Dependence on electronics has meant a weekend away from the power grid, which means many people need to take some kind of charging device with them to power up cell phones, navigation systems and even laptops. Solar chargers have been developed to ensure they can work in the great outdoors, but unfortunately these suffer from many of the same drawbacks as solar panels.
One of the main drawbacks of solar power is the cost of installation, which also applies to portable devices. A solar charger will set you back at least $75 while a normal battery charger can cost less than $20.
Every piece of electronic kit you own has a specific battery outlet. The charger for your laptop is completely different than the one used by your cell phone and MP3 player, which may result in your having to buy several different chargers and carrying them around with you.
As solar chargers have no capacity to store energy collected during the day, they are only useful for a small amount of time. Even once the sun starts to go down, the power supplied will start to plummet. If you happen to be walking in the mountains on a cloudy day, there is also a chance it will not work at all.
Solar power chargers take a while to restore the majority of a battery in a cell phone or navigation system, and, as they only work during the day, this will involve having to stop, set up the system and then wait for it to charge, which may not be ideal in your situation.
Taking a cell phone with you on a trip may be necessary as an emergency measure. As solar chargers only work during the day and take time to charge up, a cell phone may no longer seem like a practical emergency communication means.