Going off-grid, in the natural environment is every campers dream. With this dream, comes the desire to be fully equipped with all the necessities. Electricity is among those requirements. You cannot expect to spend your camping trip with a power outage. For this, you require portable solar panels for camping. So, your tension about charging electronic devices can ease up. Take a quick look at the following list:
During camping, you are in an open environment without first-class facilities. Thus, the objects you take with you should fulfill your needs and requirements about the outdoors. Similarly, it would help if you addressed the qualities of the best portable solar panels for camping, before buying it. So, I am sharing here some of those considerations.
The material used for the solar panel is essential because it indicates its efficiency. Mostly, solar panels’ make is crystalline panels. Crystalline panels are best for transportability. They usually come in two types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
Monocrystalline panels have a higher efficiency rate, along with better durability to last longer in harsh environments. They have high-purity silicon, due to which they can give a better outcome in low-light conditions. Moreover, their efficiency rate is known to be between 15% – 20%.
Secondly, polycrystalline has a lesser efficiency rate than monocrystalline; it efficiency is between 13% – 16%. Previously, polycrystalline was used to manufacture solar panels because it is less expensive and made of alternative material.
The portability of a solar panel depends on its size because you have to carry it to the camping site. So, choose a solar panel that can easily fit in your camping trailer. Do check the available space before buying a solar panel.
However, it is also conditional to the number of appliances you will need to charge. That will be necessary to calculate power output for all the devices. Most campers choose a large foldable solar panel, which can provide power to multiple devices. Otherwise, if you have a smaller space, the only option would be to lessen the number of loads.
Large foldable solar panels collect more sunlight due to their large surface area. Moreover, they are also compact and fold down to reduce their size.
Weight comes next to size while selecting a portable solar panel. Carrying a heavier solar panel will turn out to be a tough task. You have to move a lot during camping. Therefore, select a light weighted solar panel for camping.
A lightweight panel is easy to transport, and anyone can lift it. Furthermore, while setting them up, they will require less pain and effort. Mostly, low weight, foldable panels are campers’ first choice.
The whole purpose of a solar panel is to provide power and charge up your devices. So, while selecting a solar panel for camping, it is necessary to check the number of watts it produces. It directly relates to the number of devices you would need to charge.
You should calculate the amount of power you require. Whether you need to charge your mobile and some other small devices, or you require power for your camping van or boat. After calculating, select a solar panel that fulfills the whole requirement, not less than that. More watts or power output will enable you to charge large devices and at a better speed.
Camping creates rough living conditions and tolerating harsh environments. The solar panel you choose for camping must be suitable for enduring outdoors. You need to check if the solar panel is waterproofed or not, depending on where you are going to camp. Sometimes, lightweight, portable and waterproof panels are hard to find. However, if you happen to find a reliable but non-waterproof panel, then try to keep it safe from water or wetness.
When it comes to solar panels, you have two choices: fixed or rigid panels and flexible panels. The fixed panels are best when you intend to fix them somewhere, like on the roof of your camper van. They provide a significant advantage when you do not want to set up your solar panels every time. Further, they pose safety because it is difficult to steal them, as they cannot come out quickly from their fixed place.
The flexible solar panel provides some other great advantages over fixed panels. They are usually low weight, compact, and foldable. So, you can stuff them anywhere and carry them easily. Moreover, flexible panels also bend up to at least 30 degrees, due to which you can set them at an uneven place.
Built-in batteries help in storing power to provide it later when the sunlight is absent. Most solar panels allow charging when they set up in the sunlight, and USB ports are connected to mobile devices. However, built-in battery stores power for you and will enable you to charge your devices at nighttime.
Battery capacity also matters when it comes to recharging appliances at night. That is, the amount of power a battery can store in it. A battery with more storage can offer more recharging capability. Therefore, try to prefer a model that converts energy as well as stores it.
Easy to Install
Lastly, it is also vital to select a solar panel, which you can install with ease. Buy the one that does not require extra effort and trouble. It should be easy to use and assemble within minutes so that anyone of you can install it and use it quickly.
Some panels simply unfold and set up in a place. Others come with their adjustable stands. Further, they have ports and cables that need to connect with your system. Some also have connectors and plug-ins, which need to connect at the right spots. Therefore, choose the panel that you are comfortable with and meets your requirements.
Quick Gear Recommendation
Below is a list of our favourite camping gear that you check quickly if in hurry. Scroll down to read the rest of the article.
