Packing up for the great outdoors? Whether it’s traditional camping or glamping, chances are, you’re still bringing a few devices with you. Sure, bringing power banks helps with backup juice for your gadgets, but you would still need to constantly charge them.
Have you considered getting solar panels instead? They charge not only your devices but some camping appliances, too – because camping doesn’t always mean completely missing out on the perks of technology. To know more, check out our buying guide along with our list of the 10 best solar panels for camping.
Best Solar Panels for Camping Reviews 2021
1. Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel for Camping
Rockpals is an online retailer of outdoor power solutions, from solar panels to generators and related accessories.
The SP003 is Rockpal’s version of a portable solar panel. Folded, it measures a compact size of 20.5 x 14.2 x 2.6 inches and weighs only 10.8 lbs. It also comes with an easy-carry handle so you can carry it along with the rest of your camping gear.
Durability is not compromised with its portability, as the Rockpals is made of durable Oxford cloth and water-resistant material. The only part not completely waterproof is the junk box, which is usually the case in most market panels.
Power-wise, the Rockpals SP003 has a high-conversion efficiency and can convert anywhere between 21.5%-23.5% of solar power into usable energy. This rate is significantly higher than most similar panels on the market.
One feature of the Rockpals that sticks out is its smart and fast charge technology. The SP003 is equipped with a built-in smart IC chip that intelligently identifies your device. Once it does this, it automatically and simultaneously maximizes the device charging speed and protects it from charging and overloading.
We love the Rockpals SP003 because of its diverse compatibility, with its four different-sized connectors and three USB ports. This feature makes this solar panel compatible with most solar-powered batteries out there. It also means it works with most 5V devices, such as smartphones, digital cameras, tablets, GPS, and more.
Price-wise, it’s not too expensive, yet it’s not the cheapest either. It stands at a relatively affordable price point, which is pretty reasonable considering all the above features.
If we could fault the Rockpals SP003, it would be that the best wattage we achieved from it was 75-watts. This wattage was obtained when tested in real life on a normal sunny day. However, this isn’t too much of an issue as it’s common for solar panels to be around 20% off their advertised power. So really, 25% off is not too bad.
Overall, the Rockpals SP003 is perhaps your best option for a reasonably priced, portable, and high-quality solar panel with heaps of features.
- Portable, foldable, compact, and lightweight – Folded length of 20.5 inches and the total weight of 10.8 lbs.
- Durable and water-resistant.
- The powerful and highly efficient conversion rate of 21.5-23.5%.
- Smart and fast charging technology.
- Wide compatibility – four different-sized connectors and three USB ports.
- Reasonably priced.
- The actual wattage is around 25% off when tested in real-life conditions.
2. Jackery 100W Portable Solar Panel for Camping (Premium Pick)
Jackery manufactures outdoor power solutions and is the brainchild of a former battery engineer from Apple. Their products include portable power stations, solar panels, generators, and related accessories.
The Jackery SolarSaga is a monocrystalline silicon solar cell panel with a power output of 60 watts. Conversion wise, it is incredibly efficient at up to 23%.
It is a relatively medium-sized portable solar panel measuring 33.7 inches long unfolded and 16.7 inches when folded. It’s also foldable and lightweight at 3.3 lbs and comes with a TPE rubber handle for convenient handling.
A unique feature of the SolarSaga is its dual USB output. It has a USB-C and a USB-A outport port and allows you to use both simultaneously. It also has integrated safety features that protect it from overcharging, surge, and short circuits.
Setting up the SolarSaga on any campsite is easy. It comes with a foldable standing bracket that enables you to pop the panel at an angle for maximal solar energy absorption. Alternatively, you can fold the brackets and simply set the panels on the car or tent roof.
One drawback for the SolarSaga especially for a camping solar panel is its lack of waterproofing. Despite being made of durable EFTE material resistant to extreme temperatures, it is unfortunately not waterproof. The saving grace to this design flaw is its foldability, making it easy to store when the rain comes trickling in.
Overall, the SolarSaga is a great option for a portable and foldable solar panel for use in dry weather conditions.
- High conversion efficiency – 23%.
- Lightweight and foldable – compacts to only 16.7 inches when folded and weighs only 3.3 lbs.
- Innovative extra and safety features – two USB ports for simultaneous device charging, protection from overcharging, surge, and short circuits.
- Easy installation – comes with a foldable bracket for flat or angled mounting.
- Not waterproof – can only be used in dry weather conditions.
3. Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger for Camping (Value Pick)
Nekteck is an Amazon retailer of an extremely huge array of products, from solar lights to electric massagers, cables, and more.
The Nekteck 21-Watt portable solar panel is a great choice for a small-sized affordable portable solar panel. If hiking or trekking is part of your camping experience, you probably want a Nekteck panel with you. It’s smaller than your average tablet, measuring only 6.3 inches at its longest when folded. It weighs just over 1 lb in total. It probably won’t make much of a difference to your gear’s total weight.
Speaking of portability and hiking, the Nekteck portable panel also includes an attachment hook on the panel design. This enables you to attach the unfolded panels onto your backpack, allowing it absorbs solar energy during your hike. Genius design idea, right?
It may be small, but it’s definitely not weak. This compact solar panel has a high conversion efficiency of 21-24%. It is equipped with two USB ports that will yield a maximum power output of 3.0 when both in use. Alternatively, a single USB port use will give out up to 2A of maximum power.
Although compact in size, it is packed with features. The Nekteck has a built-in intelligent charging technology making it compatible with most USB-supported devices. The same technology also protects your panels and devices from overcurrent, overcharging, over-voltage, and short circuits.
Because it’s small, it can only power most of your handy devices and gadgets. It would not be able to power up your other camping appliances, such as portable fridges or portable electric stoves.
Another drawback is its limited compatibility to that of only USB-supported devices. But most mobile devices nowadays are USB-equipped, so this is probably not a major issue.
In summary, Nekteck 21 is a top choice for a portable and affordable solar panel to power up your mobile devices.
- Affordable and high-quality.
- Lightweight and portable – measures 6.3 inches at its longest when folded.
- High conversion efficiency rate of 21-24%.
- Built-in intelligent charging system – safety charging features and compatible with most USB devices.
- Relatively small, so it can only power small gadgets.
- Compatibility limited to USB-supported devices only.
4. TogoPower 60W Portable Foldable Solar Panel Battery Charger
TogoPower is another online retailer that focuses on the manufacture and distribution of portable outdoor power solutions. Their products include portable power stations, solar panels, power kits, and gas generators.
The overall design is one of the unique features of the TogoPower that earned it a spot on our list. It’s foldable, with a carry case for easy portability. In its folded state, this solar panel looks very sleek, slim, and discrete. It’s almost as if you’re carrying an art portfolio case instead of a solar panel. It also comes with an adjustable kickstand, so you can leave your panel at an angle for optimum sunlight exposure. Finally, the four corners of the unfolded panel have integrated holes in them. These are handy if you wanted to mount the panels to the ground on a tree branch or atop the RV.
The TogoPower 60-watt solar panel is a foldable and portable monocrystalline solar panel with a maximum output of 60 watts. Although limited at 60 watts, the conversation efficiency sits at 23%, still significantly higher than similar products in the market.
Another appealing feature of the TogoPower 60W is its smart USB charging technology. It comes equipped with dual USB ports, which gives out a maximum output power of 3A when simultaneously in use. The built-in intelligent technology detects your device type and optimizes the charging speed while protecting it from overloading and overcharging. It also comes with an 18V DC output to power up your DC devices.
You also don’t have to worry when it rains while you’re exploring the great outdoors. The TogoPower panels are made of water-resistant material and a durable nylon outer material and encasement.
A setback to the TogoPower 60-watt panel is the added cost to maximize its compatibility. This is because the panels don’t come with the necessary cables that connect the panel to your devices. So, you either have to have one already or purchase one separately. Although it’s portable and compact, it’s also not ideal for bringing along while hiking, but it will definitely serve you well on the campsite.
Overall, the TogoPower is a good option for a solar panel to charge small devices while you’re stationary on the campsite.
- Functional overall design – adjustable kickstand, built-in mounting holes, convenient carry handle.
- Monocrystalline panels with high conversion efficiency – up to 23%.
- Smart USB charging technology and DC output – prevents overcharging.
- Durable and water-resistant material suitable for use outdoors.
- Cables to connect your devices to the panel must be bought separately.
5. BigBlue 28W Portable Solar Phone Charger
BigBlue is also another Amazon player in the solar panel and portable outdoor power technologies market.
The selling point of the BigBlue 28-watt solar charger is its triple USB port with smart charging technology. This is an update from their previous version, which only had dual USB capability. This updated feature will be super useful, especially when camping with a group or your family. There will be no fighting over who charges their device first! Charge them simultaneously and worry-free. The integrated smart technology protects your devices and the panel from overheating, overcharging, and short circuits.
