Best Solar Panels for Camping: 6 Top Picks for 2022

best solar panels for camping

Camping is all about the correct preparation. If you decided to go with solar panels this year instead of polluting diesel solutions, we salute your decision.

We’ll help you prepare by choosing the best solar panels for camping in Australia, and with a few pro tips for the right positioning of panels, so read on.

Best Portable Solar Panels

1. ACOPOWER LTK 120W Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase – Best Overall

  • Dimension: 56.7″ x 22.0″ x 0.2″
  • Weight: 3.81 kg with all attachments
  • Maximum power: 120W
  • 1 USB output
  • Price: $375
  • Link to the product

This all-in-one-package comes with everything you need for a perfect camping trip. It consists of three solar panels, each of them with a maximum of 40W. This kit folds into a suitcase for maximum portability, designed to have a handle and support stands while remaining lightweight. It comes with pre-installed wires so the setup will only take you a few moments, and you’ll even get alligator clamps for battery charging. As you might have noticed, you won’t need to ensure any other equipment other than this suitcase.

But the best part is, the conversion efficiency is increased by 25% thanks to the Monocrystalline cells from SunPower.

PROS:

  • Completely waterproof
  • Easy setup
  • Includes LCD charge controller

CONS:

  • Only 1 USB port

2. AIMTOM Portable Solar Charger – Best for Exploration

  • Dimension: 29 x 16 x 6 cm
  • Weight: 1.35 kg
  • Maximum power: 60W
  • USB and DC output
  • Price: $331.18
  • Link to the product

This beautifully designed foldable solar panel is lightweight and compact but will still provide you with enough power to charge your most important devices, such as laptops, cameras, smartphones, speakers, but also portable power stations and solar generators. You’ll be able to charge two devices at once and, thanks to the 10-in-1 connector kit, you can even charge your laptop directly from sunlight.

Similar to the previous example, AIMTOM uses SunPower solar cells, which increase conversion efficiency up to 22.2%. It’s optimized to generate maximum power while remaining portable, even for hiking.

PROS:

  • Powerful yet lightweight
  • AIMTOM best seller
  • Comes with all necessary charging attachments

CONS:

  • Doesn’t perform great in low-light conditions

3. BLAVOR Solar Charger Five Panels – Best for Hikers

  • Dimension: ‎18.49 x 14 x 5.49 cm
  • Weight: 0.6 kg
  • Maximum power: 5 Volts
  • 2 USB ports
  • Price: $56.99
  • Link to the product

It’s a portable and practical piece of equipment that will keep your smartphone charged at all times, and at night you can use it as a flashlight. It actually has two USB ports, meaning that you’ll be able to charge two devices at once. It also has special modes for SOS signalizing.

It consists of 5 solar panels attached magnetically, and when you detach it, the sealing bar can actually be used as a power bank with a dual output. It is completely wireless and easy to use and will make you feel safe on your camping trip knowing that you’ll always have a signal and a source of power in your pocket. It comes with a 12-month warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

PROS:

  • Includes a compass
  • Ideal for hiking trips
  • Extremely affordable

CONS:

  • Compatible only with certain iOS and Android devices

4. Nature Power 440-Watt Complete Solar Kit – Best for Caravans

  • Dimension: 55’’ x 33’’ x 8’’
  • Weight: 33.6 kg
  • Maximum power: 440W
  • 2xAC output and a 5V/2A USB charger
  • Price: $699.99
  • Link to the product

This is a true monster among portable solar panels. There are four panels, with each of them having 110W. With almost indestructible aluminium frames and scratch-resistant tempered glass tops, you can set them on your RV or boat, or permanently mount them outdoors and rest assured they will endure any outdoor conditions. Moreover, the whole construction is waterproof and anti-reflective.

The installation process is as easy as it can be, thanks to the plug and play connections, meaning that you don’t have to be a pro to figure out how to set it up. The best part is, the warranty guarantees your solar panels will retain 80% of efficiency for up to 25 years.

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Can be mounted on boats as well
  • Extremely durable

CONS:

  • On the heavier side

5. Jackery Explorer 290 Portable Power Station – Best for Powering Portable Fridges

  • Dimension: 48″ x 21″ x 0.2″ when unfolded
  • Weight: 3.4 kg
  • Maximum power: 100W
  • 2 USB ports, 12V carport, AC outlet
  • Price: $574.99
  • Link to the product

This is an ideal solution if you’ll be needing an office on the go while camping. Stay connected to the world by charging your essential appliances, such as a drone, laptop, camera, or mini cooler. It will transform your camping experience into true outdoor living.

You’ll even be able to charge your mini-fridge, but in that case, the car engine has to be constantly running. The same goes for any other running appliance. As well as with another premium portable solar panels, Jackery Explorer 290 uses monocrystalline cell technology, that enhances conversion by 23%.

