Your mobile phone, GPS units, or iPad might just be the most important pieces of survival gear you carry into the woods and the wild places. These digital wonders allow you to navigate, call, text, and even email a message of distress (and your coordinates) in the event of an emergency.

But what happens to you and your digitally dependant family when your device runs out of juice? This would be the perfect opportunity to use a compact, ultra-light solar charging panel to power your gadget from the sun’s abundant energy. Here’s one more piece of gear to help protect yourself and your family when the electrical grid goes down or you are far away from a power cord.

The Choetech 19-watt solar panel consists of three highly efficient mono-crystalline panels. It folds up into a small package for easy of transport. The perimeter of the nylon sleeve sports a number of string holes, which allow the panel to be attached to the exterior of your backpack or hung in a sunny spot to deliver a maximum charge. The unit has dual USB ports, which allow it to charge two devices at once. One charging cord is supplied with the unit (note that the cord won’t fit all devices).

My favorite thing about the Choetech panel is that you can charge your device directly from it. Other panels require the use of a separate battery, which could be lost or could fail. With this unit, you just need the panel, the cord, the device, and the sun! No waiting around to charge a battery, then waiting for the battery to charge your device.

The panel measures 10-by-7 inches closed and 10-by-21 inches open and it weights just under a pound. Under full sunlight, it will charge a dead phone in about an hour.

I couldn’t find a thing wrong with this neat little solar savior. The only thing I found was a wide range of prices. The MSRP starts at $100, but I found prices online as low as $54.99.

You can learn more about it at