Tag Archives: solarrific

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.

 

9 Ways to Celebrate the Earth—All Year Long

Today is Earth Day, and homosapiens all over the world are celebrating the Blue Planet in a myriad of ways. Also, since Earth Week lasts from April 20th to the 24th, this week is the high point of environmental activities and awareness all around the globe.

leaves in sun

But what about during the rest of the year? Here are some practical ways to show your love for our green earth—today, for the remainder of the week, and all year round.

Today:

1. Plant a tree. Earth Day often coincides roughly with Arbor Day, so it’s the perfect time to take part in this recognized Earth Day activity.

2. Celebrate with NASA. In addition to events being held on Earth Day in California, Virginia, and Washington D.C., NASA is inviting people to share your views of Earth via Instagram, Twitter, Google+, or Vine—using the hashtag #NoPlaceLikeHome.

3. Attend an Earth Day fair. Search for events in your area here.

This Week:

4. Purchase clean-energy products. At Solarrific, we are celebrating Earth Week with discounts on the following products (while supplies last):

The following radios are only $10 each, this week only (click images for product information):

Solarrific European Style Dynamo Radio
European Style Dynamo Radio (R1005)
4-in-1 Flashlight/Radio/Alarm/Charger (R1006)
4-in-1 Flashlight/Radio/Alarm/Charger (R1006)
AM/FM/WB dynamo crank radio cube
Solar/ Handcrank AM/FM Radio Cube (R1007)

Our Clip It/Squeeze It Flashlight is $5 (click image for product information):

Clip It Squeeze It Flashlight (L2017)
Clip It Squeeze It Flashlight (L2017)

Our Solar Cap Light is $10 (click image for product information):

Solar LED Cap Light (L2028)
Solar LED Cap Light (L2028)

5. Prepare eco-friendly meals. Using locally produced, organic ingredients that have little impact on the environment, devote this week to making special meals that use fewer resources than traditional boxed dinners. Clean up afterwards by using the low-water dishwashing method.

6. Pick up trash. This week, be mindful of noticing litter in and around your community, and place refuse in the trash when you see it, rather than walking on. Even better, contact a local community group and help them with their trash pick-up efforts.

 Year-Round:

7. Travel smarter. Find a carpool service or better utilize public transportation.

8. Make your garden green. Transform your outdoor space into a clean energy oasis by planting wildflowers and oxygen-producing trees, enhancing your landscaping with solar-powered lights, and installing a solar-powered water fountain.

9. Join a group. Volunteer, donate, or educate yourself and your family about the environment by becoming a part of a local group. Here’s a list to get you started.

However you choose to celebrate the earth, be it with small changes within your own home and family or by participating on a larger scale, we invite you to make Earth Day every day!

Solarrific Gives Back: To Indonesia’s “Friends of the National Park Foundation”

Occasionally, due to the nature of our products, we at Solarrific are approached by nonprofit groups seeking assistance with their philanthropic efforts in remote areas throughout the world.

And while we are not always in a position to do so, we are delighted when we have the means to provide support to groups which are striving to achieve social good and better the world as they know it.

Akane and FNPF's lead forester
Akane and Pak Basuki, FNPF’s lead forester

Late last year, we were approached by Dr. Akane Nishimura with one such request.

Nishimura works with a small Indonesian non-profit called Friends of the National Park Foundation (FNPF), and wrote us in November 2014 with a request for help in fulfilling one of the group’s needs: solar flashlights.

According to Nishimura, FNPF has a thriving reforestation and orangutan habitat restoration project in Borneo, Indonesia. They also promote conservation and eco-tourism in Borneo’s Tanjung Puting National Park, which is home to one of the world’s largest remaining orangutan populations. Unfortunately, their project, the forests and orangutans are being increasingly threatened by forest fires and agricultural development.

