If you’ve ever been far away from home but needed to charge your devices, a solar backpack might be for you. You might be a photographer or videographer who needs to make sure you are ready to capture every moment, or a long-haul hiker who is relying on your GPS to stay safe on the trail. Spending time outdoors or in nature is an amazing experience, but being able to take the electronic conveniences of home with you, makes it even better.
A solar panel backpack can help you carry the power you need to stay charged and in touch on all your journeys. Our solar backpack reviews are designed to help you make the decision about which solar panel backpacks will fit into your life and needs.
Voltaic Systems OffGrid Solar Backpack
SUNKINGDOM Solar Backpack
- 1 Here are five of the best solar powered backpacks we found.
- 2 How do I choose the best solar powered backpack?
- 3 It’s Time to Get Out There!
Here are five of the best solar powered backpacks we found.
1. Voltaic Systems OffGrid Solar Backpack
This solar backpack has a 10-watt solar panel on the back that connects to an included power bank. The panel will collect sunlight and convert it to energy that the power bank can hold until you need to charge your device or devices.
The 12,000 mAh power bank can store enough energy to charge your phone about three times. There is a dual USB port on the power bank, so you can charge two devices at once.
And as a bonus, you can easily remove the power bank and charge it through conventional methods if you need to have power on hand, but aren’t sure that you’ll have enough sunlight to deliver the charge you need.
The Voltaic Systems solar panel backpack has durable construction, and includes a laptop compartment suitable for a 15” laptop. It also has a large main compartment designed for your gear and several smaller compartments. This includes an expanding side compartment designed to carry a water bottle or tripod on one side, and a dual zip set of pockets on the other side.
The look of the backpack is sleek black with a bold, red interior. It has a padded mesh back section for easy carrying and a chest clip on the wide shoulder straps.
This may be the best solar backpack for a photographer or videographer who wants to easily carry their gear, and have a solid power backup for their many tech devices.
- 12,000 mAh power bank to help keep your devices charging even when out of sunlight
- Many thoughtfully designed storage compartments
- Separate laptop compartment, not just a sleeve in the main compartment
- One of the highest priced backpacks we reviewed at nearly $200
2. XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack
The XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack is thoughtfully designed for versatility and power backup in the wild. The 7-watt solar panel is attached to the backpack by four clips. This means that you can remove the solar panel if, for example, you wanted to bring your backpack into your tent, but leave your phone and solar panel charging in the sun outside.
The solar panel has a mesh zip compartment on the back to hold your device while charging. It includes one USB port for charging, and the backpack comes with a USB to microUSB cable which is compatible with many devices. You can swap the USB to microUSB with your own cable if you have an iPhone, or other device with a different charging port.
The solar panel does not have power storage or battery backup, so that means it can only charge your device when it is plugged in and placed in full sunlight. This might make it less than ideal for hiking or camping in wooded areas, or during inclement weather or rainy seasons.
The backpack is very light and flexible for storage of your gear. It has many small compartments for organization on the exterior, including mesh side pockets to hold water bottles or umbrellas. It also has a number of smaller interior pockets and sleeves inside the larger main compartments for additional storage.
It’s made of water resistant nylon, and is designed to withstand rough use without ripping. It has a well padded back and wide shoulder straps with chest and waist clips for stability and comfort on the long haul
This might be the best solar powered backpack for the camping or hiking enthusiast. This is a great choice for those who need a little extra power to keep their phone or music devices ready and charged on their trek. (pair it with a power bank for longer journeys).
- Many compartments and sub compartments to organize lots of gear
- Wide straps with double chest and waist clip for stability during hiking or climbing
- Detachable solar panel for flexibility in charging
- No battery backup or power bank included
3. SolarGoPack 1.8 Liter Hydration Backpack
The SolarGoPack Solar Hydration Backpack is a unique offering in our solar backpack reviews. It not only has built-in solar charging, but also an integrated hydration system.
The SolarGoPack solar panel backpack has a slightly more limited storage space than some of those in the higher rated solar backpack reviews, and it doesn’t have a dedicated laptop compartment or sleeve. That makes sense, though, because this is a pack designed for someone who is unlikely to be pausing their activities to look at spreadsheets or complete the next chapter of their novel. It’s a pack designed for those who are carrying only the necessities.
