Solar power sleeping mat

Concept hiking idea about a sleeping mat with solar panel integrated

Combining sleeping pads with solar charging panels

Text, concept idea and sketches by  Frits Ahlefeldt,

I wonder if combining a sleeping mat with a solar panel might work. It could be used while hiking and in a number of other situations. I have sketched up a few drawings of how a solar charging sleeping pad might be designed here:

The idea of a solar sleeping pad

Sleeping pads might be a candidate for combining with solar charging cells. The sleeping pads are used at night, but not at day, and can be rolled out or unfolded to be placed in the sun in angles optimal for solar charging. They can also be attached to the backpack, secured on top of a tent or in other ways be made to face the sun. When rolled or folded the solar panel part can be protected and carried and combining the two might also save the hikers some weight by reducing the amount of items the hikers have to bring along

The inflatable/roll out variant of a solar charging sleeping pad

Drawing of a sleeping mat with solar cells. idea and sketch by Frits Ahlefeldt
Solar power sleeping pad concept idea by Frits Ahlefeldt

Inflatable sleeping mats are fragile, like solar panels, and needs to be protected against scratches and punctures. Placing solar cells on them might make sense, both to sleep on, where the solar cells, maybe pointing down-wards, will help reduce the risk of punctures

The fold-able, stiff solar power sleeping mat

Foldable solar power sleeping mat concept for hiking by Frits Ahlefeldt

Stiff solar panels are often folded into more portable sizes, just like the sleeping mats are and attaching some panels here might be a very easy and efficient way of helping hikers carry solar charging panels with them on hikes or when in base camp

Power banks attached to solar power sleeping mats or separate?

Both the option of integrating a powerbank (in)to the solar sleeping mat, and the option of keeping the powerbank separate from from the solar sleeping mat, and just attach it when charging makes sense. The integrated version will simplify things even further, while the separated version will provide a more flexible solar power energy system, where more than one powerbank can be charged.

Could there be possible Health effects / hazards of sleeping on a solar power device?

When people sleep on sleeping pads the heat released by the hiker is making one side of the pad much warmer than the other side. Also the theory of “grounding” explore the energy ( electricity transferred between the human body and the Earth, as ions. Maybe some day, somehow it might be possible to in innovative ways to “plug into” this flow of energy, to charge digital low-powered equipment. Here is an scientific article about the exchange between the body and the ground. and research on grounding : ( Us National Library of Medicine article about grounding / energy flows between Earth and human body  )

So far, to my knowledge, there is no known hazards known to be connected with sleeping on an (at daytime) electricity producing solar panel. But then again I have not been able to find any research in this field

Could a sleeping pad transfer energy in combination or in other ways than solar cells, to boost the effiency?

The theory and science of “grounding” is still young and many scientists are skeptical about the theory about energy flows between the Earth and humans. But in other more commonly used techniques the heat difference between surfaces is used, like in a fridge or heat pump ( Wikipedia link heat pump )  to heat or cool surfaces. Something hikers might one day take advantage off too, if these techniques can somehow be build into sleeping pads and help boost their efficiency.

Conclusion: combining solar cells with sleeping pads seems worth trying out / testing – at least in a prototype

A simple solar panel in a sleeping mat seems to be a pretty simple way to combine to more and more common gear types in modern hiking: the sleeping pad and solar panels. It would be interesting to see companies experience with this, but so far I haven’t come across either products or prototypes of solar power mats – I will update this as soon as I see the first solar pats hit either the media or the market. And maybe some day in 5 or 10 years sleeping on mats that are designed in more active ways producing either heat or storing electricity in power banks to power gadgets might be quite common

Two versions of the solar power sleeping mat – roll and fold-able Idea & drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

Hiking gear research, ideas, thoughts & concepts on innovation by Frits Ahlefeldt, – version August 2018

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