It’s always exciting to break away from the hustle and bustle of life and escape to the wilderness to relax. However, if you’re out backpacking or RVing, you might need to have more than just a portable power bank to give you the energy you need to keep you and your devices running. Having a portable solar panel gives you the freedom to travel without needing to divert to find a power source to recharge everything. Whether it’s your stove, lights, or electronics that need power, portable solar panels will have you covered.
It’s important though to make sure you have a solar panel that fits your travel style. There is no “one size fits all” option when it comes to the best portable solar panels. Check out our guide so you know what to look for before purchasing your new solar panel kit.
Comparison of the Best Portable Solar Panels
Below is a list of the best solar panels for camping and RVs. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.
|Best for RV: Renogy Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase||100, 200||54.4×18×5.6in||25.6lbs|
|Best for Backpacking: GoerTek Portable Solar Charger||2||7×3.8×1.1in||1.18lbs|
|Best Lightweight: Anker Portable Solar Panel Charger||21||26.4×11.1×0.2in||14.7oz|
|Best Portable: Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger||21||26.3×11.1×1.06in||1.13lbs|
|Zamp Solar Portable Solar Panel Kit||90, 140||42×24.5×4.5in||39.8lbs|
|Eco-Worthy Off Grid Solar Panels||5, 10, 25, 60, 195||58.3×26.3×1.4in||29.2lbs|
|Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Solar Charger||5||6.1×3.4×1.4in||1.3lbs|
|Newpowa Polycrystalline Solar Panel||100||35.8×26.6×1.18in||19.62lbs|
|BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger||28||33.1×11.1×0.2in||1.31lbs|
|Goal Zero Boulder Solar Panel Briefcase||50, 100||40.0×26.75×1.75in||25.9lbs|
What to Look for in a Good Portable Solar Panel
Here are the things you should consider before choosing a portable solar panel.
1. Types of Portable Solar Panels
- Monocrystalline: These are constructed from a single large silicon crystal. Monocrystalline panels are arguably the most effective because they’re able to produce a high amount of power even when sunlight is lacking. In terms of efficiency, monocrystalline solar panels are the best. While they’re the most expensive of the three types, they’re usually the most durable and least sensitive to high temperatures.
- Polycrystalline: The best solar panels for RVs, polycrystalline solar panels are created from multiple blocks of silicon. They take up much less space than amorphous panels and are less expensive than monocrystalline panels. They don’t produce as much power as monocrystalline panels, but they’re still a good investment for an RV.
- Amorphous: These panels are created by spreading silicon on a large bed. Also known as thin-film panels, they’re well-liked because they’re more budget-friendly than the first two while also being flexible and allowing for more installation options. On the negative side, they can take up around three times more space than polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels while still producing only as much power.
The efficiency values are the amount of solar energy converted to DC electricity. They are usually shown in percentage form. A higher efficiency means the panel can weigh less and take up less space, but still have a solid output. Be sure you get a solar panel that maximizes its output while not taking up too much space. It’s important for the electrical output to supersede what you need to power your electronics. Also consider the climates you’ll be driving in. Efficiency is much more important if you’re not guaranteed to be in sunlight often.
3. Wattage Cells
A higher wattage means the panel is better able to power several electronics simultaneously. Typically, a higher wattage means a better efficiency rating, but also a higher price point. Keep in mind you can always buy a lower wattage panel, see how it works for you, and buy a second if necessary, instead of buying a very high-watt panel from the start.
You’ll want to make sure the panel is going to work when you’re on the road. A portable solar panel should be an investment so if the price sounds too good to be true, it might be lacking in quality. Also make sure the solar panel is made of high-quality water-resistant materials to avoid damage in the rain or snow.
Because you’re going to have to move the panel from your house to your RV or car, you want to make sure you’re able to carry it and that you understand how to install it. Some kits come in a briefcase and others have traveling cases. Just be sure you can travel with it and store it safely.
This has a lot to do with what type of traveling you’re doing and where you’ll be putting the solar panel. If you’re going hiking, you should be looking for the smallest solar panels you can find so you won’t be weighed down. If you’re attaching it to your RV, just be sure it won’t cause any damage to the RV because of its weight.
