We were so amazed and thrilled with the sights and unexpected experiences every day along our trek, and we wanted to be ready with our cameras and laptops to record all the details. Rich and Cody slung out their digital cameras with every adorable Sherpa child and lumbering yak we passed, and I filmed every colorful wildflower fluttering in the breeze. Of course at the end of the day I just had to deploy the notebook computer out of my day pack and type up blog entries about adorable yaks and lumbering children. Of course if I let it go more than a day at a time I might mix up the details. It didn’t take long on our hike for us to become very mindful of the power meters on our electronic devices. We had to carefully monitor our usage and to try to power off as quickly as possible after all interesting sights and experiences had moved along. I brought a huge pack of AA sized batteries with me to make sure I had a guaranteed power source for my operation critical electronics (the GameBoy). However, keeping the computer and the video camera charged up was a technical challenge.
Nearing the end of the route on the return we met a fellow who had an ingeneous device strapped over his backpack, a flexible solar panel. He explained that he was using it just to charge up his iPod, and we lamented that we had spent so many Rupees on the hourly charges for electricity at the lodges. Considering that we were outdoors in the sun every day, it would have been such a convenience and a relief on the weight we were carrying if we each had one of those panels draped from our packs. Each of those panels could capably charge a camera or an iPod and we wouldn’t have to plot schemes and alliances to wrest control of the single power outlets in each lodge. Of course they’re probably not powerful enough to run any device directly, but they can charge up batteries over a few hours. A few of these flexible solar panels I came up with are Brunton SolarRolls, foldable Solar Panels from RadioLabs, the GSE SUNLINQ, and the Unisolar Flexible Panel. These are all fairly expensive, costing hundreds of times more than a regular alkaline battery, but then that’s the point. Who wants to carry hundreds of alkaline batteries on a long hike.backpack batteries digital camera digital video electronics