Millennials are reluctant to go camping mainly because they can’t charge their phones. The solar panel is the instantaneous solution that comes to mind. But they’re a challenge to carry around. So, how about the ones that are designed to be portable, ones that can supply just the sufficient power to charge up those iPhones.
Even if you’re camping at night you can have your phones charged with the ones that come with a built-in battery. Millennials will call it a life-saver. That’s how fancy these are despite the looks.
How romantic would it be to have that bistro ambience inside your tent? An LED strip backed by the best portable solar panels for camping will do the trick. These take your camping experience to a whole another dimension.
Some of the Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping
Perhaps you’ve got a lot of packing to do before camping, and checking all the products must seem intimidating. After analyzing a wide collection of devices in the market, our expert team members have agreed that the following are indeed the suggested panels. To save time, we tried to provide a detailed overview.
1. Eshine Tech ES982
Aspects of Interest
You’ll definitely be in awe with the massive battery capacity of this portable solar panel power bank. Since Eshine has been in the field of solar chargers for quite a while now, they know how much it matters to have a high capacity power bank.
With such experience, they brought to you the ES982, offering a 25,000mAh Li-polymer battery for maximum power support to all your devices.
Not only will you get a solar charging panel but also an adapter for charging through electrical sockets. Since it has an IPX6 waterproof rating, it will stay safe from water to some extent and will never stop serving you, no matter how the weather is.
Moreover, you can charge three devices simultaneously, as this versatile power bank has three USB ports compatible with all devices. The cool-looking device is also environment friendly.
On the other hand, it consists of 36 LED lights with three modes to lead your way through the darkest of paths and the toughest of camping and RV camping days. Apart from these, the package contains a carabiner and a free USB cable as well.
- A tiny drawback is that charging the power bank through the solar panel is a bit slower than expected.
2. Renogy KIT-STARTER-100D
Aspects of Interest
If you’re looking for more solar power rather than only charging your phones and tablets, this powerful kit from Renogy can indeed be an ideal choice. KIT-STARTER-100D comes with lots of accessories perfect for off-grid applications during your camping days.
Speaking of accessories, you’ll get the 100W mono solar panel with a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame, and is expandable up to 400W.
What makes it the best portable solar panels for RV is its power and efficiency for producing enough charge. With 21% monocrystalline, the solar panel will deliver you the highest solar cell efficiency and convert any available solar power into electricity. For RV camping this can be very efficient.
You’ll find this kit quite reliable, as Renogy guarantees that the solar modules have no spot heating issues and can last longer.
Other tools include a unique 30A PWM Wanderer Li charge controller, which is equipped with multiple electronic protections. With the help of it, you can protect your device battery from overcharging, overload, short-circuit, and reversed polarity.
Even while camping in poor weather conditions, you won’t have to worry about the junction box getting damaged since it has an IP65 rating. Moreover, you’ll get a 20ft 10AWG MC4 adaptor kit and an 8ft 10AWG tray cable inside the package. With considering the power and options, this can be the best solar panels for RV battery charging choices in 2020.
- Since the instructions in the manual are a bit bland.
3. BigBlue B401
Aspects of Interest
Unlike the previously discussed devices, here comes a portable solar charger that offers more energy than others, despite being compact in size. What sets it apart is its lightweight foldable design that you can easily carry along in your camping bag.
When unfolded, it will produce 28W of power by converting up to 23.5 percent of solar energy to take care of all your smartphones and tablets. Being CE/ FCC/ RoHS certified it will also make sure your devices stay protected from issues like overcharging, overheating, and short circuits.
You won’t often find a solar charger nearly as smart as this one since it has a technology that lets it detect the type of your devices. Therefore, it will provide the optimal charging speed for three devices at a time through its three USB ports.
Although you can’t charge your laptops or other such devices, the charger, along with its USB cable, offers wide compatibility over most of the android, iOS devices, and some cameras as well.
Durability and longevity won’t be your worries either, as they have provided unique PET polymer surfaces, cloth flap, and rubber cover. It will help you to protect it from rain or fog that you may encounter while camping. If you are looking for the best solar panels for RV with compact size, this one is an excellent choice.
- You may feel restricted to only a handful of devices, as this product doesn’t support charging devices with larger batteries.
- Also, some users may find the design to be bulky.
4. Nekteck B017GQ7OEA
Aspects of Interest
When it comes to efficiency, it’s hard to find an alternative to this product from Nekteck. Having three monocrystalline solar panels based on a unique technology, it can convert more solar energy than conventional solar panels can.
By more, we mean up to 24 percent of the solar energy it absorbs, gets transformed into electrical energy, and you’ll get 21W of power.
