This is for the Joos Orange from Solar Joos with the optional reflector kit…First, the benefit of this unit it that it’s the whole package, meaning that it contains a 5400mah rechargeable battery, which is charged by the solar cell and all this is encapsulated in a bombproof case. If you want to get to the juice, just plug micro-usb to the Joos and choose your connector on the other end. In regards to my use, for the first few hundred miles of the expedition it was attached to the top of my deck bag getting pounded by surf and rain. For the lattar part of the expedition I had to move it inside the deck bag for reasons I will talk about later. So, Lets talk about some product features…
- The build quality is great and I’m very confidant that the case can take some drops. In fact a dropped it a few times and everything was okay. Also, if you are using it in a urban environment, you can loop some type around the circle in the top of the unit and it will be secure, less someone wants to destroy the whole unit.
- The Joos contains a 5400mah rechargeable battery, which advertises to charge an iPhone about 2.5 times. Mostly, I used the Joos to charge my other external batteries so I cannot account for straight Joos to phone charging.
- The reflector is also a great addition to the Joos and it advertises up to 30% faster charge times and I can account for the fact that it is definitely faster with the reflector kit.
Now that we went covered the features, lets cover some things to consider.
- With its build quality comes the weight. It’s about 1.5 lbs and although its not extremely weighty, its noticeable. Going with solar charging kit just containing panels and an external battery would probably be lighter, although that kit would not be waterproof unless paired with a waterproof map case or something of the sort.
- My biggest concern was its waterproof claim. Yes, the unit is basically waterproof meaning that if it takes a few dips in the drink, it will come out okay but for and extended exposure without the ability to dry it out, proceed with caution. In the intro, I talk about having to move from on the top of my deck bag to inside. I had to do this because I was starting to notice some green on the micro USB connector, even after applying tape to the small rubber cover on the micro USB connector (as suggested by JOOS). Realizing that it was due to my inability to dry it out, I will take the blame but to be honest, paddling for 10-12 hours per day and arriving on the beach at dusk with temps dropping to near freezing, I literally had to time to dry it out. After I was able to clean off the green with some rubbing alcohol, it worked again. Following that episode, I only used it when I had bad weather days and had to wait on the beach.
Overall, I’m not sure this is a set it and forget unit. If you are going on a shorter expedition and are able to take care of your gear then get it, but if our going on an extended salt water journey, there are other alternatives. I’m not sure I would readily recommend this to the kayak expedition community.