We’ve all had those moments of desperately needing our phones when they’re about to die and searching for an outlet, asking to borrow a charge cable, or hoping that the charge will last just long enough to send that one email, for the long awaited call to come through, or to receive that reassuring text. If you’ve ever hoped you could stay powered throughout the day, regardless of your proximity to an outlet, BirkSun is for you. BirkSun solar backpacks and messenger bags feature built in waterproof solar panels to charge your phone, even in low light conditions. Finally. Freedom from outlets!
How BirkSun Works
When I met BirkSun in June, I was immediately drawn to their booth to learn more about their solar charging backpacks and how they work but really— they’re quite simple.
A large solar panel on the front of the backpack or messenger bag captures electricity. Plug your charger into the USB port on the inside of the bag and let your smartphone, Bluetooth speaker, Kindle, GoPro, or smartphone charge. An hour of sun directed towards the 9.5” x 5.25” solar panel translates into a 30% charge for your devices.
The solar panels can create a charge even on cloudy days but they can’t store a charge unless you plug in an external battery pack. BirkSun’s Air Power Bank battery fits perfectly into one of the interior pockets so it will always be with you. Charge your smartphone up when the sun is out and when it’s done, plug in your Air Power so it can be a helpful backup power solution when the sun goes down and you need to recharge. Or share it with a friend because friends don’t let their friend’s phones die.
Wondering how solar power works or looking for a way to explain it to your kids? Visit BirkSun’s Journal page on solar energy and solar facts that’s full of helpful information.
BirkSun Elevate Solar Backpack
I’ve always considered a backpack one of my traveling essentials because it allows me to keep my hands free while holding everything I need and evenly distributing weight over both shoulders. But not all backpacks are created equally. Sometimes you have to see them in person to know how they’re constructed and determine if they’re right for you.
I always examine the space inside the bag to ensure there are adequate pockets and compartments for large items like my laptop and smaller items like pens, ear buds, and my phone. I also like to ensure that there’s space for my camera, planner (because I still love my paper planner!), and whatever other items I need to bring with me. It’s also essential that the backpack fits under an airplane seat when full.
Over the years, I’ve come up with a short list of backpacks that I absolutely love. The BirkSun Elevate Solar Backpack is now on that list.
BirkSun sent me the Elevate Air Kit for testing that includes the Elevate backpack and Air Power Bank ($200 for the two products). Besides keeping my devices charged thanks to solar energy, the space inside the backpack is thoughtfully designed and features a bright blue interior that prevents the Black Hole syndrome of losing all objects in a dark interior. The blue is eye catching, yet not an eyesore, and a colorful change from most of the other backpacks on the market that feature more neutral interiors.
The BirkSun Elevate features two zippered compartments. The larger compartment features a fleece-lined laptop compartment that can accommodate up to a 13” laptop, making it perfect for the smaller MacBook Pros, iPads, Surface Tablets, Lenovo Yoga, etc.
The smaller front zipped compartment has divided spaces for pens, smartphone, Air Power Bank external battery, charging cable, and a wallet.
Two mesh water bottle compartments keep drinks secure and easy to grab from the side pockets yet are deep enough to really hold bottles so they don’t fall out. Or stash a water bottle in one side, your phone in the other for easy access.
Outdoor adventurers or those just spending a relaxing day on the beach can stay hydrated while their devices charge. BirkSun Elevate includes two hooks towards the top of the main compartment that allow you to suspend the water bladder from a CamelBak and feed the hydration tube through a small hole at the top of the pack for easy sipping while on the go. This same hole can be used for threading your headphones through when they’re plugged into your phone that’s inside the bag.
The padded straps and back made the BirkSun Elevate comfortable to carry whether fully loaded with a laptop and other essentials for a recent trip to Florida or snacks and water for an outdoor family adventure. Two adjustable straps on the bottom of the bag could easily hold a yoga mat, an extra jacket, or anything else that’s better outside your bag than inside.
What’s Inside My BirkSun?
- 13″ MacBook Pro
- MacBook charger
- Timbuk2 Snoop Camera insert containing Samsung NX30 with 30mm lens and a 50-200mm lens
- VModa Crossfade Headphones
- Air Power Bank external charger
- iPhone with OtterBox Resurgence Power Case
- Not pictured: MomAgenda Spiral Planner, assorted pens, and snacks
- And there’s room to spare!
While novelty may initially draw you to BirkSun’s products, I found the Elevate to be a highly functional well made product that fits my lifestyle. I appreciate the ability to charge my devices with solar power in order to unplug and enjoy time with my family while keeping my phone fully charged just in case it’s needed in an emergency. It’s great for taking on camping trips, hiking, to the beach, or anytime you’re on the go and not near outlets to charge your phone.
The BirkSun Elevate Air Kit is $200. It contains the Elevate Solar Backpack ($175), Air Power Bank ($50), and an Apple Lightning Cable ($20) There’s definitely value in purchasing the Elevate Air Kit and saving money on the bundle even if you’re an Android user. You can always give away your extra Lightning Cable to make someone very happy!
BirkSun sent me the Elevate Solar Backpack to review. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own. Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post.