5 Best Solar Panels for Car Camping

Spending time outdoors is a relaxing and rewarding experience. It has a wide range of benefits, such as improving your mental health, helping you get in touch with nature, and being a good stress reliever.

 

A great way to get out of the house, on the road and enjoy the outdoors is car camping. For that experience to be great, you must have enough power that will keep all your electronic devices and appliances running.

 

This article will cover the best solar panels for car camping. Including both panels and solar generators, or both. We’ll also look at their pros and cons to help you decide on the right solar panel for your car camping trip.


Overview 

Best Solar Panel for Car Camping

Solar panels for car camping make your trips enjoyable and safer. With solar generators, you can recharge your smart devices and emergency devices when you are off the grid power. Any time of the day, a solar panel is used because some models have LED lights which are very useful at night.

 

Unlike diesel generators, where you have to carry diesel every time, solar generators allow you to go anywhere and have fun provided there is sunlight. Furthermore, they are silent, safer, and offer renewable energy.

 


Top 5 Best Solar Panels for Car Camping in 2022 

A good portable power station will help you have an enjoyable outdoor experience. Portable solar panels for camping are available in different sizes, prices, power output, and durability. In addition, they are made from different materials. Whatever need you have, I’m sure the list below has one solar generator that will suit your needs. 

 

 


Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Bank 

Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC review
Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC

 

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100 has designed this portable power bank that gives you the freedom to have power anywhere you travel. It has an integrated 100W AC port that keeps laptops and camera equipment charged in the campsite, train, airport, shop, office, or anywhere you go.

 

A 60W USB-C power input port allows you to charge compatible tablets, laptops, and smartphones.  It is one of the versatile power banks in the market, providing six different output ports so that you can power multiple devices.

 

With 100 watts of lithium battery power, you can charge up to 7 times, laptop up to 1.5 times, and tablet up to 3 times. Moreover, it has an interactive display that allows you to check power in and power out, set roles for ports, and get port information. 

 

There are four rugged cables, including lightning, micro USB ports, USB-C, USB-C, to USB-C port. You can fully recharge it from the sun using a compatible solar panel. The charging time will depend on the size of the solar panel. 

 

Pros 

  • It offers a fast and convenient charging solution 
  • The power bank has three ways of recharging 
  • User-friendly and safe to use
  • It offers enough power you can rely on any condition 
  • Great for laptops, smartphones, and other AC devices 

 

Cons 

  • It doesn’t come with a power cord to charge it 
  • Not suitable for use with a Macbook Pro 16″ 2020. 
 
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Jackery Explorer 160 Portable Power Station

Jackery 160
Jackery 160

The Jackery Explorer 160 Portable Power Station allows you to experience natural power from Mother Nature while at your camping trip, road trip, over-landing, and RV. Unlike gas generators, this generator offers clean energy. 

 

This generator produces no noise, and it has an on-button design that makes it simple to use. It boasts a 1002 Wh capacity and 1000 running wattage that can power your TV, heater, refrigerator, blanket, electric grill, and many more.

 

It features three standard AC outlets, which offer the extra capacity to power all your AC devices and appliances. 

 

Jackery solar generator has a battery management system that guards the Explorer 1000 with up to 6 layers to increase its efficiency. It comes with a car charger cable, AC adapter, and SolarSaga parallel adapter. To make it easier to operate this generator, it comes with a user manual that is detailed and clear. You can add the Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panels with the Jackery Explorer power station for increased power output.

 

Pros 

  • The generator supports pass-through charging while protecting battery life 
  • This generator is clean and noise-free 
  • Provides a green and sustainable solution for your daily needs 
  • All the ports are powerful and versatile 
  • It has an impressive endurance and good capacity 

 

Cons 

  • The panels are not fully waterproof 
  • It is a bit bulky. 

 

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Renogy 300 Watt Solar Kit

Renogy 300 Watt Solar Panel Kit
Renogy 300 Watt Solar Panel Kit

The Renogy 300 Watt Solar Panel kit includes three 100W solar panels, a 30ft 10AWG connector adapter, a 30A PWM charge controller, cable entry housing, and a 16ft 10AWG tray cable. In addition, it features has a screen that shows you all the details precisely. 

 

The kit has cable entry housing made from ABS plastic that is UV-resistant and waterproof to allow easy cable entry for any condition. In addition, the Renogy housing will pass through solar cables for easy installation on any roof surface with the dual cable entry. 

 

This is designed for RV, off-grid solar panel systems, caravan, boat, and many more. It has a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame, helping the panels last for years, and withstands high winds and snow loads. Besides, the kit includes a charge controller that charges the battery quickly under any condition. 

