The Ultimate Guide: Solar Panels & Kits for Camping

Being off grid no longer means being in the dark and out of power. We’ve researched the highest rated companies and bring to you the best solar panels for camping. Focusing on portability, durability, efficiency and connectivity. Designed to work even in overcast and shaded areas these solar panels with keep you powered up! Charge things like headlamps, smartphones, GoPro, DSLR cameras, tablets, laptops and even CPAP machines. Let’s get charging!

First we compare some of the most cutting edge solar panels for camping and then feature what we feel is the very best kit available. Then we review some of the basic components and review terminology in case you’re doing a bit more research. Then we discuss sizing and energy needs in our audit section. We’re always looking for more resources, if you have a favorite or wants your included, contact us!

Before we get dive into camping applications for solar we want to remind you that solar can be an intermittent power source. Even the best solar panels can only provide a minimal charge in shade or overcast conditions. We recommend considering a reliable generator (such as the ones featured on Pure Living for Life) or backup power source if you have critical electronics such as a CPAP, GPS unit or cell phone. Users reviewed the Yamaha EF2000iS highly. It’s compact, durable and built to last. Okay okay, on to solar!

Compare Solar Panels for Camping

Name Panel Output Outputs Will Charge Rating Price
Goal Zero Yeti 400w 20w
  • 5v/2a usb (2)
  • 12v DC car port
  • 6mm 12v
  • 8mm 14-29v
  • 110v AC (2)
  • Laptop
  • DSLR camera
  • GoPro
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • Lights
  • GPS
  • CPAP
5 Stars
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Goal Zero Yeti 400w Solar Charger Review

Quiet, portable and green. The Goal Zero Yeti 400w combined with a Nomad 20 Solar Panel is your companion in the great outdoors, whether you need power in a base camp or while trekking through backcountry terrain. It includes everything you need to power your smartphone, TV, CPAP machine and lights with an AC inverter, a 12V outlet and a 1.5A USB outlet. Recharge the solar kit via car charger, wall socket or by using the included solar panels, or chain with other Goal Zero Yeti 400w generators for extended runtime capabilities.

The Goal Zero Yeti 400w is great. The battery charged my iPad and iPhone quickly and the backlit readout is clear and very visible. The option to charge via solar energy and the numerous output options for charging becomes amazingly convenient. I tried to power an aluminum sports boat’s outboard motor battery with it and was fairly satisfied. I bought it as a starter solar kit and I’m glad I chose this product! The solar generator worked so well for me that I now have two Yetis and four Nomad 20s to bring with me wherever I go.

I recommend the Goal Zero Yeti 400w to anyone who loves camping. It does everything exactly as expected and there’s no complaint about the overall quality. There’s no fumes and very minimal noise that would detract from the outdoor or RV experience. The product is easy to charge and it holds the contained energy within well. The rugged, portable build looks great so it isn’t awkward to look at sitting out in the sun.”

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Goal Zero Yeti 150w 20w
  • 5v/2a usb (2)
  • 12v DC car port
  • 6mm 12v
  • 8mm 14-29v
  • 110v AC (2)
  • Laptop
  • DSLR camera
  • GoPro
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • Lights
  • GPS
4.5 Stars
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Goal Zero Yeti 150w Solar Charger Review

The Goal Zero Yeti 150w with Nomad 20w Solar Panel efficiently provides power where you need it most. This green solar power generator is ideal for all kinds of outdoor photographers and mobile, on-the-go individuals who may need to bring their work equipment with them. RV campers and weekend vacationers will appreciate the noiseless operation and its ability to charge DSLR cameras, laptops, smart phones, tablets and provide lighting to any outdoor camp ground. The Goal Yeti 150w can be charged via solar, USB or regular 12V sockets.

The Goal Zero Yeti 150w kit works exactly as advertised right out of the box. The 5V, 12V and 120V outputs can accommodate a good number of lights and devices, and can even run a Mac laptop for a period of time. The Nomad 20 included is an excellent addition to this gem of a product for remote power generation users. I have had no complaints at the build quality and the overall experience. Having a handy power source that you can bring around anywhere is definitely a welcome addition in my books!

