Gear Watch: PowerFilm and Otterbox Defender Series Cases

Interested in the latest and greatest in portable solar power? In need of a heavy-duty, nearly indestructible case for your iPhone, Blackberry, or other pocket gadget? Check these out.

PowerFilmPocket-sized solar power has proliferated over the past few years. (You can catch up on the basics with my April 2009 Equipped article.) Now another intriguing player is entering the outdoor market for portable solar power: PowerFilm. The company makes a range of foldable solar chargers, including a slick 1.5-watt USB + AA version ($89) with a USB port and housing for AA rechargeable batteries (the batteries can also be used to charge devices through the USB port). More intriguing is their line of waterproof, flexible rollable solar chargers. Because the panels are not rigid, PowerFilm is able to use the entire surface for solar panels, increasing the power output. Their 5-watt panel (the R15-300) runs $150.

Otterbox Defender Series
These are the burliest cases I've come across for iPhones, iPods, Blackberrys, and the like. The device fits inside a rigid plastic housing, which is then wrapped with an impact-resistant rubber housing. A bit on the expensive end of things ($49.95), but worth it if you'll be carrying your electronics into high abuse zones. Available in a variety of colors for iPhones, iPods, and Blackberrys, among others.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.