 

Bypass diodes will help reduce power drop caused by shade and ensure good performance in low-light conditions. Unlike traditional gas generators, this kit recharges your batteries silently so you can enjoy your outdoor activity without noise. 

 

Pros 

  • Its mounting Z brackets make installation simple 
  • Suitable for home and outdoor use
  • Offers good power efficiency and performance 
  • Simple to install once all the directions are understood 

 

Cons

  • There are no fasteners or suggestions to secure wiring to the roof 
  • The solar charge controller is unreliable 
  • It has no temperature or voltage sensors

 

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Renogy Phoenix 200 Power Station

Renogy 200 Power Station
Renogy 200 Power Station

The Renogy Phoenix 200 solar generator is a superb appliance that will provide ready power for all your off-grid adventures. Because it has multiple output ports, the portable power station can charge many devices and appliances simultaneously.

 

In addition, it supports many charging options, and you can charge it via a car socket, an AC outlet, or a solar panel. 

 

The portable solar generator has built-in LED lights on both sides of the carrying handle, where the lights allow you to be prepared for blackouts or emergencies.

 

With this solar generator, you can make your next outdoor activity enjoyable with convenient, clean energy. Besides, this power station quickly charges the Phoenix 200 through a car socket, solar panel, or a wall outlet. 

 

This 200-watt generator features a smart battery management system that allows temperature control, voltage control, overcurrent protection, and short circuit protection.

 

Carrying this solar system will be easy because it has a sturdy and well-designed handle. You can use it to charge various devices from drones, phones, laptops, fridges, mini fans, and many more electronics. 

 

Pros 

  • Its battery management system makes it safe to use
  • You can use the solar-powered generator to charge a wide range of devices 
  • All the output ports offer universal compatibility
  • Dual Battery System
  • LED lights allow you to use it in any light condition 

 

Cons 

  • The quality control is poor 
  • It is too expensive for those on a budget 
  • Not compatible with MacBook laptops. 
 
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FlashFish 300 Watt Solar Generator

Flashfish 300W
Flashfish 300W Solar Generator

The Flashfish 300W has a silver case with black ends made of plastic, making the solar system durable than other solar generators. 

 

This solar-powered generator supplies 300-watt continuous power, 60000mAh battery capacity, 350W peak power, and pure sine wave, allowing you to charge all your devices.

 

It is a lightweight power station that weighs 5.6lb, making it simple to carry or fit in your backpack. You can recharge the battery from the sun using a solar panel, plug it into a wall outlet, or charge it by plugging it into your 12V car socket. 

 

It has a smart and improved battery management system that protects your battery from short-circuits, low-voltage protection, lock-on protection, overheat protection, overcurrent protection, and over-temperature protection.

 

In addition, the solar generator builds into three quality lithium batteries, each with a 20000mAh capacity, giving you a total power of up to 60000mAh. 

 

It is fitted with a convenient and simple-to-use handle that makes the power station good for traveling, camping, fishing, and many more outdoor activities. Even when there is a power outage, this power station has got you covered. 

 

Pros 

  • All the outlets and ports allow you to charge a wide range of electric devices 
  • It offers you three fast ways to recharge 
  • The battery management system protects the solar generator and increases durability 
  • Reliable in unpredictable power outage situations 
  • Built to go anywhere and withstand any outdoor condition 

 

Cons 

  • The battery information is not accurate 
  • Customer support is poor 
  • It does not have pass-through charging

 

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Buying Guide: What to Know

Over the past few years, consumer standards have evolved fast. Unlike before, when people buy low-quality and cheap products, modern-day shoppers do thorough research before purchasing a product. While it takes much time to do research, it is worth it because you will buy quality and satisfactory products. 

 

If you plan to buy a solar panel for car camping, below is a guide with essential considerations to keep in mind before making your purchase. 

 

  1. Power output 

Before buying a solar panel for camping, you have to know which devices you will be charging and how much power you need. Then, depending on the electronics you want to bring during your camping trip, you should buy a perfect solar panel that will suit your needs.

 

For instance, you can decide to buy a 50-watt, 100-watt, 200-watt, or 300-watt solar panel. Still, keep in mind that the higher the wattage, the more you will pay. 

 

Comparing high wattage and low wattage models, high wattage panels tend to charge devices faster than low wattage solar. For safety and good results, check the specifications of your devices and know their power consumption. 

 

  1. Technology 

There are two types of solar power technology; solar thermal and solar photovoltaic. In our guide above, we have solar panels that use photovoltaic cell technology.

 

Solar photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into energy using solar PV cells or semiconductor cell technology. Besides, solar PV cell is encased in aluminum and glass frame to form a reliable solar panel.

