A Wildlife Biologist Puts The SolarPanel 5+ To The Test

This is a special guest post from Jason Fitzgibbon, a Professional Photographer and Wildlife Biologist.

As a wildlife biologist, my work often involves surveying for threatened and endangered plant and animal species, and ensuring their protection under the purview of state and federal laws. My career takes me to wild and beautiful places, which I attempt to share with the world through photography; mainly in hopes of inspiring others to cherish and protect the wild places that they enjoy in their area.

In this line of work, my iPhone has become a constant and trusty field companion of mine. Singlehandedly, it takes the place of my field book for notes, numerous field guides for plant, animal, and track identification, and it easily out-performs my old yellow, submarine-sized GPS unit for vegetation mapping purposes and navigation. Needless to say, the daily demands I place on such an incredible little unit are extremely high; a fact readily displayed by my ever-dwindling battery.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been carrying BioLite’s SolarPanel 5+ out in the field with me for work. Equipped with built-in battery storage with sufficient capacity for a phone or camera charge, and an indexed stand and clever “sun dial” that allow you to optimize solar incidence, I have propped this thing up and kept my phone (and camera) alive and well all over southern California.

When conducting vegetation mapping, or raptor surveys that require hiking over vast expanses of land, I’ve made a habit of setting out the SolarPanel at a midpoint at the beginning of the day, then returning to it every few hours for a quick recharge, a snack break, and to realign the panel properly with the moving sun. On numerous occasions it has allowed me to cover much more ground and travel lighter, without worry of expending my last battery pack.

All said and done, this panel has become a trusty sidekick for my phone, and a great way to ensure that I’ve always got a few mAh lying around to get my work done or take some photos.

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