On top of that, this smart product has advanced microchip support, which allows it to recognize the type of device you plug into it. As a result, your device will receive the optimal speed of charging and stay safe from overheating and overcharging at the same time.
Besides, you can save time by charging two of your devices concurrently, as it consists of two USB ports.
As camping requires lightweight packing, they’ve made this one small enough to easily fit into your backpack and add no more than 17.3 ounces. This makes it the perfect folding solar panels for camping and RVing. You can even attach it to your baggage while hiking using its unique attachment hook.
Also, enjoy the excellent durability of this IPX4 rated waterproof charger that comes from the canvas surface along with precision stitching and PET polymer cover.
- There’s only two USB ports.
5. ORYTO i26w
Aspects of Interest
ORYTO takes the battery capacity of solar chargers to a whole new level with its 26,800mAh i26w portable power bank. Due to a built for the camping enthusiasts, this solar device won’t hold back when you need battery backup even during continuous poor weather. Such durability comes from the rugged construction that protects it from dust, shock, and rain as well.
Are you worried if it is compatible with all your devices? You’ll be relieved to know that the charger comes with three USB ports along with a wireless charging function.
All the four options will allow you to fast charge four devices concurrently while its smart technology decides the charging speed by detecting the device you connected. It will also take care of overcharging and short circuit issues.
Moreover, the charger comes with an additional Type-C port along with the regular USB port for power input during the dull gloomy days. In addition to these, you’ll get a set of 18 LED lights in total that can be used for emergencies.
These aren’t any ordinary lights since they offer you to select among modes such as strong or weak and also flash and SOS.
- It cannot be used to charge heavy-duty batteries and lacks a proper strap or hook that you can use while hiking or climbing.
6. ROCKPALS 100W
Aspects of Interest
ROCKPALS has been one of the leading manufacturers in the portable power source sector. This 100W heavy-duty solar panel charger is another excellent product from them.
Compatible with most of the solar generators and mobile devices out there, this charger will make sure that you never run out of power during long term camping.
You’ll fall in love with its versatility, as it comes with connectors and adapters that fit. This is along with different generators from Suaoki and Paxcess, followed by USB ports for smartphones and tablets.
Furthermore, your devices won’t be damaged from overcharging and overheating due to its built-in intelligent IC chips. This can determine the maximum speed limit for any of your devices.
They have constructed the foldable and easy to carry solar panels from highly efficient solar arrays. So, the charger can convert up to 23.5 percent of solar energy that it absorbs and deliver up to 2.4A through the USB ports.
Another noteworthy aspect is how useful this foldable solar panel can be for camping or hiking amid rough weather because of its durable oxford cloth that is also water-resistant.
- It won’t come to use if you own a Jackery 440 solar generator since it is not compatible.
- The junction box coming with this setup is not rated waterproof and hence may get damaged if it comes in contact with water.
7. Ryno Tuff 4336233886
Aspects of Interest
Ryno Tuff, specialized in making camping equipment, brings you an indeed powerful solar charger. It has the promise of converting up to 25 percent solar energy, which is the highest on this list.
To deliver 21W of power and fast charging, they have used solar cells from the sun-power X-series to build this one, which they claim to be the most powerful in the market.
Moreover, you won’t find many difficulties in carrying this one-pound product because of it being compact, foldable, and lightweight.
Even with such small panels, it won’t hold back in delivering the utmost power when compared to the larger alternatives. Immense power, compatibility, and fast charging technologies give it the ability to charge your devices within two hours only.
It can charge two devices at a time and keep both of them safe by stopping current flow after charging is complete, or if the devices get overheated. Forget about the worries of replacing it soon, as it features a construction using rugged PVC canvas material. This makes it both durable and waterproof. Besides, setting it up on your backpack or tent is easy as pie, using the carabiners provided with it.
- Unfortunately, you can only charge two of your devices at once.
- Some users have also complained about it not producing enough power even on a sunny day.
The Route to the Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping
We believe that gaining some knowledge before purchasing any product can lead to better results than investing anyway. Here are a bunch of considerations to keep in mind before making your next move. We have briefly described the factors and can ensure you won’t seek any further advice after giving a read.
Depending on your devices and field of use, you have to determine how much power you’ll need from the portable solar panels. If you’re thinking of only charging your smartphones and tablets, a portable solar power bank that has battery storage of somewhere near 20,000mAh will do the job. Otherwise, seek for a solar charger of 80 to 100W capacity if you need heavy-duty power.
