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Picture this: you’re out in the wilderness, surrounded by nature’s beauty, far away from the city chaos. Everything seems just perfect – until your devices run low on battery. Luckily, I have a solution for you: portable solar panels for backpacking!
Portable solar panels have become a must-have companion for adventurers like yourself. They capture the sun’s energy, keeping your devices powered up and ready to go, even in the remote wilderness. Say goodbye to the anxiety of losing connection or missing out on capturing precious memories.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ve handpicked the 12 best portable solar panels on the market in 2023. From lightweight designs to rapid charging capabilities, these solar-powered champs have got you covered. So, let’s delve in and explore the best solar panel wonders that will light up your next backpacking adventure!
5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Portable Solar Panel for Backpacking
Before jumping in and looking at the best portable solar panels for backpacking out there, I want to highlight five essential factors to consider when investing in a portable solar panel for your backpacking needs, to ensure you make the right choice for all your energy needs on the go.
Portability and Weight
When considering a portable solar panel for backpacking, it’s crucial to prioritize portability and weight. Look for a design that is specifically optimized for easy transportation and opt for panels that are compact and foldable, as they make packing and carrying much more convenient.
Additionally, check the dimensions and shape of the panel to ensure it fits well in your backpack without taking up too much space. Carrying cases or protective covers can also add an extra layer of convenience when transporting the panels. also, remember to avoid excessively heavy panels that may hinder your mobility during your backpacking trips.
Power Output and Efficiency
Before buying a portable solar panel, it’s crucial to assess its power output and efficiency. Look for panels with higher wattage ratings as they can generate more electricity to charge your devices quickly. Also, prioritize high-efficiency panels that have a higher percentage of sunlight-to-electricity conversion, allowing you to make the most out of the available sunlight.
Panels equipped with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technology are also beneficial as they optimize the panel’s performance in different light conditions. By choosing portable solar panels with superior power output and efficiency, you can confidently rely on renewable energy while enjoying the great outdoors.
Durability and Weather Resistance
When you’re out backpacking, you need durable and weather-resistant solar panels so that they can withstand the elements and keep charging your devices no matter what. Here are three key factors to consider:
- Rugged Construction: Look for solar panels with reinforced edges or frames that can handle accidental drops or impacts. These sturdy designs ensure longevity and reliability in challenging outdoor conditions.
- Water and Impact Resistance: Check for ratings like IPX (water resistance) and IK (impact resistance) to gauge how well the panels will hold up against rain, snow, or rough handling on the trail.
- Scratch-Resistant Coatings: Panels with scratch-resistant coatings maintain their performance over time by protecting against scratches from branches or other objects in nature.
By prioritizing durability and weather resistance, you can rely on your portable solar panels to keep powering your adventures in any environment.
Compatibility and Output Ports
When considering portable solar panels for outdoor adventures, it is essential to ensure their compatibility with your devices and the availability of suitable output ports. Most panels come with USB ports, which are suitable for charging smartphones, tablets, and other devices that can be charged via USB. However, if you have devices with DC input requirements, you should check if the panel offers that option as well.
To charge multiple devices simultaneously, look for panels with multiple output ports. This allows you to charge different devices at the same time without any inconvenience. Additionally, consider panels with integrated power banks or batteries for energy storage and later charging. This feature is especially useful when sunlight is limited or when you need to charge your devices during nighttime.
When choosing a portable solar panel, it is crucial to consider the presence of an integrated charge controller or if you need to purchase one separately. MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controllers are highly recommended due to their superior efficiency compared to PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation) controllers. Make sure that the regulator is compatible with the panel’s wattage and voltage output to maximize its effectiveness.
You should also take safety features into account, as they protect your devices from potential damage caused by power fluctuations. With a reliable regulator/controller, you can confidently enjoy the benefits of portable solar panels while ensuring the safety and longevity of your electronic devices during your backpacking adventures.
12 Best Portable Solar Panels for Backpacking in 2023
With so many options available on the market, finding the best portable solar panels can be quite challenging. That’s why in this section, I will introduce 12 portable solar panels that are perfect for backpacking and stand out in terms of the factors we learned about in the previous section: portability and weight, power output and efficiency, durability, and weather resistance, compatibility and output ports, and regulator/controller.
1) BigBlue Solar Panels Charger with Digital Ammeter ($68.96)
One of the best portable solar panels out there is the BigBlue Solar Panels Charger with Digital Ammeter, which offers an impressive array of features. With higher solar conversion efficiency, exclusive smart IC technology, and a special PET polymer surface, this charger is designed to meet all your charging needs while on the go. The built-in digital ammeter allows you to monitor the charging status in real time, ensuring a safe and efficient charging experience.
