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If you like camping or backpacking, chances are you also like to bring electronic gadgets with you. If you want to take photos or videos of stunning views of all the places you see and share them online, you may need to recharge your batteries right away. But this can limit the things that you can do if you are just using power banks. 

However, there is a solution that will allow you to be able to charge your devices using the sun and it’s incredibly simple: portable solar panels for camping can be used with any type of device that has USB connectivity.

It is worth noting that once you have your solar panel for camping, you will also need a charger that can be used with solar power. For this reason, many of the panels on the market are sold together with a battery pack that serves as an intermediary device between the panel and your electronic devices. The first thing you must do before purchasing any item is to compare the different types available so that you can choose one based on your specific needs.

Finally, solar panels for camping are generally quite compact since they are designed for people who want to use them during their trips or while camping. This makes it easy to carry them around or even clip them onto backpacks. 

Why do you need solar panels camping?

The obvious question is: why would you need to power your smartphone with solar panels? Well, we can’t deny that we all love social media and staying in touch with our social circle. But what about when you’re on a camping trip or hiking through the mountains? 

You sure don’t want to miss out on any updates because of a dead battery, right? The problem can be solved easily by purchasing high-quality solar panels for camping since they work similarly to other devices such as portable chargers.

Camping usually means going far away from civilization so there won’t be many places where you can recharge your batteries. What’s worse is that this will be a multi-day activity so taking enough batteries with you could become expensive and cumbersome. And what if you could leave your power cables at home and still take lots of photos at your camp, for example? If you have solar panels for camping you can do just that.

Portable solar panels are efficient ways to recharge electronic devices because they are environment-friendly. If you care about the welfare of our planet, this is probably an aspect that should catch your attention! After all, let’s face it: there are only two things we really need in life – food and shelter – so having a lot of luxury items isn’t necessary. 

Lastly, a portable solar charger for camping is one way to reduce unnecessary waste caused by pollution. Using portable power solar chargers is the best way to make sure fewer batteries end up in landfills. Instead of buying new ones every time your old ones run out, why not use solar panels? This way, you would have a supply of energy that can be used to reduce our carbon footprint.

What are the top 5 Camping Solar Panel brands?

We have narrowed down our list of the best solar panels for camping by comparing industry best-sellers and ranked them based on criteria such as durability, simplicity of setup, charge time, run time, mobility, total power output, and cost. 

These are the top five solar panels for camping on the market according to our study:

Nektek 21 Watt Solar Charger

The Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger will always be on our best overall portable solar chargers. This charger is comprised of three monocrystalline solar panels and can deliver up to 3 amps. It has two USB outputs as well as charging technology that speeds things up.

Nekteck 20W Solar Charger with 2-Port USB Charger Build w... | Solar charger,  Solar panel charger, Solar charger portable

The portable solar charger, which measures 6.3” x 1.1” x 11.1” (when folded) and weighs less than your camping tent when packed, is easy to bring with you on all of your camping trips. The IPX4 waterproof certification means it’s protected against both water and dirt.

You will appreciate how quickly the Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger charges your gadgets as you explore the great outdoors with up to 24% solar conversion efficiency.

Best features:

  • Foldable and portable
  • Lightweight and tough
  • Waterproof and dust resistant
  • With high solar conversion efficiency (24%)
Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger

The Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger is comparable to the FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank, with two USB sockets and a built-in LED flashlight. The main distinction is that the Power Bank unfolds into four panels (6W), whereas the Portable Solar Charger has a single panel with a 1.5W capacity.

E.POWER 20000mAh Portable Solar Charger | Renogy Solar

The Portable Solar Charger has a lithium battery with a capacity of 20,000 mAh, which may charge your smartphone four to six times. When placed in direct sunlight, this gadget may both recharge and charge your cellphone at the same time. This device is protected by an IP67 shell, which implies it can withstand dust and water splashes.

Best features:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Waterproof (IP67 enclosure) and dust-proof
  • 20,000 mAh battery provides four to six smartphone recharges
  • Has an ETL and CE certifications
Jackery 50 W Solar Panel 

The Jackery 50W Solar Panel keeps you charged with the sun’s power! Connect the 50W Portable Solar Panel to your compatible Jackery or Honda by Jackery Power Station for continuous electricity. Explorer solar panels are a must-have solution for constant power, combining style, mobility, and versatility.

