Below, we discuss the solar panels that might be best for hiking and backpacking
We’ve included a larger solar panel option, and also a smaller one.
But, both might be considered lightweight and portables, and suitable for taking with you on the move
Let’s take a look!
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Top Rated Solar Panels For Hiking & Backpacking List
Best Regular Solar Panel For Hiking & Backpacking – Goal Zero 12004 Nomad 20W Solar Panel (on Amazon)
- Slightly bigger, but foldable
- Foldable solar panel that will still fit in your backpack – better for full charging of small mobile type devices with 20 watts of rated output (smartphones, cameras, GPS devices etc.)
Best Small Solar Panel For Backpacking – Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit (on Amazon)
- Very small in size if that’s your priority, but lacks the power output of the 20 watt model
- Will partially charge cell phones & other similar sized small devices with 7 watts of rated output
Although this panel kit is smaller than the 20 Watt Goal Zero, the Amperage is much less at 7.
From our experience, most people need to charge their smartphones or cameras when out backpacking (and similar sized devices).
For these sorts of devices, 20 watts is about as low as you want to go to give these devices a full or proper charge.
If you are still adamant on getting a smaller panel if you have a small backpack, you can check this one out below.
Best Solar Panels For Hiking & Backpacking: Reviews
Goal Zero 12004 Nomad 20W Solar Panel
What Makes This Solar Panel Good For Backpacking?
- Monocrystalline solar panels that produce 20 watts
- Can directly charge 12v and USB devices when in the sun
- Can use Goal Zero’s rechargers (like the Sherpa 100) to store power and charge devices at a later time/date
- Good for small portable devices like phones, cameras, GPS systems, lights etc.
- Durable weatherproof setup
- Has stitched on toggles, allowing it to be fastened to tents, back-packs, kayaks or otherwise for charging on the go.
- Only weighs 1.1 kg
- Dimensions are: unfolded – 77.5 x 2.5 x 33 cm, OR folded – 21.6 x 2.5 x 33cm
What Could Be Improved?
- Although the panel setup is good, it can be expensive when purchased together with the recharger and other accessories if you won’t be using it a lot
What Extras Might You Need?
- Solar recharger/generator – Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator (on Amazon)
- Adapter Cable – GOAL ZERO 98043 8mm Adapter Cable (on Amazon)
Where To Check Out This Solar Panel?
Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit
What’s Good About This Solar Panel?
- This solar panel is very small – about the size of two tablets put together.
- Can charge both USB type and AA/AAA battery type small devices – designed for Phones, GPS, Headlamp, smaller USB devices.
- Weatherproof and shock proof
- Will attach to your bag or fit in your bag
- Extremely lightweight – only 1.2 pounds
- Kit includes Guide 10 Plus (power pack including 4 x AA rechargeable batteries), & Nomad 7 solar panel
What Could Be Improved?
- Although this solar panel does charge cellphones and similar devices, it sometimes doesn’t fully charge them i.e. you might only get a part charge. If you want to guarantee a full charge, a 20 watt panel might be a better option for you
What Extras Might You Get With This Panel?
- LED Light – Goal Zero 14101 Luna USB LED Stick Light (on Amazon)
- AAA NiMH Batteries – Goal Zero 11407 AAA NiMH Rechargeable Battery 4 Pack with AAA Insert for Guide 10 Plus (on Amazon)
Where To Check This Solar Panel Out?
Best Solar Panels For Hiking: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ
What Is Hiking?
Hiking involves trecking on hiking paths, around camping grounds, in forests, over bare lands, or up mountains.
Hiking might be a few hours, a full day, over night or a few days.
We classified hiking as a shorter duration activity than backpacking, where you might go to different countries for months at a time for example.
What Types of Solar Panels Do You Use For Hiking?
Folding solar panels are the best solar panels for hiking.
Folding solar panels are portable and durable for different conditions.
They will also fold out easily, or fold up so you can store them in your hiking pack.
How Do You Use A Solar Panel For Hiking?
You can either attach the solar panel to your bag if it has tethers, or you can wait until you sit down and lay it out next to you.
A good folding solar panels has capabilities to charge both USD and 12 volt devices.
What Solar Panel Do You Get For Hiking – How To Choose?
We already mentioned a folding solar panel suits the type of activity that hiking is.
Further to that, consider a 7-10 watt solar panel if you want to part charge handheld devices and you want one of the smaller panels available.
If you want something with more power input to fully charge cellphones for example, but still fits in your bag, consider a 15 to 20 watt solar panel.
Hiking Solar Panel Bits & Accessories
Recharger/battery for charging whilst the sun isn’t out
Connector or extension cable
Types of Solar Panels For Backpacking
As we mentioned above in the intro, the best solar panels for backpacking are portable.
The most portable and suitable solar panel for backpacking would have to be a folding solar panel.
Folding solar panels are durable and hard wearing, and can be attached to your backpack, folded out flat, or folded up and stored in the backpack.
What Are Solar Panels Used For When Backpacking?
Backpacking solar panels can be used while walking (attach to your backpack), or while stationary (lay the panel out flat).
They can charge devices directly, or if you get a battery or recharger, energy can be stored and used later when the sun isn’t out.
These batteries and rechargers are particularly helpful in extremely remote areas where you won’t have much access to electricity, or consistent sunshine.
When backpacking, solar panels are most commonly used for charging smaller mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, GPS systems, flashlights etc.
What Solar Panel To Get For Backpacking
If you want a small folding solar panel, get a 7 Watt model.
However, we believe that most people would be best suited to getting a 20 Watt model due to their capacity and capability for charging devices like phones, cameras, tablets and other common handheld devices.
A good backpacking solar panel should be:
- Foldable and flexible
- Able to fit inside a backpack or be attached to one
- Provide enough power and charging capability to handle mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, GPS systems, flashlights & more
Backpacking Solar Panels Accessories
Recharger or energy storage batteries
Extension or adapter cables
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