Camping is an all-time favorite family activity. Growing up, camping with friends is always a fun experience. Every camping adventure is unique, and you don’t want to end up having a dead battery on your smartphone, tablet, or even laptop, due to having no power backup in your RV to charge those appliances. Outdoor fun is more convenient when you can check and respond to your emails and upload your adventures on your social media. That’s why it is imperative that you invest in the best solar panels for camping so you can have the most suitable of both worlds.
You don’t need to sacrifice the comfortable lifestyle courtesy of your electrical appliances and gadgets because you can enjoy both the serenity of nature and the convenience of technology. Get that top-quality camping solar panel today!
|Jackery Solar Panel
|6.1 x 3.35 inches
|24 x 21 inches
|12.73 x 12.68 inches
|25000mAh (8-10 times charge)
|500Wh (7.5 hours)
|500Wh (12.1 hours)
|4 x 6W
Top-Rated Solar Panel For Camping Reviews
1. Hiluckey HI-S025 25000mAh Solar Charger
- Four efficient six-watt solar panels 25000mAh
- Can last for more than a week on a full charge
- Automatic device detection with protective features
- Has two 5V 2.1A USB ports to charge 2 units at once
- Rugged construction for the outdoors
- Portable solar charger design (21.44 ounces)
- Inconsistent solar charging efficiency
The Hiluckey HI-S025 25000mAh Solar Charger is a traveler and camper’s favorite companion for powering mobile devices in off-grid locations. It might look like an oversized lady’s purse, but underneath its folded case are highly efficient solar panels that deliver power lasting days.
I like these lightweight solar panels, weighing only 21.44 ounces. Folded, these solar panels measure 3.3”x6.1”x0.37”. It might not fit in a jeans pocket, but stashing this solar panel in the bag is a breeze. I have not seen such portability in my previous solar power banks.
Inside this nifty device are four highly-efficient solar panels rated 6W each. An average smartphone can get 8-10 full charges from this device before it runs out. In other words, once full, this folding solar panel can last more than a week if used for phones only.
As this solar gadget boasts two 5V 2.1A USB ports, I can freely charge two units at once. Thanks to its auto-detect feature, which adjusts the product’s output accordingly, I can plug in any device without worrying about over-current.
Despite having used these charger panels for a long time, I’ve never encountered overheating or short circuits either.
Like many weatherproof solar panels, this system offers enough protection against moisture and solid particle ingress. Its build quality is also as robust as high-end outdoor devices, capable of standing up to vibrations and shocks. This solar panel charger might fall off the bag, but it will not crack or shatter.
2. Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
- The high conversion efficiency rate up to 23%
- USB compatible for multiple devices charging
- Eco-friendly and user-friendly design
- Noiseless operation
- Leading brand in portable power
- Panels are not waterproof
Founded in the year 2012 in Silicon Valley, Jackery has since been an established leading brand in portable power. The brand provides one of the top-tier power solutions like its portable solar system for camping, giving explorers and outdoor enthusiasts an enhanced overall experience.
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W portable solar panel is known for its eco-friendly power source, making it suitable for outdoor activities like camping and trekking.
Rest assured, you are not limited to outdoor use because you can conveniently use it at home during power outages and emergencies.
True to its catchphrase of “Stay Powered, Be Prepared,” this portable solar panel boasts a high conversion efficiency rate of up to 23% thus you can enjoy more energy that is being generated and allow your solar panels to have better performance compared to other conventional panels during the hot season.
With its 2 SolarSage 100W solar panels, you can quickly charge your Explorer 100 in about 8 hours. What’s more is, the system operates noiselessly, so you won’t be bothered by any annoying sounds while it works in the background.
You will appreciate how the brand understands that most of the devices today are connected via USB, so this solar charger comes with its USB output ports. In total, this model comes with 1 USB-C output port and 1 USB A output port allowing you to charge multiple devices at once like your smartphones, digital cameras, tablets, and even power banks.
The system, on its own, is also designed to be user-friendly and straightforward to use. It would help if you got the SolarSaga from your cargo box, set it up by placing it leaning against its legs, connecting it into the Jackery, and letting it work. There is absolutely no fuss and complicated steps.
3. ROCKPALS Foldable 60W Solar Panel Charger
- 3 USB charging ports for convenience
- 100% foldable design
- Highly compatible with solar generators and power stations
- High-efficiency conversion rating
- Highly recommended for CPAP users
- Not recommended to charge laptops with
Another Rockpals solar panel charger that you need to prioritize will be its foldable 60W model. You will find this very convenient because it is foldable to carry it along with you quickly.
This solar panel folds in a very compact manner, and it comes with a carry handle, so you don’t have to worry about how you will travel with it. You must be sure to have this handy with you because it comes in with integrated smart USB ports powered with a built-in IC chip. This is a bonus because most smartphones and tablets now connect via USB.
With its intelligent IC chip, it can identify the device automatically and maximize the charging speed. You’d be guaranteed that charging will be faster and more efficient because it boasts a higher conversion rate to an impressive 23.5%.
You’d also want this as a must-have gear because it is compatible with most solar generators and moveable power stations. It has a 60W power output and can efficiently meet your energy requirements. With its various connectors, you can connect two or more devices simultaneously and still get maximum power from your solar panel.
