We’re keen outdoor explorers here at Average Joes HQ but we also can’t deny we’re far too attached to our tech devices. As such, a weekend camping trip can present some issues: while charging banks and solar panel tech do offer short term solutions, there’s rarely enough juice to go around. But there may soon be a solution in the SunUp solar panel backpack.

SunUp’s Solar Backpack Could be a Game-Changer for Off-Grid Hikers

If you’re heading off-grid with solar panels, chances are you’re currently using either monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicone rigid solar panels, or panels made with a thin film of amorphous silicone. But while the former is effective, it is less-than-durable. Alternatively, the latter may be able to withstand rougher conditions but it is much less effective in providing power.

Invented by Brunel University design graduate Bradley Brister, SunUp’s solar backpack combines a number of small polycrystalline solar panels with flexible joints designed to fit snugly over a backpack. This way, SunUp users can enjoy the efficiency of a rigid solar-panel with the robustness of a bendable one.

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Along with its power capabilities, Brister ensured the system’s circuits were incorporated into the SunUp’s metal hinges so that the joints are conductive. In its current guise, the device has a 4000 milliamp Hour (mAh) battery that charges within 12 hours.

The SunUp is currently only in the prototype stage with Brister hoping to produce a more modular product in the future, so that users can customise the panel arrangement. It was also recently one of two runners up in the UK heats of the James Dyson Awards, which recognise the best in student design and engineering from around the world. Find out more here.

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In other design news, take a look at the Noori V01. Brazilian-made, the barbecue transports users back to a time when ‘cooking with fire was at the core of our rituals.’ It’s also probably the most attractive BBQ we’ve ever seen.

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