5 Top-Rated Camping Solar Panels Of 2017

Top Solar Camping Panels
source: energy matters

If you are an adventure junkie like me, then going camping may also appeal to your senses. But are we also similar when it comes to worrying about our gadgets running out of power?

If like me, you are concerned about losing power while staying outdoors, worry no more because these innovative and portable camping solar panels can be lifesavers for us. Through the use of photovoltaic cells, which absorb sunlight during the day to charge the batteries, outdoor enthusiasts like us can now enjoy thrilling adventures without having to worry about our devices running out of power.

These solar panels also come handy during emergency or power outages caused by natural calamities or disasters. And I found these solar panels useful in charging up my must-have gadgets such as mobile phones, camera, laptop or tablet and my kindle whenever I’m out for a great outdoor adventure.

So, if you are looking for camping solar-powered panels to add on your camping gear must-haves, then you came at the right place. Listed below is a comprehensive list and need-to-know facts about the 5 top-rated camping solar panels in the market today.

Comparison Table of the Best Solar Panels on the Market

NameRatingWeightWarrantyPrice Check
RAVPower 16W Dual USB Solar Charger4.623. 9 oz1 yearPrice Check
Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit4.12.6 poundsNot Indicated (Contact Manufacturer)Price Check
Anker PowerPort Solar Lite 15W4.312.48 ozNot Indicated (Contact Manufacturer)Price Check
14 Watt SunJack Solar Charger4.41.76 poundsNot Indicated (Contact Manufacturer)Price Check
ECEEN 10W Zip Pack Solar Panel Charger4.20.8 poundsNot Indicated (Contact Manufacturer)Price Check

5 Best Solar Panels On The Market

To cut your research time short, you can find below the solar panels that you should consider. These devices have proven its efficiency to thousands of different users already, including me, of course.

1. RAVPower 16W Solar Charger with Dual iSmart USB Ports

If you are looking for a certified eco-friendly solar panel device, then this is a perfect model for you. This allows you to charge portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. With its iSmart technology, it ensured the most efficient and fastest charging time.

DESIGN

The RAVPower 16W Dual USB Solar Charger is made with a waterproof and mold-resistant sewn rugged polyester canvas, which makes it a weather-resistant device that you could rely on when you need it most. It is equipped with 4 practical hooks to absorb more sunlight and 2 iSmart USB ports ideal for charging.

Its smaller but powerful design makes it ideal for most adventurous and outdoor activities such as backpacking, camping, hiking and cycling.  This device only weighs 23.9 ounces with a dimension of 31.89 x 10.24 inches when unfolded and 7.48 x 10.24inches when folded.

Its foldable and easy-to-carry design is perfect for outdoor adventures and activities. Its dual USB port design allows us to recharge two devices simultaneously.

FEATURES

Considered one of the best and efficient solar phone chargers in the market, it boasts an impressive list of features and functionality. Aside from utilizing the freely available solar power efficiently, it is highly durable and provides optimal charging current to the devices attached to it. For more features, continue reading below.

High Energy Conversion – The device’s highly efficient solar cells can convert the solar power into free energy for up to 21.5 to 23.5 percent. Despite depending on amount and quality of sun rays absorbed, it can still rapt an energy whether in sunny or cloudy skies.

Compact Size – If you are looking for a lightweight and portable device you can carry anywhere you go, then this is a perfect device for you. It is one of the most compact solar chargers that is available today thanks to its lightweight foldable format.

Practical Hooks – Equipped with 4 practical hooks, the device can be hooked up to your backpack, tent or even the nearest tree to easily get as much sunlight or power as possible.

iSmart and Smart IC Technology – With the cutting-edge combination of iSmart and Smart IC frequency technologies, the RAVPower solar panel can recognize the individual input of all connected devices to provide optimal charging current while minimizing the charging time. Moreover, it distributes the total current output accordingly for up to 3.2 Amperes.