I have tried the Goal Zero Yeti 150w with my CPAP (with the humidifier turned off), and it lasted well over 8 hours before the low battery lights came on. The only issue is getting enough sunlight here in my area to charge it to 100%. Aside from the CPAP, this product helped me out many times- I have used it to charge my mobile phone as we camped out on a music festival. The output ports have a separate switch if you’re not using it. Customer service was surprisingly good- they took the time to notify me about shipping delays and kept me updated throughout.

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Goal Zero Sherpa 100w 20w
  • 5v/2a usb
  • 12v DC
  • 18v DC
  • 110v AC
  • Laptop
  • DSLR camera
  • GoPro
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • Lights
  • GPS
4 Stars
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Goal Zero Sherpa 100w Solar Charger Review

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100w recharging set was specifically created to charge up any and all electronic devices you have with you. The product comes with all the charging port bells and whistles you can expect in a complete charging solution. You won’t have any trouble powering your laptop, DSLR camera, tablets and smartphones with the Goal Zero Sherpa 100w. Laptop users will want to get the Sherpa 100w over any other products because it has a specialized, innovative laptop port compatible with all major brands. A mid-sized solar kit solution for all outdoor enthusiasts.

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100w is one true, mid-range power pack supply that you can bring with you wherever you go. It did power all my electronic gadgets which includes a laptop, my smart phone and brought some much-needed lights when we were out camping. The port array was well-thought of; it had 2 fast USB ports, a 12V for the lights, an AC converter for the DSLR and a special port for laptops. The performance is satisfactory and it gets the job done.

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100w passed my field test with flying colors. I spent 40 days out trekking and doing survival training and brought the power kit with me. Under direct sunlight it charged up to 100% in about 14 hours which was good enough for me. The on-screen indicators always show you how much you currently have and if the status is charging or on standby. Finally, the item itself feels sturdy and well-made. The compact form is perfect for bringing along on trails and campgrounds.

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Goal Zero Sherpa 50w 13w
  • 5v/2a usb
  • 12v DC
  • 18v DC
  • 110v AC
  • Laptop
  • DSLR camera
  • GoPro
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • Lights
  • GPS
4 Stars
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Goal Zero Sherpa 50w Solar Charger Review

Keep your device charged on-the-go with the Goal Zero Sherpa 50w Solar Kit. This ultra-portable power supply is paired with a durable solar panel, so you will never run out of battery anytime and anywhere you are. Plug it on a regular wall outlet for a quick 2-3 hour charge or into your car for a good 4-6 hours, or under the sun which would take 5-10 hours that’s worth the wait. The Sherpa 50w is compatible with most USB and 12V devices for direct charging, whether you need it for your laptop, tablet, DVD player, smartphone, GPS, MP3 player and other handheld gadget. Compact and lightweight, it’s very easy to pack and quite convenient to carry around, with nothing to worry about given its rugged design.

The Goal Zero Sherpa 50w is an excellent addition during light trips and for charging small devices. I have used this product solely for my cycling tour around the country and made a promise not to use any other power source. The Goal Zero didn’t let me down in this aspect, even when I had to endure a few cloudy days and some with rainshowers. The Sherpa 50 and the included Nomad 13 charged my Macbook Air and iPhone, and it kept me in touch with the world as I blogged my experiences.

I have no regrets about buying the Goal Zero Sherpa 50w charging kit. I use the Nomad solar panels to charge my Galaxy S3 directly whenever possible- there’s plenty of sunshine, so gathering energy isn’t an issue at all. I just leave my phone out by 8 in the morning, and around noon the phone is around 90% charged. The Sherpa battery is a lifesaver during the rainy days, using 20% of stored energy to get a full charge.

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Poweradd 40w 40w
  • 5v/2a usb
  • 18v DC 2.2a
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • GPS
  • PSP
  • Bluetooth speakers
4 Stars
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Poweradd 40w Solar Charger Review

Poweradd solar panels stand out among the rest with its two major breakthroughs that create the distinction. First, it has the highest efficiency at a transformation rate of up to 22%, while comparable products only yield as much as 15% or lower. Second, the Poweradd 40w exhibits a unique design that works toward achieving a stable current and the protection of your gadgets. One of the downsides of free sunlight is that it tends to be unstable, which equates to unstable current and voltage which can potentially damage any device. Hence, this solar panel is equipped with a voltage regulator which ensures stability while you are charging your smartphone, tablet, external battery, and any other 5V USB or 18V DC-powered device.