50W Solar Panel, Foldable and Rugged - Jackery

This solar panel is also compatible with Explorer 160 and Explorer 240 (sold separately).  

Best features:

  • Foldable and portable
  • Lightweight and tough
  • Can charge multiple gadgets simultaneously
  • Has USB-A and USB-C ports
  • Has a 2-year warranty
Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt Solar Panel

The Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt Solar Panel is made for extended excursions in the wild. This solar panel has an aluminum frame, tempered glass cover, and a kickstand for a convenient setup. It can power many sorts of electronics, including phones, laptops, and mini-fridges when linked to a portable power station.

Boulder 50 Portable Solar Panel - 50 Watt | Goal Zero / Goal Zero

Moreover, this solar panel features monocrystalline solar cells, which are the most efficient solar cell types and can produce up to 150W of power when connected. The panel has a weight of 12.4 lbs and is approximately 22 inches by 27 inches in size.

Best features:

  • Has a tempered glass cover and an aluminum frame
  • Can be connected together with other Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt solar panels to produce up to 150 watts of power
FEELLE Solar Power Bank

The FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank is a portable solar bank with four panels that produce 6W of power and fold down to around the size of a smartphone. There’s a lithium battery in the device with a capacity of 25,000 mAh, which is enough for about eight phone charges when fully charged. Dual USB ports on the device allow you to refill a cellphone’s battery eight times, with a recharging time of at least an hour. The table features two USB ports for charging two gadgets at once, as well as a built-in solar panel that charges the device when it is in direct sunlight.

Amazon.com: Solar Charger 25000mAh FEELLE Solar Power Bank with Dual 2.1A  USB Output Portable External Battery Charger for Smart Phone, Tablet and  More : Cell Phones & Accessories

The FEELLE Power Bank is highly water-resistant, so you don’t have to be concerned if it ever becomes wet. It also includes a bright LED light built-in for use as a flashlight after dark and protection against common electrical faults: short circuit, overcharging, overcurrent, and overvoltage.

Despite the fact that it includes all of these characteristics, the charger weighs only 1.18 pounds, making it one of the lightest solar panels for camping excursions and other outdoor activities.

Best features:

  • Foldable, lightweight, and portable
  • Waterproof and tough
  • Has a 25,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Has good protection against common electrical faults

For more information on this or any other solar panel reviews, contact an industry professional today!

Why Solar panels – why not diesel power generators?

We all love the convenience and I think we can all agree that portable solar panels for camping are a much more convenient option when it comes to powering your electronic devices at our camp. 

They have many advantages over generators, the main one being that they don’t produce any noise or fumes. You could easily find yourself in a situation where you need electricity but there is no possibility of getting any from the grid so you would have to rely on your own resources. 

In places such as these, having a generator with you wouldn’t be too smart since it will only add to the already existing problem by emitting harmful odors and sound pollution!  In this case, it’s best to have a solar panel with you instead since it doesn’t produce any of that.

In addition, they are cost-effective and environmentally friendly! They can also be used during emergency situations such as natural disasters so you would not need to rely on the help of other people in order to power up your smartphone, for example. 

If you live in an area where there is no power available at all times and never thought about getting yourself a generator before now is the opportunity to start considering purchasing them as well as solar panels.

Portable solar panels – do they last long?

To ensure that you get the most out of your solar panel for camping, you should know its performance before deciding to purchase one. 

Among the many advantages of using camping solar panels is their durability so they can be used more than once. You won’t have to worry about them breaking easily so they would last long which means you would only need to pay once in order to utilize them again next year or whenever you plan on going camping.

The best portable solar panels are made from high-quality materials which are folded inside a durable case that will keep everything together during transportation. This makes carrying them around easier since they won’t take up too much space even if you have a small car or you have to utilize public transportation. You can simply take them out of their box and unfold them, exposing the solar panels so they could start receiving sunlight in order to charge your phone, for example.

Compared to solar power generators, they are very easy to use since all you would need is some direct sunlight in order for them to work their magic! Once the batteries of your gadgets are full, you will be able to operate them normally with no interruptions at your camp.

In addition, portable solar panels produce less noise which means you don’t have to worry about going crazy from listening to loud sounds after a few hours in the middle of nature. Instead of hearing a loud generator right next to your tent, you could hear the birds singing and enjoy nature to the fullest! This won’t be a problem especially if you want to get a good sleep at night. 