Additionally, you will very much appreciate the quality of the materials that are used. From fine oxford cloth that is both durable and water-resistant, you have a solar panel that can withstand the uncontrollable weather conditions. Note, though, that the junction box is not designed to be waterproof, so you need to keep it safe and dry.
This monocrystalline panel is flexible, too, because you can simply hang it in your window and have it exposed to any flat surface, and it will absorb whatever direct sunlight it is exposed to. This is also highly recommended for folks who might have family or friends that need power for their CPAP equipment during power outages and emergencies. Its compact size provides peace of mind knowing you or a loved one can safely sleep with your medical equipment.
4. DOKIO 80 watts 12V Folding Solar Panel Kit
- Lightweight, bendable, and foldable
- Quick and simple installation
- Comes with a handle for improved portability
- Intelligent protection thanks to high quality material
- Waterproof boards
- Reliable performance to charge various devices
- Wide range of outdoor applications
- Very thin solar panels
When you are looking for top-tier folding solar panels for camping, your ultimate choice would be the Dokio 80 kit. This company is known for its monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels with an established power output of up to 300 Watts for every panel.
True to its primary purpose of being your trusted solar panel kit when you are outdoors, going camping or trekking and traveling in your RV, you can easily carry this around with you thanks to its lightweight and reliable design. It is only a mere 3 pounds, so you’d barely notice its weight.
You will also notice that this product is designed with the outdoors in mind. The module itself is well-protected with thick material and comes with a practical handle acting like its carry-on suitcase. It is also tested to ensure that there would be zero hot spot formation. Usually, zero hotspot formations happen in only some of the under-fractional shading settings. This usually leads to single solar cells overheating.
This solar panel from Dokio is also reliable when it comes to its power efficiency rating. If under direct sunlight exposure, you should have enough power to charge your smartphones and laptops or charge your batteries, making your one-stop power back when off-grid or when the power source is out. It is tested to be compatible with flooded, AGM, and even sealed batteries.
Known in the industry as one of the highly recommended flexible solar panels for camping, you can bend the panels to your requirements. You can mount it on your RV, cabin, tent, boat, and even tree. Irregular surfaces are no hindrances at all. Installation is also relatively easy and quick.
Besides, the controller that comes with it also provides you with intelligent protection against overcharging, short circuit, reverse polarity and reverse current not to damage your batteries.
The boards are also waterproof, so you know that your system can handle a little rain. Note, though, that only the boards that are waterproof and not the entire outer packaging so you still cannot leave it exposed for an entire season. One thing to improve on here would be the panels itself because it is very thin. You might get anxious that the wind might break it. This might be regarded though as a factor for its lightweight design.
5. TP-Solar 100W Foldable Kit
- Solar panels are waterproof and durable
- SmartIC technology optimizes charging speed
- Dual USB ports
- Portable and foldable thanks to the compact design
- Efficiency conversion rating of up to 22%
- Compatible with various portable power stations
- Durable for up to 15 years
- Instructions are not specific and clear
With its high conversion efficiency rating of up to 22%, the TP-solar solar panel charger is your most useful energy source when you are outdoors.
This 100W monocrystalline solar panel is compatible with most of the portable power stations of today. Brands like Suaoki, Paxcess, and Jackery can very well work with this solar panel charger kit. Although the panels are smaller than the other models, this solar panel charger kit is engineered to make the system’s best use by decreasing the mismatch loss. It almost has the same performance as other polycrystalline solar panels when it is less conducive to low light conditions.
What you get upon purchase would be a 14.5 volts charge-controlling box, allowing you to directly charge your cars, RVs, marines, and boats. It also comes with a smart USB charging technology compatible with most of electrical gadgets today. With its integrated smart IC chip, it can detect your device and make the most of the charging speed while at the same time protecting your devices from the damage of overloading and overcharging. Since it can smartly recognize the various devices you connect to it, it can adjust accordingly the voltage and current to save a lot on your charging time.
Another reason for you to consider the TP-solar 100W foldable solar panel is its durable and waterproof design. This solar panel is 100% laminated and simple laminated but by advanced ETFE laminated technology, making it shock, high-temperature, and scratch-resistant.
You can use this product for more than 15 years. It is designed to withstand all weather conditions, and maintenance is such an easy task too because you can just wash it directly with water, wipe off the dirt and dust, and you are done. Its PVC fabric is ultimately meant for outdoor use.
It is one stable and rigid solar panel, but surprisingly, its portability is still intact. Like most solar panels designed for camping, it has retained its lightweight and foldable design. You can easily carry it around with you as it only weighs 2.3 kilograms, and when folded, it only has dimensions of 11 by 7.8 by 2.9 inches so you can mount it, hang, carry, and store it easily.
6. Renogy 100-Watt 12V Solar Panel Suitcase
- Excellent build quality
- Compatible with a lot of batteries types
- Includes protection against overcharging
- Has a sophisticated LCD
- IP66 waterproof solar panel for RV
- Compact, portable and foldable
- No mounting equipment included
You will never get a better deal than with Renogy. This is a trusted and well-established brand with reputational products that you can rely on. Its 100W 12V monocrystalline panel suitcase is not an exception, and you will surely love its many features.