If you are an avid hiker, the BigBlue’s compact and portable design may also appeal to you. It folds down to 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches and is lightweight at 20.6 oz. It will easily fit into your backpack. It also has built-in mounting holes on them, allowing you to hook them onto your backpack for charging.
The maximum power of this brand of portable solar panel totals to 5V/4.8A when all three ports are simultaneously in use. The small size also doesn’t reflect its conversion efficiency as it has a relatively high rate of 21.5-23.5%.
In terms of durability, the BigBlue solar panels are overall IPX4 certified. This means it is resistant to water splashes from all directions. So don’t worry if you catch rain while on the trail; your solar panel will not be compromised. On top of that, the unit has covered with a special PET polymer surface protecting it from moisture, fog, or rain. The ports are also adequately covered with cloth flaps and rubber covers, which gives additional protection from water, moisture, and dust.
This foldable solar panel comes with an integrated pouch for holding your cables – a brilliant, functional idea in itself. However, we think that the pouch closure can do with some design improvement. The current version has a Velcro-type closure, which means stuff in the pouch can easily fall out when it’s not securely closed.
Other than that, the BigBlue is another great choice for a camping solar panel, especially if a hike is on the itinerary.
- Triple USB port with smart charging technology that protects from short circuits, overcharging, and overheating.
- Portable and lightweight with integrated mounting/carabiner holes.
- Efficient and powerful considering its size – max output of 54/4.8 A when three ports in use and efficiency rate pf 21.5-23.5%.
- Durable and IPX4 certified – water, moisture, and dust resistant.
- The integrated pouch could be better with more secure closure types other than Velcro.
6. Goal Zero 10W Camping Solar Panels
Goal Zero is a Utah-based manufacturer of innovative portable solar products. Their company was a product of the founder’s passion for adventure, humanitarianism, and lover for the planet.
A unique feature of the Nomad 10 is its versatility in power provision, both devices, and the power component. It comes with a power pack, four AA batteries, as well as an AAA adapter tray. You can charge your devices directly from the solar panels or use the already charged power pack for the same. The batteries are also removable, so you can use them to power up battery-run gadgets such as a flashlight or a GPS.
The power pack itself charges directly via the solar panel. But in case of cloudy days or limited sunlight exposure, you can also charge this via the built-in USB port.
You can’t complain about the device’s portability. It’s super lightweight at only 1.2 lbs and is relatively compact at 9.5 x 7.2 x 1.2 inches when folded.
The compact panel comes with a well-thought-of, functional design. It comes with easy hook-on holes for your backpack and a kickstand that adjusts up to 180 degrees. These features allow you to charge the solar panels with sunlight, whether you’re stationary or on the go.
The only thing is because it is small and lightweight and only meant for a maximum of 10-watts, it will only charge devices that require low energy levels.
Overall, it’s a great camping solar panel for charging your phones, GoPros, or if you wanted backup emergency AA or AAA batteries.
- Versatile power provision -charge devices directly from the panel or through the power pack. AA/AAA batteries can also be removed and used to power battery-run devices.
- Versatile power pack charging – directly from solar panels or via integrated USB port.
- Portable, compact, and lightweight at only 1.2 lbs.
- Functional design – hook-on holes and 180-degree adjustable kickstand.
- Its power capacity and size limit its use to only small devices, such as mobile phones and small cameras.
73. TP-solar 60W Portable Solar Panel Camping
TP-Solar is another Amazon store offering solar-powered products and related accessories.
The most appealing feature of the TP-Solar 60-watt portable solar panel kit is its multifunctionality and compatibility. It is equipped with a triple output port: two USB ports and a single DC port suitable for 12-18V devices. It is also designed to be compatible with most portable generator sets currently out in the market.
Power-wise, this 60-watt monocrystalline solar panel can charge 12-volt batteries like the ones in cars, RVs, boats, or truck trailers. It has a conversion efficiency rate of 25%, which is higher than most portable solar products.
The TP-solar has a relatively large surface area when unfolded, reaching a maximum length of 44 inches. Don’t be alarmed if your car is packed with camping gear as this solar panel folds into a compact 9.8-inch, folded.
The TP-Solar’s panel is fully laminated with EFTE material in terms of durability, ensuring it will last for over a decade’s use. The panels themselves are waterproof and heat and frost-resistant, so you can use them in all types of weather.
