Solar device chargers are great for providing power on the go IF sun is in the weather forecast. However, having spent some time testing solar chargers here at Earthtechling’s notoriously grey and perpetually rainy home of Portland, Oregon, we know first hand that solar chargers aren’t always a viable portable charging option. How’s a tech savvy hiker/camper supposed to keep their laptop and cell phone charged while braving the rugged wilderness in less than sunny conditions? A device like the Alppac backpack could provide the answer.
The Alppac, designed by Joel Lim YM, is part backpack and part portable power generator. Inside is a suspended load mechanism that generates power with each step that the wearer takes. It functions in a manner similar to those hand-shaken flashlights in that movement creates a charge that is stored in a battery for use on demand. The pack appears to use a contact charging technology that utilizes magnetic fields to charge its electronics.
The Alppac’s design doesn’t appear to fore-go practicality for the purpose of being a portable power plant. The pack offers some genuinely convenient features for the outdoor enthusiast. For one, a first aid kit is compartmentalized and fixed to the bottom of the pack in such a way that it can be quickly removed in an emergency. The pack has a removable “day pack” portion that can be separated for shorter hiking trips that don’t require a full kit of gear. There are also plenty of compartments and pouches within the neoprene fabric which stretches to increase storage capacity.
Unlike the battey charging squirrel backpack hoax, this design shows some real promise in terms of providing portable power by utilizing mechanical energy. With some modifications to its ergonomics, such a design concept could appeal to trail blazers with tech fixations.