If you have a goal of going off the grid, you may have thought about using camping solar panels. But you also might be wondering if camping solar panels are worth using.
While answering that question is difficult without knowing how much time you spend camping, we can certainly consider some options.
Things in the world of solar are constantly changing and knowing what is currently available will help you make an informed decision.
Types of Camping Solar Panels
Before getting into the list itself, let’s cover the different types of camping solar panels. There are a couple of different types, so let’s first take a look at the differences plus what makes them ideal for camping.
Foldable Solar Panels
One of the best types of camping solar panels is foldable solar panels. These panels usually fold in a zig-zag pattern with a cloth covering on the outside.
They are very lightweight, usually weighing less than ten pounds. In addition, these panels are very durable.
The great thing about this type of panel is its incredible versatility. These panels can be hung on a line, on a tree, or anywhere with access to sunlight.
And, of course, they are extremely portable as well.
Note that while your solar panels generate their own power, you may need a battery-powered charge controller as well. That will typically be included.
Flexible Solar Panels
Flexible solar panels are designed almost the same way as rooftop panels. They are made from similar materials, too, such as polycrystalline or monocrystalline.
So, what’s the difference?
The biggest difference is that flexible panels are usually not as thick as rooftop panels to achieve their flexibility. The entire panel is likely to be somewhere around 1/10th of an inch thick.
These panels have in many cases had poor efficiency due to their thin design, but newer panels actually have efficiency that rivals rooftop panels – around 20%.
Best Camping Solar Panels
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best camping solar panels.
ACOPOWER 120W Foldable Solar Pane
The ACOPOWER 120W Foldable Solar Pane is pretty amazing. The thing that immediately jumps out is the panel’s 25% efficiency, which is crazy-good for any panel today–much less a portable one.
They call it the best in the world in terms of efficiency, and I haven’t seen anything higher thus far.
It’s not cheap, that’s for sure, at over $300. Still, you get what you pay for, and this panel delivers.
Renogy 100W 12V Foldable Solar Panel
This Renogy 100W 12V Foldable Solar Panel can be used to power a variety of different battery types, including gel, sealed, Lithium, and flooded batteries.
It also has a digital display that will show all of your relevant charging information.
This unit is durable, relatively lightweight, and comes with a suitcase for transport.
Mighty Max Battery 100 Watts
The Mighty Max Battery 100 Watts panel is made for the RV people out there. Indeed, this panel is intended to be placed on top of an RV.
This panel has high efficiency and is designed to withstand all different climates – even heavy snowfall and high winds.
Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank
The Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank is mostly intended for charging electronic devices. That could include cell phones, tablets, laptops, and so on.
That said, the power bank has a high capacity at 25,000 mAh which Hilucky says could last up to 9 days on its own.
Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger
This Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger is great if you’re on-the-go and have a few basic devices.
It weighs a mere 18 oz. (1.13 pounds) so it would be prefect to toss in your backpack before heading off on a long hike.
Note that this charger doesn’t store power, so you would need a separate power bank if you want storage as well.
MOOLSUN Solar Charger 24W
The MOOLSUN Solar Charger 24W Portable Solar Panel Charger is another unit that’s perfect if you are on-the-go. At 1.63lbs, it’s just slightly heavier than the Neckteck.
It does have a slightly higher power output as well, though. It also features three USB ports instead of two.
And this panel gets up to 25% energy efficiency. It even includes a kickstand for easy positioning.
Note that like the previous item, this one does not come with a power bank.
FlashFish 60000mAh Portable Power Station
This one is just a solar generator and doesn’t include panels, but it’s still worth mentioning. That’s because the FlashFish 60000mAh Portable Power Station has more than double the battery capacity of the Hilucky. Yeah, this thing is serious.
You can even tell just by looking at the generator (seen below).
As a result, it can charge more than just phones and laptops; it can also handle vacuums, refrigerators, car chargers, and plenty more.
Best Camping Solar Panels: Conclusion
Traditionally, campers have had to rely on alkaline batteries and the like if they wanted to go off-grid. However, as solar panels continue to rapidly improve, it is becoming easier to create our own power.
The equipment we have covered in this article only represents some of the highlights in terms of what’s available. But there is a huge amount of gear out there that ensures you’ll be able to find camping solar panels that suit your needs.