Best Camping Solar Panels – Portable Choices of 2019

Camping solar panels are a must for camping these days. A love for camping has been on the rise in recent years, particularly amongst millennials and generation X-ers who have found camping to be a fun way of life. In most cases, these households find the opportunity to explore the great outdoors through camping at least three times per year. But today’s camping is a bit different than what it used to be. Of course, campers are still using tents and cabins, or recreational vehicles if they have access to one. The big change, however, is that technology has become a staple for campers of all kinds which makes the advent of camping solar panels a favorite amongst today’s modern campers.

Those new to solar panels for camping might be a bit overwhelmed when looking at the various choices on the market. So, here we will provide you with a comprehensive list of recommendations so that you can camp comfortably, knowing that you won’t be left with a dead cell phone, laptop, or other devices.

The DOKIO 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel with Charge Controller

The RAVPower Solar Powered Charger

The Instapark Mercury 27 Portable Unit

Top Camping Solar Panel Reviews of 2019

The DOKIO 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel with Charge Controller

Editor's Pick

The DOKIO Foldable Solar Panel packs 100 watts of power. While it packs quite a punch, this product is only 0.2 inches thick and it weighs 5.2 lbs., making it very easy to transport from campsite to campsite, hang, remove, etc. The unique foldable design makes it easy to mount on an RV, boat, cabin, tent, car, tree, or any other surface. This item works well at home too even when you are not out on a nature trip, hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking, or enjoying some other outdoor activity. We love this product for its convenience when carrying it from location to location, as it comes in a thick sewn fabric sleeve with a handy carrying device. The DOKIO works as an unbreakable solar battery charger utilizing the impressive monocrystalline solar cell with a high-efficiency conversion rate to maximize the use of available sunlight. It’s waterproof, lightweight, and bendable for quick and easy installation. This item is perfect for long treks.

The Instapark Mercury 27 Portable Unit

Best Value

The Instapark Mercury 27 Portable Unit is our best value, currently priced at $89.95 on Amazon. No additional battery is needed to charge external devices. This product uses 100% green energy and leaves zero carbon footprint. It has built-in dual USB ports so that you can simultaneously charge two USB devices at the same time, including iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, tablet computers, etc, which makes this item not only the best value but the best solar phone charger. And, the Mercury 27 has a 12V DC output to charge 12V batteries and power packs. The 12V output plug is usable with the Instapark Mars20S, PowerPack Series & Wagan Power Dome Series Battery Packs and no other adapter is needed. This product is made from scratch-resistant and weather-resistant fabric, which means it can tough it out through a variety of weather conditions. It has built-in pockets that hold and protect the charge controller and other electronic items.

The RAVPower Solar Powered Charger

Most Popular

The RAVPower Solar Powered Charger is a popular selection, offering big power in a small and compact unit. This item is quite practical and is half the size of other units making it very easy to transport from campsite to campsite. Plus, this product offers three USB ports so that you can charge three items at the same time, making it a great solar phone charger and altogether great item when multiple campers need to charge their smartphones at the same time. With triple port power, the smart IC frequency technology identifies and evenly disburses output current to all three USB ports which means that every device gets evenly charged. The 24W solar charging technology increases the efficiency of device charging by 21.5% – 23.5%.

The Renology 100 Watts 12-Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

The Renology 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit is a great selection if you are looking for a portable kit. This unit is considered to be one of the greatest designs on the market today and can generate an impressive amount of power that will help you keep your RV or fifth wheel up and running. Even better is that you can expand this system to up to 400 Watts if needed, which is why it is such a great choice. This kit comes with a convenient eight-foot cable so that you can connect the charge controller to the battery with ease. You can set this panel up at a distance if your RV needs to be parked in a shaded area, thus making it easy to get the sun exposure needed to charge the device. The Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volts Starter Kit produces a remarkable amount of power. With bright and sunny skies, you should be able to generate up to 500Wh each day which is enough to fully charge a 50Ah battery from 50% in just a few hours. And, to ensure safety when using the device, you can take advantage of the negative grounding controller.

