In my continuing mission to become Lupus Yonderboy of the Panther Moderns, I was happy to take a look at the ScottEVest Tactical v4.0 Solar, a $379.99 solar jacket that can recharge your MP3 player, USB vibrator, and/or Thump 2 using the magical rays of the sun.
This jacket, like the other SeV stuff we've talked about, is a nice piece of clothing. The hidden pockets for cellphones and even laptops come in handy on trips and this one is the first that I could see using for outdoor activities. Essentially, this thing is an overnight bag you can wear. Unlike the common multi-pocketed fishing vests seen on so many attendees of geek shows like CES and E3, all the magic happens behind the scenes. Each pocket has a small hole that allows you to route wires to an fro between devices, hiding everything. This made the solar panel installation a snap.
The panel fits over the epaulets on the shoulders of the jacket. You then velcro the panel down to the lower back pocket and route the panel wire through into any other pocket on the jacket. I routed it to the right bottom pocket and plugged in the solar charger, a 4-inch box with a USB port on one side.
The panels themselves are very flexible and relatively unobtrusive. They are instantly noticeable, but with all the crap that comes on jackets these days, they appear at first glance to be some sort of frippery and not a fully-functioning solar battery.
The kit charged a few of the devices I had lying around the house. Apparently it doesn't work very well with iPods, but it seemed to be doing something. However, check before you buy if you're an Apple-only shop.
Otherwise, it's a pretty cool little setup. I can see the value of this thing on the slopes to keep the tunes pumping while you slalom down mugs of warm wine while the rest of the suckers ski.
Product Page [ScottEVest]