

Happy gardening!

People on Beach enjoying Sunset

Summer Adventures, Part 2: Eco-friendly Essentials for Seasoned Travelers

Jetsetters rejoice! Part 1 in our Solar Adventure Series featured eco-friendly products for outdoor explorers, but this week it’s all about you wanderlusts. In part 2, we have summer-friendly products to help you travel in style and with convenience—all while being kind to Mother Nature.

See the World; Love the Earth

Leaving on a jet plane doesn’t necessarily mean leaving behind modern conveniences. But neither should it mean excessive use of power, batteries, or expensive electronics. Whether your jaunt is by air, by train, or just means lounging by the pool, make sure you have clean, green power where and when you need it most.

3 Eco-friendly Must-Haves:

When traveling abroad, your devices may not always be compatible with the types of outlets available in  some countries. This international travel adapter (with USB Ports) has you covered.

International Travel Adapter with USB Ports (C5021)
International Travel Adapter with USB Ports (C5021)

One common frustration amongst frequent travelers of the lack of available power, especially when you’re out seeing the sights or away from developed areas. For these times, we recommend keeping a power bank handy. This one will fit just fine in your backpack or purse. C5014 Dual USB 7800 mAh Mobile Digital Power Bank

Mobile Digital Power Bank, Dual USB 7800mAh (C5014)
Mobile Digital Power Bank, Dual USB 7800mAh (C5014)

And for those who find the most enjoyment lounging on the beach or at the pool, these bluetooth speakers are perfect for bringing a little entertainment to your waterside cabana.

Bluetooth Rechargeable Stick-On, Splashproof Speakers (S8001, 2, 3, 4)
Bluetooth Rechargeable Stick-On, Splashproof Speakers (S8001, 2, 3, 4)

Visit our online store to find these travel-friendly products, and don’t forget to use promo code summer10 during checkout to receive 10% off your order.

Bon voyage!

Summer Adventures, Part 1: Solar-Powered Essentials for Outdoor Explorers

high mountains trees and reflection in water

Saturday’s Summer Solstice marked the official start to the new season. In the following weeks, we’ll be sharing helpful tips and must-have solar essentials for all your summer adventures, whether you are an outdoor explorer, avid gardener, or seasoned traveler.  However you’ll be spending the long, warm days ahead, we’ve got the goods.

The Great Outdoors: Solar Explorers

From pitching a tent to casting a line, many summer adventures will have you in the belly of Mother Nature, oftentimes away from creature comforts such as running water and electricity. While part of the pleasure of getting away is disconnecting from the digital world and other modern conveniences, it’s a good idea to be able to access emergency services, should the need arise.

For starters, these portable, functional products harness the sun’s energy to provide comfort and peace of mind when in the great outdoors. Just enter promo code summer10 during checkout to receive ten percent (10%) off your order!

5 Solar-Powered Must-Haves:

There’s no need for lights out at your camp out: these solar-powered flashlights are designed to last.

L2026-W4010
Solar/ Handcrank Waterproof LED Flashlight (L2026), and Solar/ Handcrank LED Flashlight Keychain (W4010)

If you’re packing light, this 4-in-1 flashlight, radio, alarm, and charger has it all.

4-in-1 Flashlight Radio Alarm Charger (R1006)
4-in-1 Flashlight, Radio, Alarm, Charger (R1006)

When venturing into remote wilderness areas, it’s not just your legs that should remain fully charged—your mobile phone should have some juice, especially in case of emergencies. When on the go, whether hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, or fishing, this portable solar charger is a great way to ensure the energy stores on your digital devices remain full (just be sure to keep yourself hydrated, too!). It comes with a 2000 mAh external battery, and can be used for mobile phones and small 5 volt digital devices. Comes in three colors: black, orange, and camouflage.

4W Solar Charger with 2000 mAh External Battery for Mobile Phones and Small 5V Digital Devices. Comes in 3 colors: black (C5018), orange (C5019), and camouflage (C5020).
4W Solar Charger with 2000 mAh External Battery for Mobile Phones and Small 5V Digital Devices. Comes in 3 colors: black (C5018), orange (C5019), and camouflage (C5020).

And just for fun, who can resist the ultra compact radio cube? It’s perfect for lakeside lounging.

AM/FM/WB dynamo crank radio cube
Solar/ Handcrank AM/FM Radio Cube (R1007)

So what are you waiting for? Gather your gear, pick up a few extra gadgets you may be lacking, and head for the hills. To send you on your way safely, here are some additional outdoor safety tips, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Prepare healthy and safe food.
  • Include safe physical activities.
  • Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Avoid wild animals, and protect family pets.
  • Fight the bug bit.
  • Prevent temperature related illness.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Avoid water-related illness and injury.
  • Be prepared.

Find more details about camping health and safety from the CDC, as well as a packing checklist here.