Right now, 1.2 billion people across the planet do not have access to electricity. This means that as soon as the sun goes down they are they forced to rely on costly, inefficient, and often dangerous ways to light their homes. However, many of these people live in countries that receive a lot of sunshine during the day, so why not harness all that energy? That is is the thinking behind the WakaWaka Power+.
You probably already own a portable battery pack for juicing up your phone while on the go. You probably also have to plug that in to charge it up, right? Well, the WakaWaka Power+ Solar Charger is just that - a portable power pack - but one that can be recharged using the built-in solar panel. As well as packing a 2200mAh battery to connect to your phone, there are also two LED lights, capable of providing up to 150 hours of illumination after just one day in the sun.
Despite possessing lights, a battery, and a solar panel, the WakaWaka Power+ Solar Charger is smaller than your phone and features a flip-out stand which can be used both to prop it up in the sun, and to hang it as a light. It feels tough, resilient, and also very light - possibly even lighter than a standard portable power pack.
So fun and games, and bound to keep you tweeting and updating Facebook while in the wilds. However, if you don't happen to live in the developed world the WakaWaka Power+ Solar Charger becomes a lot more serious. Not only will that sunlight be put to good use providing a bright light in the darkness (maximum 75 lumen), but the power from the battery could be used to charge life-saving devices; from a mobile phone used for emergencies, to an eReader used for education. Certainly more important than watching funny cat videos in your sleeping bag.
WakaWaka were also kind enough to send a few other items from their range. Included also in our light-giving bundle was the Waka Waka Light, which is similar to the Power+ but doesn't have the USB port for charging other devices, the Pocket Light, which provides a small and powerful torch while also being a power pack, and also the Water Proof Pouch, designed to accommodate the Power+ and keep it safe and dry. Everything is well-made, tough, and looks great.
The fun doesn't stop there, either. With every WakaWaka Power+ Solar Charger you buy, another goes to someone in the world who needs it; be they in a village or school in Africa, or a refugee camp in and around Syria. In fact, if you enter your unique code on the packaging you get to choose where the donated device goes to, with the WakaWaka site providing lots of details of how that happens.
So yes, this is a great gadget to have with you during this summer's camping and hiking trips, but due to WakaWaka's amazing charity work across the globe, buying one of these is also an investment in someone else, too.
Pocket Light £19.95
Water Proof Pouch £8.99
Available from www.maplin.co.uk