It is always enjoyable to break from the hassle of life and escape to the wilderness to relax. However, if you love camping or hiking, you have to charge all your electronic devices before leaving entirely.
Going with your devices in the wilderness with no power will be a challenge. Because it is hard to access electricity in the wilderness, portable solar energy will help you.
Solar energy is a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and reliable option that will keep you powered on the go. Unlike the traditional solar panels that are bulky and built to be fixed in one position, modern solar panels are designed to be portable and convenient to use anywhere.
Besides, they are compact such that they can be stored when not in use and can withstand different elements. Whether you want to charge your smartphone, laptop, lights, LED lamp, or other electronics that need power, a portable solar panel kit has got you covered. Solar panels and power stations are usually sold separately, so be sure to buy both together if you don’t already have a portable power station for your solar panels..
In this guide, we are going to review the top 5 best portable solar panels for camping.
Portable solar panels are small-sized panels that can be carried and used anywhere. It is easy to install, and no professional skills are needed to use it. Like any other solar panel, the best portable solar panels convert sunlight into heat or electricity. They are available in different sizes, meaning you can find a size that will suit your portable solar system needs perfectly.
Depending on their size, portable solar panels can offer up to 320W of power. A quality solar panel for camping should come with a solar panel kit that includes extra tools like a storage case, cable, stand, inverter, solar charge controller, and battery. The unique aspect of portable solar panels is their flexibility that allows you to power devices on the go.
If you are asking yourself why you should own a portable solar panel for camping, here are the reasons why:
- By using the power of the sun, portable solar panels offer a reliable source of energy
- Unlike noisy generators, solar panels are noise-free
- They are waterproof, allowing you to use them in any condition
- Eco-friendly, cost-effective, and easy to maintain
- Solar panels come in a protective case which prevents damage
- Lastly, solar panels have an automated solar charge controller that offers overcharge protection
Top 5 Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping
Because portable solar panels use sunlight energy, multiple manufacturers probably design their portable solar panels and release them in the market. With many products in the market, it can be challenging for a camper to know the best model to purchase.
To narrow down your search and make your work simple, we looked at the best portable solar panels. We ranked them based on their price, durability, efficiency, uses, safety, runtime, power output, technology, and many more features. Based on our research, here are our 5 best portable solar panels for campers on the market.
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
If you love solar chargers from Jackery that are well designed, durable, and simple to use, here is another 100W portable solar panel from Jackery with a lot to offer.
This solar panel has two kickstands that can be placed on any surface. With the two kickstands, never worry about the panels falling because they are sturdy and bend-resistant. It is fitted with a TPE rubber handle, making it easy to carry the portable panels when taking off-grid adventures.
In addition, Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panels use multi-layered cell technology to generate solar power from direct sunlight, thanks to the monocrystalline silicon cells that cover it. As a result, these monocrystalline solar panels perform better, with a higher conversion efficiency of up to 23% than other conventional portable panels.
The Jackery 100W solar panels for campers are equipped with an ETFE-laminated case designed to offer the solar panel maximum protection from elements. In addition, it has a waterproof rating of IP65 that helps protect against water splashing and moist conditions. Still, strong zippers on the pocket can hold power cords and cover the power port.
With these monocrystalline panels, you will never have to worry about safety because it has ROHS and FCC certification. In addition, it has overcharge protection, surge protection, and short current protection. This makes it safe and reliable to use.
- It is waterproof and weather-resistant
- This solar panel is safe and reliable to use
- Portable and foldable to ease carrying and storage
- The solar panel kit is compatible with Jackery Explorer 300/500/1000/1500 portable power stations
- Its energy consumption rate is high than other convectional panels
- This model is only compatible with Jackery power stations
- The power rating is not correct.
Bluetti SP200 Solar Panel
With upgraded and unique features, you will love this 200W solar panel from Bluetti. The Bluetti SP200 200W solar panel is a practical, reliable, and foldable panel with high efficiency of up to 23%. All it does is allow you to enjoy outdoor adventures while it absorbs solar power for later use.
The solar panel kits are constructed with improved laminated technology and durable ETFE material on the surface that makes them reliable in any condition. The solar panel comes with a sturdy box that is IP65 waterproof to help protect the panel from moist conditions.
Furthermore, it uses MC**4 connectors. It can be used with many solar generators on the market, including any Bluetti solar generator.
With its four adjustable kickstands, you can easily install it or adjust the angle to get better sunlight. There are pre-drilled holes on the panel that help you mount it fast or hang anywhere. You can install it with most lithium power stations or solar generators.
This is a lightweight solar panel that weighs only 14.3lbs. It has a foldable size of 20.7 x 20.5 inches, making it simple to carry anywhere and store without taking much space.
Moreover, it has a coating on the surface that protects it from scratches. Finally, in case you don’t have enough knowledge on how to use this portable solar panel, it comes with a user manual that is easy to follow.