The only downside to the TP-solar 60-watt panels is their weight. Although that can be seen both ways. It is relatively lightweight at 3.1 lbs, but probably not light enough to bring on your hikes or walks.
In short, if you’re more into the amount of power than portability, then the TP-solar 60-watt is a good option to consider.
- Multifunctionality and compatibility – triple output port compatible with a lot of USB and DC devices.
- Good power with the ability to charge 12V batteries and an efficiency rate of 25%.
- Large surface area unfolded, yet compact and portable when folded.
- Durable and waterproof with fully laminated EFTE material.
- It may be too large for bringing along on walking or hiking trips while camping.
8. FEELLE 25000mAh Solar Charger for Camping
Feelle is an Amazon Store dedicated to outdoor adventure products, such as solar chargers, hand warmers, and the like.
At only 6.1×3.35×1.37 inches when folded, the Feelle is probably the most compact solar panel on the market. It’s also lightweight at 1.18 lbs, making it perfect for charging your small devices when your out camping or hiking.
Power-wise, this small power bank also packs a punch. At 2500 mAh capacity, it charges multiple devices multiple times for days. The company’s advertised estimate is on a full charge. It achieves the following charge rate. Nine charges full charges for an iPhone 8, eight full charges for a galaxy S6, and 3 full charges for an iPad mini 4. This rate means you can last days off the grid without having to worry about running out of batter. It also means the entire group would have their devices adequately charged at all times.
The Feelle solar power bank unfolds into four solar panels, which you can charge easily pretty much any way you prefer. Use the integrated strap to hook it on to your backpack, over the tent, or simply lay it on the roof of the car. The Feelle also allows you to simultaneously charge your device while the panels are also charging in the sun.
In terms of durability, the Feelle solar power bank solar panels are waterproof. The materials used for the entire unit are also high-quality, ensuring a longer lifespan.
Needless to say, the Feelle solar power bank is probably not for you if you’re looking to power up larger devices and appliances. However, if your solar panels are primarily for charging your communication devices, then the size and power capacity of the Feelle should suffice.
All in all, the Feelle solar power bank panel is a great choice for a super-compact panel to charge small devices.
- Extremely compact and lightweight – 6.1 inches at its longest and 1.18 lbs folded.
- Extremely powerful considering its size – 2500 mAh capacity on a full charge.
- Easy charging set up and also allows you to charge devices while solar panels are charging.
- Durable and waterproof.
- Only suitable for powering up small devices.
9. DOKIO 100W Portable Solar Panel for Camping
Doki is a Chinese manufacturer of solar panel technologies, with its products primarily sold online.
Portability and foldability are the selling points used by the Dokio 100-watt solar panel. The unit itself is only half an inch thick and is just under 6 lbs in weight when folded. It’s great a great choice if you want a large panel but has limited storage space in the car.
The solar cells of the Dokio brand are monocrystalline, which means they are highly efficient in terms of energy conversion. The advertised conversion rate for the Dokio is an impressive 23% efficiency.
Durability wise, the Dokio 100-watt solar panels are made of water-resistant and durable nylon material. They are suitable for use in light weather conditions, such as rain or snow.
Because it is foldable, installation is relatively easy. Simply unzip the bag and pop the panels over your RV roof – or on the ground. You can even rest it against your tent for angled sunlight exposure. No screws nor special mounting brackets are needed.
Although durable, the nylon material covering the panels can become its downfall. By nature, Nylon has poor resistance to light, which means the nylon fabric covering the unit may get weaker with prolonged sun exposure. But then again, the Dokio was made for temporary use, so it’s great for those occasional camping trips and holidays.
Like most solar panels, the maximum wattage of the Dokio is only up to 65 watts, which is again 35% off the claimed power.
In summary, if you’re looking for a relatively affordable, temporary solar energy source for your camping trips, the Dokio is a top choice.
- Portable, compact, and durable – only 0.5 inch thick and under 6 lbs folded.
- Highly-efficient monocrystalline panels with 23% conversion efficiency.
- Water-resistant, durable nylon material.
- Foldable and easy to install with various mounting options. Simply unzip from the case and lay onto the RV roof, ground, or against the wall.
- Nylon material cover may weaken with time and with prolonged sun exposure.
10. ECO-WORTHY 60W Solar Panels for Camping
ECO-WORTHY has been manufacturing renewable energy products, such as solar panels, for nearly two decades now, having started in 2002.
A unique feature of this ECO-WORTHY panel is that it comes with an LCD screen indicating the solar panel’s status. It includes much relevant information, such as mode, parameter configuration, charging status, and more.