This solar panel charger is not only easy to use but also foldable, making it perfect for backpacking and other outdoor activities. It comes with four carabiners for convenient attachment to your backpack or tent. The industrial-strength PET polymer fabric and IPX4 waterproof panels make it durable and suitable for various weather conditions.
While it is compatible with iPhone 13/11/Xs/X/8/7, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel, please note that the lightning cable for Apple devices is not included. Additionally, the USB ports and ammeter are not water-resistant.
- High solar conversion efficiency of 24%
- Easy to use and foldable design with carabiners
- Durable construction with industrial-strength PET polymer fabric
- Compatible with various devices
- Lightning cable for Apple devices not included
- USB ports and ammeter are not water-resistant
2) Nekteck 28W Portable Solar Panel Charger ($59.99)
Get ready to power up your devices on the go with the ultra-efficient Nekteck 28W Portable Solar Panel Charger! This high-performance charger features four solar panels made with Maxeon cells, providing you with 28W of power at an impressive 24% efficiency. With its IC Chip technology, it intelligently detects your device’s battery requirements and safely charges them. You can charge two devices simultaneously, thanks to its dual ports that offer a maximum output of 2.4A per port.
The Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger is compatible with a wide range of USB devices such as iPhones, iPads, Kindle Fire, Galaxy tablets, GPS units, cameras, and more. It is also built to withstand tough outdoor conditions with its IPX4 technology that makes it waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and heat resistant.
This charger comes with convenient accessories including carabiner clips for easy attachment to backpacks or tents, eyelets for hanging options, durable Velcro closures for secure storage when not in use, and a zippered pouch for added protection during transportation.
Foldable and lightweight in design, this portable solar panel charger offers easy portability wherever your adventures take you. It even includes a Micro USB cable for convenient charging and a user manual to help you get started quickly.
- High efficiency with Maxeon cells
- Intelligent charging with IC Chip technology
- Dual ports for simultaneous charging
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and heat resistant
- Not compatible with fast charging/quick charging standards above 5W per port
- USB ports point out of the storage pocket, making it difficult to close with cables
- Charging efficiency depends on sunlight conditions and panel positioning.
3) FlexSolar Foldable 40W Solar Chargers ($81.99)
When you’re out exploring the great outdoors, the FlexSolar Foldable 40W Solar Charger becomes an essential tool in keeping your electronic devices powered up and ready for use. With its built-in QC3.0 USB-A, PD 2.0 USB-C, and 19V DC outputs, this solar charger allows you to directly connect and charge phones, iPads, power banks, small power stations, and other electronic devices.
The USB-A and USB-C ports enable you to charge multiple devices at once, while the integrated IC chip automatically detects connected devices and provides optimized charging.
Not only is the FlexSolar Foldable 40W Solar Charger highly efficient with its ability to convert 24% of solar energy into free energy, but it also offers durability with its IP67 dustproof waterproof and ETFT laminations. Its portable and foldable design makes it perfect for camping and off-grid adventures.
- Allows for charging multiple devices simultaneously
- Highly efficient solar panels
- Portable and foldable design
- Charging speed may be affected by clouds or coverings
- Solar panels cannot store power
- Automatic restart feature may cause interruptions
4) ELECOM NESTOUT 14W Power Portable Solar Panel ($79.99)
With its high-efficiency solar cells and wide device compatibility, the ELECOM NESTOUT Portable Solar Panel is a reliable and convenient power source for all your outdoor adventures. This award-winning solar panel features SunPower MAXEON cells, known for their industry-leading efficiency that can increase up to 22%.
With dual USB-A ports, you can easily charge your smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth earbuds, and more. The built-in Current Checker LED Display allows you to monitor the charging status at a glance. The adjustable stands ensure optimal sun exposure for maximum charging efficiency.
Made with durable water-resistant nylon material, this solar panel comes with a storage bag that has pouches for cables and small items. Its compact and lightweight design makes it easy to carry during your travels or outdoor activities.
- High performance and efficiency
- Versatile compatibility with various devices
- Convenient monitoring of charging status
- Optimal sun exposure for efficient charging
- Durable and water-resistant design
- Instructions in Japanese may be difficult for some users to understand.
- Battery cell not included.
- Limited availability outside of Europe, high-end parts of the Middle East, and Asia.