The entire power system is foldable and is integrated into just a single package. This solar suitcase comes with 2 IP66 waterproof 50W monocrystalline panels, 1 20 Amp Voyager Charge controller that is also waterproof, alligator clips to connect to your battery easily, and a protective case so you can carry it around with you safely. Everything you need to make your solar panel work is all within this case.
You will be pleased knowing that this solar panel suitcase is a smart investment because it is entirely adjustable and its aluminum stand is also corrosion-resistant. The handle is also heavy-duty, and you can latch it for a long life. This Renogy solar panel suitcase is also compatible with a wide array of batteries like sealed, gel, flooded, and Lithium batteries.
One of the most user-friendly and easy-to-use solar panel kits, the charge controller that comes with this package has a sophisticated LCD where you can see helpful information about your system. Apart from its smart interface, the controller also protects you from overcharging, thus reducing the threat of the dangers of fire.
It may look just like the other panels being sold on the market today, but this one stands out because of its first-class build quality. It boasts an anti-reflective glass and a simple white TPT back sheet at the back with a frame that hugs the full laminated panel. The panels are outstanding, and you can proudly mount it on your RV or trailer’s roof or on any available surface, and it will just work silently.
7. ACOPOWER 120W Portable Solar Panel Kits
- Lightweight, foldable and portable
- Full package to charge external batteries
- Suitcase design for better user experience
- Can be used as a solar panel alone or as a kit
- Impressive conversion rating up to 25%
- Choice of the connector is more inclined to permanent panels
The acopower 120w portable camping solar panel is yours if you are looking for a robust, foldable, and lightweight solar kit. The brand boasts this transportable and foldable 120W kit that utilizes monocrystalline cells from no other than SunPower, a well-established brand known for its superb efficiency. The efficiency conversion rating is up to an impressive 25%, so you know that this system is the one that you can rely on when you are out enjoying the outdoors and when there is an immediate need for electricity.
This kit with all its components from ACOPOWER is enclosed in a suitcase, and it weighs about 8.4 pounds. Compared to other solar panels with the same power output segment of 21 pounds, this is noticeably lighter and more compact. It also has a 10A LCD controller with two 5V USB output ports and an MC4 connector so you can safely charge your external batteries at 12V. You would surely be able to connect your electrical devices and gadgets to your convenience.
Mounting the whole solar panels and connecting them to your battery should only take you a few minutes. The carrying case is equipped with Velcro design for easy opening. The kit comes pre-wired and all set for the connection along with its three-standing legs.
The back pocket holds your charge controller and some other accessories, so all you need is to connect and mount, and you are all set. Once mounted, it will get right into action mode and silently work in the background. You don’t need any special equipment or tools to install it. You might probably need some rocks or something heavy to install the stand when it gets windy.
With this model, you are not restricted by how you use it. You have the liberty to use it merely as a solar panel alone or as a solar panel kit with the alligator clamps to connect to your battery. You can adjust as needed.
8. PAXCESS RV Solar Panel
- More powerful option, upgraded
- Impressive efficiency conversion rating of up 23%
- Double fast charging time
- USB Type C supported
- Comes with a kickstand for better positioning
- 100% handy and foldable
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
- No XT60 or MC4 connector included
A more upgraded version, the PAXCESS solar panel has more power because of its improved 120W portable solar panels for RVs. You can count on its impressive efficiency conversion rating of up to 23% so you can maximize the free energy coming from the sun and convert this power into clean energy. This makes it a must-have when you are off-grid and when you are out conquering the outdoor life. You can also rely on this during emergencies and power outages. You can enjoy uninterrupted power and do what you need to do.
This solar panel comes with connectors of different sizes, including USB QC and Type C outputs that allow the charging time to be twice as fast as other panels. If you want speedy charging for your tablets, smartphones, power banks, and other electrical devices, this is your solution.
Bring this with you anywhere because it is 100% handy and foldable. It comes with a kickstand, and you can adjust the stands accordingly so you can get up to 25% more solar energy than when laid flat. Suppose you are a current proud owner of the PAXCESS Rockman 200W or 300W solar generator. In that case, you can quickly recharge it with this solar panel. The frame of the panel is made of aluminum which is lightweight and corrosion-resistant.
It is designed with portability and safety in mind, which will lead to an effective investment when you want comfortable traveling. It is made of water-resistant and durable materials like oxford cloth, so you know that it is more than capable of enduring all weather conditions.
9. ACOPOWER 100W Portable Solar Panel Kit
- Completely waterproof and weather-resistant
- Simple and efficient set-up
- Expandable up to 200W
- Can power two batteries at once
- Completely portable thanks to well-designed case
- Not the most durable around
The ACOPOWER 100W portable solar panel kit is your all in one solution when it comes to your outdoor electricity problems. With this solar panel kit, you have a generator and battery ready, and you are provided with three options.
You can use its integrated charge controller and use it with a 12V battery, MC-4 connector for a solar generator, and charge a 12V RV battery while simultaneously charging a solar generator. You can also provide power to 2 different battery types at once.
