My thought when first looking at Brunton’s Restore Solar Charger is that this is a device made not just for green techies but for outdoorspeople. Don’t get me wrong—I love technology too, and I like getting off the grid. But the market has some good solar options, and yet Brunton has found the right recipe for taking you off the grid and off the trail.
The Restore is rugged looking and has a durable, rubberized “adventure armored” shell. It’s also water-resistant—don’t drop it in the river—and just feels quality to the touch. Buttons and readouts are in logical places, work well, and speak to quality. A series of small blue LEDs indicate total charge, and the device has only two buttons, one on each side. The right powers on for charging; the left is actually a small flashlight running on the Restore’s battery. Genius!
A few notes about specs: the Restore has two 100 mA solar panels and a 2200 mAh internal lithium polymer battery to store the sun’s power it soaks up. This is enough to charge your iPhone or other device—just plug into the USB port with your standard charging cable and press the button on the right side to get started.
In daily testing, I found the Restore far more forgiving than a few other testers—its quality solar panels mean that it takes advantage of somewhat more indirect light. Charging the Restore is a snap, and recharging your device is just as easy.
I come back to the fact that the Burnton looks built for off-roading for why I like this product. It’s like the Restore is a true box-frame SUV, and most of the other solar chargers of its like are crossover vehicles. They both look like SUVs, but the Restore looks like it will keep up off the trail and not let you down. Enough analogies: between its rugged construction, ease of use, and included micro-USB charging cable, the Restore just has every base covered.
The Restore retails for $120 on Brunton’s website. This is not an inconsiderable investment, but it is just that—an investment. It’s a bit more than some competitors, but to me it out-performed them handily. The solar panels and the li-poly battery will keep your gadgets powered off the grid and off the beaten trail for years, so you can be both green and adventurous without sacrificing your techno-goodies.
Short take: buy the Restore because it lives up to its rugged good looks.