John Crump reviews the Man-PACK Apollo Solar Powered CCW Backpack and puts its recharging abilities to the test.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In a bugout situation, the first thing you need is a good go bag. I have used cheap bags before. In fact, in Asia, I bought a cheap bag that looked great until 15 minutes later when one of the straps fell off. A few minutes after the first the strap broke the second strap also fell off. From that day forward I decided to only use good bags even if that means paying a little more because, in the end, you get what you pay for.
Another question we need to ask ourselves when we need to bug out is what happens when our electronics go dead? In a hurricane, we can lose power for a couple weeks like we have seen in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. With our dependency on technology, we need a way to generate power without having to rely on the power grid. This is where the Man-PACK Apollo backpack comes in.
Man-PACK Apollo Solar Powered CCW Backpack
The Apollo by Man-PACK is not only a high-quality bag, but it is also a power generating backpack. This is a great backpack not just for the prepper community, but for hikers, campers, and all sorts of travelers. Man-PACK provided me with one to try out for a few weeks. In the past couple of weeks, I have been using this as my everyday bag to carry my laptop tablet and my other things that I use on a daily basis.
The Apollo has a detachable solar panel which is attached to the backpack. When not in use the solar panel can snap off and can be stored inside the back compartment of the backpack. The solar panels are water resistance and scratch resistant which is good since it spends a lot of time exposed to the elements.
The solar panel of the Man-PACK Apollo Solar Powered CCW Backpack has 7-watt cells that transfer 22.5% of the energy it collects. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but there is a lot of energy loss with solar panels. Collecting 22.5% of that solar energy is actually much more efficient than it may sound.
The power is transferred by USB that can be connected to the back of the solar panel. The Man-PACK Apollo comes with a micro-USB cable that is currently used in most non-Apple mobile phones and tablets. Even if you have a newer Samsung phone or Apple phone you can use your USB-C or Lightning cable to connect to the solar panel and charge your device.
The Output is of the charging system of the Man-PACK Apollo Solar Powered CCW Backpack is 5v/2a. This is enough to charge tablets or mobile phones. The newest phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 can charge at 5v/3a so it will not be as fast as the wall plug that came with the Samsung, but it is fast enough to charge my S8 back to full power under direct sunlight in just about three hours.
What I ended up deciding to do is adding a EasyAcc portable 30000mAh Battery Pack that I picked up off Amazon that supports full USB-C power. I did this so I can use the USB connection of the Apollo solar to charge the battery pack during the day so if I needed to I can charge devices at night. This makes me a little less dependant on the sun.
The solar cells in the Man-PACK Apollo Solar Powered CCW Backpack are made in the USA. This might not be a big deal to a lot of people, but right now China is dominating the renewable energy market because they can sell their panels cheaper due to how much the Chinese government is throwing into the renewable market. At the current pace by 2050, China will control 80% of all renewable energy in the world. With the world moving more and more to renewable energy it is important we slow them down even if it means paying a little bit more.
The Apollo bag itself is made up of a very lightweight nylon fabric. Even though it is lightweight it is also very tough. I am pretty rough on my bags. That is probably why I go through so many backpacks. This bag has no problem standing up to me or my four-year-old son. It would be interesting to see what type of condition this backpack would be in a year from now.
Man-PACK offers 35 liters of storage space in their Apollo backpack so space isn’t an issue with the bag. There are pockets everywhere. I had no problem fitting all my work stuff in the bag during the week, and I had no problem fitting all my outdoor fun stuff in the backpack during the weekend. I even used it as a carry-on during a trip I went on.
The Apollo backpack has a concealed compartment that has velcro that can be used to attach a gun holster. This is a pass-through compartment which means this can be set up for the left-handed shooter as well as the right-handed shooter. There is an optional holster that Man-PACK sells that can be used with this backpack, but I used a velcro holster that I already had and it works beautifully.
Wearing the Apollo backpack was very comfortable. A lot of backpacks have tiny shoulder straps that cut into the wearer. Man-PACK went with slightly oversized padded shoulder straps on the Apollo. This increases the surface area of the straps and prevents the straps from cutting into the wearer’s shoulders.
Man-PACK also sells Bullet Resistant Backpack Inserts. These slide right into the Apollo and offer level 3A protection. Man-PACK also sells a bullet resistant insert that is also a Ballistic Clipboard and whiteboard. This insert would save you the trouble of explaining to an overzealous TSA agent why you have a ballistic insert in your backpack. I didn’t get a chance to try out the inserts, but I plan on it in the near future.
At the time of this writing, the Man-PACK Apollo backpack sells for $139.99. The optional holster for the pass-through compartment cost $16.99.
Man-PACK can be found at www.Man-PACK.com
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and is a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.