All the specs listed in the product works as advertised. I’ve experimented on charging my 2 iPads (one iPad Air 2 and the other, a 1st gen iPad) because these tablets usually draw more power as compared to Android products. I connected my iPads directly to the panel and tried one without the other and two of them at the same time. Both iPads charged up to full, and the draw decreases as the devices were almost up to full to protect from overcharging and overheating. Highly recommended!

The Poweradd 40w came to be a product I can trust, and it didn’t disappoint. I used it on a Kindle, an iPad and on several smart phones, and am satisfied with the results. The flap storage is handy in keeping your smaller electronic devices out of direct sunlight, and it’s not hard to pair it up with an external batter if you need stored power. The foldable panels were great in catching the right sun angles and that feature enabled me to spend less time adjusting everything at certain times of the day.

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SunJack 20w 20w
  • 5v/2a usb (2)
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • GPS
  • Camera
  • Tablet
  • Lights
4.5 Stars
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SunJack 20w Solar Charger Review

Power users will find the SunJack 20w handy, reliable, and a must-have solar charger. You simply cannot do without it whenever you head outdoors for camping, hiking, traveling, going on a road trip or any other adventure. It has a durable rugged design, weather-resistant quality, and folds nicely into a compact kit which makes it perfect for keeping in your bag as an emergency backup. Only 5 hours under the sun, and it’s impressive how the dual 8000mAh batteries can produce enough juice for 8 smartphones for a fantastic charging party! A single phone reaches a full charge status in just 90 minutes. You can likewise connect multiple devices and power up your camera, tablet, Jambox, and every 5V USB device you own right when and where you need it.

I can say that the SunJack 20w portable solar charger combo is the ultimate solar energy solution for hardcore outdoor enthusiasts and those who can’t always be near a wall socket! This item contains folding solar panels backed up by two 8,000mAh batteries. The batteries are there for charging your smart phones and tablets even during nightfall at camp. When morning comes, just lay out the panels and let the batteries soak up the sun juice. It’s everything you need to survive out in camping trips without worrying about a “low battery screen” coming on.

The product works well as it should. It goes great with camping. I attended an outdoor event that lasted for 4 days and I was able to keep my LED lights, USB speakers and my iPhone well-charged throughout the duration. The form is also super-cool and very sleek even while laying out in the sun. The stitching quality and the fabric used are outstanding, while the build looks and feels solid.

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Goal Zero 10 7w
  • 5v/1a usb
  • 5v usb mini
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • GPS
  • Camera
  • Tablet
  • GPS
4.5 Stars
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Goal Zero Guide 10w Solar Charger Review

Get a hold of an ultra-lightweight solar charging system which comes with the most efficient solar panel, mono-crystalline, and a USB input for direct charging. The Goal Zero Guide 10 is so small such that it’s just about the size of your favorite novel when folded, and would fit right in your pocket. Plug in your USB powered device such as smartphones, tablets, and readers and enjoy gadgets that are always on wherever you go. It includes the battery pack, Nomad 7 solar charging panel, four rechargeable AA batteries, AAA insert, solar cord, 12V cigarette adapter, and you’ll certainly have everything you need. It even has a handy built-in LED that gives off bright light to help you when searching for things, especially when fumbling in the dark in your backpack. Moreover, it lasts for a lengthy 150 hours before ever requiring a recharge.

I bought this solar charging kit mainly for RV camping. I couldn’t live anywhere without my iPad and my iPhone, and this company seemed to create a good product. The kit fits in perfectly in my bug bag and the weight was amazing for the usefulness it brings to the outdoor adventurer. I love the rugged construction because I never needed to haul an extra protective case for it.

The Goal Zero 10 packs a good punch and it’s very useful for me when I am out on hiking trips. I can charge my phone and power up my flashlights with fresh AA and AAA batteries with only a few hours exposure on bright sunlight. I like it so much that I bought a second solar kit for my wife who surely appreciated it!

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Best Solar Panels for Camping

#1: Goal Zero Sherpa 100w Kit Solar Charger Review

For size, weight, output and price, the Goal Zero Sherpa wins!

solar panel camping kits

This is a tough call to make since the needs of every camper are going to vary, however for the size, output and price the Goal Zero Sherpa 100w is a pretty solid setup. It’s compact, has plenty of power and is light weight. You’ll be able juice up the essentials with plenty of power ports to keep from fiddling with cables and adaptors. Charging multiple items at once is super efficient and charge times are within a full sun 10 hr day with the Goal Zero Boulder 30 Solar Panel. Quickly charging the power pack from the wall, your car or solar gives super flexibility.