- This solar panel is compatible with most solar generators in the market
- Its foldable and portable design makes it easy to use anywhere
- It has a higher light transmittance of up to 95%
- The 9.84ft cable increases your flexibility
- Simple to install, thanks to its sturdy kickstands
- This solar panel does not support USB charging
- The portable solar panel kit is high for anyone on a budget
- It is not fully waterproof.
Goal Zero Boulder 200 Watt Solar Panel
Since 2007, Goal Zero has become a great innovator in portable solar power. It has brought a new way to use portable energy while traveling, at home, and off-grid. Goal Zero brings you this quality solar panel that offers you eco-friendly power from the sun wherever you go.
The Goal Zero Boulder 200 solar panels are lightweight, compact, weatherproof, practical solar panels that are a perfect companion for any camping trip. It combines two 100-watt solar panels in a briefcase design to offer maximum portability while offering the power needed.
The case is made of an anodized aluminum frame with extra corner protection and a glass covering that makes it weather-resistant. Besides, it has a built-in kickstand that allows you to position the panels at any angle for enough solar power collection.
This panel has a protective canvas bag that makes it hassle-free to carry the panel anywhere, and it doesn’t require much space for storage. Don’t worry about carrying the solar panel because it has a strong handle that cannot break easily. With its simple design, you can connect extra portable panels for more charging or combine it with other stations.
- The construction of this solar panel is heavy-duty and durable
- It is safe to use and user-friendly
- Its protective carrying case eases carrying and storage
- Compatible with multiple Goal Zero power stations
- Even if it has a carrying case, it is still bulky to carry around
- It has limited mounting options.
Eco-Worthy 120W Foldable Solar Panel
If you are a camper who loves spending more time outdoors, Eco-Worthy foldable solar panel is a great option for a portable solar panel setup. This portable solar kit is designed to charge several electronic devices so that you can have a good camping experience.
It is a lightweight solar panel weighing only 9 pounds. This makes it easy to carry and ideal for RV, camping, hiking, van, travel trailer, and in situations where emergency power is required.
Furthermore, it has a foldable design that makes it convenient to store without occupying much space. The solar panel has two kickstands behind where you can get 25% more solar power than lying flat. Still, a 3m cable provides you with more space to mobilize or keep the solar generator in the shade or far from heat.
Eco-Worthy foldable solar panel features an LCD solar charge controller that protects the battery from short circuits or overcharging while charging. In addition, it is equipped with 5V USB ports that you can use to charge tablets, phones, and USB-compatible devices. Overall, the ECO-WORTHY portable solar panel is an eco-friendly and safe option to charge all your electronic devices without worrying about their safety.
- The solar panel is lightweight and simple to carry
- Great for using both indoor and outdoor
- Foldable design makes it simpler to store without taking much space
- LCD solar charge controller protects from overcharging or short circuit
- The price is good given that it is a 120-watt solar panel
- The built-in kickstand legs are too short
- It doesn’t have a maximum of 100 watts, as the description says.
TopSolar 100 Watt Foldable Solar Panel
Lastly, we have the Topsolar 100W foldable solar panel designed for the most portable power stations in the market. It is compatible with Goal Zero Yeti, Enkeeo, Sauoki, Webtop, laptop, Paxcess, Jackery, Rockpals, and many more.
Besides, this portable solar panel has a 19V DC port built to charge flexible power stations. In addition, it has cables with cables and connectors of different specifications.
The 14.4V DC port features a built-in control box that allows you to charge a 12V battery without needing an extra solar charge controller directly. In addition, it uses an innovative and fast charging technology for the USB dual ports designed for tablets and smartphones, digital cameras, GPS, and many more devices.
Moreover, the portable solar kit has a built-in smart IC chip that quickly identifies your device and controls its charging speed. This solar charge controller protects it from overloading, overcharging, or short-circuiting.
This portable solar panel for camping has a foldable design that allows you to pack it in a trunk or backpack. In addition, the panel has an adjustable bracket that helps you adjust the angle for better output power.
In addition, it has advanced ETFE coating material and lamination technology that make the panel have goof waterproof resistance, making it adapt under any weather condition.
- The solar panel is foldable, lightweight, and portable
- Its construction is weatherproof and durable
- Its solar charge controller protects it from overcharging
- Capable of charging your devices fast
- It is powerful and has a high conversion efficiency
- It doesn’t have a built-in stand that keeps the solar at 45-degrees for ultimate solar charge
- The wattage does not reach 100 watts.
Buyer’s Guide: What You Need to Know
When going outdoors, you need to generate electricity that will keep your devices running. To achieve this, you have to buy the best solar panel that will suit your needs.
When comparing portable solar panels for camping, look for a solar panel with higher power output, portability and constructed from quality materials. Here are some crucial things you should keep in mind before purchasing a portable solar panel for campers.
It is always important to note that a solar panel requires direct sunshine to produce its maximum rated power. In conditions such as winter days, an overcast sky, shadows, equatorial direction, or improper mounting angle, the actual solar panel output will be below its rated values.
However, a solar panel can reach its maximum rated output and charge all your devices faster without draining fast when the sunshine is favorable. Concentrate on buying portable solar panels that can provide power for 7+ hours even when you use them to charge multiple electric devices.