Pros
  • Compact and Easy-to-Use
  • Good efficiency
  • Durable
  • Weather-Resistant
  • Convenient for Storage
  • iSmart Technology and2 USB ports auto adjust to correct output
  • 3 Amperes Total Output (unusual but great since solar panels often have a maximum rating of 2 Amperes)
Cons
  • Velcro on pocket is weak so it’s not so great for big devices
  • Voltage is not quite 5V (appears fluctuating from 4.75-5V)
  • Couldn’t get 100 percent of 15W out of it
  • Heavy for backpacking

Overall, the RAVPower 16W Dual USB Solar Charger is indeed one of the top-rated camping solar panels today. It seems cumbersome but well-built and stitching is decent while the panels are secure. It’s a must-have for every outdoor adventure seekers as it doesn’t take a lot of space, easy-to-use, charges quite fast under direct sunlight, charges in cloudy skies and very durable. Whether you’re living off-grid or traveling, this lifesaving device can make every outdoor trip stress- and hassle-free.


2. Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit

Considered a “conduit for exploration and a lifeline to adventure,” the Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit will allow you to power up your portable electronic gadgets regardless of the type of weather you’re experiencing. With the Nomad 7 Solar Panel,it is one of the most efficient solar devices that are truly weather- and water-resistant. It is also versatile and very durable device perfect for any outdoor voyages.

DESIGN

Designed to be an all-around, greatest, most rugged and smart power pack in the market, Goals Zero’s product development team made sure to focus its attention on the various electronic and mechanical features of the device. Hence, they created a tough and weatherproof solar panel that would be compatible with any rechargeable devices out there.

The company also tweak some tricks with the lights and various operating modes to make the device different from the rest of the solar panels available in the market today. Specifically designed for rugged outdoorsman, the device can also be used by people who need to rely on these kind of things exposed in harsh environments.

Made with an IPX6 weatherproof-rated materials, the device weighs at 250 grams and has a dimension of 4.5 x 3.25 x1 inches (11.4 x 8.25 x 2.5 centimeters). To get to know and understand the device better, check out the Venture 30 User Guide PDF file.

FEATURES

Straight from Goal Zero’s engineering team, the Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit is equipped with a wide range of electronic and mechanical features that made it unique from other solar panels available. Earning the certifications from CE, FCC and ROHS, the product indeed has an impressive list of specifications, check it out below.

Charging and Solar Panel–This device is solar-ready with a built-in charging tip. It can be charged in 9 hours under direct sunlight through the kit’s Nomad 7 solar panel while 4 hours from a 2A USB source.

As for its Nomad 7 Solar Panel, it has a 7-watt (8-9V) solar capacity with a maximum power output of 5 watts (USB 1A). It weighs 460 grams and has a monocrystalline cell type. This super lightweight, weatherproof and portable device allows you to power up handheld USB/12V gadgets straight from the sun and by using the Goal Zero kit, you can now store power to charge your electronic and rechargeable devices anytime, anywhere.

Power Pack – Aside from the Nomad 7 Solar Panel, the kit also includes a 30Wh (3.7 V, 7,800 mAh) power pack with a Lithium ion NMC cell chemistry and a LG chem/Samsung’s 18650 cell type.

High-Speed USB 4.8 across Dual Ports – These two high-speed ports are capable of distributing the fastest charge possible, at the same time. It can also power up two devices simultaneously and with its Integrated Flood Charge, it ensures to optimize your charging time. For its USB port (output), it has a regulated 5V, up to 2.4A (12W max).

Built-in Micro USB Tip and Light Indicator– This tangle-free feat is intended for charging mobile phones and tablets. Thanks to its certified cables, the device boasts its efficient charging ability. For its USB-micro port (input), it’s 5V, up to 2.1A (10.5W max). It also has a 150 lumen flashlight and battery level indicator.

Pros
  • Versatile and powerful
  • Has good power-to-weight ratio
  • Well-integrated system
  • Truly reliable, weather-resistant and waterproof
  • Highly ruggedized
  • Efficient solar panel
  • Usable when wet
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Lower wattage solar panel
  • Do not charge fast enough
  • Short Life

Design-wise, the Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit is one of the top choices so far. It is also the most thoughtful solar panel with impressive features and has the ability to charge newer versions of smartphones and tablets. With its Smart Charge feature, it talks to your device and maximizes the current.