Best Portable Solar Panel Reviews
Now that you know what to look for, here are the best portable solar panel options currently on the market.
Renogy Monocrystalline Portable Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase
Available Wattage: 100, 200 | Weight: 25.6 lbs | Dimensions: 54.4 x 18 x 5.6 in
The Renogy Monocrystalline Portable Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase is one of the ultimate options in portable power solutions. Weighing around 27 pounds, the suitcase comes with two 50 watt monocrystalline solar panels, a 20-amp waterproof Voyager Charge Controller, a 10-foot tray cable with alligator clips, and a casing for protection. It has an output of up to 500 watt hours per day, and folds down to 19.9” x 27.2” x 2.8” when not in use. The charge controller includes an LCD display and the aluminum stand is adjustable and corrosion-resistant. With an IP65 waterproof design, this is one of the best portable solar panels for RV trips.
Zamp Solar Portable Solar Panel Kit
Available Wattage: 90, 140 | Weight: 39.8 lbs | Dimensions: 42 x 24.5 x 4.5 in
Among the best solar panel kits for RVs which are 35-feet or smaller, the 140-watt Zamp Solar Portable Solar Panel Kit can charge everything from your lights to your portable computer. The kit comes ready to connect directly to a 12-volt battery or a 12-volt battery bank of multiple batteries. It includes detachable battery alligator clamps, 15-feet of wire, adjustable quick stand legs, a 10-amp waterproof charge controller, and a ballistic nylon carrying case. The kit weighs around 40 pounds and measures 42” x 24.5” x 4.5”. Sturdy and easy to use, the Zamp Solar Portable Solar Panel Kit will be a welcome addition to your RV trips.
Eco-Worthy Off Grid Solar Panels
Available Wattage: 5, 10, 25, 60, 195 | Weight: 29.2 lbs | Dimensions: 58.3 x 26.3 x 1.4 in
If you like to take long caravanning trips, the monocrystalline Eco-Worthy Off Grid Solar Panels are a great option. They were specifically designed for extended outdoor use which is evident in their corrosion-resistant aluminum frame. The 195 watt panel weighs around 30 pounds and can offer 1,000 watt hours per day. Its power enables it to charge a 50Ah battery from 50% to 100% in only 90 minutes with the right sunlight. The panel has pre-drilled holes on the rear which simplifies the mounting and securing process. The Eco-Worthy Off Grid Solar Panels provides an ideal combination of size and efficiency.
Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Solar Charger
Available Wattage: 5 | Weight: 1.3 lbs | Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.4 x 1.4 in
One of the best portable solar panels for camping, the Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Solar Charger can easily be attached to your backpack and give you all the power you need for your trip. It folds down to 6.1” x 3.4” x 1.4” and only weighs 1.3 pounds. It has a built-in 25,000mAh Li-polymer battery so you can charge all your devices multiple times. The charger has four foldable panels with up to 1 amp of current in the sunlight. It can be charged with a USB cable and has dual USB outputs. The charger even includes a built-in LED flashlight with SOS mode which is perfect for outdoor emergencies or if you forgot your camping headlamp. You won’t have to worry about your phone dying while you’re out on the trail when you bring along the Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Solar Charger.
Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger
Available Wattage: 21 | Weight: 1.13 lbs | Dimensions: 26.3 x 11.1 x 1.06 in
When it comes to the best portable solar chargers, The Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger will always make the list. This charger is made of three monocrystalline solar panels and can provide up to 3 amps. It has dual USB outputs along with technology to promote fast charging. At only 6.3” x 1.1” x 11.1” (when folded) and 1.13 pounds, the charger likely weighs less than your camping tent and is a breeze to bring on all of your camping trips. The IPX4 waterproof rating means it’s resistant to both water and dust. With up to 24% solar conversion efficiency, you’ll love how quickly the Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger charges your devices while you’re exploring the great outdoors.