Before purchasing a portable solar panel, you should know what you will be charging to know the power you will need. If you are looking forward to charging smaller devices, a 15-watt panel will do the job, while the larger devices will require a larger panel with at least 100 watts.
However, you should know that factors that don’t favor solar power collection can prevent your solar from attaining its maximum output.
Just like any other solar panel, portable solar panels convert sunlight into heat or electricity. However, a portable solar panel uses photovoltaic cell technology to convert sunlight into eco-friendly energy. Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells, each panel with smaller divided solar cells.
A cell is made of thin layers of silicone. To bring more efficiency, solar panels use a charge controller that regulates power output. Still, you can connect an inverter and battery to store all the generated solar power for later use.
The price of a portable solar panel kit depends on its capacity and size. Still, your budget level will determine which solar panel to purchase—a portable solar panel for a camping trailer starts around $100 and up.
In addition, during a portable solar panel setup, you will have to buy extra accessories like solar inverters and regulators. These accessories help you efficiently access solar energy, but their setup can be costly.
In our list, we have portable solar panel kits that will suit any budget level. Even if some are expensive, they are worth investing in because they have advanced and reliable features.
Safety starts with you. When you decide to invest in a portable solar panel kit, you have the option to buy a high-quality or low-quality panel. They have their pros and cons, but it is good to more for a high-quality panel that will be safe to use.
Most high-quality panels come with a reliable charge controller that protects the battery from overcharging. Furthermore, it should have surge protection, short circuit protection, and safety certifications.
Before purchasing a solar panel, you have to ask yourself which gadgets or appliances you will use it for? Are you going to use it to recharge your LED bulbs, heater, smartphone, tablet, power a fridge, and many more gadgets? If you plan to camp for long, you may need bigger solar panels with a high power output to harness portable solar power for a camping fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often do I have to maintain my solar panels?
For your solar panels to stay in good shape and serve you for many years, you have to maintain them well. Consider doing a periodic inspection to remove debris, dirt and check all electrical connections. Moreover, it would be best to keep it clear of debris and snow to get better results.
How long can a portable solar panel last?
Unlike permanently fixed solar panels made from heavy-duty materials, portable solar panels tend to have a shorter lifespan. This is because they are made from lightweight materials that allow you to use them anywhere.
Avoid using them outside for prolonged use, but they are fantastic to have for any camper. good portable solar panels should last between 3 to 25 years, depending on construction materials.
Are portable solar panels for campers water-resistant?
Most solar panels are designed to be weatherproof, meaning they can be left outside in light rain. However, a portable solar panel should not be left outside permanently. This can expose it to elements, shortening its lifespan and efficiency. So, you should check with your manufacturer to know if it suits your needs.
What can a 200-watt portable solar panel run?
With a 200-watt solar panel, your laptop can run for 22 hours, run a microwave oven for 90 minutes, or power a coffee maker for an hour.
How do portable solar panels work?
There is no significant difference between roof-mounted and many portable panels, except that portable solar panels, offer you the flexibility to use them outdoors. Both use solar cells made of silicon; panels feature a positive and negative layer, which creates a strong electric field. When sun rays hit the panel, photons are released to create an electric field.
Furthermore, solar panels are connected to a charge controller which controls the amount of current going through the battery and protects against damage. To use household AC appliances, you will require an inverter that changes the power from DC into AC power.
What is the best solar panel for camping?
A good solar panel for camping should have everything a camper needs to make them have power in the wilderness. It should have high power output and high energy conversion efficiency to charge your devices faster without draining fast. Still, its construction should be heavy-duty to withstand all outdoor elements, mainly water damage.
In our list, the best portable solar panel overall is Jackery Solarsaga 100W Portable Solar Panel. This solar panel has passed all the safety standards. It is an excellent option for anyone looking for a solar panel that will provide years of use.
You can carry it anywhere because it is lightweight. The foldable design makes it simple to store without occupying much space. Moreover, you can still choose the other solar panels because they are very reliable for outdoor use.
What appliances can run on a portable solar panel?
What you intend to be using a portable solar panel for will help you make a good decision. Here are some applications of portable solar panels:
- Charging laptops
- You can use it to heat water in a remote area
- Use it to power smart devices and appliances in your home
- You can use it to charge your car battery
- Use it as a source of light power at a campsite
- You can use 60-watt portable RV solar panels to power portable solar systems
- Power coolers, fans, cigarette lighters, or speakers.
Overall, with a robust and reliable portable solar panel, you can go camping anywhere without having to worry about power. By choosing one of our solar panels on our list, you are guaranteed quality products that will suit all your needs while an excellent outdoor experience.
The panels collect free sunlight rays and convert them to the energy you can use at night to power your LED lights, campsite, smartphone, tablet, lantern, and many more appliances.
We hope that our guide was helpful and that you have found a good portable solar panel system that will make your camping time enjoyable.
I’ve always been a lover of Mechanics and the engineering that goes on behind it. Naturally had a knack for fixing things and i’ve had lots of adventures that generators are second nature to me.