How much is a solar panel for camping?

The price is a huge factor that we should consider when choosing solar panels for camping. While they may be a bit cheaper than generators, it’s absolutely worth knowing the price because it practically changes every day. 

Having a reliable camping solar panel at your disposal means that you wouldn’t have to go through many batteries just to charge your phone. This could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Besides camping and backpacking, solar panels for portable power can be used during emergencies as well as in difficult situations when you cannot reach a place to plug your generator or don’t have access to electricity. If you camp in areas with frequent blackouts, it would be much cheaper and safer to rely on these devices if you own them as they will not pose any risk whatsoever!

In order to find the best deals available, you should know that there are many online retailers that sell small portable generators at incredible prices which means that buying one is within your budget. Compared to larger models, they use fewer materials so their manufacturing costs are lower which is why there is a huge difference between their price and the price of the larger models.

When searching for portable solar panels for camping, you should know that there are many brands in the market today so take your time and compare their prices before committing to buying anything. You should look into getting one that comes with rechargeable batteries which is something that would save you money in the long run.

Whether it is your first time using portable solar panels or you plan on purchasing the best ones available for sale, we highly recommend reading some reviews online in order to learn more about what this type of device has to offer. A good way to get useful information is by going over customer reviews since these people have already purchased a generator and used it which means they can provide helpful details. 

Can a portable solar panel power a small appliance?

This is a common concern for first-time campers. 

If you are going to bring a small appliance to your camping, a small solar panel might not be able to power it.  A small appliance can require more wattage to start using while a large one might be able to work with low power. You also need a charge controller to prevent a surge of solar power from damaging your appliance. The best option is to bring a portable solar power generator that is suitable for many appliances. 

A good portable solar power generator with a charge controller is more suitable for powering larger appliances such as a small television set, refrigerator, laptop, and other related devices. You can also use it for charging your camping gadgets such as a cell phone, GPS, camera, and other small appliances.

What kinds of solar panels should I choose? 

A solar panel provides power by converting sunlight into electricity. This kind of energy can be used to power all electrical appliances just like we use electricity from the grid. 

Solar panels became very popular in recent years and if you wonder what solar panels types there are: 

  • Monocrystalline – this type is made from one crystal so they have better efficiency than other types.
  • Polycrystalline – this type uses multiple crystals instead of one so they have lower efficiency than monocrystalline panels but they are cheaper. 
  • Amorphous – this type of solar panels is the cheapest and they produce lower wattage than other types.

When determining the sort of solar panel to use in your system, much of your selection will be based on your home and circumstances. Each type of monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous solar panel has its own set of benefits and disadvantages. 

The option you should choose is contingent on your usage and goals for the solar project. Besides, most portable solar charger units already have their own panels so you don’t need to worry about it! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can camping solar panels jumpstart a car battery?

Power is not the issue. You will need over one horsepower of power to start a vehicle or 746 watts. On a sunny day at high noon, a tiny camping solar panel that you could carry in your car might produce 25 watts.

However, you may accomplish it by storing up energy in a tiny battery or a huge capacitor. We require about 30 times the constant power, which is equivalent to one second, so if we store up 25 watts for 30 seconds, we will have 750 watt-seconds, which will keep the starter going for roughly a second. Just to be on the safe side, charge the battery for at least 5 minutes.

Can a camping solar panel safely run a camping fridge?

Camping PV panels cannot run a camping fridge. To do so, you need a reliable solar power generator that draws electricity via solar panels. 

Solar power generators have a solar charge controller that can regulate the amount of electricity your battery will receive. It also has a battery that can store solar power that you can use later. 

Can a portable solar panel be used for emergencies?

A portable solar panel can be used in case of emergencies as well. If you notice that the power has gone out, then it is best to go with using a portable power generator or at least having some solar panels available to use. 

Moreover, these devices are helpful during power outages or natural calamities which is why you should have one if you live in an area where they happen often. Solar chargers can power your devices in case you need to evacuate to safety. 

What makes them so great for this kind of situation is the fact that they are very easy to carry around and don’t require maintenance. Compared to generators, they are more suitable for smaller items since their wattage isn’t high enough to provide energy for large appliances at once.

