Are you a backpacker, bikepacker, or camper who is ready to join the solar revolution? The portable solar panel has been around for a few years now. However, they have increased in take-up over the last three years as technology and performance have improved. Backpacking, bikepacking, car camping daily life are all great chances to harness the sun’s power to charge many essential items – such as your phone, iPad, camera, etc. The following Best Portable Solar Charger guide will feature our top picks to use when backpacking, camping, and traveling the great outdoors.
Since we have researched and wrote this guide, many portable solar chargers are now out of stock or no longer available. As a response, we have removed those devices from this guide rather than sending you to unavailable pages. Please not, that with the solar panels listed above, you will a power bank to store the power collected.
What To Consider When Buying A Portable Solar Charger
Speed Of Charging
The primary use for a portable solar panel is charging a cell phone when electricity is not readily available. The primary function of a solar charger is to charge electronics efficiently. Consequently, we suggest buying a higher wattage portable solar charger to help this function. For the charger to work at higher speed and efficiency, a more effective watt option works best. However, a less powerful model might be a good trade-off if you’re trying to save weight or money.
Durability Of Your Portable Solar Charger
By nature and use, portable solar panels must endure prolonged exposure to the outdoor elements. The way to get a reasonable charge on your small electronics is by exposing the panels to the sun for long periods. To guarantee that the panels are up to the job, they need to perform all kinds of conditions — from blazing desert sun to high mountain terrain to severe wind and rain.
Solar technology seems to be advancing, with businesses working to produce cells more long-lasting and resistant to sun and water damage. With technology improving every year, solar panel firms have come leaps and bounds in constructing portable solar power units. The portable solar chargers in our guide are robust devices.
Ability To Charge Multiple Devices
It might seem pretty obvious, but the more powerful (higher wattage) models will perform the best when tasked with charging multiple devices. Smaller panels such as the 5-7W models won’t have the power to charge two gadgets at once. If this is important to you, then pick a panel with a higher wattage. However, if you are only looking at charging a phone, you could get away with a lower wattage device – which will often be smaller and cheaper.
Weight, Packability & Portability
Since an essential function of portable panels is to remain portable, this is a critical category. If the device is too heavy or bulky, it might get used once and then left behind at home on future trips. Again, everyone’s needs will be different; backpackers and hikers will cherish a lighter and more packable panel than a bike or car camper.
There is a compromise between all singing and bare basics. Some models come with extra accessories and extra features, making them more exciting to use and making them bulky and unappealing to carry on long trips. Of course, this all depends on your preference and your needs for a specific trip. For example, a backpacker might want something basic, light, and packable, while a bikepacking camper with a bike trailer might want to take something bigger and more advanced.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, and I earn a small commission from any sale that comes via my links. This does not influence my opinion; I always do my best to provide the facts and recommend a product that will benefit my readers. You pay no more and no less for using my link. It does, however, help to support my blog.