PROS:

  • Charging 4 appliances simultaneously
  • 2-year warranty
  • Battery capacity 290Wh

CONS:

  • Not ideal for hiking trips

6. TogoPOWER 120W Portable Solar Panel – Best Value

  • Dimension: 20.47’’ x 14.57’’ x 2.17’’ when folded
  • Weight: 4.65 kg
  • Maximum power: 120W
  • 2 USB ports, DC output
  • Price: $239
  • Link to the product

This durable, highly resistant waterproof solar panel will perfectly adapt to changing outdoor conditions. It will be your best companion even in case of sudden power outages. It’s powerful enough to charge 2 devices at the same time through the dual USB port, whereas you can charge your DC devices through an 18V DC output.

Even though it’s among the most powerful solar panels we’ve reviewed, TogoPOWER keeps the main quality of portable solar panels, being lightweight, compact, and with a durable handle that makes it easy to carry. It comes with a 1-year warranty and 24/7 customer service.

PROS:

  • Great value to price
  • Useful for power outages
  • Great performance for low-light conditions

CONS:

  • Can be heavy for backpackers

A Camper’s Guide for Buying Portable Solar Panels

For different types of camping, you’re gonna need different things. For example, if you’re going with an RV, you can carry a lot more equipment than if you’re hiking. Most of the camping solar panels are lightweight since they need to be portable, but if you need a higher wattage – the weight may increase.

There are many benefits of carrying camping solar panels, with one of the main being the possibility to easily charge your devices. In comparison to loud diesel generators, solar panels are silent, eco-friendly, and can even fit in your pocket. All of these reasons make solar panels a perfect companion for your camping trip, and not to mention usability and sustainability.

The factors that you need to keep in mind when looking for camping solar panels are:

  • Type – On shopping sites, you may find different classifications of portable solar panels, but in the category of camping solar panels, you will usually find the following:
    • Lightweight Foldable Solar Panel
    • Lightweight Folding Solar Blanket
    • Flexible Solar Panel
    • Glass and Aluminium Solar Panel.
  • Watts Capacity – This may be the most important factor to consider. Think about which devices you’re gonna be using on your trip and how often you’ll need to charge them. If you only need power for your smartphone and a flashlight, don’t look into higher voltage options that are sufficient to charge several devices at once or even run appliances.
  • Efficiency – It’s highly dependant not only on the size of panels but also on the material. As described, panels that are made of monocristalline cells are known to have higher efficiency. Other than that, you should also look into polycristalline and amorphous panels.
  • Cost – In this guide, we tried to find examples to fit everyone’s budget. However, don’t get discouraged if you come across pricier options, because these are all long-term investments, but even more important, they are eco-friendly, sustainable solutions and therefore considerably pricier than fast, short-term polluting solutions.
  • Weight – This is a determining factor, depending on whether you’re gonna be hiking, or using transport in a form of an RV or even a boat. There are options for each type of camping solar panel, but keep in mind the heavier solar panels are, the more power they can generate.
  • Warranty – Solar panels, even portable ones, are an investment. You want to make sure you’re buying a quality, durable product. The examples we reviewed usually have a 1-2 year warranty, but some are covered for even longer.
  • Portability – Weight and dimensions play a huge factor. Some panels can be worn over backpacks and charged even when you’re on the move, whereas some require to be stationary and set on the ground.

Now, let’s not forget the crucial criteria for solar panel functioning, which is the weather. Make sure to count the sunlight hours in the region you’re planning to go to because it can vary significantly in different areas of Australia. Just like with regular solar panels, choosing the best direction for solar panels is key to getting the most out of the system. Even the best solar panel wouldn’t be that much of a use if you didn’t do your calculations right.

Maintenance tips for your portable solar panel

Solar panel care is essential, and cleaning your portable solar panels is quick and straightforward. It all comes down to routine cleaning. 

Maintenance steps: 

  • Using a hose, clean your portable solar panel.
  • Clean them with water using a sponge, mop, or scraper. Anything on the panel’s surface will be removed with this method.
  • To eliminate any soap residue, hose them down again.
  • Remove any leaves or debris from beneath the solar panels that may be blocking the airflow. 

 The best times to clean your panels are early mornings or evenings, as they can get quite hot during the day.

Ready for an Eco-friendly Camping Trip?

Solar panels made it possible to stay in touch with reality while going on camping trips. Embrace all the benefits the best solar panels for camping have to offer, but remember to prepare and plan your trip, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

FAQs:

1. What size solar panel do I need for camping?

Go for the option whose weight will feel comfortable while camping. If you’re going with an RV, it won’t be such a problem, but if you’re hiking, choose the one you could easily fit into your backpack, and there are even products you can wear on your backpack and charge them on the go.

2. Can a solar panel run a camping fridge?

Yes, but not all of them. If you’re planning on charging a mini-fridge, look for options with higher wattage, or even the ones that can be plugged into your car’s engine, since running appliances such as fridges require running energy.

3. Are solar panels worth it for camping?

They definitely are. As described in this guide for the Best Solar Panels for Camping, portable solar panels have many benefits – you’ll be able to use all your favourite devices, in an eco-friendly, non-polluting way.

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