Best Portable Solar Panels For Camping

The best portable solar panels for camping will differ depending on your preferred camping activities.

The three types of portable solar panels most suitable for camping are:

  • Flexible Solar Panels, and
  • Foldable Solar Panels
  • Solar Blankets

If you want a solar panel to leave at the camp site and is easy to install/uninstall – the flexible solar panel might be better for you.

If you want a solar panel that you can carry with you while hiking for example, and is extremely rugged and durable – the folding solar panel might be a better pick.

Solar blankets for camping are a bit of a hybrid between a flexible and foldable solar panel.

Let’s jump into it and look at the best camping solar panel & blanket brands and products …

 

(*Friendly Disclosure – links to retailers or brands on this page may include affiliate links, and we may receive a commission when you purchase through these links)

 

Top Rated Portable Solar Panels For Camping List

Refer to guides below

 

Best Portable Solar Panels For Camping: Reviews

Best Folding Solar Panels For Camping

Best Flexible Solar Panels For Camping

 

Best Portable Solar Panels For Camping: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ

What Does Camping Involve?

Camping traditionally involves taking a car and tent, or an rv to a remote location. However, when you’re there, you might choose to:

Sit around a camping base and enjoy nature

Go hiking

Go fishing

Go boating or fishing

Go 4 wheel driving/off roading

+ many other activities

 

What Types Of Portable Solar Panels Are There For Camping?

Flexible, semi-flexible and bendable solar panels – usually made of laminate that might have the capability to bend up to 30 degrees depending on the model

Folding solar panels – are smaller, more durable and have better portability

Solar blankets – are a mix of the two above – they can durable like folding solar panels, but are best for staying in one spot like a flexible solar panel.

 

What Are Solar Panels Used For When Camping

Solar panels are used as a supplement or replacement for a generator or powered sites when camping.

Solar panels are used for two main purposes when camping:

1. To charge and power 12v batteries, or USB devices

2. To power 240v mains appliances

When powering 240v house mains appliances, you need a solar inverter to turn 12v DC battery power, to 240v AC household power.

Common camping items that require power are fridges, lighting, mobiles & GPS systems, tv’s and laptops.

 

The specific solar panels are used in the following ways for camping activities:

 

  • Flexible, semi-flexible and bendable solar panels

Flexible and bendable solar panels can be mounted on uneven surfaces like the top of a car, rv or campervan.

They can also be hung up on a tent, or laid out in the sun at your camping site.

Flexible and bendable solar panels, because they are made of laminate, are much more vulnerable to sharp and rough objects than folding solar panels.

They can be installed/uninstalled from a surface easily, but can’t be carried around.

They are used for charging 12 V lead- acid and lithium batteries – marine batteries, rv batteries, bike batteries etc.

 

  • Folding solar panels

Folding solar panels come as freestanding kits that can be folded, unfolded, stored in backpacks or attached to surfaces like bags, kayacks etc.

They are extremely weatherproof (usually rated for rain and snow), and can usually handle bumps and scratches quite well.

Because folding solar panels are so portable and durable, the sacrifice you pay for example about the same price for a 20 Watt folding solar panel that you do for an 80 or 100 watt flexible solar panel.

However, most folding panels can charge USB devices whereas flexible solar panels mostly only charge 12 volt battery devices.

There are large rugged 120 watt folding solar panels that are too heavy for carrying around, but they are quite expensive.

 

  • Solar blankets

Solar blankets are usually made of some type of canvas material like a folding solar panel – this makes them very durable and rugged.

However, they are best for leaving in one spot like a flexible solar panel.

Flexible and folding solar panels are usually mono or polycrystalline, whereas solar blankets can have amorphous solar panels.

 

How To Choose A Solar Panel For Camping – Which To Get?

1. List how many devices you will be using, and how often you’ll be using them

2. Calculate how much power each of those devices draw/use

3. Consider whether the devices are 12 volt battery devices, USB devices, or 240 volt house electricity devices

4. Pick a solar panel with the Wattage rating you need, and consider buying more than one panel

5. Consider whether you will need a folding, flexible or solar blanket solar panel setup – based on where and how you’ll be using the solar panels

 

For example, a camp fridge draws about 4amps and some LED camping lights that draw about 0.25amps each.

For that setup, a 120 watt solar panel would be fine – with a regulator and 100amp deep cycle battery.

 

Features & Things To Look For In Solar Panels For Camping

Guides on the following coming soon which have camping solar panel features:

Best Folding Solar Panels For Camping

Best Flexible Solar Panels For Camping

Best Solar Blanket For Camping

 

What Bits, Accessories & Extras Do You Need With Solar Panels When Camping?

Solar regulator

Solar inverter

Extension or connection cables

 

Best Solar Panels For Camping: Resources

Top camping solar panel resources coming soon

 

 

Friendly Disclaimers 

 

Tooljuice.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates.

Additionally, Tooljuice.com participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.

Leave a Comment