What can it charge?

  • Headlamp (25 charges)
  • Smartphone (14 charges)
  • GoPro (18 charges)
  • Camera (10 charges)
  • Tablet (2-4 charges))
  • Laptop (1 full charge

#2: Goal Zero Yeti 400w Kit Solar Charger Review

If you need more power than the Goal Zero Sherpa can provide, this is your next bet!

best solar panels for camping

If you need something bigger you’re going to be better off jumping up to the Yeti 400 kit as it drastically increases your available power for things like CPAP machines and laptops, but you’re adding quite a bit of weight also. For max charging, pair the Goal Zero Yeti 400 (don’t buy the kit) with a PowerFilm 60W Panel for 3x the charging ability.

What can it charge?

  • Headlamp (100 charges)
  • Smartphone (30 charges)
  • GoPro (70 charges)
  • Camera (20 charges)
  • Tablet (10 charges)
  • Laptop (3-5 full charges)

Things to Consider When Buying a Solar Panel Kit for Camping

Here’s a quick question- what does the modern outdoor adventurer have that other hunters, mountain climbers, whitewater rafters, campers and hikers from 20, 30 years ago didn’t? Access to helpful, portable technological wonders, that’s what. Smartphones have become all-in-one gadgets containing everything you need, including a replacement GPS app for setting waypoints, or for storing beta on climb routes.

What’s keeping handheld GPS devices from becoming obsolete? Two things. One, a more accurate point via satellite technology, and second, a better battery life. Thankfully, companies and manufacturers now have a wide variety of solar charging solutions you can choose from to counter the effects of having a dead phone. The options are many- from elaborate, efficient panels that cost a lot to pocket-sized, portable ones that can provide a quick charge or two.

With so many to choose from, how will you know what kind of solar charger will work best for you? We got you covered. Here’s our comprehensive advice for buying a solar panel kit for camping out, or for accompanying you on your favorite outdoor activity for that matter.

The Basics: Voltage, Watts and Amperage

You should know that not all solar charging kits are the same. For one thing, these devices vary from one another based on their advertised power. Don’t be confused with the seemingly complicated terms listed, as there is a simpler way to understand them and how they would fit in your charging needs.

Voltage measures how strong the electrical current is, with the current measuring in amperes. Watts indicate how strong an electrical power is. You’ll need to focus on amps and watts as they are the most important factors you will look for when selecting a solar panel kit.

Wattage and You

Small electronic devices such as mp3 players, LED flashlights or simple cellphones can make do with 4 to 5 watt panels. Newer, more advanced smartphones will require more than that, as they eat more power due to having more capabilities and running more advanced apps. The bigger and newer the smart phone, the more power you will need- in this case, a 7 watt panel should suffice.

But what if you want to charge multiple, high-end electronic devices such as an iPhone, an iPad and a LED lamp all at once? That is certainly possible, but be prepared to spend more in this scenario. You will also need more wattage- at 15 watts or higher, at least. Do you need to bring in your laptop for work and other essential tasks on the road? You’ll need an inverter and a battery. A whole new charging world opens up should you wish to charge AC devices- be prepared to spend for and lug a DC to AC inverter, heavy batteries, and an industrial grade solar panel producing 25 watts or more! It was much more difficult to set this up before, but now there are products that offer an all-in-one solar panel kit for individuals who want to bring everything.

One thing’s for sure (and this is a better advice overall) – you’ll want to overestimate your wattage needs rather than underestimate, even if this means spending a bit more money. Smaller watt-capable panels ensure your product will be lightweight and very portable, but be prepared to endure lengthy charging times. In an instance of using 6 watt solar chargers, it would take around 5 hours to obtain a full charge on a mid-end smartphone. A higher capacity watt kit can cut that charging time by half.

Companies understand the limitations set in these panels, and that’s why they add built-in or integrated batteries in solar kits. To compensate for the ever-growing need for more and more energy to power high-end devices, manufacturers produce high-wattage products (at a range of 10 to 15 watt capability) and include battery packs that collect and store solar energy at low rates.

Current battery systems are the current bottleneck holding the potential of today’s devices. Hopefully companies and scientists alike will find out how to put more power and develop higher quality batteries for the sake of our technological future!