Newpowa Polycrystalline Solar Panel
Available Wattage: 100 | Weight: 19.62 lbs | Dimensions: 35.83 x 26.57 x 1.18 in
The Newpowa Polycrystalline Solar Panel has been redesigned to be smaller in size but provide the same high-efficiency output. The 100 watt solar panel weighs around 20 pounds and measures 35.8” x 26.6” x 1.2”. It includes pre-installed diodes and cables. The panels are framed with a heavy-duty anodized aluminum to enhance rigidity and durability. The panel works great in the sun and even still gives you some power when it’s cloudy. The Newpowa Polycrystalline Solar Panel offers great power and value for money.
GoerTek Portable Solar Charger
Available Wattage: 2 | Weight: 1.18 lbs | Dimensions: 7 x 3.8 x 1.1 in
The best solar chargers for backpacking offer versatility in a lightweight package to make sure you never end up without your electronics powered up. The GoerTek Portable Solar Charger has a built-in 25,000mAh Li-polymer battery. It can be charged via solar power or with a 5V/2A adapter (not included). It allows you to charge three devices at a time so you can make sure your phone, tablet, and camera or drone are always ready to go. This charger has 36 built-in LED lights with three lighting modes plus charging indicators (a green light will display when it’s charging with the solar panel and a blue light will display when it’s charging with the adapter). In addition to the power bank and the manual, a carabiner and USB cable are also included. This charger is IPX6 waterproof rated, measures 7” x 3.8” x 1.1”, and weighs 1.18 pounds. The GoerTek Portable Solar Charger is the perfect option for your future backpacking trips.
Anker Portable Solar Panel Charger
Available Wattage: 21 | Weight: 14.7 oz | Dimensions: 26.4 × 11.1 × 0.2 in
If you’re going to be backpacking, it makes a lot of sense to take the Anker Portable Solar Panel Charger with you. It has a compact design and was created to easily attach to your backpack or tent. The 21 watt SunPower solar array can power two devices simultaneously and has an efficiency of 21.5 – 23.5%. The panels are sewn into a polyester canvas which makes it weather-resistant, but it’s not actually waterproof. Folded down the charger measures 11.1” x 6.3” x 1.1” and weighs less than one pound. Anker continues to be a trusted brand loved by many, and the Anker Portable Solar Panel Charger maintains that high standard.
BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger
Available Wattage: 28 | Weight: 1.31 lbs | Dimensions: 33.1 × 11.1 × 0.2 in
When you’re camping you want to make sure to have everything you need without your load being too heavy. With the BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger, that’s never a problem. As one of the best camping solar panels, the water-resistant charger has three USB charging ports with a 5V/4.8A maximum. It’s able to convert 21.5 – 23.5% of solar power into free energy. It measures 11.1” x 6.3” x 1.3” when folded, weighs about 1.3 pounds, and can easily fit in your hiking daypack. For safety purposes the charger has protection against short circuiting, over voltage, over current, and overcharging. When buying a solar panel for camping, don’t overlook the BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger.
Goal Zero Boulder Solar Panel Briefcase
Available Wattage: 50, 100 | Weight: 25.9lbs | Dimensions: 40.0 x 26.75 x 1.75 in
If you need a solar panel for campervan trips, check out the Goal Zero Boulder Solar Panel Briefcase. Inside the briefcase you’ll find a 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel. Constructed with tempered glass and rigid, anodized aluminum the briefcase is lightweight. It weighs about 26 pounds and measures 40” x 26.75” x 1.75”. Truly one of the best portable RV solar panels, the briefcase features an adjustable kickstand to help with portability and a carrying case to protect it while you’re traveling or it’s in storage. While you’re sitting around the campfire after you’ve stopped for the night you’ll really appreciate having the Goal Zero Boulder Solar Panel Briefcase with you.
The best RV solar panels allow you to have the kind of adventures you’ve been dreaming about. They provide a freedom most people don’t even know exists, plus they prolong the battery life of your RV. If you choose a solar charger for backpacking trips as well you’ll love not having to worry about finding a place to recharge your power bank and so you’ll be able to take longer trips with less stress. If you’re someone who loves outdoor adventures, you definitely need to have a portable solar panel in your camping gear collection.