Best solar panels for camping or backpacking

With time, people are becoming increasingly dependent on their gadgets and portable digital accessories. Even when you are on a weekend trip to a resort outside city limits, you are likely to pack in a tablet or laptop, Smartphone, power bank or similar USB powered devices for staying connected! This is true even for those who are into camping and backpacking. No matter if you charge all your gadgets fully before leaving for such trips, they may not retain charge till you return. So, you will need some means to recharge your devices while camping or backpacking. The best option is using the solar panel based chargers.

Why choose solar panels for recharging devices during backpacking or trips

When you go for backpacking in forests, wilderness or mountainous regions away from human habitat, you need to pack light and take only useful things. Solar panels are lightweight, portable and they can be set up and dismantled easily. They serve as the most reliable source of power, barring in areas with low sunlight. These panels are also quite durable and can be used outdoors minus many woes.

Choosing the right solar panel

While solar panels and chargers with these panels can serve as an excellent source of power on the move, backpackers need to pick with caution. Listed below are a few aspects that you should analyze to ensure you pick the most apt solar panel charger for camping or backpacking:

  • Power-the first thing you should analyze when buying solar panels is the level of power it can supply. You need to look at the watt rating to figure this out. While usage need may vary from one backpacker to the other, ideally you should look for a panel charger that has 10 watts or above capacity. While higher watt rating may seem better, you have to remember the models with higher rating will be larger in size.
  • Portability-When you go backpacking, you should not carry a heavy bag or pack in things that weigh you down. Based on the destination, you may have to deal with steep rocky terrains, tropical climate and other hassles. Backpackers should pack light to stay fit and cope with such situations better. So, you should choose solar panels that are neither too large nor too heavy. Nowadays, most solar chargers have folding design and when folded, they can fit in small backpacks.
  • Durable build- Backpackers need to use things that are hardy in nature, whether it is shoes or solar panels! So, you should look for solar panels that can withstand shocks, have waterproof coating and do not get affected by exposure to dust and temperature fluctuation.
  • Feasibility- Not every backpacker has same usage needs. Some may carry several gadgets while that may not be the case with someone else. If you are fine with a solar panel charger that can be used to charge one device at a time, buy such a model. However, those who carry oodles of gadgets should look for models with provisions for charging many devices at the same time. The charging time also varies from one model to another and it ranges between 4-16 hours, approx.
  • With or without inbuilt battery- Some of the portable solar panels used for camping or similar needs have inbuilt batteries while others lack the feature. If you are planning for backpacking quite frequently and for longer durations, buying a model with inbuilt battery makes sense.  The capacity of the battery is measured in mAh units. That way you can continue using your devices even at night. However, the drawback is using models with inbuilt batteries is that they are bulkier and bigger in size. So, you can’t have the best of both sides at the same time!

Practical usage considerations


Just like any kind of gadgets and accessories there is no one size fits all solution for solar chargers. To understand which type of models fit your needs the best- analyze certain real life needs.

  • Short duration trips with convenience in mind- If you go backpacking only a few times a year and convenience is the foremost thing in mind, then you can go for the lightweight solar chargers that do not come with inbuilt battery and can be folded into small sized bags with ease. These chargers can supply you with enough power during the daytime and portability is the USP.
  • Frequent backpackers with mobility in mind-Those who go backpacking a lot but do not want to give up on the portability factor can opt for solar chargers with in-built batteries. Some, such models can be set up on stands, but can be folded up easily too. This way you can obtain a good amount of power and keep on using devices even at night.
  • Heavy backpackers with heavy usage needs- Heavy backpackers or camping lovers who have vehicles can think of buying solar panels that can be fixed on top of the cars, ideally. You can find such models with in-built batteries too. For these users, size or weight of the panel does not matter-they want an uninterrupted supply of power.

There are umpteen solar panels that you can buy and use for your camping trips. Be sure to read reviews and check the specs before you buy one.


Author Bio:


Sunil Rathi

Director- sales & marketing 
WAAREE Energies Ltd


Mr. Sunil Rathi is an assiduous, inquisitively power electronics engineer with an exceptional Sales and Marketing knowledge backed by a degree of MBA. He has a robust record of expertise acquired over 24 years in Solar Panel Manufacturers and Power Electronics Industry. His proven strategic vision facilitated in firmly establishment of the brand and himself as a stalwart in the solar industry.


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