Output Power

Output power is quite easy to understand- higher is better! Output power means it can charge more power-hungry devices such as an iPad or none at all. A 2.1 amp port will be able to charge a smartphone faster than a lower 1.3 amp one.

You will also need to carefully check up on some product’s tech specs in terms of advertised output power. Most solar panel chargers have two charging ports, which means there are two ways to list amperage output. One, they can list the total output combined, and two, they can list the total of each output port, which makes the total amp output better than the others. For example, a company might list a solar panel kit output of 2.1A max, which means that once you plug in two devices for charging, they will share the 2.1A output. Another product might advertise 2.1A max, but in reality one port produces 2.1A while the other one provides 1A, which is a total 3.1A combined. Make sure to go over the product description and/or product label carefully for signs you are buying a better solar charging kit!

Of course, what good is a solar charger if you can’t get enough rays to reliably charge a device to 100%? Think about how many daylight hours you can possibly get in your area. Then, think about how many hours you can possibly get with the solar panel lying out in the sun. If you are going camping out in a location where you only get a few hours of good, strong sunlight, it will be more beneficial to invest in a high-wattage, fast-charging solar charging kit. For regions that advertise a lot of sunlight, you can get away with a lightweight solar kit. When weight is an important factor to consider, you’ll find smaller panels to be useful companions who can get the job done.

Today’s solar charging panels have evolved so much that there’s an overwhelming choice for discerning users. Are travelers looking for a solar kit with a backup battery? Do they want a more compact size with folding solar panels, or do they just want a no-frills solar kit that has the highest capacity? The current trend in selecting solar kits is that consumers are looking for smaller chargers that have a battery backup which goes well on a weekend trip instead of larger solar setups. Batteries are great, but the fact is that they are not as reliable, nor self-sustaining as solar panels. Adventurers who will be going on long trips and distant treks will certainly appreciate solar charging kits more than integrated chargers. Do you want a solar kit that does everything well? You’ll never go wrong with buying a foldable solar panel kit with an included proprietary battery, or a foldable solar panel and an external, high capacity battery.

Three Types of Portable Solar Panels

CIGS

Ever seen flexible solar panels lying out in the sun or in commercials? Chances are you’re seeing a CIGS-type solar kit. CIGS stands for Copper, Iridium, Gallium and Selenide, which are combined to make a thin film capable of storing solar energy. This type of panel is easy to manufacture and the flexibility might be a big plus to some, but the only drawback to it is the short shelf life. It’s probably the complete opposite of the thicker monocrystalline panels. Don’t have a nice, flat space to securely put your solar panel kit? It’s not a problem with the CIGS solar kit. A CIGS panel is mostly integrated with other materials such as plastic or fabric, and it tends to degrade or delaminate much more quickly than other types of solar panels.

Monocrystalline

CIGS may have the “coolness” factor of being lighter and more flexible than the others, but monocrystalline panels bring in better performance in their sturdier, more rigid construction. Folding panels were once considered to be a plus in cross-country hiking and backpacking excursions, while monocrystalline panels were thought to be too cumbersome or rigid to use. So monocrystalline panels adapted and took some versatile forms which brought them back into the market. CIGS panels are much less efficient as compared to monocrystalline cells in a straight sunlight exposure, but they have a slight edge in performance under low-light and cloudy conditions.

Polycrystalline

You can easily tell a polycrystalline solar panel just by looking at it. The bluish hue screams polycrystalline type, whereas monocrystalline panels are more black than bright blue. The difference in hue is not the only factor you should know; monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells are both made from silicone crystals. Monocrystalline panels are made of only one crystal ingot but polycrystalline panels are made of many crystal ingots. What does it mean to the rest of us? The comparison between efficiency in terms of purity and numbers.

A solar kit made up of monocrystalline panels are more efficient- the purity produces around 22% efficiency as compared to polycrystalline’s 18%. But the question in our minds is: isn’t more better?

Monocrystalline panels utilize a singe cell, which allows the electrons contained within much more freedom to move. This particular aspect allows for more energy savings, and a higher efficiency is produced.

Consumers will do great when they choose monocrystalline solar panel kits. The costs are higher than the other types, but you get more usage and more life on a personal product. Polycrystalline panels are a good choice for businesses who are looking to buy bulk with reduced costs. Solar kit companies are catching up on this trend by offering more monocrystalline panel chargers than CIGS-based or polycrystalline panels in the market.