Akane stands with Pak Rasid and Pak Ledan in front of a native tree planted in 2007 as part of her dissertation research
Akane stands with Pak Rasid and Pak Ledan in front of a native tree planted in 2007 as part of her dissertation research

“I did my PhD research with FNPF, and I have witnessed their struggles firsthand,” says Nishimura. “I have seen anthropogenic fires burn thousands of acres of rainforest while the government was unable or unwilling to help; I have seen bulldozers clearing land inside of park borders; and I have seen maimed orangutans that were caught searching for food in palm oil plantations. I have also witnessed the bravery and tenacity of the local people: they fight fires with minimal equipment, and they sleep on bare floors in remote wooden huts for weeks on end to plant trees and to prevent illegal logging and hunting.  In Indonesia, the task of conserving nature, increasing awareness, and promoting responsible use often falls to NGOs like FNPF.”

Because the FNPF staff live and work in such a remote area, they don’t have access to consistent electricity or quality outdoor gear. Therefore, Solarrific’s in-kind donation of   two dozen L2026 flashlights was intended to offer convenience and assistance while staff members engaged in conservation activities.

Upon her return in January 2015, Nishimura graciously provided an update regarding her work and how our products were useful during her time in Borneo, as well as photos of the products in use. Here is her update.

“Friends of the National Park Foundation (FNPF) is a small Indonesian NGO that has successfully pioneered reforestation and orangutan, bird, and turtle conservation projects throughout Indonesia.

feeding ex-captive orangutans
feeding ex-captive orangutans

I had the good fortune of doing my dissertation research in conjunction with FNPF’s reforestation project in Tanjung Puting National Park (TPNP), which is home to one of the world’s largest remaining orangutan populations.

Although it is a national park, TPNP and its flora and fauna are under constant threat from palm oil plantations, gold and mineral mining, slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging, poaching, and droughts and forest fires exacerbated by El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Environmental policies are weak and rarely enforced, so the work of local NGOs like FNPF has been crucial to conservation and restoration activities in and around TPNP.

FNPF staff and local farmers with their Solarrific flashlights, at Padang Sembilan
FNPF staff and local farmers with their Solarrific flashlights, at Padang Sembilan

This past December, I traveled to TPNP and was able to deliver solar/hand-crank waterproof LED flashlights that were very generously donated by Solarrific. The FNPF staff was very appreciative as they don’t have access to the conveniences of modern living and can’t afford quality equipment. These flashlights are extremely useful, as the sun sets early in the tropics and there is no electricity! As an added bonus, during the rainy season, they will be able to charge the lights with the hand cranks.

ecotourist-planting_5643
an eco-tourist plants a native tree seedling at Pesalat


I distributed the flashlights to FNPF staff at three different locations: Pesalat,
Jerumbun, and Padang Sembilan. Pesalat was originally lowland tropical rainforest with some peat swamp forest. Since the influx of migrant families from other parts of Indonesia in the 1940s, Pesalat has been used for agricultural and hunting activities. Despite the establishment of the national park, illegal burning and hunting continued in this area until 2003 when FNPF began reforestation activities. Since then, invasive species and anthropogenic and ENSO-related fires have been a problem, but FNPF has been successful in excluding fire and has planted over 100 hectares of formerly forested areas with native tree species. Pesalat is now used as a reforestation showcase site for visiting eco-tourists.

Padang Sembilan is a 500-ha agricultural area that has been poorly managed. Although it is located within the park boundaries, the government has basically turned a blind eye. During the dry season, fires from slashing and burning in this area often jump to other parts of the park. Recently, FNPF has partnered with the local farmers to institute best management

native seedling nursery at Padang Sembilan
native seedling nursery at Padang Sembilan

practices and more sustainable farming methods. They have established a native tree seedling nursery and are educating locals about the environmental and economic benefits of agroforestry and mixed farming.

Jerumbun is located just outside the park borders, but the area serves as a buffer zone and is being threatened by palm oil, mining and fires. FNPF staff have pooled their meager savings to buy property there with the hopes of establishing an education center.  FNPF’s site is flanked by a new palm oil plantation and an abandoned gold mine that has become a sandy wasteland. In October

new compost at Jerumbun
new compost at Jerumbun

2014, their site was also threatened by anthropogenic fires. FNPF is currently building a more permanent post and is experimenting with new agroforestry methods for their education center.

Solarrific’s donation will be a boon to all these activities and will make the lives of the FNPF staff a little easier. On behalf of FNPF, thank you very much for your generosity!”