WindPal is a portable wind turbine that allows backpackers, campers, hikers, and climbers to charge their devices while staying off-grid in the wilderness. When you usually go camping, you have to be very frugal with the power of your device, hoping that it will last until the end of the trip. But WindPal addresses this common problem, ensuring that you have energy wherever you are – so long as there is wind blowing, that is.
WindPal’s portable wind turbine
Jouni Kukkonen, Jussi Toivonen, and Janne Papunen wanted to help people in the outdoors produce their own personal energy in a sustainable way. WindPal’s portable wind turbine, made from nylon fabric and aluminium, is compact and lightweight (weighing less than 2 pounds). This means it can fit into the bag of any backpacker, hiker, and climber without being a pain to carry around.
The wind turbine can be easily assembled. Then all you have to do is mount it somewhere with winds. Very quickly, it will start to produce energy. It can produce usable energy with as little as 8-mph winds and will reach its maximum output when winds are 20mph. You can connect WindPal to any device that has a normal USB-port, including smartphones, power banks, tablets, LED-lights or GPS devices. WindPal is also waterproof and it has no blades, so it’s very quiet.
The device is still in its prototype stage, so it’s not commercially available just yet.
Sustainable charging devices
WindPal is not the only portable wind turbine that has been developed. An alternative is Trinity, which folds together into a 12” cylinder. The company states on its Kickstarter campaign page:
Trinity has three blades that can be opened and closed. The blades allow the device to capture the wind and spin, which then generates clean energy. The wind turbine charges the 15000 mAh batteries. The turbine placed inside the middle of Trinity can generate up to 15w. Folded Inside there’s a tripod that is pulled out and helps Trinity stay steady. When the tripod is folded in it locks the blades in a closed position.
The great thing about portable devices like this is that they rely on renewable energy, so they can be used anywhere, not just in the wilderness but also the beach, your patio or balcony, on a boat, festivals or the park.
Solar chargers have been on the market for some time now, with new products coming out all the time. Wind chargers will make it even easier for us to generate energy in a sustainable way.
Some people may say that if you’re in the outdoors, then you should try and be disconnected from technology, as it can be distracting. One the one hand, there are certainly benefits to having a digital detox. Unplugging from the world of social media and the constant bombardment of online stimulation can be incredibly refreshing. On the other hand, many climbers and outdoorsy people can also attest to the fact that it is extremely frustrating when your device dies in the middle of a trip.
If you’re camping with your family or taking a long hiking trip with friends, then you need to stay connected. Our phones are also important for our security and may be absolutely critical in an emergency situation. Sustainable charging devices like WindPal can make trips in the outdoors a whole lot more stress-free and convenient while ensuring that our technology is being used in harmony with nature.
About the author: Sam Woolfe @samwoolfe
Sam is a freelance writer who is particularly interested in space exploration, sustainability, tech, and agriculture.