The Competition: Solar Chargers Versus External Batteries

External batteries are better suited for at-home uses, whether charged up in a wall socket or by utilizing a home solar panel system. Most mid-sized batteries typically carry enough juice to charge your smartphone around 4 to 5 times before needing to be plugged in. These types can also store a hefty charge which you can use anytime- even during evenings and when it’s raining. You can round it off by adding some more plus factors such as being less expensive, less bulky and being lighter than solar panel kits.

Have a state-of-the-art electronic device that you want to keep powered up every time? Then a high quality external battery is your best bet. Simply take the battery out, use a compatible cord and plug it in! You can expect a full charge when using it for your tablet, and several full charges when you use it for your smartphone. The external battery can also act up as a fully-charged companion for when your “low-battery” lights are flashing and when you can’t get a good position to charge your solar charging kit.

It’s all about the duration in which you won’t have access to an electrical outlet. Any outdoor trip for less than three days, and an external battery should suffice. More than that, and a solar panel will show its true colors by being more advantageous in the long run. Don’t have a definite date on when you’ll be back? Lug a solar charging solution for good measure.

There’s still compromise for those who want the best of both worlds, though; A good, solid solar panel with a hefty external battery should cover everything you need. Keep in mind the devices you’ll be charging and the duration of how long you’re without a wall socket, and the answer should present itself in no time.

Essential Factors To Consider

Ease of Use

Outdoor enthusiasts certainly won’t want having to fiddle with their solar kits and trying to make it work instead of spending the time relaxing and taking in the view! One of the most convenient feature in today’s solar kits is the auto-restart technology. Some solar chargers will cease function once the panels are obscured by either a cloud or a shadow passing by, and it wouldn’t resume unless you unplug the device and plug it back in (sort of a manual restart). The auto-restart technology bypasses that inconvenience without needing any additional input from you.

A good solar charging kit should be intuitive, free of cords and excessive adapters. The overall design should help the users instead of hindering them more. For example- are you looking to let out your solar charger fully exposed, but are having second thoughts on leaving your precious device exposed to the elements? A built-in stash pocket brings a lot to the table. An extra-long charging cable puts the solar kit out where it needs to be while you use your smartphone inside the tent. All these useful features are entirely depending upon what you think you need.

Weight

If you plan to mainly travel by foot or traversing outdoor terrain, then weight becomes an issue. Staying stationary and being given the responsibility of powering a base camp makes this factor a non-issue. Sometimes a company may or may not list the overall weight of their solar charging kits, or may just list the weight of the solar panels and not include all the other parts and accessories.

CIGS solar panels will probably capture your wallet for this factor alone, but consider the other important factors before springing for one. Will you be fine with the durability of the CIGS panels, or is weight the single most important point for bringing a solar kit alone? Are you buying for a long-term investment you can rely on as you plan your trips and outdoor excursions? These considerations will more likely split your decision evenly, but you should focus on what’s more important for you.

Versatility

What propels the solar charging market forward? The advent of technological gadgets such as high-end smartphones, tablets and portable laptops. Companies cater to this kind of demand and provide chargers and panels for multiple purposes. You will find most of these kits have 2 USB ports you can plug in your device to (one for your mobile phone, and one for your tablet). USB-type charging such as cameras, tablets, smartphones and flashlights will be at home in this kind of setup.

Not all devices cater to USB-type charging, so what do you do then? The answer lies in utilizing an inverter for that end. Consider packing cigarette lighters, ones that convert 12V DC into 110V AC into the equation. Minor effects such as grommets allow these solar kits to be hung on a tree, tent or while walking in a backpack. Daisy-chaining capability with other solar charging kits can also come in handy in some specific situations.

Portability

A lot of modern solar charging kits have a capable, integrated stash space where you can put your device in and easily pick it up when it’s time to go. Smaller battery and solar panel combos usually don’t have storage space, but they are compact enough that you can stash them in your backpack, or even in your clothes’ pockets. Portability allows these devices to be constant companions whenever you go about town, or while in overnight trips to ensure a healthy battery level. It may be tempting to rely on them all the time, but companies have them labeled as “emergency use only”, meaning they should be paired up with other charging options or should be fully charged whenever you leave home. Get one of the 2 amp capabilities or you’ll find it won’t be able to charge your smartphone or tablet.

