Winter is coming. No, not the sixth season of Game of Thrones. Sorry, we have to wait until late Spring for that. Actual winter. Time to dust off the jackets and get them ready for the outdoors.
One company, Evolution Wear, wants to take the jacket and slap a solar panel on it. Most of the time, the result of the dual purpose ends with it being gimmicky. The Evolution Wear Jacket / Backpack?
Style for days. If you have heard of brands like Kuhl, you get a sense of the type of jacket. Warm enough for blustery days, but the snowmageddon? Stay inside.
The combination of a jacket and backpack make it easy for commuters who have too much crap to lug around. I sheepishly raise my hand as being one of those who looks like I’m trying out to be a sherpa.
Evolution Wear Jacket
Jacket first. Everything you’d expect in a typical outdoor jacket. Water repellent and durable, it is meant to be out on the trail. It is hooded, but if you want to detach it, no problem.
And it charges your smartphone. Anything that can be charged via USB can draw juice from the 4400MAH battery pack. The solar charger can be attached to the jacket with ease or placed on backpacks, tents, bicycles, you get the idea.
I’m always a bit hesitant on clothing that can convert to something else. The Evolution Wear combo? Actual thought went into how it will work. And the result is a pack that can hold up to 30 pounds. Think day hike or carrying around your laptop plus gear.
The jacket comes with three main pockets. One that can hold a full-size 15-inch laptop. Luckily, these keep getting thinner by the month, so bank on 15-inch with some room to spare. The other two pockets can hold your smartphone or mid-sized tablet.
I thought my iPhone 6 Plus was a tablet…
The second side pocket is a dedicated area for the Evolution Wear battery pack.
Switching the jacket to a backpack allows you to zip the bottom and make the entire jacket available for storage. Not bad. Attach the solar charger to the top using the six buttons and you can keep the smartphone whirring.
Here’s the breakdown on how to convert the jacket to a backpack:
Evolution Wear Solar Charger
The flexible solar charger will deliver about 3.5V to the Sol ChargePack in direct sunlight. What about charging times? Direct sunlight will get you 2.5 to 3 bars on the battery pack.
[divider]Phone Charge Times[/divider]
An iPhone 6s+ will get to 100% from three bars from the Sol ChargePack. A Galaxy S6 Edge? Almost fully charged. It’ll hit 99%. Close enough for government work.
Kickstarting Evolution Wear
The Kickstarter campaign started this morning and is looking for $50,000. There are early bird specials available at $225 before the price jumps to $250. Ship dates are set for January 2016. Quick Alabama math has that within a month after the campaign ends.
The company wants to get the first run of 160 units to customers in December. The next 1000-5000 units? Late January.
Three colors to choose from in their Winter Solstice line – black, white and pink and white and blue. I’m partial to the black. Looks great. Plus the white and blue would be an instant target for my dogs when it’s raining. Muddy paws? They are more than happy to put their stamp on it.
[divider]Future of Evolution Wear[/divider]
The company isn’t just stopping at jackets. Evolution Wear wants to make clothing that does more than act as a fashion statement.