There is a 1.8 liter (about ½ gallon) water bladder in the back with a drinking tube. The tube makes it possible to have hydration at hand without having to break your stride to remove a water bottle from your pack.
The water bladder can be removed for refilling, or if you want to use this solar backpack as a daypack. The single large compartment has several smaller pockets, and there are several small zippered pockets on the sides, including on the waist-supporting panels at the base of the straps. This allows you to keep a small snack or other essential item easily at hand in this solar panel backpack.
The straps are well padded and ergonomically designed with chest and waist clips for stability during runs or strenuous hikes.
The solar panel is detachable. It is held to the backpack with a series of sturdy loops with snaps, and has a mesh zip pocket on the back to hold your device or power bank while charging.
Included with the SolarGoPack solar backpack is a 10,000 mAh power bank. That’s enough power to charge your phone 2-3 times.
There is a port in the exterior of the backpack that allows you to run a cord from the solar panel to the interior of the pack where there are two pockets: one for the included power bank, and one for your phone. This allows you to connect the whole system for maximum charging capacity while keeping those devices stowed securely so that they don’t shift or become disconnected as you move.
This might be the best solar powered backpack for the ultramarathoner. This backpack helps you stay hydrated, and keeps your GPS device charged so you can make your way on those intense, long treks with minimal gear.
- Included hydration system with 1.8 liter capacity
- 10,000 mAh power bank lets you keep charging after sunset
- Thoughtfully designed ergonomic shape and straps
- Overall storage capacity is less than some other top rated solar backpacks
- No dedicated laptop sleeve
4. SUNNYBAG Explorer+
The Sunnybag Explorer+ is a solidly designed solar book bag with a high-quality 6-watt detachable charger and a generous, partitioned interior. It’s a solid choice for one of the best solar backpacks on the market.
The Explorer+ has a padded laptop sleeve meant to hold an up to 15.6” laptop, and a secondary tablet sleeve so you can keep all your devices on you. There are several other smaller compartments within the main storage area meant to store small items like pens.
It has side pouches for storage of items you need to reach quickly, like a water bottle. And a small top pouch is an ideal size for holding a pair of sunglasses or even your phone.
The solar panel is attached to the backpacks via two clips, and you can remove the panel to position it ideally for solar absorption. The panel is rated at 6 watts, and has a single USB port for charging your device. The solar panels are individually quality rated and certified, and based on many customer reviews this seems to make a difference. Many people reported that it worked better than other models in the same under-$100 price range.
There is a mesh zip pouch on the back of the panel to store your phone while it is charging. There is no battery backup for this solar panel, so it only charges your device when it is getting enough sunlight, but you can purchase a power bank to create a battery storage system.
This is a versatile backpack that has lots of storage for typical student or office supplies, but it also has a rugged exterior, and plenty of storage for a change of clothes, or some light camping gear. It also has several finishes in combinations of charcoal, slate grey, and vivid orange.
This may be the best solar backpack for someone like a travel blogger, who needs their devices on hand and charged to capture their adventures. This backpack goes from the airport to the beach to the mountain trails with ease.
- Plenty of storage with padded sleeves for backpack and tablet
- High-quality detachable solar panel
- Sturdy weatherproof construction
- No built-in power storage capacity
- No chest or waist clip for hiking stability
5. SUNKINGDOM Solar Backpack
The Sunkingdom solar book bag has a 12-watt, high efficiency solar panel to let you charge your devices while you are doing activities outside. It has a single cable with a USB port to make sure that you can plug in any of your USB compatible charging cords.
The Sunkingdom solar backpack is made of water resistant, durable fabric and has metal zippers for longevity. The straps are thick and padded, with a chest clip, and a pocket for your sunglasses. It has a thick multi-panel ventilated back to support your back as you carry your gear around all day.
There is a laptop sleeve that can hold a 15.6” laptop, a roomy compartment for clothes or other gear, and a set of two pouches against the interior next to the solar panel and USB cable to allow you to place your phone or tablet and cable during charging.
This solar panel backpack has a sleek, somewhat modern feel. The style is more “urban” than “wilderness” and it doesn’t have external pouches to hold a water bottle, or other extras that might be important to campers and hikers.
