This has been going on for a while, and for each different contractor that has come through the Hanford site. The end result is that some folks have 10-15 jackets, back packs, hats and duffel bags. Last year my boss realized that, and instead of a jacket recommended that we order some nice flashlights for everyone in our group. That went over pretty well, and many folks working for other groups were jealous because their 7th jacket wasn't as cool as our Surefires.
Rolling forward to this year, we decided to keep a good thing going, and help out the environment at the same time, by ordering the Guide 10 Adventure Kit, from Goal Zero.
It's a neat little kit. When folded up, the solar panel's about the same overall length and width as a hardback book. It's not as thick or as heavy though. When unfolded...well, it's like 3 hardback books, and it has many useful little strings on it for tying it up at the best sun collecting angle.
So, that's the Nomad 7 Solar Panel. The other part of the 'Guide 10 Adventure Kit' is the Guide 10 Battery Pack, which greatly enhances the flexibility of the system. The Nomad 7 has a few different outlet's out it...you can use it to charge either a USB powered item, a 12V powered item, or the Guide 10. According to all the literature, the most effective way to charge things is to use the Nomad to charge the Guide 10, and then use the Guide 10 to charge what needs charging. The Guide 10 has a more regulated output, and can actually charge full size tablets and not just smart phones.
Yesterday, I got my first opportunity to try it out. I placed the Nomad 7 out in the back yard for about 3 hours, during which time it fully charged the the Guide 10. It might have only taken 2 hours...but 3 is how long I left it out there. I then brought the Guide 10 in the house, and over the next 2 hours it charged my Samsung phone from 50% to 100%, and then my wife's Droid from 70% to 100%.
I know it's just the first time using it, but I'm pretty happy so far.