So, if you choose this solar panel kit for your camping needs, then you can attach it easily to your backpacks or to a nearby tree. It can also survive the rough natural conditions without affecting its performance.


3. Anker 15W Foldable Dual Port Solar Panel

One of the top picks when it comes to solar panel options, the Anker PowerPort Solar Lite 15W is simply exceptional. It earned its top-rated spot for being a well-made, high-quality and reliable product, It is simple and easy-to-use yet delivers outstanding performance, making it a good investment.

DESIGN

Made from industrial-strength PET (polyethylene terephthalate) polymer thin film, this device is sewn into high-wear polyester canvas to ensure that it can withstand the rugged conditions of going outdoors. Designed for extreme portability and compactness, it has a size dimension of 11 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches (280 x 160 x 19 millimeters) when folded and 18.9 x 11x 0.2 inches(460 x 280 x 44 millimeters ) when spread out.

The product also boasts its ultra-light design, weighing only at 12.5 ounces or 355 grams. In addition, its slim foldable design is a perfect fit for any backpacks or daypacks.

FEATURES

With Anker’s revolutionary portable solar technology, it’s not surprising to learn the company has boosted their efforts in bringing the most powerful and durable solar devices on the market. Hence, they improved its 14W Dual Port Solar Panel to become the Anker PowerPort Solar 15W and the other version called Anker 21W PowerPort Solar.

As we take a closer look to the Anker PowerPort Solar 15W, let’s check on the product’s specifications and features.

Output Power and Off-The-Grid Power – This device is equipped with 15W dual solar panels, which provide a maximum current of 2.1 amperes that are distributed between its two ports. As for its Off-The-Grid Power, it offers free limitless power by simply spreading the solar panels or attach to your backpack daypack and start recharging your electronic gadgets.

Fast Charging Technology – With Anker’s exclusive PowerIQ technology, it replicates your device’s original charging protocol to optimize its fastest possible charging speed under enough direct sunlight.

Advanced Safety Feature – Another notable feature of the product is its advanced safety capability. This feat simply means the device is fortified with short circuit and surge protection technology that will surely keep you and your devices safe and sound.

Convenience, Portability and Versatility – Considered one of the easiest panels to use, the newly improved Anker solar panel is lighter, more compact and more powerful compared to its predecessor. With its sewn loops of parachute cord, the panel is easier to hang on tents, camper trailers or protruding nails. Unfortunately, it may not be durable in terms of long term use.

With the power combination of convenience, portability and versatility, the Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is perfect for outdoor explorations and activities such as camping, backpacking, hiking and kayaking, among many others.

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Simple
  • Powerful
  • Light
Cons
  • Small accessory storage can’t hold an average smartphone

If you seek to have the independence of charging things with free energy, the Anker 15W Foldable Dual Port Solar Panel is perfect for you. This durable and functional device is worth every penny you spend on it and believe it or not, this Anker product outplayed all the other panels of similar type. My best advice, see it, try and test it, and let us know how this camping solar panel became a game changer in your life.


4. 14 Watt SunJack Solar Charger

In choosing to go green or using solar-powered devices, one question that often comes to our mind is what is the best solar panel available in the market? With this question comes a lot of answers and choices but it is best to choose something that really suits your needs and of course, your budget. Fortunately, SunJack is bringing power to the people through its 14Watt Solar Charger.

So, are you ready or prepared when the grid goes down or when power runs out? If you have the 14 Watt SunJack Solar Charger, then you don’t have to worry about power outages as it charges devices flawlessly and as fast as an outlet charger.

DESIGN

Despite its small package, the 14 Watt SunJack Solar Charger is designed to provide a good bit of power. It is also made of lightweight but durable materials and can be easily tucked into a backpack. It is also designed to be shock, vibration and weather-resistant.

With its 0.8 kilograms unit weight, this product is simply designed for portability and convenience, noting its folded unit size of 9 x 6.5 x 1.75 inches (23 x 16.5 x 4.5 centimeters) that is similar to an iPad. When unfolded, it has a unit dimension of 9 x 31 x 1 inches (23 x 79 x 2.5 centimeters).