The best portable solar panels for RV usually offer wide compatibility over all the devices. That’s why make sure the solar panels you choose are also compatible with all your smartphones and tablets. How to do so? Try to check the specifications and confirm if it consists of modern USB ports, type C ports, connectors for generators, and other necessary ports.
Number of Ports
Make sure to look for at least three USB ports, as you may need to charge all your devices at once. The more USB ports it has, the more devices you can charge simultaneously. Some products also offer a wireless charging function for modern phones, and you can get one if your device supports it.
Solar panels are mainly classified on the basis of their cells and that includes monocrystalline, polycrystalline, amorphous and multijunction ones. But that’s nerdy stuff and the result for portable panels for camping is monocrystalline. And why not since they offer more conversion than the other alternatives.
Morphology and Types
Monocrystalline panels are buzzing all around but on the basis of the forms they come in the market are essential for us…at least for campers.
These are internally connected solar panel sheets usually packed in flat transparent bags. They are great for campers as they fit well in usual backpacks. If you intend to buy one, go for the ones having folded dimensions of about 6” by 11”. In most cases, the thickness turns out to be 1 to 1.5 inches.
Such panels appear in the form of regular power banks and are utilized the same. Don’t forget to check whether they feature a good number of LED lights; most of the cost worthy solar power banks offer so.
These are single rigid panels and are comparatively way larger than foldable ones. For prolonged camping days, these are better options. Such solar panels should have a non-corrosive yet light framework. Aluminum is the best choice in that regard.
Energy Conversion Rate
As a camper, you’ll need to make the most out of the available energy sources. It can only be possible if your solar panels convert most of the solar energy it absorbs into electrical. From 21 to 25 percent is an ideal range of figures to search for when it comes to the energy conversion rate of the panels.
Manufacturers these days try to include smart IC chips that can detect the type of the device connected and provide the optimal charging speed for them. You should pick such a product to get the maximum charging speed and also keep your devices safe from issues such as overheating, overcharging, and short circuits as well.
If charging current exceeds 4Amps, then it can be considered enough fast. But more than 5Amps without overheating protection avails a possibility to deteriorate the health of the device being charged. Also note that while charging multiple devices, the speed would fall down to some extent.
Weight and Portability
You can’t afford to carry heavy tools if you’re going on hiking. Thus, you should look for portable solar chargers that are lighter in weight and easy to carry. The foldable solar panels can provide excellent portability and can be a great choice since they’ll easily fit into your backpack.
Durability and Longevity
It will be wise to look for a rugged material build and a waterproof rating. Cause, when it comes to camping or hiking, you never know when you’ll get hit by poor weather or rain. Some companies also provide rubber and cloth covers that can protect the panels from dust and rain.
Features and Ease of Use
To enjoy a hassle-free camping experience, go for the solar panels that are easy to use and set up. Additional features like LED lights will come to great use if you need a light source during the night or gloomy days. Other useful features that you may look for in a solar charger are wireless charging, attachment hooks, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the procedures and costs for maintenance?
Ans: Solar panels don’t comprise any moving parts. Hence, they don’t need any maintenance costs or replacements as well. But dirt on the panels can affect the efficiency and reduce their energy conversion rate. So, you may need to clean them once in a while using low-pressure water flow.
Q: How to set up such devices?
Ans: Setting up foldable solar panels is pretty simple. All you need to do is unfold the panels, then keep it under direct sunlight and connect the devices that you want to charge. One thing to keep in mind, which is if your unit produces a lot of power, connect all the wirings before keeping the solar panel under sunlight. Solar power banks don’t require such setups, as they can store energy.
Q: What are the devices that I can charge?
Ans: Solar power banks are mostly capable of charging smartphones and tablets though some of them can charge laptops too. Meanwhile, you can use the power generated from high power solar panels to run lanterns, fans, coolers, speakers, cigarette lighters, and other camping types of equipment.
We think further explanations about the importance of the best portable solar panels for camping are unnecessary, as you’ll know it for yourself once you get one. Now that you have gone through the detailed review section, we hope that you were able to select the portable solar panel charger that will meet all of your requirements.
In case you haven’t decided yet, let’s recall the top performers one last time. We found the ES982 from Eshine Tech to be one of the top picks due to its massive battery capacity and the versatility it offers for charging mobile devices. But if a heavy-duty solar panel is what you need, we recommend that you should go for the 100W portable solar charger from ROCKPALS, as it is widely compatible.
One thing that we can assure you of is that you won’t have any regrets if you invest in any of the above portable solar panels. Finally, our experts wish that you will consider your safety to be the priority while selecting such devices that deal with amps and volts. Cause at the end of the day, returning safely from your camping, is what matters the most.