A gift is a token of our love, a symbol that we remember someone special in our lives. It’s a wonderful intention, but do those intentions just end up in a donation pile after a few years of collecting dust? Don’t know about your family and friends, but we all have too much stuff. In recent years, and probably because we live in such a small and mobile space, we have rethought our gift giving strategies. We have focused on quality, not quantity, and try to buy sustainable gifts whenever possible. Here are a few things we ask ourselves before buying gifts for others:
- Is it consumable? - Can the gift be eaten, swallowed, or otherwise absorbed into the body, in a pleasant or delicious way? Homemade goodies, or gift cards to favorite eateries, drinkeries, and coffee shops fall into this category. These could also be cards for special services that folks wouldn’t normally splurge on like pedicures, facials, massages etc. Books and gas cards are also solid consumables, but perhaps less creative.
- Is it useful and robust? - Will it last for years? Does the gift solve a persistent problem? Doing so in clever ways or solving two problems at once earns extra bonus points!
- Will it help someone else? Donations to local or global non-profits are a great way to say I love you, especially if it’s a cause they believe in. We truly cherish this type of gift.
- Is it socks? - Let’s face it, everyone needs good quality socks. We both love Darn Tough, in medium, please!
Sadly, Renogy doesn’t make solar socks, but if they did, they’d probably be awesome! Instead, they make a whole line of Everyday Carry Gear that stylishly fits into our second category. From portable solar panels that will fit in a backpack to power banks that can accompany you on a plane, Renogy has the gear you’ll want with you all the time. Here is our list of some useful and robust holiday gift ideas that won’t end up lost in a drawer, regifted, or stacked in the return box. Your recipient will wonder how they ever lived without them.
E.POWER Portable Solar Chargers
Each of these battery packs has an integrated solar panel designed to keep the unit topped off when not in use. They can power or charge up any small electronic, anytime day or night. Each unit can be fully recharged by plugging it into any USB outlet or by connecting it to an external portable solar panel (see below). Check out our video review of these products. In our solar powered life of adventure, we use the 24K version almost every single day!
E.POWER, 10K mAh / 37 Wh
This unit comes in a rugged case with some cool features including a rubber outlet cover, LED flood light (which is surprisingly bright), and an integrated clip to attach it to the outside of a backpack. It will charge a standard smartphone 2-3 times.
Unit measures 5.6 x 3.4 x .8 inches, weighing in at 10.1 ounces.
This unit also comes in a rugged case, rubber outlet cover, and LED flashlight with 3 settings. It offers multiple charging ports, including a USB-C which can greatly increase the charging speed of whatever device you need to charge (approximately 5-8 smartphone charges).
Unit measures 7.12 x 3.53 x
1.26 inches, has 2.4 times the battery capacity of its smaller cousin, and
weighs 1.25 lbs.
Who’s gonna love them?
People who love to be active outside, are always on the go, or work in the outdoors, but want to keep a few e-comforts with them (smartphone, camera, headphones, bike lights, headlamp, weather radio, altimeter, etc.). Both of these power banks are slightly larger than the palm of your hand, making them easy to fit into a backpack, boat bag, bike cart, or dry bag.
Phoenix 100 Mini Power Station
A small, hand-held, versatile, and powerful 27K mAH unit that packs a big punch for its small size. With 3 different outlets (USB-A, USB-C, and 110V), this unit will charge up a smartphone, laptop/tablet, camera batteries, headphones, bike lights, AA/AAA batteries, or provide power for a string of lights, small stick blender, or 12V fan. We were amazed to discover that you can even charge a couple of these electronics at the same time! This unit can be recharged via a portable panel (see below), car utility port, or a wall outlet.
Unit weighs just over 1 lb, and measures 2.7” x 2.7” x 6.1 inches. It’s just larger than a standard soda can or about 2/3 of an average travel mug.
Who’s gonna love it?
Perfect for small groups or
families, the car campers and boaters on your list will love the portability,
size, and versatility. It’s even small enough to fit into a backpack,
duffel bag, dry bag, or bike cart. Check
out our video review of this product, too.
E.FLEX Portable Solar Panels
These portable, easy to use solar panels fold up and secure with a snap, are equipped with a built-in voltage controller, and have at least 2 USB ports. Rated in watts, these panels indicate their maximum output when set up in full sunlight. They will charge a smartphone, camera batteries, bike lights, and just about any other small electronics requiring 2.5A or less. We bring our 30W panel, paired with our 24K mAh E.POWER bank along on nearly every adventure we get up to! Check out our video review of these products, too.
Folds out easily in 3 sections, has a built-in kickstand, offers 2
USB charging ports, and weighs less than 1.2 lbs. Dimensions are 11.4 x 6.2
inches, making it slightly smaller than a sheet of standard notebook
Who’s gonna love them?
The off-grid traveler who
wants a lightweight option for keeping small electronics topped off, will find
them invaluable. Both of these panels are sized to easily fit into a
daypack, boat bag, bike cart, dry bag, or even carry-on luggage. They are perfect for bringing along on a
longer trip when a reliable power source to charge up your small electronics
might be in doubt!