 

Solar PV panels are currently one of the widespread types of solar PV technology. Still, other types of solar PV are being developed. 

 

  1. Runtime 

How long your battery will last depends on the devices and appliances you are charging. The exact charging hours of the battery will depend on factors such as capacity, model, size, and type of the battery.

 

The total capacity of the battery will influence how long the charge will last. Overall, a battery charge should last from 1 to 5 days, depending on its type and what you are charging. 

 

  1. Size and weight 

solar powered generators for car camping should be built with a lightweight and compact design so that you can carry them anywhere. It is always good to look for models with a handle as it will ease carrying. Because you will go camping in a car, carrying a heavier panel can be favorably provided it will suit your needs. 

 

If you are a backpacker, choose a compact and lightweight solar panel you can carry with ease. Still, before making the purchase, check its dimensions and the extra accessories so that it can fit where you want without taking much space. 

 

  1. Uses

There are many electric gadgets and appliances a solar panel for car camping can power. Depending on its power specifications, you will know what it can charge and what it can’t.

 

We have the best portable solar generators that can charge laptops, smartphones, a portable music player, offer electricity for an RV, light up a campsite, television, charge car batteries, refrigerator, and many more devices in our list above. 

 

For your solar panel to charge all these devices and appliances, you should give it time to charge in the sun, and the weather conditions should be favorable. 

 

    6. Price 

What you pay for is typically what you get. There are many portable power stations for car camping in the market, all at different prices. The solar panel price you want will depend on the energy storage components, power output, size, weight, and durability.

 

The higher-priced solar-powered generators have higher wattage, and they offer better performance than the low priced. No matter your needs, there is a good panel out there that will suit your needs. 

 

Also Read: Best Solar Generators [2022]


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the maximum battery life of a solar panel? 

This is determined by the solar-type and battery type. Because solar generators only charge under sunlight, the battery life can be poor if the sunlight is not favorable. Solar panels with batteries last 8 to 10 hours, depending on the power supplied by sunlight.

 

What is a charge controller? 

The charge controller is a smart system that prevents solar panels from overcharging batteries while allowing enough energy to reach the battery. It closely works like a battery management system that protects the solar while electricity from the battery is being used. 

 

Is a solar panel for a car worth investing in? 

Yes, it is more than worth it. Solar generators are safer, silent, and simple to use than diesel generators. In addition, they eliminate the need to carry diesel when going outdoor camping. 

 

How do you use a solar panel when camping? 

Unless you are new to portable power stations and camping, the setup is simple. You only need to set the panel exposed to maximum sunlight and plug the devices you want to charge. However, keep in mind that it won’t be efficient when conditions are not favorable. 

 

What appliances can run on solar power? 

Multiple electronic devices and appliances can run on solar power. The major appliances include: 

  • Charging laptops, smartphones, and smart home devices 
  • Power a portable music player 
  • Provide electricity for an RV 
  • Lighting up a campsite 
  • Charge car batteries 
  • Charge a TV, portable fridge, or heater
  • LED lights and Christmas lights. 

 

However, it is good to know that appliances that need more energy can drain your solar panel faster. So, you have to know what you are charging and buy something that can tolerate the task. 

 

How much power do you need?

At a campsite, how much power you will need will depend on the devices you want to charge and how long. If you are looking to charge small devices, go for a 100-watt panel to do the job well.

 

If you’re going to charge bigger appliances, such as a portable fridge, or power your car battery, you can choose a 300-watt solar panel. Always check for power specifications so that you can protect your devices from damage. 

 

What kind of battery does a power station use?

A power station is a device that is a large battery in a protective box. It has AC outlets and beneficial built-in ports that make charging of devices convenient. Besides AC and USB output options, they offer 6 mm DC ports and power sockets to support multiple devices.

 

Most power stations use vented lead-acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, and sealed maintenance-free batteries. Lead battery is the most preferred because it is reliable, has good endurance, is not sensitive to temperature, and is durable. 

 

Is a solar panel worth it for camping? 

Yes, a solar panel is worth investing in. In the wilderness, there is no source of energy, and solar energy is your only bet. To utilize solar energy, you need a robust solar generator, panel, or both that will collect sunlight energy and converts it into electricity to charge your devices.

 

Solar panels are eco-friendly, and they will help you save by avoiding power site fees. It is a renewable source of energy that is entirely free. 

 

What is the best portable solar panel for camping?

Flashfish 300W

 

 


Conclusion 

Owning a solar generator comes with multiple benefits. We believe the best overall solar power source for car camping to be the Flashfish 300W due to its high power output, portability, and affordable price.

 

 

Portable Generator Break in
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