For those who love camping and the outdoors, you’ve probably thought about the way you power your campsite before.
There are several traditional options like power packs, generators and generator inverters – all of which can power DC, and some AC devices.
However, there’s a good chance if you’ve landed on this article that you’ve considered portable solar energy.
And, it’s a good option because it’s environmentally friendly, along with being affordable.
Solar can be used for a number of things including but not limited to:
- Powering RV, trailer and car batteries
- Powering DC fridges/freezers
- Powering camp lights
- Charging small battery and USB devices like smartphones and tablets
- Heating water
Once you’ve got your solar setup – all you need is the sunlight to start charging.
5 Portable Solar Ideas For Camping
1. LED Solar Camping Lights & Lanterns
These are quite a useful little gadget.
The good solar camping lights and lanterns have both solar and USB charging capabilities.
You can charge the lights via USB before you leave, so that if it’s cloudy or rainy – you aren’t left out in the rain (see what we did there) with your power supply.
Of course, when the sun is out you can leave your light or lantern out to charge too.
We like the LED lights/lantern that are an accordion style and can fold down into a handy little handheld flashlight.
A great idea for those who want a flexible lighting device.
2. Solid/Rigid 100 Watt Solar Panels
This is more for those who go to a camp site with an RV or a camper trailer.
Solid/rigid solar panels can be mounted to your RV or camper trailer, and can be used to charge one or a bank of 12 volt solar batteries.
These panels are usually mounted to the roof with brackets, and are used with a solar controller in between the panel and solar generator.
3. Flexible 100 Watt Solar Panels
Flexible panels are made of a plastic laminate, and most of them can flex or bend to uneven surfaces.
Flexible panels can be mounted temporarily or permanently to most surfaces, or even hung up on a tent.
They are best for charging 12 volt DC batteries, and can be used with a solar generator which is useful with either an AC inverter or USB outputs.
Depending on the capabilities of this inverter – you’d be able to charge lights, phones, tablets, generators and fridges from it.
The great thing about flexible solar panels is that they can be used for a range of other applications outside of camping like charging marine batteries and being used on cabins for example.
4. Small 5-30 Watt Folding Solar Panels, and Large Folding 120 Watt Solar Panels
Small Folding Solar Panels
Small folding solar panels are fun!
They are very lightweight, durable and can be carried around with you if you want to leave the camp site and go hiking for example.
They’re great for charging items like smartphones, radios, a GPS, tablets and even LED lights.
If you have a USB camera like a GoPro – they can usually charge them too.
The thing that’s great about these solar panels is how they are able to fold up and be stored in a back pack, or folded out and mounted to a backpack or kayak for example.
Very well worth looking at if you only want to charge small devices.
Large Folding Solar Panels
120 Watt large folding solar panels will usually be stored away in a travel case, and then folded out at a campsite.
They are mostly used for charging RV, camper trailer and ATV/car type 12 volt batteries.
So, if that’s how you do your camping – these are an option.
Large folding solar panels will fold out and sit on a metal stand on the ground.
5. 2-5 Gallon Solar Shower
So, solar showers do not use a solar panel per se.
They hold water in a contained/sealed unit or bag which then heats up if you place it in the direct sun.
Very handy for those who will be spending a few days out camping and don’t have a water source or shower facilities nearby.