In our four years as a blog, we've seen just about every solar-powered gadget out there, including solar surfboards, solar suitcases and a solar helmet. So, when Ralph Lauren recently announced the release of a solar-powered backpack, we weren't exactly surprised.
The bag is part of the designer's RLX line, which offers buyers "exceptionally luxe lifestyle apparel and innovative athletic gear." It is perfect for me, in other words. Next time I'm exploring the Amazon, I can both (a) look great and, thanks to the backpack, (b) get enough juice from its 2.45-watt solar panel to charge my GPS device and iPod.
While Wired's Charlie Sorrel no doubt thinks solar photovoltaic (PV) power is both interesting and important, he can't resist questioning the wisdom of Ralph Lauren's decision to price the bag at a whopping $795:
It seems competent, as theses things go, but let me tell you about the price. You can probably guess that this wouldn’t be cheap, but at $800 only the most well-heeled geek will even consider buying one. And anyhow, I think a much better use of Ralphie’s time would be coming up with a lame, middle-class baseball cap with a solar panel on the peak. I’d totally wear one of those to my next WASP cookout.
About a year ago Samsonite, the luggage maker, released a line of luggage powered by thin-film solar panels from Colorado-based
Abound Ascent Solar. Its backpack currently goes for $135 on Amazon. And even before that, companies like Reware were making functional, solar-powered bags that sell in the $250 to $300 range.
So, even though Ralph Lauren isn't first the to solar-powered fashion party, at least the designer can rest easy knowing his bag is the most exclusive.