Moreover, the device is equipped with a mesh bag, which is located behind the charger. The bag is where the battery, charging cable and USB ports are stored.

FEATURES

SunJack has attracted the attention of the world due to its humanitarian efforts and their products powerful charging speeds. As they bring more power to the people, they also make their products as a personal companion to all outdoorsman out there. And with its products’ impressive features, one could never go wrong when purchasing its camping solar panels.

Charging – This 4-panel device is equipped with 14 watts of high efficiency monocrystalline solar panels (19 percent solar cells) with a maximum voltage or current output of 5V (Volts)/1.5A (Amperes). When exposed to direct sunlight (2000 LUX), it can fully charge its internal battery in about 5 hours, which is enough to power up four smartphones or 1 tablet.

During partly cloudy times (500-750 LUX), the device can still power up a light bulb for more than three hours.

Battery – This SunJack solar panel has an 8,000 mAh lithium-polymer Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 battery. It also features a 5 LED light indicator with each light represents 20 percent of battery life.

Additional Special Features – The solar panel also comes with some added special features so that you won’t need to order extra accessories such as a fast-charge cable, carabiner clips and weatherproof case. It also has eye loops for mounting or hanging on backpacks, trees or clotheslines.

Pros
  • Small, Lightweight and Durable
  • Ability to power or charge two devices simultaneously without lagging
  • Provides Steady, Fast and Reliable Current
  • No bright colors or other features that will get the attention of radars or heat-seeking drones
  • Can be used anywhere with access to direct sunlight
Cons
  • Black covering causes the SunJack to build up heat when placed near a window in daylight hours
  • Non-waterproof design

If you seek for a device ideal for camping, traveling or for emergency purposes, the 14 Watt SunJack Solar Charger is highly recommended and is among the most top-rated products. With its versatility in terms of capacity, it can generate huge amounts of power in just a short period of time. Furthermore, its battery and solar cell technologies make the product more impressively designed for long term usage.


5. ECEEN 10W Zip Pack Solar Panels Charger (ECE-647 black)

Do you always feel disappointed when your gadgets are running out of power while you’re staying outdoors? If yes, then the ECEEN 10W Zip Pack Solar Panel Charger is good for you. It is one of the most advanced folding solar panel available in the market today but it’s smaller, lightweight and less expensive compared to the others with similar specifications.

DESIGN

With its zip pack design, this camping solar panel is easy to close and open as it is equipped with a zipper, making it effortlessly similar to a book. Made of durable and stretchy fabric, SUNPOWER solar cells and monocrystalline panels, this device is perfect for any outdoor activities and trips such as camping, hiking and traveling.

It is designed for convenience, flexibility, portability and lightness. In fact, it has a folding size of only 11.5 x 6 x 0.5 inches and a net weight of 0.8 pounds.

FEATURES

When it comes to solar-powered devices, perhaps one of the most popular or dominant brands that come to our mind is ECEEN. And if you’re looking for an alternative solar panel charger that is more inexpensive, then this product is for you!

Honestly, I am new to solar-powered stuff but since going green is the latest trend, it wouldn’t hurt to try these kind of devices as well, not to mention its positive impact on the environment. So, this device was one of those I’ve tried and it’s pretty impressive! With its portable design and durable construction, it’s ideal for any outdoorsman out there. So, for its list of features, please see below.

Highly Efficient Solar Panels – This product boasts high efficiency as one of its main features. Thanks to its SUNPOWER solar cells and two monocrystalline solar panels, it can absorb solar energy up to 22 percent efficiency. With its high conversion solar charging technology, it allows you to keep your electronic devices charged with free solar power.

Stable Output – In addition to high efficiency, the ECEEN 10W Zip Pack Solar Panels Charger is also equipped with an exceptional voltage regulator that intended to ensure stable voltage and current. The regulator is also designed to protect your device while charging.

Speaking of stable output, the solar panel’s premium USB output is designed to support the simultaneous charging of 5V devices in 1.5A total (MAX).