5) superallure Portable Solar Charger & Power-Bank ($45.99)
Experience the ultimate power solution for your outdoor adventures with the superallure Portable Solar Charger & Power Bank. This power bank is equipped with a built-in USB-A input cable, Type-C, and lightning output cable, allowing you to easily connect and charge various devices. With its 15W Qi wireless fast charging capability, you can conveniently charge your compatible devices without the need for cables. Plus, it has a USB output port and Type-C output/input port, enabling you to charge up to five devices simultaneously.
The superallure Portable Solar Charger & Power-Bank features four high-conversion solar panels that provide continuous charging. These solar panels have a solar charging power of 16W with an input current of 1.68A, and their conversion rate can reach 118% of a 1A plug. Additionally, this power bank has a massive capacity of 43800mAh, ensuring that you have enough power to keep your devices running throughout your backpacking trip.
Not only is this power bank powerful, but it is also durable and reliable for outdoor use. It has a waterproof rating of up to ip67, making it resistant to drops and dust as well. And on top of all that, the upgraded built-in smart chip ensures faster and more stable charging performance.
- Can charge multiple devices simultaneously
- Durable and waterproof (ip67 rating)
- Upgraded smart chip for faster and more stable charging
- Bright flashlight included
- Takes 55 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge the power bank
- Not recommended for purchase due to false capacity claims and seller harassment
- USB-C port is power-in only and does not have QC capabilities
6) SOGOZLY Foldable 40W Solar Panel & Power Charger ($69.99)
Now let’s turn our attention to the SOGOZLY Foldable 40W Solar Panel & Power Charger. This portable solar panel offers a maximum output of 40 watts, making it an excellent choice for backpacking and outdoor adventures. With an open circuit voltage of around 18.5v, this panel is capable of charging most solar power banks efficiently.
Despite having a slightly lower voltage compared to a 60w folding panel, the SOGOZLY 40W panel can still provide more power when used in parallel. When tested on a hazy summer day at 10 am, it consistently delivered an open circuit voltage between 16.4-16.7v while charging at approximately 15-20w.
Additionally, this foldable solar panel is lightweight and comes with small carabiners, a DC cable, and tip adapters for added convenience during your travels.
- Efficient charging capability for most solar power banks
- Can deliver more power when used in parallel
- Compact design with included accessories for easy portability
- Could benefit from a carry bag for better organization
- Outlet port design could be improved to avoid potential rain contact if left outside
7) X-DRAGON 70W Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel ($149.98)
Introducing the X-DRAGON 70W Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel – a must-have for outdoor enthusiasts seeking reliable power on their adventures. With its high efficiency and powerful features, this solar panel is designed to meet all your charging needs. The dual USB ports with iSolar Technology allow you to charge your 5V gadgets quickly and efficiently, while the 18V DC output is perfect for charging laptops, car batteries, and portable generators.
The X-DRAGON Solar Panel is not only slim and lightweight but also easy to carry with its foldable design. Its eyeholes make it convenient to attach to backpacks while hiking, ensuring that you have access to power wherever you go. The exclusive SolarIQ Technology adjusts current and voltage for maximum power output, guaranteeing optimal performance under any conditions.
- Lightweight and portable design
- Easy attachment to backpacks
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
- Exclusive SolarIQ Technology for maximum power
- Some users may find the wire length short
- Requires some knowledge and setup for proper usage
- Power output may vary depending on location and season
8) ECEEN Solar Charger Panel with 10W Solar Cells ($39.99)
Get ready to enhance your outdoor adventures with the ECEEN Solar Charger Panel, equipped with powerful 10W solar cells that provide reliable and efficient charging for your devices. This compact and lightweight solar panel is designed to be a dependable backup charging source for phones and portable power banks while you’re on the go.
With its flat, foldable design and small zipper mesh pouch on the back, it offers convenience and practicality. The built-in stand allows for easy positioning, while the roomy pocket provides storage space for your devices.
The ECEEN Solar Charger Panel can achieve over 2 amps of output, making it suitable for charging multiple devices simultaneously. Although it falls short of its advertised power output of 20W, it still delivers usable performance for various purposes. Weighing only 425 grams (15 oz), it is even a bit lighter than advertised, adding to its portability.
- Reliable and efficient charging capability
- Compact size when folded
- Reasonably good construction quality
- Falls short of advertised power output
- Lack of USB-C port and suction cup option
9) ENGINSTAR 60W Foldable Solar Panel Charger ($92.99)
Experience the convenience and reliability of the EnginStar 60W Foldable Solar Panel Charger, compatible with most solar generators and portable power stations on the market. This high-quality solar panel charger offers multiple charging options, including a DC output, USB C, and USB QC3.0 output. With its 22% high conversion efficiency in low-light outdoor environments, you can be confident that you’ll get optimal performance even in challenging conditions.