Another great feature is the panel comes with a solar controller protecting the entire unit from surge, short circuits, overloading, and more. The same controller has 3-PWM charge management that improves the solar system’s efficiency while prolonging its battery’s lifespan.
In terms of portability, the ECO-WORTHY solar panels fold up nicely into a compact size. The system comes with built-in alligator clips and an adjustable kickstand for use when unfolded. This allows you to hang the system over a tree branch or adjust it at an angle on the ground for charging.
It’s also made to be compatible with a wide range of devices and gadgets, thanks to its included extension cable with 10-in-connectors. It can power up almost all camping gadgets and devices that you can think of.
Our criticism for the ECO-WORTHY 60-watt panel is that the instruction manual could have been written better. If you had no experience with solar system setups, you might find setting this up tricky.
Other than that, it’s a good 60-watt foldable solar panel for all of your electricity needs during your camping trips.
- LCD screen that indicates the status of the solar panel.
- Solar controller protects the unit from surge, overloading, and more.
- Compact with alligator clips and adjustable kickstand for hanging on walls or mounting on the ground.
- Compatible with a wide range of devices – extension cable with 10-in-1 connectors.
- Clearly written instructional manual not suitable for beginner solar system users.
Things to Consider When Buying Solar Panels for Camping
Because of its increasing popularity, there are so many varieties of solar panels available on the market. There are certain features of solar panels you should look out for when using them specifically for camping trips. Find out what these are in our guide below.
- Price is a given factor in any purchase you make. The first thing to determine is how much you are willing to spend.
- You need to ask yourself other questions that relate back to the price in terms of solar panels for camping.
- How often do you go camping? If you are a frequent camper, it’s probably not bad to invest in higher-end solar panels.
- How much power do you need? Generally, the more powerful solar panels are, the more expensive they get.
- How many gadgets and appliances do you intend to use while out camping? The more devices, the higher the power you will need.
- What type of sites do you usually camp at? If traveling to mostly powered sites, you may be fine with smaller panels with lesser power. However, if traveling in remote areas, having a good-sized panel with high power and efficiency may be ideal.
Portability, Size, and Setup
- Do you intend to use your panels only while in the car/campsite? Or do you plan on bringing it along during your hikes? Your answer to these questions will help you determine the level of portability your solar panels need to be.
- In line with portability, you may also want to consider the size of your panels. Will it fit in the care alongside the rest of the camping gear?
- Pick easy-to-use panels, so your time is spent enjoying the outdoors instead of setting up your panels.
Solar Panels for Camping Frequently Asked Questions
How long do solar panels for camping take to charge?
Like most solar panels, the charging time depends on a few factors. Some of these factors include the brand, solar cell type, panel size, and, more importantly, the amount of sun exposure. Generally, depending on locality, peak sunlight hours are between 1.5-7.5 hours. This means depending on the degree of sunlight exposure, your solar panels will achieve full charge somewhere around this range.
What else do I need apart from solar panels?
A lot of brands sell solar panel kits, which makes it easier for new solar users. The kits contain pretty much all that you need to complete a solar system setup. If, however, you pick a solar panel on its own, make sure you get a few other extras:
- Batteries are needed to store the energy harvested from sunlight. Lithium batteries are recommended for camping solar panels as these batteries have higher discharge and recharge rates.
- Solar regulators. Solar panels have fluctuating powers of between 12 to 21 volts. If this is not efficiently regulated, you may end up damaging the solar battery.
- Solar inverters. These convert the DC energy from the solar panels into an AC, which most appliances and gadgets need to operate.
Why is solar power better than a fuel-run generator?
- Solar power is environmentally-friendly. Fuel-run generators constantly emit carbon dioxide during use, which can be harmful to the environment. On the other hand, harvesting solar power does not emit anything and has no known harmful effects on the environment.
- Solar power is cost-efficient. Other than the initial purchase cost, there is really nothing to pay during the lifetime of your solar panels. With fuel generators, however, you end up paying for fuel as well as regular servicing.
Having solar energy while out camping is a great way to ensure your communication and tracking devices are always powered up. It’s also a bonus to have, especially when they’re strong enough to power some portable camping appliances, like stoves and fridges.
Our clear winner for the best solar panel for camping would be the Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel. It’s portable and compact to fit the car with all the camping gear and durable to withstand all weather conditions. Finally, it’s powerful and packed with great features, making the mid-range price well worth the investment.