When every ounce on the trail counts, outdoor adventurers dream about ditching batteries. They might not have to wait. Designers at Colorado State University are developing solar-powered clothes from natural fibers that can charge a number of devices, including phones, tablets and GPS units.
Professor Eulanda Sanders and associate professor Ajoy Sarkar in CSU's department of design and merchandising, as well as four of their students, are making prototypes for solar-charging apparel that can be worn while biking, snowboarding, skiing or hiking.
Clothing with solar panels has been developed before, but these duds usually rely on petroleum-based materials rather than natural fibers. A prime example is California-based Silvrlining's GO Solar Power Collection, which puts solar power into microsuede sportswear. While certainly cool-looking, the director's jacket costs $1,180.