- Best Festival Tents : Eurmax 10’x10′ Ez Pop-up Canopy Tent
- Best Tent For Motorcycle Camping : Eureka! Solitaire One-person Bivy Style Tent
- Best Tents For Camping With Dogs: The Original-authentic 6-person Cabin Tent
- Best 2 Person Tent Under 100: Wenzel Alpine 3 Person Tent
- Best Extreme Cold Weather Tents: Geertop Backpacking Tent
- Best Lightweight Camping Chair: Coleman Camping Chair
- Best Camping Percolator: Coletti Bozeman Coffee Percolator
- Best Camping Knife: Morakniv Companion Outdoor Knife
- Best Camping
Hatchet: Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
- Best Camping Grill: Coleman Propane Grill
- Best Camping Stove: Primus | Primetech Stove System
- Best Camping Flashlight: J5 Tactical V1-pro Flashlight
- Best Camping Towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel
- Best Camping Water Bottle: Yeti Rambler 18oz Bottle
- Best Power Inverter For Camping: Jackery Portable Power Station
- Best Camping Multi Tool: Victorinox Swiss Army Swisstool
Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping Review
After going through the buyer’s guide, you have an idea of what to look for when purchasing a solar panel for camping. I have also reviewed eight of the best portable solar panels for camping. It will help you choose the right one as per your needs.
Here is the list of best portable solar panels for camping.
Suaoki manufactures some amazing camping products. For a portable solar panel, it has produced Suaoki 60W portable solar panel, which is suitable for outdoors. As indicated, it generates 60 watts power output and has up to 20% efficiency rate. Moreover, it has a 5V USB port and 18V DC dual output, which simultaneously provides power to charge your devices. This portable panel also has SAE clamp and DC cables to connect to the storage battery. Further, it comes with a car charger in case your battery power runs out. You can also connect it to a laptop with a 10-IN-1 connector.
Suaoki solar panel has built-in TIR-C technology for the USB ports. It speeds up the charging of your devices as well as saves it from overcharging or overloading. Also, it monitors and adjusts the current in the USB ports according to the sunlight.
It is foldable and easy to carry during camping. While folded, it takes the shape of a briefcase, which you can put anywhere. You can hang it out of your tent in the sunlight or spread it out on any surface.
- It supplies power to many devices
- It is waterproof
- Upgraded technology for maximum charging
- Easy to transport as it folds up in a briefcase
- Includes cables for USB, laptop, storage battery
- The company provides 24-months warranty
- Only provides power up to 60 watts
Anker solar charger has made its place in the list of the best portable solar panels for camping because of its design. Industrial–strength PET polymer along with rugged polyester canvas construct this solar panel. That increases its durability and makes it weather-resistant.
This solar panel is highly portable due to its lightweight, compactness, and thin design. Folded, it is 11 × 6.3 inches in size with 0.7 inches thickness. While open, it is 18.1 × 11inches in volume and 0.2 in width. You can fold it during trekking or walking. Also, it comes with elastic band loops on each corner, which helps in the attachment to trees, tents, or backpacks.
This solar panel charges up to 2.1 amp when directly facing the sun, and has 21.5% – 23.5 % efficiency for 15 watts SunPower. It comes with two USB ports and can charge two devices simultaneously.
Anker PowerPort Solar Lite includes 15-watt solar charger, 3 feet USB cable, a guide, and eighteen months warranty and guarantee.
- Provides the fastest possible charge
- Charges two devices simultaneously
- Portable due to compact, lightweight, and thin design
- Durable and foldable
- Cannot charge more than 15 watts
- Not compatible with the iPod nano, iPod Classic, iPod Shuffle, HP TouchPad, and Asus tablets.
This solar recharging kit by Goal Zero has a solar capacity up to 7 watts. It comes with a rechargeable battery with a capacity of about 11 watts. This solar panel kit also includes a removable pouch along with a detachable kickstand. Kickstand helps in angling with the sun to acquire optimal energy.
Further, the junction box has LED solar indicators to point out maximum charging. It is foldable, compact, and light in weight, along with a waterproof structure.
- Durable and portable
- Comes with a rechargeable battery
- Can only provide power to small devices
This solar panel has a highly efficient energy conversion rate of about 21.5% – 23.5%, with 28W power output. PET polymer constructs its outer surface, which makes it waterproof, and saves from the dust. Rubber caps also protect all the USB ports.
CE/ FCC/ RoHS certificated, BigBlue protects from overheating, overloading, and short circuit. So, it is safe to use and ensures protection. It comes with 3 USB ports that provide charging to multiple devices. Also, its smart technology can recognize the device type and provides optimal power as per the requirement.
