How often do you go camping just to find yourself messing with inadequate battery or gas powered lamps? Or the inability to charge your cell phone (I know I know, you camp to get AWAY from people, but sometimes you just need your phone)?
Well I found a few green (or semi-green at least) camping solutions while prowling the internet the other day… all of them having to do with solar powered tents!
First the Woods Solar Powered EZ-Tent:
The tent itself is OK (though materials still consist of PVC which is less than desirable when trying to go green). Essentially there is a solar panel that powers the set of internal integrated LED lights. The solar energy can also be used to charge batteries. It takes 4-6 hours of direct light (or 6-8 hours of indirect) to yield 2-4 hours tent light. The tent comes in 4 and 6 person versions and run $180 to $220 respectively.
The tent has 500-watt solar panels and a 500-watt wind turbine to generate electricity so patrons can charge their phones while at the festival. Great idea, but would be cool to make a personal use production model.
Finally, the coolest of the three by far, and the one I’m just salivating to get my hands on even though it is still in concept mode…
Again created by Orange, this time in conjunction with Kaleidoscope, and unveiled at this years Glastonbury Music Festival, this solar tent not only looks comfortable and functional, it has really been taken to the next level. It uses the new flexible photovoltaics that have recently been developed and will be covered in semi-photovoltaic fabric woven with both coated solar threads and conventional threads to form a solar shell that could be adjusted to get the most sun throughout the day. The Solar enegery would be channeled into four main power uses: heating, lighting, communications and recharging.
One of the unique features includes a wireless charging pouch. Instead of plugging in, you would drop your phone or other portable device into a pouch inside the tent. A coil in the pouch would carry an electric current that generates a magnetic field to produce a charge which would then serve to power the device’s battery.
Some of the captured solar energy could also be channeled toward radiant floor heating as well. This is exciting news! I can’t tell you how many times I wake up freezing in the middle of the night while camping, no matter how good my sleeping bag is.
But the most innovative part is the “Glo-cation” technology. When you are trying to find your tent you can send an SMS message or use an RFID tag. Basically press a button and your tent lights up in response, like using your wireless remote to find your car in a parking lot by listening for the horn.
The concept tent also has the ability to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal, though whether or not it acts as a router or just a booster is unclear.
If this ever goes into production (and I hope it will) it will be on my must have list for Burning Man.