It is also one of the most affordable solar panel backpacks, coming in at just under $50. But that affordability comes at a cost. The solar panel does not have a battery backup or power bank, which means that your devices will only charge as long as they are plugged in during strong sunlight.
As we noted in some above solar panel backpack reviews, if the solar backpack you want doesn’t include a battery bank, you can purchase one and attach it to the solar panel to store sunlight. That adds to the cost, but also exponentially increases the usefulness of solar charging backpacks.
This solar panel backpack may be best for a student buyer who would like to charge their phone or tablet while they walk to class or relax in the quad.
- Chest clip and padded back make this easy to carry
- Laptop sleeve and electronics pouches for your devices
- Large solar panel
- No built-in battery or power storage capacity
- No side pockets or secondary compartments
How do I choose the best solar powered backpack?
With a solar backpack you have two sets of features to consider. First, you should consider how your solar backpack will operate as a conventional backpack–how well it stores your stuff. In this category you’ll want to consider size, durability, and the number and type of pockets or dividers inside the bag. And while you’re at it, consider whether you want to get some other items, like a solar-powered tent or a solar water bottle!
You will also want to consider how the backpack operates as a solar charger. In this category the main considerations are size, quality, and power of the solar panel, the charging capacity, and power storage capacity.
Our solar backpack reviews are designed to give you clear information about the storage and the power pros and cons of these solar charging backpacks. But to make a decision you may want to ask yourself some of the following questions.
Solar Backpack Storage
When you look at the solar panel backpack reviews, think about the storage capacity and how well it fits your needs. Is it sturdy enough for your use? Is it appropriate for the weather you’ll be in? Does it hold as much as this solar backpack designed by the students at Iowa State University or these students at DeVry?
Do you like a backpack with one large compartment? Or do you need smaller compartments to keep organized? How much room is inside?
Consider if you’ll need pockets or compartments for specific items, and see if the backpack will accommodate them. For example, does the laptop sleeve fit the laptop you own? Consider the specific items you need to carry. Perhaps it’s a stack of textbooks, a camera kit with many solar filter lenses, or a few changes of clothes for a weekend getaway.
At the end of each of the individual solar backpack reviews we’ve included a statement about who that backpack might be the best fit for. See which description best matches you.
Solar Backpack Power
When checking our solar panel backpack reviews, you should also consider your individual needs for solar charging in your backpack. Consider how you’ll use the backpack normally. Will you be outside in the sun the entire time you need charging? If so, you may not need or want a battery backup.
However, if you’ll be in and out of the sunlight due to weather or because you’re moving from indoor to outdoor situations, you may want to prioritize a battery backup. Some systems have them included, and all systems can charge a power bank that you’ve purchased separately.
Consider the size, quality, and efficiency of the solar panel. Will it charge your power bank or device (like your sun-powered watch or solar binoculars, for example) in a timely manner? Can it charge your phone in enough time to then take care of your tablet, GPS, GoPro Camera, or whatever other devices you rely on? Or will you need another device, like a solar power bank?
A backpack with solar panel needs to perform both functions: storage and power generation well enough for your individual needs. Consider the best solar backpack from a charging perspective so that you will not be disappointed.
The best solar backpack for you may also need to have more than just the right amount of storage and power. Think carefully about how you will use the backpack and if you’ve got special needs or considerations for your lifestyle.
A photographer who is outdoors, but in an urban area is less likely to need the same ruggedness or capacity as a camper who has to carry a full day’s worth of gear up a mountainside and across streams. You may need the backpack to have a certain style to blend in with your work environment. You may need specific functionality like waterproof materials.
Before you make your final choice, look at the solar backpack reviews and think carefully about what your specific needs are.
You should also consider cost. The best solar powered backpacks range in price a great deal. You could spend several hundred dollars, or as few as fifty dollars on your backpack. It depends on what you want, and what you can afford.
It’s Time to Get Out There!
Now that you’ve read our solar panel backpack reviews, and compared these backpacks with your specific needs in both power and storage, it’s time to choose the right one for you. Make your choice with confidence, and get outside with no worries about your devices or access to power.