GreenYour Camping gear
Choose rechargeable outdoor gear
Why depend on disposable batteries to power your electronic devices when there are many affordable solar and hand-crank options available? They're great for the beach, to have on hand for emergencies, and to take camping or boating. Save money on batteries and save the planet at the same time!
Find it! Rechargeable-battery outdoor gear
Human-powered devices allow you to hand-crank your way to clean energy. Some gear—flashlights and radios for instance—come with built-in solar power strips. But for those devices without their own power-generating capacity (think cell phones and laptops), choose a portable solar charger.
This eye-catching and innovative solar charger is available in black, white, silver, and pink. The Solio can power up virtually any handheld electronic device, from digital cameras to cell phones.
This nifty and easy-to-carry solar energy source from Brunton is ideal for charging electronic devices while on outdoor adventures. Available in different sizes and wattages, the SolarRoll comes with a one-year warranty and is waterproof and UV transparent.
The Dynamo Torch Emergency Flashlight can be recharged with a hand crank or wall outlet. This all-in-one unit includes numerous additional features: a compass, a digital clock with two alarms, a calendar (good if you're really lost), a radio earphone jack, and a dry storage compartment for matches or other items.
The Eton American Red Cross FR405 AM/FM Radio includes NOAA weather alerts, flashlight, siren, and cell phone charger. This is a great emergency radio if you live in an area with hurricanes or severe storms. It's self-powered and water-resistant. Keep your cell phone charged and use the flashlight and siren to alert rescuers to your location.
The Eton Self-Powered Water-Resistant AM/FM/Shortwave Radio is perfect for boating, canoeing, or shooting the rapids. The flashlight and siren can alert rescuers to your position, while the cell phone charger allows you to call for help. Tune into AM, FM, and shortwave bands to listen to music or hear emergency alerts—just crank the handle for power.
Pack a whole family into this solar-powered travel home! The solar collectors (which can be moved for maximum sun exposure) power an interior LED light but can also be tasked to charge battery-powered devices.
Using the detachable solar panel (2.5 x 4.5 inches), charge this LED headlamp for seven hours of outdoor adventure. It’s lightweight (3 ounces) and comes with a comfortable headband strap that has a snap-in mount and hinged angle adjustment.
The Indigo features a cluster of ultra-bright LEDs for space illumination, a single-LED directional light source to use as a reading light or flashlight, and a dimmer switch (great as a night light for kids new to camping). It uses a hand-crank to recharge, or can be recharged from a wall outlet.
Freeplay radios offer solar, hand-crank, and AC/DC charging options, with models that include AM/FM, SW/LW, US and Canadian Weather Band, an integrated LED flashlight, and an alarm clock. Great for everyday, camping, boating, or emergency use.
This affordable radio includes AM/FM channels, an LED flashlight, and a cell phone charger, with solar and hand-crank charging options.
The line of Reware Juice Bags—including a solar beach tote—harness renewable energy via built-in solar panels. The bag itself is made from fabric crafted from recycled soda bottles. Reware also offers a line of organic cotton T-shirts with an eco-edge and accessories.
This attractive yet heavy duty backpack with built-in solar panels features plenty of pockets and wire channels for storing/charging personal electronic devices such as cameras, cell phones, MP3 players, and PDAs. Perfect for trekking through the city or frolicking in the great outdoors.
Choosing rechargeable-battery outdoor gear helps you go green because…
- It reduces the number of batteries going to landfills and hazardous waste facilities.
- Using fewer batteries reduces the amount of toxic heavy metals—namely mercury, cadmium, lead, and nickel—found in some batteries, that will end up in the air, soil, groundwater, and surface water.
- Solar-powered devices operate reliably with virtually no environmental impact.
Americans buy over $5 billion worth of outdoor gear annually and nearly 3 billion household batteries in the same time period. Different types of batteries are composed of a variety of materials, but in all of them an electrolyte and heavy metal combine to make power. Mercury, cadmium, lead, and nickel are heavy metals found in some batteries that can pollute the environment and cause a potential risk to human health if they are thrown away with ordinary household trash. Batteries make up less than 1 percent of our municipal solid waste, but the amount of toxic heavy metals they contribute is much higher. In 1995, nickel cadmium (nicad) batteries accounted for three-quarters of the cadmium found in municipal solid waste, and 65 percent of the lead came from small sealed lead-acid (SSLA) batteries.
Harnessing the power of the sun
Solar collectors are generally made of tiny crystalline silicon disks attached to metal conductors, and can be mounted almost anywhere to take advantage of free, clean solar energy from the sun. The semiconducting materials in solar devices absorb sunlight, causing electrons to flow, producing electricity. Solar energy is generated cleanly and without producing air pollution during operation.
Related health issues
About 73 percent of US municipal solid waste ends up incinerated or landfilled, and heavy metals can leach into the soil, ground, and surface water from landfills—or into the air during incineration—and make their way into the food chain. If heavy metals are ingested or inhaled through water, food, or air, potential health risks include headaches, stomach discomfort, comas, and seizures. Cadmium and several heavy metals are also carcinogens.
- Environmentally Neutral Design (END) A green outdoor gear manufacturer set to launch their product line in the Fall of 2008.
- The Vote Solar Initiative An organization working to build the economies of scale needed to reduce the cost of solar.
- US Department of Energy - Solar Energy Technologies Program: For Consumers Watch informative videos and presentations about how solar works and why it’s important.
- Leisure Trends - Outdoor Retail Sales up 10 percent in 2007
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Municipal Solid Waste: Batteries
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Product Stewardship: Batteries
- Solar Panel Info - How are solar panels made?
- US National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Photovoltaics
- The Green Guide - Green Power Utilities: Environmental Issues
- US Department of Energy - Why PV is Important
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Enforcement Alert: The Battery Act