If portability is one of the most important deciding factors for you, then it may be better to get an external battery. They win in weight, size and cost categories, with added options to get more on any of these aspects. External batteries are also better suited for shorter trips around town or in the neighborhood. Using the phone’s GPS isn’t all that draining for your phone’s batteries, and these devices should give your phone a good full charge or two.

Integrated Batteries

Some of the best solar devices out in the market have batteries that you can leave your smart phone in as you do your business. Just as long as you keep an eye on the solar charger’s angle in relation to the sun, you’re good! These integrated batteries can be useful should you find yourself at 10% or less during the night back at camp.

Having a solar charging kit with batteries is a good idea overall. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common and popular ones are just phone-sized devices with a solar panel at one end. Despite being seemingly useful, the smaller ones are actually less effective than the larger ones. The panels themselves are much too small to be able to capture the sun’s rays, and the batteries are no less able to charge your tablet or your smartphone. The surface area of the solar panel also has a detrimental effect to being so small, as it may theoretically take up to 50 hours to get a full charge! They would serve well in a pinch. That emergency moment when you need a minute to dial 911 or a few minutes of phone conversation is possible with these portable wonders. Charging some AA batteries would require a good-sized panel and the right kind of adapters, so think about these things when shopping for a solar panel kit.

Cables and Connections

The solar charging kits you buy would normally have USB ports for charging, while others make use of USB ports exclusively. The standard two-panel USB charging is here- one has a higher amp rating for tablets, while the other has a lower one for charging mobile phones.

Why USB? Because it is so popular, and most smartphones and tablets require USB for charging and data transfers. The more imaginative individuals can see this as a challenge to charge any and all devices they may come across. Not to worry, as there are adapters and different type ports available; just mix and match, and you should be set.

Solar Panel Kit Accessories

As mentioned, USB is the dominant port charger for most solar panel kits because a million electronic devices make use of it. More complete solar charging products have all kinds of connectors and accessories such as carabiners, LED charge indicators, extension and alligator clips and adapters.

Should you wish to deviate from the standard USB charging and ports, then you may have to do your research. It’s a bit difficult to tell which adapters come in with which kind of solar charging solution, and which adapter connects to which kind of charging cable. You can save a lot of time and headaches when you know which types of cable and accessories to look for.

Questions and Answers

How Much Is A Watt Of Solar Panel?

Price per watt is perhaps the best way to determine a solar panel’s value. Write down the panel’s price and divide it by the wattage. Let’s say that a solar panel costs around $60 and it produces 6 watts. Right then and there you can tell that the price is $10 per watt. A good value range is somewhere between $10 to $15, with any product costing you more than that an expensive endeavor. You can also take into account the accessories, batteries and inverters the solar charging kit comes with when computing for overall value.

Is A Solar Panel Really Worth The Price

As it stands right now, energy coming from solar panels are a bit more expensive than one you can get on the grid. In the instance that electricity from the grid isn’t available, a solar panel kit is the most likely choice for powering all of your electronic devices.

Can a solar charging panel power some camping devices without using a car’s battery? The answer is yes, but it isn’t a totally viable option as of yet. The reason is that the price per watt is still out of many people’s reach. Let’s not leave out the fact that producing your very own energy is tons of fun, and you’ll usually use less if you’re on solar energy setup!

A Final Word

Make sure to do the extra legwork when you decide to buy a solar charging kit. Today’s competitive market (especially in the solar energy solutions) can produce some very sharp imitations and products that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. In short, they don’t work as intended, and this hurts the consumer as much as the company itself.

Imposters are aplenty, and they’re out to get your money through unscrupulous means. As with all online purchases, check for reviews and complaints on the web to get a feel of what you’re dealing with.

Browse through their main website and check for telltale signs. A poorly constructed website full of design holes and grammar errors will not instill buyer’s confidence. Does the company website feel like it was rushed and done overnight? Or did they do their homework thoroughly in creating an attractive, professional-looking website, complete with proper English and detailed product descriptions? Try to make contact with them via email or chat, and see how they will deal with possible problem scenarios and how fast they could respond if anything goes wrong with the product. Do they give off an aura of confidence and are knowledgeable about the product and the common terms associated with solar kits, or do they ignore you completely as if you don’t exist at all?

In this world of fast-paced technology, solar kits are vastly growing. So think twice and do a critical review before you buy!