Frank Church Wilderness - copyright 2011 Jody Sedrick

Climbing the mountaintops and ridges of the Frank Church Wilderness with my 14-year-old son and 4 other boys last week was an unforgettable experience. Last week we ventured off trail across incredible mountain scapes in an attempt to complete the 52-mile Big Baldy-Indian Creek Loop in 5 days.

While we ended up having to come out a day early due to some of our group getting serious altitude sickness, it was an INCREDIBLE experience. We are planning a second attempt next year.

On my trip, I decided to bring my iPhone to capture photos. No, I wasn’t thinking I’d have connectivity and check emails late at night. I was on an adventure and intended to capture every moment on the iPhone’s camera.  So I decided to pack a lightweight

USB + AA solar charger from PowerFilm Solar to keep my iPhone fully charged.

Powerfilm Solar USB + AA Charger

Here are my findings:
  • Time to charge the 2 AA rechargeable batteries: about 2 hours
  • Time to fully charge my battery from 50%: 2 hours
  • Charging my iPhone worked better if I charged the batteries at the same time.
  • Folded up very nicely for easy storage
  • 2 grommets made it easy to attach the unfolded solar charger to my back backpac


  • Ideal for light charging.
  • Flashing indicator light sometimes was difficult to see in direct sunlight
  • As you would expect, direct sunlight was optimal for charging.  Diffused or indirect sunlight didn’t work nearly as well. Fortunately we had a lot of sun.
  • I found charging my iPhone everyday with the PowerFilm Solar ideal.  One of my hiking companions let his iPhone battery drop to 17% capacity. We charged the application for half a day a recharged the battery to 84%.
  • I switched my iPhone to Airplane Mode and shut off all unused applications. This significantly helped reduce the drain on my battery.

Jody and Christian Sedrick hiking in Frank Church Wilderness 2011

All in all I’d give the PowerFilm Solar a thumbs up. Yes it was a little slower than I’d prefer to charge the iPhone from lower battery status. But for continuous light charging it was a great option.

PowerFilm Solar Specs:
  • Solar operating voltage: 3.6V
  • Solar operating amps: .4A
  • Weight w/o batteries: 4.9 ounces
  • Folded dimensions: 3.24 x 5.55 x 1.38 inches  (83 x 140 x 35 millimeters)
  • Unfolded dimensions: 24 x 5.5 inches (620 x 140 millimeters)
  • USB Charging Voltage: 5.0V
  • USB Charging Current (Amps): up to 1.0A

Information about Frank Church Wilderness Baldy Creek Trail –

Jody Sedrick – Zenware