I’ve been working with different solutions for powering my devices – specifically my cell phone – for some time. My typical go-to has been the Milwaukee M12 battery with adapter that gives me a reasonable 1 amp charge rate (the latest version delivers 2 amps). When I’m attending media events or on the go, it really ends up being more of a battery extension than a charger. We pulled the EnerPlex Kickr IV Solar Charger in for our Father’s Day Gift Guide, and it’s an impressive option for people on the go.
That’s an important consideration considering what I travel with. I have to carry a professional level camera for photos and video. I also like to bring gear to go for a run in as many cities around the world as I can. Since I’m a minimalist packer, I want everything I need in one carry on pack for the plane.
I also carry an EDC (every day carry) backpack with me anytime I leave the house. It’s got a variety of essentials to make unforeseen situations more comfortable. A change of clothes, water, snacks, and supplies for surviving an emergency are in there to help me make through a couple hours or a couple days just in case something crazy happens. Included is an alternative power source to make sure I have effective communication no matter what conditions I get stuck in.
Because I know how much American pride Pro Tool Nation carries, you’ll be happy to know that the KickrIV is a Made in the USA product built in Thornton, Colorado.
The Kickr IV is designed perfectly for my everyday and travel needs. It’s lightweight at just over half a pound and folds up to the size of a small notebook. Considering what I prefer to carry with me, it slides in both my travel and EDC packs without adding much weight or volume.
EnerPlex originally designed the Kickr IV to be used by the ultimate Pro on the go – military servicemen. Most solar panels are very sensitive to water and scratches. The CIGS solar cells (copper indium gallium selenide) allow some forgiveness when you’re packing and using it without too much concern for the environment you’re in. Folding with the cells to the inside protects them so you don’t have to have a pocket dedicated to holding only the Kickr.
Four elastic straps are included to lash the charger to your backpack when you’re on the go or hang it in an optimum position when you’re going to be in one spot for a while.
The EnerPlex Kickr IV is capable of pulling up to 1.2 amps/5 volts of charging from the sun to give you the same charging power as a wall outlet. Most importantly, that kind of theoretical power actually charges rather than just maintains my current battery level.
But does the reality match the claims?
In the solar charging world, you’ll never get actually see the maximum watts that a solar charger is rated for. 90% is among the best I’ve seen. Here in central Florida, I’m typically able to get roughly 75% solar potential during the best 4 to 6 hours of the day using the Kohler enCUBE. That would give me in the neighborhood of 0.9 amps amps realized charging power.
I don’t have a watt output indicator that I can use with the Kickr, but I can tell you that I really did get surprisingly solid charging rates that match what I get out of the wall. I’m impressed!
I can carry the Kickr IV knowing I have a reliable power source all day long in the areas I live and play. If I’m concerned about an overnight stay away from power, I know I can start the evening with a full battery even if my phone is in constant use.
All things considered, the EnerPlex Kickr IV is an outstanding product for people on the go that want to be sure to have a backup power supply to charge their devices. While I use it primarily for my phone, tablets and other devices that charge via USB can take advantage of it.
EnerPlex Kickr IV Solar Charger Specifications
- Model: EnerPlex Kickr IV
- Power Source: Solar
- Solar Type: CIGS
- Max Output Potential: 1.2 amps, 5 volts
- Weight: 0.6 pound
- Dimensions (Unfolded): 30.5 x 7.3 inches
- Dimensions (Folded): 8.8 x 7.3 inches
- Price: $99 retail, get it for less on Amazon
- Warranty: 1 year