The set-up of this solar panel kit from ACOPOWER is also straightforward. You just need to connect the alligator clamps to your 12V battery. Give the two LED lights a few minutes to turn on. Once it is done, you can now let your solar panel face the sun to get as much as possible. Leave the panels exposed so it can maximize the free energy from the sun. Always remember to keep the battery connected even if it is already fully charged. You don’t need any special equipment to make it work because the stand is already pre-installed.
You can also easily carry this around with you because these 2 watts solar panels are attached in easy pairs. The case facilitates easy transportation while at the same time, keeping your solar panels safe during storage. Additionally, this is a waterproof kit. It is IP67 waterproof, which means that it can work with water without any problems.
You can surely use this outdoors and not worry about the damage that it may cause. A piece of better news is the charge controller on the system’s back is also 20A waterproof. Should the panel by accident fall in a pool of water, you don’t have to count your losses automatically because you can still retrieve it, and it would still work.
This is your all-in-one solution because you are not restricted to what you currently have because this is very much expansible. If you want to add more panels and expand to a total of 200W, you can. You don’t need to purchase a new kit but just work with your current set-up.
10. Nektech 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger
- Compatible with most devices
- Made of quality materials like PET polymer
- Waterproof and weather-resistant
- SmartIC technology
- Easy-to-carry and 100% foldable
- The attachment hook helps utilize the panels
- High-efficiency conversion rating of up to 24%
- Does not store power
The Nektech 21W portable solar panel charger is your new travel solar panel top-tier friend on your next outdoor adventure. This easy-to-carry and 100% foldable solar panel kit can easily fit inside your knapsack. Alternatively, it comes with an attachment hook so you can hang it to your backpack and let it work while you are walking, hiking or trekking. It is lightweight at 17.3 ounces, so you wouldn’t notice its weight at all. Its folded size of 6.3 by 11.1 by 1.06 inches makes it convenient to store and keep.
Using SunPower Maxeon technology, these three solar Monocrystalline panels can help you achieve up to 21% to 24% efficiency conversion rating to provide you with enough power for your electrical devices and gadgets. It comes with 2 USB charging outlets so you can charge as needed simultaneously.
If you need fast charging, then the Nektech 21W portable solar panel charger is undoubtedly the one for you. It has an advanced smart IC chip technology incorporated that helps detect the devices connected to its USB ports and, at the same time, act as a protection against overheating. With this, you will realize and experience yourself that not all charging ports are made equal.
The standard ports are designed for Apple and Android devices. Still, with today’s SmartIC technology, the port will smartly identify your appliances and gadgets and maximizes its charging capability and speed to up to 2.0 amps for each port.
The design and quality of materials are also top-grade, so you know that the product you are purchasing is meant for rugged outdoor use. With its PET polymer cover, you are guaranteed IPX4 waterproof-level protection against water and dust. You know that this solar panel charger is built to last and can survive the environment’s elements.
Ryno-Tuff Portable Solar Charger for Camping (Outdated)
- Solar panels are waterproof
- SmartIC technology
- iSolar technology for dual charging
- Portable and foldable
- Efficiency conversion rating of up to 25%
- Duty-heavy gear made of waterproof PVC canvas
- Not able to store energy like a battery
The Ryno-Tuff portable solar charger is pegged as one of the most efficient solar chargers for camping on the market today. It provides an impressive solar panel efficiency rating of 22 to 25% courtesy of its Sunpower manufactured solar panels, the makers of the top-tier solar panels today.
This charger is most suitable for camping purposes. It comes with a fast-charging technology or referred to as SmartIC technology that can automatically detect the USB device connected to it and then charge it at the optimal speed available while still evenly distributing the current to the rest of the charging devices. With this 21W solar charger, you can expect your smartphone or tablet to be fully charged in less than 2 hours while other devices use the same solar charger. This promotes efficient, safe, and consistent charging.
Apart from its SmartIC technology, it also comes with an iSolar technology that allows it to charge two devices at the same time, and when a device is fully charged, it will automatically stop charging. This would also mean that you are protected from overcharging and overheating.
Like most camping solar panels, this is highly portable. When folded, it only measures six by 12 inches with a total weight of 1 pound. This makes it very easy to carry around with you while enjoying your hike, trek, and camp activities. You will never waste time again because you don’t need to stop just to charge your devices. You can continuously charge your electronics devices while you are on the go because you can safely hang your solar charger on your bag via the carabineer hooks that come with the package.
Moreover, this Ryno-Tuff portable solar charger provides you with a reliable and durable gear since it is made of a waterproof PVC canvass. Your panels are well protected against water and dust that can eventually lead to corrosion. You must remember, though, that the USB ports are not water-resistant, so you must keep these connectors safe and dry.
AIMTOM SolarPal 100W Portable Solar Panel (Outdated)
- Can support multiple devices
- Excellent high-efficiency conversion rate up to 22.7%
- Tested safety features to protect your devices
- Two USB ports included
- Easy to use and install
- US-made solar cell generates more energy
- Plastic fasteners
Maximize and use the sun’s limitless power and fully charge your batteries when and where you need to. Fully charged batteries would mean more memorable pictures and videos, hours and hours of listening to your playlists and more game battles to win.