Other Added Features – Apart from the aforementioned features, this device is also equipped with well-placed 14 ribbon hooks that enable easy attachment to backpacks with 4 free carabiners (a specialized type of metal loop used to reversibly connect components just like a hook) included. Moreover, it also has well-positioned 5 x 8-inch stretchy fabric pocket that is perfect for storing your cell phone, cable, keys or many other small parts. Lastly, it includes a 40-centimeter USB cable.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Portable, Lightweight, Durable and Foldable
  • High Efficiency
  • Scratch Resistant
  • Well-built
Cons
  • It will be not charging your device if the sun not strong enough or if there will be a heavy cloudy day.

All in all, this is an easy-to-use and high-quality camping solar panel with a good concept. If you’re looking for something inexpensive, this device could be a total lifesaver when traveling, hiking or in any other outdoor trips.


Other Highly Suggested Camping Solar Panels

Aside from the aforementioned top rated products, there are also devices you can try that may suit your needs and preferences. Check out the list below.

  1. Instapark Mercury 10M18U with Battery–Considered the best buy, this panel charger boasts its portable solar technology. It’s easy-to-use, versatile, lightweight and affordable. With 10 watts of power and two USB ports, it is an excellent choice to power up small electronic devices. The Instapark Mercury 10M18U Battery is also equipped with several pockets that are ideal for storing mobile phones, cables and an extra battery.
  2. AllPOwers 10W Portable Solar Panel Charger–This two-panel solar charger is well-rated and powerful yet inexpensive, highly portable and compact. Made of highly efficient (22-25 percent) monocrystalline silicon, its PET-laminated sunpower panels are sewn into high-wear PVC fabric for weather-resistant outdoor durability. This solar panel is also equipped with iSolar technology that automatically adjust the current and voltage to guarantee maximum power and deliver the fastest charge, not to mention its voltage regulator to ensure the current’s stability and prolong its life.

3. Brunton Power Essentials Kit-Explorer 2 Solar Panel with Inspire Power Pack – Perfect for camping, this lightweight, foldable and compact device offers a lot of functionality even with an under $100 tag price. It charges directly but only has a USB output, which is ideal for most if not all portable electronic devices. Taking its price into consideration, this is a great value option.

Need-To-Know Facts

Meanwhile, it’s an undeniable fact today that we depend more on our hand-held electronic devices for emergencies, to stay in touch with our families or to our jobs and for our entertainment. When going outdoors, it is also nice to have the security and comfort of these devices with us.

With that said, the need for solar-powered technologies is highlighted. But thanks to these solar panels, going outdoors is now done with ease, stress- and worry-free, and without any hassle to find a power source in the middle of nowhere. But what exactly are solar panels? Learn more about these devices in the next section.

What are Solar Panels?

What are Solar Panels
source: wisegeek

Solar panels are devices, which come in a variety of rectangular shapes, designed to absorb sunlight as a source of energy and convert it to electricity or heat. These usually come with a photovoltaic module that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications.

Today, most solar panels are portable and are equipped with USB slots that can be used to directly to charge handheld electronic devices. They are also designed to withstand rough use and almost all types of weather conditions.

How Does Solar Panels Work?

How Solar Panels Work
source: renewableenergyhub

Due to the drastic effect of climate and global warming, it is already a given fact that alternative energy sources such as the solar energy have been highly advocated in recent years. And with that said, it’s no longer surprising to see houses, commercial establishments and even roadside signs adorned with solar panels. But do you know how solar panels work?

Based on the simplest explanation on how these devices work, a solar panel uses photons (light particles) to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. Solar panels are composed of smaller units called photovoltaic (the ability to convert sunlight into electricity) cells, which are basically made up of two slices of semi-conducting material, usually silicon.

Why are Solar Panels Important?

Aside from the fact that going green is the latest trend nowadays, choosing to use solar panels whether at home, at work or going outdoors provides several benefits. Hence, it has been touted promising and important in our society.