The Eco-Worthy 12-Volt Portable Foldable Solar Panel Kit

This item is a great source of energy that can power your RV or boat. This camping solar panel is the perfect investment and is awesome for campers who spend the majority of their time outside, especially if they prefer to use clean forms of energy. This product is really geared towards the road warriors that camp several weeks of the year, especially in an RV or fifth wheel. The device is easy to operate and set up and can easily be plugged into the RV’s battery by using clips, thus why it is such a great choice. An added benefit is that it is resistant to corrosion. You can leave it outside without worrying about aggressive wear and tear from the weather. Further, it can withstand strong winds and heavy loads of snow, making it a great product all year long.

The BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger

This product can automatically detect your charging device and delivers optimal current for a faster charging experience. It has built-in security protection so that you can avoid overloading or short-circuiting. And, it is compatible with the iPhone, Samsung, Android, GoPro camera, GPS, tablets, and almost all USB charging devices. The BEARTWO is one of the most light-weight products on the market, weighing only 1.74 ounces. It is water and dust resistant and shock-proof. Plus, it’s extremely durable and stable, providing enough capacity to charge an iPhone 8 up to five times. Plus, it comes with an extra charging cable and a mini flashlight.

The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel

This item can charge most USB and 12V devices (excluding tablets), including smartphones, cell phones, GPS devices, and MP3 players. This camping solar panel is very popular amongst campers who camp frequently and that use other Goal Zero camping and charging products. The Nomad 7 works best with these Goal Zero products: Goal Zero Switch 8 & 10 Recharger, Flip 10 & 20 Recharger, Guide 10 Plus Recharger, Rock-Out Portable Speakers, Venture 30, and Lighthouse Lanterns. The solar panel comes in a foldable, rugged design making it easy to transport, and it is weather resistant so it can be used in various climatic conditions. You can conveniently use the USB and 12V ports at the same time. Plus, the Nomad 7 will split the entering solar power amongst the two ports to charge devices simultaneously for added convenience.

The ACOPOWER 100 Watt 100WPV Solar Panel

This item is a great choice, excellent for powering recreational vehicles, fifth wheels, cars, boats, and pretty much any device that you want with you on your camping excursion. The device works with systems that run off of 12, 24, 36, and 47-volt batteries. It provides powerful and efficient energy that can serve as a solar-powered charger or phone charger for small devices as well as big ones. Purchasers of this unit also appreciate the 20-year output warranty which makes it an economical choice too. This product has a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame which allows for extended outdoor use. And, it is anti-reflective and high transparency with low iron tempered glass. Finally, it is easy to install and comes with pre-drilled holes – each panel comes with a 12AWG cable with MC4 male/female quick connectors.

How to Choose Solar Panels for Camping Use

How to Choose Solar Panels for Camping Use

Solar power camping panels make sure that your batteries don’t run low, or even worse, out of power when you are camping. But with such a variety of brands, models, and styles, selecting the right solar panel can get confusing and frustrating. But where do you start?

The best place to start is by determining the type of solar panel that is best suited for your particular needs and circumstances. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How frequently do you plan to go camping?
  2. Are you an occasional or regular camper?
  3. Is money or budget a key factor?
  4. What do you plan to use the solar panels for?

You will encounter the following type of camping solar panels.

  • Solar Chargers – These devices are compact in size and are designed for charging electronics such as smartphones, laptops, iPads, etc.
  • Portable Solar Panels – These panels can be folded and put away for storage when not in use. These portable solar chargers are larger than the non-portable versions and can be used to charge appliances and 12V battery packs. This is a good option for campers that tend to take larger trips instead of just quick weekend getaways.
  • Fixed Mounted Solar Panels – These panels are usually mounted on the top of recreational vehicles. So, these only make sense for those that have an RV or fifth wheel type camper. The advantage of these products is that you don’t have to establish the power station kit each time you go camping. The panels are also less of a theft risk because they are fixed on the roof on your camper.
  • Flexible Solar Panels – These are very lightweight and can be easily hidden so that they are not a theft risk. These are an advantage for those that have a curved roof on top of their fifth-wheel trailer or RV, as these flexible solar panels can bend up to 30°.