BigBlue solar charger is compact with 11.1 × 6.3× 1.3 inches when folded. Also, it is light weighted and small to fit in a camping bag pack. Moreover, it is compatible with multiple electronic devices of 5V. However, it does not have a powerful battery to store energy.
- Durable, reliable, and water-resistant
- Ensures safety
- Foldable and compact
- 28 watts power output
- Not compatible with laptops and iPad Pro
- Cannot store energy
- Performance disrupts in cloudy weather
This solar starter kit by Renogy includes perfect tools for beginners. This kit contains 100 watts solar panel, one 30A PWM Wanderer Li Charge Controller, and one 20ft 10AWG Solar Adaptor Kit. Also, MC4 connectors, one 8ft 10AWG Tray Cable, and one set of Z-brackets for camping vans and boats.
The solar panel is built of monocrystalline with a high-efficiency rate of almost 21%. This device enables you to charge up to 400 watts in a day, with the Renogy wanderer 30A PWM charge Controller. If proper sunlight is available, it can accumulate up to 500 watts worth of energy. Also, it charges a 50Ah battery in almost 3 hours.
The 8 feet long cable connects the battery and charge controller. You can set this solar panel a few feet away from where you are staying. Its negative grounding controller provides you safety and protects from short circuit, overcharging, and overloading.
Further, it weighs around 20 pounds and does not fold up. It has a durable frame made of corrosion-resistant aluminum, which withstands the off-grid environment.
- Power output between 100 watts to 400 watts
- Provides protection and safety
- High-efficiency rate
- Consists of a kit with all essential tools
- It cannot be folded
- Some of you might find it heavy
The design and construction of the HQST solar panel can endure rough surroundings. Its corrosion-resistant aluminum frame can live up to decades. Advanced encapsulation material and multilayered sheet laminations increase its life and amplify its performance.
The anti-reflective, low iron tempered glass and high-level transparency ensure its resistance against the harsh environment. A waterproof junction box is present at the back to enable plugging. It can withstand high winds, heavy snowfall, water, and sand particles. These factors lead to low maintenance and long-lasting service.
HQST solar panel comes with drilled holes at the back, which makes it easy to mount securely. Moreover, it is compatible with different mounting systems, including Z-brackets, pole mounts, and tilt mounts. It also produces energy up to 500 watts, since the bypass diodes increase its efficiency by ensuring performance in low sunlight and power drop.
- Long-lasting design to tolerate water, snow, and winds
- Reliable and durable
- Generates high power output
- Works in the shade or low sunlight
- Complicated plug-in system
- It cannot be folded; dimensions are 35.6 x 25.9 x 1.2 inches
Goal Zero Boulder 100 is robust, with an output of 100 watts. Monocrystalline panels construct this portable solar panel. Its durability and robustness make it a part of the best portable solar panels for camping.
The design makes sure that it tolerates rough surroundings and help in emergencies. Tempered glass and aluminum construct its outer frame. A kickstand comes with it to position it directly facing the sun, for maximum absorption of energy. You can also remove the kickstand if you want to lay it flat on the surface.
It folds up to look like a briefcase, which makes it easy to carry. However, it weighs less than 26 pounds, and some of you might find it burdensome. It is highly efficient and produces enough power to charge many devices. Moreover, it is compatible with solar recharge Goal Zero Yeti Power Stations.
- Durable design and construction
- Produces 100 watts of energy
- Built-in kickstand
- Folds up in a briefcase
- Heavy and big body
This solar panel charger has a built-in 25000mAh Li-polymer battery, which can charge iOS and Android devices multiple times. A feature that sets it apart is its dual charging mechanism. This solar charger can accumulate energy from sunlight or through a 5V/2C adapter. Color changes (green for sunlight and blue for adapter) tells you about the current source of power.
Another unique feature is its 3-USB Ports, which can charge three devices simultaneously. This solar panel used ABS material to make it look environment friendly. 36 LED lights produce sharp light, useful for nighttime, or to look in the dark.
It is a lightweight and small solar charger, which is waterproof and weather-resistant.
- Easy to carry due to small size and low weight
- 3 USB ports allow multiple devices to charge at once
- Durable and stylish design
- Can only charge small electronic devices or power bank
Camping without electricity can be a nightmare. I hope now you can choose the right solar panel out of these best portable solar panels for camping. If you ask me about my verdict, I would say it depends on the type of camping. Trekking, hiking, boating, or camping on grounds has a different need. However, Suaoki 60W portable solar panel is a good choice due to its durability, power efficiency, and portability. It is compatible with many devices and connects to laptops as well. So, select the one that is affordable for you and befit you.