The solar power revolution has well and truly transformed the grey nomad universe in recent years. Panels on caravan and motorhome roofs are pretty much the norm now, offering travellers new levels of self-sufficiency, and the ability to stay in the bush for as long as they like. But what about those cloudy days, or those times when you want to park in a shaded area? Well, it’s time that independent-power-loving nomads got themselves a Plan B.
Who remembers wind power?
Well, a few different attempts have been made to offer campers some sort of breeze-powered electricity generator … but the Windpax – a collapsible, portable wind turbine system – could be the one that earns itself a spot in the van.
The makers claim that the system’s extreme portability is what sets it apart. It is lightweight and fully collapsible so it won’t take up much space in the rig while it awaits its time in the proverbial sun when the real sun doesn’t shine.
And it’s all so simple. The cups on the cylindrical Windpax system catch the air which spins the impellers, and the internal generator does the rest. The system can be set up in two minutes and can be hung from a tree or clamped to a table. Mobile phones or other devices with USB charging capabilities can be charged either direct from the turbine or from the removable battery.
There are two models coming onto the market. The smaller Wisp weighs 1.8 kg, and measures 35cm by 7.5cm when collapsed. It is capable of generating 25 Watts under average wind speeds, and can apparently power six mobile phones at the same time. The Wisp’s battery has an integrated LED to allow it to be used as a light source.
The larger Breeze model weighs 4kg, can generate 100 Watts under average wind conditions and comes with a 12 volt adapter.
Oh, and in case you are nervous about having a very nasty wind-assisted accident when tottering back to your own van after a ‘too happy’ Happy Hour, don’t worry (too much!). The system has flexible plastic vanes to reduce injury in case someone inadvertently walks into the turbine.
Windpax is still in the fundraising stage with the Breeze and Wisp and hopes to start producing and shipping the systems in September.