Wattage, Amperage, and Voltage

Solar panels are rated based on their performance, convenience, and overall quality. However, there are other critical factors that campers should consider before selecting the solar panel that will be right for their needs. The first thing to understand is the difference between wattage, amperage, and voltage. The wattage is the strength of electrical power and amperage measures the current. The strength of the electrical current is measured in volts (voltage). Therefore, pay attention to wattage and amperage, because they are the most important factors to consider when choosing your solar panels.

What Can be Charged with a Solar Panel?

Solar panels are a great accessory for campers who want to charge several appliances, allowing campers to experience many of the same conveniences as at home. Multiple devices can demand an exceptional amount of electricity, and though camping is intended to be an escape from the world at large, in today’s society, it isn’t always possible to completely unplug. Therefore, these panels allow campers to stay connected to the real world when it is convenient for them.

In most cases, campers use solar panels to charge or run the following appliances and devices:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • LED Lights
  • Lanterns
  • Fans
  • Speakers
  • Electric cigarette lighters
  • Coach or house batteries (for the RV)

How Much Should I Expect to Spend on a Camping Solar Panel?

Portable solar panels vary widely in cost. If you’re looking to purchase a portable solar panel, you need to view the expense as an investment that will last for years. And, if you need to produce a large amount of power, you’re going to have to spend some money. Solar panels can run under $100 and that is the case with several of our recommendations. But other systems can run much higher in cost.

Research your investment carefully before investing in camping solar panels.

How to Use Portable Solar Panels

How to Use Portable Solar Panels

Portable solar panels are not as intimidating to install as they look. The items we have suggested to you are straightforward and simple to install and come with clear instructions within the included instructions manual. Once your portable solar panel is assembled, you just need to place it in an area with ample sun exposure, connect the cords to your RV, fifth wheel, or other devices, and you are good to go. The device will begin to convert energy as soon as it is in the sun.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Solar Panels

In general, solar panels will provide serious convenience when you are out enjoying the outdoors. These solar panels are heavily dependent on the weather, so while your panels will get some charge on overcast days, you will get little to no charge on dark and gloomy days.
Here are some quick advantages and disadvantages of using camping solar panels:

Advantages:

  • You will take advantage of green energy for your camping devices and appliances by using camping solar panels. Using solar energy to power your devices is eco-friendly and solar energy is clean energy that does not require the emission of any harmful gases into our atmosphere.
  • It can be challenging to find an electrical or power source in a remote location. The sun serves as a power source directly when we use solar panels.
  • Aside from the initial expense in purchasing panels, using them is virtually cost-free, and you will save considerable expense over time.
  • Certain camping solar panels will allow you to charge multiple devices at once.

Disadvantages:

  • If it is raining and dark, you will not be able to get power from your camping solar panels.
  • Solar panels do require some maintenance and you need to take care to remove dirt, snow, and other debris when it starts to obscure the panels, making them less effective.
  • Efficiency can be diminished by the reflection of sunlight off the solar panel
  • Camping solar panel systems require a significant initial investment

FINAL THOUGHTS ON CAMPING SOLAR PANELS

Solar technology has come a long way since its introduction. More convenient and feature-rich, and less expensive, than ever before, now may be the time to invest in camping solar panels. The DOKIO 100 Watt is our favorite choice but, if you’d prefer to spend a little less, the Instapark Mercury 27 Portable Unit might be the one to go with. Whichever way you decide to go, the best solar camping panels are only a click away.

4.6 rating
Based on 29 reviews

Related Posts