Is it just me or do you also find that our electronic gadgets seem to drain themselves faster than usual when there is no electrical outlet nearby? How often have you run out of battery juice on a camping or hiking trip that lasted more than a few days? Fortunately, you can now use the sun to keep your devices charged up. ICP Solar Technologies is now offering solar chargers small enough for us to throw into our backpacks. For example, the iSun Portable Solar Charger ($100 CAD) opens to reveal two small solar panels inside the clamshell. THey are enough to let you run almost any small electronic device that requires less than 2 watts of power. Or hook it up to the BattPak ($50 CAD without batteries) and you can charge anywhere from two to ten AA or AAA batteries (NiCad or NiMH).
The iSun is also pretty rugged. It will work in overcast conditions and can operate from frigid minus 40 degrees Celsius to a sweltering plus 80 degrees.