Digital SLR cameras are as fragile and valuable as they are heavy on batteries, so it’s a good idea to protect them. But an even better idea is to carry them in something that will protect them and charge their batteries – something like the Eclipse Nova Solar. 

This nifty satchel takes the camera bag to the next level by incorporating a solar panel capable of re-juicing your snapper and all of its attendant accessories while it remains safely stowed away.

You’ve got to bag it up

The Nova Solar looks just like a regular camera bag with plenty of padding, water-proofing and an abundance of pockets, but stitched into the lid of the case is a solar panel that can generate 1.5V of electricity. That’s enough to fully recharge almost any portable device.

The photovoltaic panel connects directly to a regular car lighter socket that can take anything with an appropriate 12V adapter. Simple.

Unlike the Solio and HY Mini chargers, there’s no internal battery this time, which means you can’t store any charge for later, or charge up from the mains – you can only charge your gadget’s batteries directly.

That’s fine – when the weather is fine. Fortunately, the active surface area on top of the bag is a lot bigger, so it can catch more rays and it’s actually very efficient at turning them into a steady 1.5V flow of current. Even a fairly dull day can generate enough charge to top up the battery of our power hungry Olympus E-410.

Charge of the light brigade

No adapters are sold with the bag, so you’ll need to track down a universal 12V lighter adapter that will talk to each device, or more precisely, it’s charger. But it’s hugely satisfying to know that all of your gadgets are being powered by the sun’s rays.

It’s equally reassuring to know that they’re safe from harm too. The Nova bag has stiff fabric walls and more foam padding inside it than the honey monster. You can rearrange the padding to make a snug custom fit for your toys.

The bag itself is made of rainproof nylon and it’s not compromised by the thin and flexible solar panel, which seems equally damage resistant. With five inner compartments and three outer pockets, it’ll hold all of your camera accessories plus an iPod and Asus Eee PC laptop and still have room for your sandwiches.

Contact: The Solar Centre

Stuff says... 

Eclipse Nova Solar review

A gadget’s best friend, the Nova Solar will both charge and protect your shiny trinkets