You can all make this possible with AIMTOM’s SolarPal 100W portable solar panel. This company played with the idea of using alternative power sources sans the need for an engine and gas. They also want to attain this without adding to the noise and pollution. Thankfully, they were able to make that vision a reality because they can produce products like this kind which are friendly to the planet. Also, it helps your outdoor life easier.
The AIMTOM SolarPal 100W Portable Solar Panel, like all the brand’s products, is all tested, so you are sure that it meets the industry’s quality and safety standards. These hand-made solar panels clock in at a solar conversion efficiency rating of 22.7% so you can safely use it to charge your car’s battery during emergencies and even power your electrical devices and appliances.
This US-made solar cell can produce 60% more energy compared to other conventional panels while using the same space.
Your multiple devices’ unique ports shouldn’t be a problem because this comes with two USB ports, with one being a 3.0 USB, a single DC port that includes an MC-4 cable, DC to DC cable, DC to clamp cable and a practical 10-in-1 DC connector kit. It can be considered as a piece of universal equipment.
What’s more is you and your gadgets are well-protected from over-current, overload, over-charging, over-heating, and reverse charging. It happens that we get busy that we leave our devices charging for prolonged periods, and with this portable solar panel, you don’t need to worry about causing damage to your gadgets.
Foxelli Dual USB Solar Charger 10W (Outdated)
- Charging twice faster than the regular solar chargers
- Built-in smart charging technology
- Durable and weather-proof
- Portable, lightweight and solid design
- Works with most USB connected devices
- The font size of the instructional guide is too small
The promise of Foxelli dual USB solar charger is efficient and quick charging, and it is a commitment that they can meet and keep. The brand understands that your outdoor experience can be made even better when you have the power to use on your devices.
This is one of your solar-powered charger options if you want portable power. It doesn’t matter what the outdoor agenda is. You can be backpacking, camping, hanging at the beach, or traveling in your RV, and you can conveniently just attach it to your bag, tent, or even on trees.
Thanks to this lightweight solar panel, you won’t mind its meager 1.1 pounds weight, and when folded, it is fragile measuring to only 1.2 inches. It comes with 11 integrated loops and two carabineers so again that hanging it around won’t be an issue. It also has a convenient pocket, so you don’t have to worry about your device while it is being charged.
The materials used on this product are also top-grade and extremely durable. You can rely on Foxelli USB solar charger to keep your devices 100% battery full regardless of the weather conditions. It is made of industrial-strength PET polymer, and it is also designed to be water, dirt, dust, and debris resistant. You can surely count on it to provide you with clean, green, and free energy for years and years to come with consistent performance and output.
When it comes to charging, you can have your batteries full twice faster than the regular solar chargers because of its built-in smart charging technology. It will automatically identify what device you connect to it, and then it distributes the current output consequently, so charging time takes only half than usual. You can also use this with any USB connecting devices with a 5 Volt DC input. Power banks, smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, and other electronic devices would work well with this solar charger from Foxelli.
What Is A Solar Panel For Camping And Who This Is For
A solar panel for camping extends to you the opportunity to charge and power your electronic devices and gadgets using the sun’s free power.
It is now seen as a low-cost alternative so you can enjoy the outdoors and the wilderness in almost complete luxury. Solar panels take into principle the solar panels for home and a smaller and more portable scale. It is mostly designed to be foldable, flexible, and with some, you can even roll to bring it with you as you conquer the outdoors quickly. Unlike the rigid, permanent, and massive solar panels being used in homes and buildings, solar panels for camping are lightweight and compact in design.
Like all solar panels, some uncontrollable factors affect the performance of this camping must-have, like the sun’s presence and intensity. But with enough solar power absorbed, this can be a reliable source of power.
Campers, RVers, and those who own cabins and boats can use these portable solar panels. It is highly recommended to have one when you don’t have consistent access to on-grid power. Although the name carries the word camping and outdoors, homeowners can surely use this too at home as an alternative source of power during emergencies and power outages.
How Does It Work
Solar panels for camping trips work pretty much the same as the typical solar panels. You need to have it positioned strategically so you can get the maximum power from the sun.
It works by allowing the particles of light from the sun to free up the atoms’ electrons. Silicon alone won’t be able to carry the electric current. That is why the silicon that is found in the solar particles is usually combined with phosphorus. Once silicon combines with phosphorus, the electrons can be delocalized and free to transport the electrical charge.
The outcome is referred to as an evolved N-silicon type, and this is what you can find on the solar panel surfaces. After that N-type silicon layer is P-type silicon, the opposite of the N-type. P-type utilizes the impurities from the elements like boron and gallium, so this would mean free spaces for electrons to use. This will then form an electrical, magnetic field where the outer N-type silicon layer is tagged as negative and the P-type as negative. Once the electrons are free to flow after being knocked free from the N-type layer and they have moved on to the P-type layer, then electricity is created.
From here, you can now either directly charge your devices or use an inverter.