The EnginStar 60W Foldable Solar Panel Charger is built to last with its IPX4 water-resistant construction and durable polyester fabric. It is designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor use, making it perfect for backpacking adventures. Its compact foldable design makes it easy to carry and store when not in use.
- Compatible with a wide range of solar generators and portable power stations
- Multiple charging options for versatility
- High conversion efficiency for optimal performance
- May be heavier compared to smaller solar panels
- May require direct sunlight for maximum charging efficiency
- Some users may find the price point higher than other portable solar panels
10) BLAVOR 10W Portable and Waterproof Solar Charger ($29.99)
With BLAVOR’s 10W Portable and Waterproof Solar Charger, you can effortlessly harness the power of the sun to stay connected and powered up on your outdoor adventures. This compact solar panel is designed to be portable and waterproof, making it perfect for backpacking trips or any outdoor activity where space and durability are crucial.
The BLAVOR 10W Portable and Waterproof Solar Charger feature a sleek design that is easy to carry and set up. It comes with carabiners, allowing you to conveniently hang it on the back of your backpack or place it on top of your tent for maximum sun exposure. With its single USB A port and DC ports, you can charge multiple devices simultaneously using a charging cable splitter.
Not only does this solar charger provide enough power to charge a phone and power bank in sunny conditions, but it also showed significant charging capabilities even on cloudy days during testing. Its quick charging capability requires very little light, making it suitable for emergencies where recharging cell phone batteries is essential.
- Compact and lightweight
- Can charge multiple devices simultaneously
- Suitable for both sunny and cloudy conditions
- Ideal for emergencies
- Takes a little longer to charge a cell phone
- No way to keep it from unfolding when not in use
11) Keshoyal 60W Foldable and Portable Solar Panel ($89.99)
When you’re out exploring the great outdoors, the Keshoyal 60W Foldable and Portable Solar Panel is a reliable and efficient option to power your devices. With its compact design and lightweight construction, this solar panel is easy to carry and transport, making it perfect for backpacking trips. The monocrystalline solar cell ensures high conversion efficiency of 23.5%, allowing you to charge your smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and other small devices quickly.
The Keshoyal Foldable Solar Panel is not only waterproof and corrosion-resistant but also highly temperature resistant, making it suitable for various outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and picnics. It comes with four fixing clips that allow you to hang the panel conveniently wherever needed. The USB output with two ports enables simultaneous charging of multiple devices.
- High conversion efficiency of 23.5%
- Waterproof and corrosion-resistant design
- Easy installation and transportation
- Power output drops when panels are folded closed
- Uneven distribution of power between USB ports
12) MARBERO 30W Foldable Solar Panel and Battery Charger ($89.99)
Don’t miss out on the convenience and reliability of the Marbero 30W Foldable Solar Panel and Battery Charger for all your outdoor power needs. This portable solar panel is designed specifically for solar generators and portable power stations. With its high-efficiency conversion rate of 21.5-23.5%, you can trust that this panel will provide you with ample power to charge your smartphones, laptops, tablets, GPS devices, cameras, and other USB devices.
The Marbero 30W Foldable Solar Panel comes equipped with 10 DC adapters, ensuring compatibility with most solar generators on the market. It also features three USB outputs including a USB port, a QC3.0 USB port, and a USB C port, allowing you to charge multiple devices simultaneously. The built-in smart chip identifies and maximizes the charging speed for your devices while protecting them from overcharging and overloading.
Made from durable Oxford cloth, this panel is both waterproof and dust resistant, making it suitable for various outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, picnics, and power outages. Its lightweight design and handle make it easy to carry wherever you go.
- High-efficiency conversion rate
- Multiple USB outputs for simultaneous charging
- Portable and lightweight design with a handle
- Durable construction with waterproof and dust-resistant features
- Limited wattage output compared to higher-powered panels
- May not be compatible with all solar generators on the market
- Some users may find the dimensions slightly larger than desired
Portable solar panels have become a game-changer for backpackers seeking a reliable and eco-friendly power source. With their lightweight and compact designs, these panels offer the perfect solution for charging essential devices while on the go. Whether you are embarking on a multi-day hiking trip or exploring remote areas, investing in a quality portable solar panel is undeniably worth considering.
Backpacking with portable solar panels not only ensures your electronic devices stay charged but also enables you to stay connected with loved ones or document your adventures through photography without worrying about running out of power. So, pack up your gear and venture into nature without compromising your power needs – let the sun be your ultimate travel companion!
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So not only will you be experiencing the trip of a lifetime, but you’ll also be contributing to a great cause. Start planning your trip now and make a difference with Giving Getaway!