Other Handy Charging Options
72K mAh Portable Charging Power Bank
This portable power bank has a large battery capacity and is capable of charging multiple devices at one time, including laptop computers. Using DC, the charger connects directly to your laptop using one of the plugs from the included adaptor kit. By bypassing your traditional charging cord, the battery bank is far more efficient; it doesn’t need to run an inverter which would require more space and power. With a variety of output options between 12-21V, you can dial in a precise charge for your device. In addition to the laptop direct output, it also includes 2 USB outputs and a 12V utility port (cigarette lighter). Recharge this power bank via a solar panel, utility port, RV/boat battery bank, or wall outlet. While it does a great job of quickly charging our smaller laptop (45W/20V/2.25A), we discovered a limitation with its amps. Devices like our more powerful laptop requires 6.7A, so is not compatible with this charger which is limited to 3.2-4A.
Measuring 8.9 x 4.9 x 1.7 inches and weighing 2.79 lbs., this unit is about the size of a hardcover book.
Who’s gonna love this?
Anyone who needs to charge several devices at once (laptop,
tablet, camera, game console, or smartphone) while out and about, car camping,
or on a road trip. This is especially good for someone who frequently
works while off-grid, or while working from the road. Want to get some Vitamin D while
working? Take your laptop to the park
and get stuff done while enjoying the outdoors.
100W Car Power Inverter
With this small inverter, you can convert your vehicle’s utility port (cigarette lighter) into a wall outlet. This convenient and compact unit will run (or charge) any AC appliances using less than 100W. With one traditional wall outlet and USB outlet, you can charge 2 small devices simultaneously. For the price, this inverter offers a great return on charging up your devices while driving.
This unit easily fits in the palm of your hand and weighs less than a typical smartphone.
Who’s going to love this?
This is the perfect gift for the person on the go, who needs to
charge up their 110V electronics from their vehicle. Anyone who travels a
lot, or works from the road will find this very useful.
Fun Solar Gifts
E. TUNES Solar Bluetooth Speaker
This solar powered Bluetooth speaker is packed with some audio punch! While not submersible, it is splashproof and designed to be outside. It’s a perfect companion for camping trips, tailgate parties, picnics, while on the boat, by the pool, and for the impromptu dance party at the beach. In addition to providing some great sound, it can also top off a smartphone with its 5K mAh Li-ion battery or add some fun to the dance party fun with its strobe light (AKA, SOS emergency light). Ten hours of play time on a full charge is quite impressive for its size. It can remain topped off with the integrated solar panel, or fully recharged by connecting it to another solar panel, RV/boat battery bank, or wall outlet.
Dimensions are 5.9 x 5.9 x 1.7 inches, weighing 1.37 lbs.
Who’s gonna love it? Anyone who loves to live
outside and wants to share their tunes with a group, or amplify sound from a
E. LUMEN Multi-Functional Flashlight
Not just an ordinary flashlight, it’s a handy, everyday multi-tool! Its powerful LED flashlight (200 lumens) can reach up to 200 meters, or transform to a lantern (150 lumens) with a built-in magnet perfect for getting under the hood or extra light at your campsite. It can cut through a seat belt, break a window, or be a self-defense tool, as well as recharge some small electronics with its 2K mAh Li-ion battery. Keep it in the sun and the solar panel will keep it topped off, so it’ll be ready whenever and wherever you need it. Or, simply charge it up with any USB outlet.
Dimensions are 7.83 x 1.65 x 1.22 inches, and weighs just over ½ of a pound.
Also available is the even brighter E. LUMEN 500 model.
Who’s gonna love it?
Looking for a great gift under $25? This is perfect for
anyone on your list who drives a car or boat, does home improvement projects,
or goes car camping. It’s small enough, yet powerful and versatile enough
to be useful to just about anyone.
Seems like everyone has a new gadetity way to put a light in your hand or on your head, but this is the first time we’ve seen a 3-in-1 light. The 3 individual lights connect via magnets to form one sweet little 300 lumen handheld light. Each light has a spotlight function, with multiple settings, as well as a lantern function. Each can be used to get an emergency charge on a phone or other small electronic device. Recharge the flashlight by connecting to a portable solar panel, utility port, RV/boat battery bank, or wall outlet.
Dimensions are 1.63 x 1.11 x 5.25 inches and weighs less than ¼ of a pound.
Who’s gonna love it?
This is perfect for anyone on your list who likes to tinker, do home improvement projects, work on their car/boat, or enjoys camping/boating. The magnetic lights are perfect for temporarily setting up under the hood of a car, in a tight spot under the sink, or simply hang in a tent.
No matter what holidays your family celebrates or how you exchange gifts, if anyone on your list uses personal electronic devices, Renogy offers solutions to keep them charged up! Be the cool family member and give them something they can use every day, and will last! Or you can always go with socks. Happy holidays to all!