What Are The Different Types Of Camping Solar Panels
Understanding and knowing your needs and requirements is vital to make the right decision to buy the most suitable solar charger for camping and your other outdoor activities. The first thing you need to decide upon doing a self-assessment is identifying what type of solar panel can suit your needs and meet your expectations. Overall, there are four different types of camping solar power kits:
- Solar chargers
These are branded as top-quality portable solar panels for camping. Solar chargers are generally small and are meant for charging smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. They are integrated with either a monocrystalline or polycrystalline technology in a portable, foldable solar suitcase-style making it 100% portable.
These kinds of camping solar panels are designed to be compact and lightweight, making them an attractive and practical option for outdoor enthusiasts who are always traveling and need a quick charging option for their phones and electronic devices. A more significant type of these solar chargers is referred to as solar blankets, which are still foldable and portable.
- Flexible solar panels
The main standout feature of flexible solar panels is its design. It is incredibly lightweight, and it can easily be stored and hidden. This is the most useful option for RVers and campers who have a curved roofs on their trailers since these panels can be bent to up to 30 degrees.
- Portable solar panels
They are also called movable solar panels. There are traditional solar panels that you can fold and then carry away or store. These are bigger than the solar chargers and are designed to handle 12 Volts battery packs and electrical devices that need more charging power. This type is advisable for folks who are not keen to regularly go on camping trips but more for seasonal vacations and occasionally out of towns.
- Fixed-mounted panels
This type is the traditional panels you usually see mounted on the rooftop. One of the selling points of this type is you won’t need to set up the power station each time you go camping, and you don’t have the problem of your panels being stolen because it is permanently fixed. If you have a nomadic lifestyle, this is the most suitable solar power kit type for you.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Solar Panel For Camping
RV camping, trekking, and hiking are just some of the outdoor activities that you can do. These memorable and fun experiences are made better when you have a dedicated solar panel for camping. The lack of electricity when off-grid to charge your smartphone batteries and run several of your electrical devices can be a real disappointment and can lessen the joy in the experience. If you are not yet 100% convinced in investing in a solar panel for camping, getting to know more of its advantages may influence you to say yes and have one.
Solar panels for camping trips are designed to be portable. This means that you can conveniently and quickly move it around to catch as much sunlight as possible. You have the liberty to reposition it as needed so when the sun moves. You can also adjust where you place it. All these actions can be done in a matter of minutes too. It doesn’t require too much effort.
Your solar power for camping fridges, phones, and other electrical devices has zero operating costs. Apart from the initial investment, you don’t need to buy expensive fuel for a noisy generator or pay additional electricity bills. You don’t need to spare any dollars just to make it work. The source of power is free because it comes from the sun, and all components are included, so there is absolutely no reason for you to cash out more.
Most, if not all, solar panels are meant to just noiselessly work in the background. You won’t have to worry about any noises that it would emit because it is silent throughout the process. You can be left with the serenity of Mother Nature as you want it and bask in the sounds of the crickets and trees sans any annoying mechanical sounds.
Like any product, there would always be two sides of a product’s worth. Knowing the disadvantages is even more critical because you can determine if you are willing to compromise.
Every time you stop, you need to set up your solar panels. This might be considered a hassle in the long run because you must mount and set it up each time you are in a new location. This can be a little nuisance for folks who are in different places almost every night.
Providing panel protection can be a little tricky. These solar panels are lightweight and foldable and are vulnerable to damage when you set it, mount, fold, and pack it up. Aside from the natural threats from the wind and rain, the human risk is also considered. Consider theft and human error.
How We Picked And Tested
Investing in small solar panels for camping is a smart move since it is a product that you can use for years and years to come. It is essential that you look into your possible choices closely and not make decisions drastically. At this point, it would pay off to browse through some camping solar panels reviews that are widely available online to give you a preview of the strengths and weaknesses of your potential solar panel.
To help you further, here are also some factors that you can look at to make a logical decision and make sure that your solar panel can meet your needs and your expectations.
Power output – this is the primary reason why you’d want to have a solar panel for your camping and outdoor adventures in the first place, so you must make sure that it can deliver. Solar panels have various outputs, so there are also specific requirements for the input. An example would be, some solar panels have 220W and beyond so you can charge bigger appliances and devices.
There are also solar panels that are only capable of 21W, which is meant for smaller devices. You need to know precisely what your devices are, so your solar panel choice can meet your requirements and even exceed it if possible.
Conversion efficiency rating – the higher rating you have, the better. Most solar panels have a registered efficiency of 21% to 23%, while some can even go as high as 23% to 25%. To get the most of your solar panel, get one with up to a 25% transformation rate.
Device compatibility – what good would be a solar panel if you cannot connect your devices to it? Today, a primary reason you would want to purchase one is for you to be able to charge your cell phone, tablet, and laptop so your choice of solar should support these devices, including transferable power stations.
It would be top-tier to go for one integrated with USB 2.0 and 3.0 with an IC chip. The more various-sized connectors it has, the more compatible it becomes with the current solar generators.
Warranty – This might be overlooked at especially for brand-new solar panels. It is new, so the expectation is it is working 100% with all the components working at their top-tier. Hopefully, you can still say the same thing after 5 or 10 years of using the same solar panel. This is where a good warranty comes into play.
