Gear Watch: Solar-Powered Altimeter, Barometer, and Bottle Opener

OK, the bottle opener on the Etón Raptor doesn't need solar power to operate, but just about everything else does: altimeter, barometer, electronic compass, AM/FM/Weather Band radio, LED flashlight, cell phone charger, NOAA weather alerts, and more.

A small solar panel is located on the back of the 11.3-ounce device. According to company specs, it will fully charge the internal lithium-ion battery in 18 hours of direct sunlight. You can also use the included USB cable to charge the Raptor from your computer or from a USB wall socket adaptor (not included); it takes 4 hours by this method. A fully juiced Raptor can power the radio at low volume for 30 hours (presumably all of its other functions work that long as well). It can also be used to transfer a charge to a cell phone if you've got a USB adapter for your phone.

Etón Corporation manufactures a range of solar- and crank-powered radios, flashlights, and other emergency devices. The Raptor is the first, however, to incorporate an altimeter and barometer into the feature mix, which is what gets my attention. Of all my backcountry gadgets, the one I use and value the most is my wrist-top altimeter, which I routinely use to help quickly pinpoint my location on a map and gauge progress uphill and down. (Check out my past Equipped article on this: Higher, Faster, Farther.)

The Raptor isn't exactly a wrist-top unit but it does offer an integrated carabiner clip for attaching to your pack straps for easy access—and the options for some camping tunes if you're so inclined.

Watch for the Raptor to appear on store (and online) shelves later this spring. Expected retail price is around $150.

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