To sum it up, solar panels are essential because they provide pollution-free power sources, reduce air pollution from coal power plants, conserve resources, preserve habitats affected by mining, reduce the need for nuclear power, lessen financial costs of electricity and generate energy independence.

Solar Panels Vs. Generator

Solar Generator vs gas generator
source: portable solar power

Before the emergence of solar panels is the common use of generators, which are often used to charge or power up devices or even an entire household when electricity runs out. However, these are usually noisy, smelly, bulky and heavy, and more challenging to transport. In some camping grounds, the use of generators is also not allowed.

Solar panels, on the other hand, are eco-friendly, silent and easy-to-use. It also comes in smaller sizes, making it easier to transport, not to mention it does not produce odors like of gas or kerosene.

BUYER’S GUIDE: Factors to Consider when Buying a Solar Panel
Just like any other devices, choosing the perfect camping solar panel that suits your needs require several factors to consider. Overall, we look for products based on the criteria of quality, performance and convenience but there also other important things to take note.

1. Charging Power or Power Ratings and Output Power

One of the few things to consider when buying solar panels is charging power or power ratings. So, check carefully the list of compatible devices, how fast the charging time is or if it is charging from the reserve battery or directly, how much power it can provide in a day or how many devices it can charge simultaneously.

Output power, on the other hand, means checking the watt rating and the highest output power of the panel.

2. Portability

Another factor to consider is portability. Gone are the days where big and bulky devices are in as the competition is now more on the smaller, the better precept. In fact, various manufacturers are going up against each other to create the simplest, most lightweight and very compact solar panels in the market. So, check its dimensions or whether it is foldable or not.

3. Ease of Use or Usability

The “ease of use” or the usability factor simply means looking into the overall quality of the product, which could comprise many things such as the charge level indication, materials used, the inclusion of hooks or carabiners for easy attachment or if the panels can withstand all kinds of weather conditions. In addition, ease of use may also include checking if the device is water-, scratch- or mold-resistant.

4. Versatility

For consumers, a product’s versatility could be two things — either significant or irrelevant. However, if you are looking for a camping solar panel that can power up a laptop or other devices apart from your smartphone, then versatility is an essential thing to ponder. You may also ask if the device has an option for night charging or maybe if you can charge it while you’re on the go.

5. Efficiency

Apart from the aforementioned factors, the efficiency of the solar panels is also a vital criterion to take note. In terms of transmission efficiency, the portable solar panels today offer an average rating between 21 and 25 percent. However, there are also panels that provide 15 to 19 percent efficiency. One of the most important things to remember, however, is the fact that the higher the efficiency rating means a pricier cost.

6. Warranty

As you search for the most top rated camping solar panels. Keep in mind to consider the warranty length of the product. The reason? The longer the warranty means the manufacturer is more confident in their product’s quality, durability and longevity.

7. Cost or Price

The last but certainly not the least of all the factors to consider when choosing a camping solar panel is the price or cost of the product. If you have a budget, then better choose a product based on it and on your needs. But one piece of advice, its best to do a thorough research first before buying as there’s a wide price gap in solar panels. It is also good to check out different panels for discounts.

Conclusion

Taking into consideration the factors, your own preferences and needs, it is best to choose the most powerful, lightweight, compact and compatible solar panels to your devices while remaining cost efficient. Remember, going green and preserving the environment means spending less. Always remember to choose based on quality, performance and convenience.

So, are you ready to take a pick? Have you used any of the devices mentioned above? Share your experience with us below to help other readers decide.

For more info about Solar Energy Powered Devices, check out these articles: Best Solar Camping Lanterns of 2017, Best Solar Panels for Phone Chargers, Best Solar Powered Outdoor Lights, and the Best Solar Samsung and iPhone Chargers.

Other Sources:

Info.Camp4ever
Energymatters
Outdoorgearlab
Siliconsolar
Clicklikethis
Outdoorlife
Survival-mastery
Bestalyze
Livestrong
Wikipedia: Solar panel
Livescience
Amazon: RAVPower Solar Charger
Ravpower
Backwoodssolar: Sunjack14 Portable Solar Charger
Survivopedia: Sunjack Portable Charger Review

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