The support you get from the brand is essential in ensuring that you get more good years out of your product. Keep in mind never to buy a portable solar panel for camping that doesn’t provide any sort of warranty.
Construction and design – most solar panels are of similar design but give you more flexibility, opt for the foldable and bendable ones to work with curved roofs, and most RV roofs are curved. You want to carry it around with you if possible, either latched on your backpack or just laid flat on an available surface.
There are also roll up solar panels camping available, which gives you more options. You don’t want to be restricted with the notion that solar panels would only work if it is mounted on the roof of your camper or trailer.
These five factors would influence the cost of your purchase, so it is essential to identify your needs, adjust your expectations, and be ready to compromise if necessary. The ultimate test for you and your solar panels would be when you go camping and be off-grid if you can still use your electrical devices via your panel, then a huge thumbs up for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do solar panels for camping cost?
Solar panels for car camping can set you back between $80 and $300. However, the consensus, at least on Reddit r/CampingGear, is that $200 should be enough to get you a decent solar panel for camping. Quality aside, you should note that the price will vary depending on type and size as well.
For example, a monocrystalline-paneled camp solar system is 12 to 20% pricier than its polycrystalline counterpart of the same size. Likewise, a 200-watt solar panel for camper or RV units will cost more than a 100-watt version, provided they have a similar brand and solar panel technology.
Can a solar panel overcharge a battery?
Yes, a solar power system for camping can overcharge a battery. Everything depends on the solar panel’s rated voltage output and the battery’s recommended voltage input.
For example, the Hiluckey HI-S025 travel solar panels only deliver five volts at three amperes through two USB ports, which are perfect for recharging mobile devices. However, plugging a 5V smartphone into a solar panel’s 18V charging port can damage the mobile device’s battery.
Overcharging can also occur in all 12V battery types. The solar system might produce more electric current (in ampere-hours) than the battery’s capacity, causing gassing in lead-acid units and thermal runaways in lithium power cells. That said, you can avoid such issues by buying batteries with an integrated battery management system.
How long do solar panels for camping last?
A portable solar panel for RV, which can also double as a camping solar panel, can last 25 to 30 years. However, it is worth noting that solar panels for camping are subject to more significant stresses and environmental exposure than fixed solar systems, making them less durable.
For example, transporting removable solar panels from the house to the campsite can increase the risk of damage due to vibrations and accidental falls. Tree branches, projectiles, and other debris might also hit the solar panel during unfolding. It can tip over, and the rough terrain can scratch the photovoltaic cell surface.
Are solar panels for camping waterproof?
No, not all solar panels with battery units for camping are waterproof – completely impervious to water no matter how long you submerge the device. Instead, they may be water-resistant – being able to withstand water for a limited amount of time. You can learn how well the solar can tolerate water by checking its IP rating.
For example, an IP65-rated solar panel can withstand low-pressure water jets, water sprays, and condensation. Meanwhile, an IP67-rated solar panel can accommodate high-pressure water jets and temporary water submersion at a depth of 39 feet for 30 minutes.
Hence, the waterproof portable solar panels you bought might not be “waterproof” but “water-resistant.” Nevertheless, campers might want a solar panel with the highest possible IP rating (i.e., IP68 or IP69K) for outdoor use.
Which brand of solar panels is the top-rated?
The brands that manufacture the best solar panels for camping are usually those who are leaders in the industry. These manufacturers have long established a name for products that are reliable and provide stable performance.
Years of experience and the continuous improvement of their products make them the top choices for producing the most suitable solar panels. Here are the top five brands that you shouldn’t miss to check out when shopping for your next solar camping gear.
Of course, there are other brands that are competitive and making their name. You should be thorough when doing your initial research, so you are sure not to miss any promising brands.
What is the most useful type of solar panel for camping?
The most useful type of solar panel for camping might not be any random products available in your local store. There should be certain aspects that are met to make it a great one.
Here are just a few of the qualities that make a solar panel specific to camping good and reliable:
Powerful performance meets your power needs and has some spare power, just if you need a few more. The main reason you’d want to consider getting a solar panel is for portable energy, so it should provide you with reliable power wherever you are and whenever you need it.
Lightweight – you don’t need the extra weight when you are out conquering another mountain and crossing rivers, so an excellent portable solar panel should be compact and light enough that it won’t be an additional physical burden to carry around. If it weighs more than necessary, you’d instead leave it behind, and it becomes a useless solar panel.
Foldable – this contributes to the portability of your camping solar panel. You need to be able to minimize it so you can conveniently carry it around with you. A solar panel that is all stiff and permanent in shape and size can restrict your movement.
How many watt solar panel do I need camping?
The reality for solar panels is you don’t have control over how much sun can be absorbed because the sun and its intensity are entirely uncontrollable. To determine the number of solar panels that you’ll need is dependent on the number of batteries that you need to keep charged.
You need to identify and add up your total Amp Hours (AH) that your batteries can hold. The more AH you need and have, the more solar panels you’ll need. Say if you have one 12V battery at 100AH, then you should have at minimum, 300W of solar panels.