However, if you are going to use a CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure during blackouts, it is highly suggested that you connect it to a solar power generator. This way, your sleep won’t be interrupted by a short power supply issue. 

What is an ideal size solar panel for camping?

Choose a solar panel with enough daily solar power to operate your fridge as well as additional two-thirds battery storage on hand. Good solar panel size is around 120 – 160 watts.

I have a 12 volt battery. How many solar panel units do I need to recharge it?

Just one. A 12-volt battery can be charged by a single solar panel. However, other devices are required to distribute electricity to the cell of a battery.

Why is my portable solar panel not recharging my battery?

If the solar battery isn’t charging correctly, it’s probably due to a battery problem, incorrect system wiring, or a fault with the solar charge controller settings. If the actual voltage can’t be determined, there might be an issue with the solar panel or rectifier diodes.

Do portable solar panel units drain power at night?

PV panels do, in fact, drain at night! 

There is no electricity generated by those panels without sunlight. Because there’s plenty of solar power remaining in the batteries, the electrical flow is reversed, resulting in ‘back-feeding.’ That’s why the batteries connected to PV panels lose power at night.

Should I disconnect my camping solar panel at night?

Yes, solar panel units may be left unplugged or disconnected without causing any damage or problems to the system. Even when they are not in use, if you leave solar batteries plugged in, they will retain their charge and be ready for the next usage.

Can a camping solar panel overcharge my device?

A camping solar panel can overcharge a battery, especially if you don’t use a charge controller. The charging rate is determined by the solar panel voltage, output current, and battery voltage. Overcharging is prevented by using a solar charge controller. This is why it’s so important to unplug your equipment as soon as it reaches 100 percent charged.

Can I leave my portable solar charger in the rain?

While you can leave a solar panel in the rain you cannot do the same with a portable solar power charger. Even though solar chargers are mostly waterproof, you should not leave it in the rain. Why? Because water might penetrate the USB ports of the gadgets connected to it. The level of damage it might do to your gadgets may be severe.

How will I know if my portable solar panel for camping needs to be replaced?

Every product experiences wear and tear as we use them. Solar panel products are no exception. During the course of time and exposure to natural elements such as dirt, rainwater, and snow, solar panels will have a decline in performance.

If the voltage of your portable solar panel is below 17 V when it is in full sun, it means that it needs to be replaced.

Do solar panels work during cloudy days?

The answer is rather simple: solar panel units do function on cloudy days – they simply don’t perform as well as on a bright sunny day. On a cloudy day, PV panels will generate roughly 10 to 25% of their normal power output. While the panels are still gathering sunlight to convert to solar power, just don’t expect to have a full battery during these days.

What damages a portable solar panel?

Broken solar panel units on solar chargers are frequently damaged by weather (rain, snow, hurricane). While a tree limb falling during a storm would not come as a surprise to anybody, the most common offenders of damage are surprisingly minor. 

Twigs, leaves, and dirt or sand can be carried across solar panel glass via the wind. Even household pets like cats can cause damage to your solar panel units. 

Can a camping solar panel still work even if it is cracked?

Solar panel units are designed to withstand years of constant use, but they aren’t indestructible. They’re made from delicate components that will wear down over time, especially if the solar panel was dropped or has sat out in the sun for extended periods of time. 

While cracked or broken solar panel units will still generate solar power for campers and hikers who are on a budget, they won’t output enough voltage to charge anything. When a solar panel is damaged, there is no way to restore it. While it will continue to function, you won’t be able to reconnect any parts that have fallen off. It may also damage your gadgets if you connect them haphazardly, especially if you don’t have a reliable charge controller. 

Regardless of use, solar panels will eventually wear out with time and use. If the electrical wiring is loose, it most likely won’t hold up during rough transport or months of harsh weather conditions. While this may not stop you from continuing to use the device, it’s always good to know what causes them to wear out and what you can do to prevent it.

Conclusion

Camping solar panels and solar chargers are very useful devices that will keep you connected with the rest of the world even if you are off-grid. They are suitable for many situations, especially emergencies that might happen when you are on vacation. 

If you want to go on a backpacking adventure or camping then this is something that you should remember to bring along with you since it will be very useful in case your cell phone or gadgets run out of battery. There are numerous types available so make sure to read some reviews before buying one and choose the best option for your needs!