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This Sleek Solar Backpack Was Inspired By Hurricane Sandy

If you plan to camp this summer, here’s new equipment you might want to take along: a portable solar backpack. Lightweight and durable, it will power your lights and your music player–you can top it up whenever there’s sun. And this one is particularly nice.

The KaliPAK, now on Kickstarter, is a battery pack that comes with a fold-out solar panel in four squares. The mid-range version weighs 12.8 pounds and powers the equivalent of 96 iPhones on a single charge.

You can charge KaliPAK from a normal plug or a car cigarette-lighter. Using the sun will give you an 85% charge provided you leave it out all day.

The pack was developed by Kalisaya, a New York startup with strong Israeli connections. CEO Yaron Gissin says he started seeing a need for such equipment after Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, when people lost power and turned to diesel generators. The KaliPAK is like a diesel generator except you don’t have to visit a gas station to keep it going.

The KaliPAK comes in three sizes, each with USB ports and Bluetooth. Early bird prices range from $298 to $698, depending on accessories and the size of lithium-ion battery. One out of every 50 sold will go to “electricity-challenged communities in Africa” under an arrangement with Vital Capital, an impact fund, Gissin says.

As well as the solar panel, Kalisaya is also developing a portable wind turbine that will also work with the battery. There are a few teething issues at present (like making sure the turbine doesn’t fly away when it’s spinning). But Gissin expects it to be available in early 2016.BS