The recommendation above is based on assuming that you can produce 30AH of battery charge via a 100Wsolar panel with sun exposure of anywhere between 5 to 9 hours long. Most RV solar panels would have a range somewhere between 100 to 160 watts.
How much will a 100-watt solar panel run?
A solar panel is usually evaluated and graded by the amount of power produced at Standard Test Conditions or STC. The conditions include the sun’s intensity with 1000 watt per sqm, the angle of the sunlight that is directly hitting the panel, and the temperature, which is 25℃ or 77℉.
The output of solar panels is variable because of these conditions. When a 12V solar panel is appraised at 100W, this is considered an on the spot rating. Given that all STC are met, you will develop a voltage output of about 18V and a current of 5.55A.
Watts is computed by multiplying the Volts with the Amps, so with the data given above, 18 volts multiplied by 5.55 amps will provide you with 100 watts. For you to identify how much is being generated in a period, you just have to multiply the watts with the number of hours your solar panel is running. If we will be using two hours as the time that the solar panel is being used, then multiply 100 watts by two and get 200-watt hours or 200 (WH).
What can a 200-watt solar panel power?
A 200-watt panel is handy when you are off-grid. You need to power your tiny cabin, solar shed, trailer, camper, or RV using the sun’s power. It is not an ideal option for a larger 5kW or 6kW solar system.
To get a better idea of what devices can power you with a 200-watt panel, you first must identify how much power your appliances and gadgets draw or use. You can do this by checking the wattage of the UL-approved devices. This list is typically found near your AC power cord and would be indicated either by watts or amps. It would be easier to use watts, so just convert amps to watts by getting the product of volts and amps.
Here is a general overview of some of the things you can do with a 200 watts solar panel:
- Power 16 of 60W light bulb for 60 minutes
- Power your laptop (45W) for 22 hours
- Power your coffee maker for 60 minutes
How to use & install?
You must know how to properly mount, set up, and efficiently use your solar panel camping gear. Even if you have the most expensive or advanced one but cannot get it to work, you are losing ends.
Depending on the type of solar panel you have, you’d have different ways of setting it up. Solar chargers, for instance, are the easiest to install. All you need is to unfold it if it’s currently folded and open on a flat surface. After that, you simply connect your electronic device to its USB ports and allow it to charge.
If you will use it as a solar panel kit, then the charge controller comes into play. Alligator clips are usually included on the package to use these to connect your device to your battery bank. Make sure that the batteries are kept in a dry and safe place.
Simply connect them to your charge controller and proceed to unfold the solar panels. Next is to wire them to your DC input. Always take note of the polarity before you make your wirings. Your charge controller’s green light ensures that your solar system has completed all the required charging stages.
If your primary purpose meanwhile is to charge 12V battery banks, then the installation is different. Always remember that if you are using folded solar panels that even if they are small and compact, still generate electricity that is still life-threatening, so before opening it, make sure that you have completed all the required connections.
How to care & clean?
Solar panels are effortless to clean and care for, and it is easy to skip this maintenance because of the distractions outdoors. Remember that cleaning your panels is vital to ensure that it always gives you top-tier performance.
You don’t need special tools or equipment to clean your solar panels. You simply need to use a soft cloth to wipe off the dust and the accumulated dirt on your solar panel’s surface. Should there be any stubborn residue, you can use a damp cloth instead to wipe it clean. You don’t need to use any cleaning agents either. Gently wiping the dirt is enough and should do the trick of cleaning it. Note that you don’t scrub it or use cleaning scrubs because it will damage the panels.
You must make sure that the panel is always free from residues and adhesives because it will affect your panels’ capability. The more you let the dirt and debris accumulate, the harder it will be to clean.
Also, although some water panels and its components are waterproof and corrosion-resistant, you should still not leave your panels outside in prolonged periods without using it. If you will not use it, fold it and store it away correctly until the next time you’d need it.
Where to buy?
Your local home depot and camping retail stores should have a selection of small solar chargers that you can look at, but the choices might be a little limited to your liking.
If you have already decided on the brand of choice, you have the option to go directly to the brand’s local branch or store and buy the model from there. The challenge here is if they don’t have a physical store that is available and near your area.
Should this be the case, better opt for online shopping. Amazon should be a good starting site for you because of its diverse solar panels for campers’ products and deals.
Your outdoor adventures in your RVs, campers, boats, and cabins can be made more enjoyable and more comfortable by investing in the best solar panels for camping that you can find. Yes, deciding on the most suitable one and finally purchasing it is challenging, but it is an entirely doable task.
You can enjoy the outdoors without needing to worry about a dead smartphone or an email that you need to respond to because you can all do these and more with your solar panels’ help immediately.
This is a camping must-have because you can also use it when you are not conquering the world. You can use it at home when the power is out or during emergencies. Knowing that you have stored power somewhere that you can easily and quickly revert to is such an empowering feeling.
Hi, I am Eddie, Cleanenergysummit’s content editor. It’s so much joy to work alongside Justin, as the idea of providing knowledge about using clean energy excites us.
I’ve been working to address any concerns or questions you may have as you transition to using solar electricity to power your home. Tune in to hear our advice and suggestions on anything clean energy. Welcome!