camping solar panel travel portable foldable energy renewable sustainability nomad

Best travel solar panel for backpacking

Travel solar panels seems so far way from the time where backpacking was a 80 Litres backpack and a long lasting back pain after months on the road. 

The good thing is that we could carry anything we wanted, and this is before the computer era so it basically meant clothes and some gear. 

Today the average backpack size is 45 litres and minimalism is the word of the day. 

Efficient clothing, simpler gear and very light electronic devices allows anyone today to travel for long periods with a manageable weight, that will be nicer to your back. 

Based on this new era of light packing, the best options for solar charging are solar charged powerbanks. Another reason why they are better for backing is that you are always on the move, so unless your foldable panels are really small you need to store the energy you get at all time so you can use when you have a chance. 

We are not talking of heavy powerbanks either because it would defeat the purpose, of light solar charging. It has to be a perfect balance between charging capacity and mobility. Luckily there are already many reliable brands doing it so we checked them out for you and found a good recommendation .

Our Top Pick

Pros
- Features
- Price

Cons
- None

camping solar panel travel portable foldable energy renewable sustainability nomad

Blavor Solar Power Bank


This model destroys the competition with a combination of low price, great reviews, low weight and extra goodies like the wireless charging.

Overall
5/5

If you need more output energy, we reviewed bigger solar panels  in our solar panels for camping article. 

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Criteria used to choose the best options

 

There were many things I took in consideration when choosing the best options in my opinion. It’s not quantitative evaluation, there is no formula I created to decide. It’s more a mix of quantitative (ex. price) and qualitative ( ex. brand website) qualifications with a salt of my own experience, you are welcome to disagree:

– Website : Brands that don’t have their own website are unlikely to be reliable for support or any claim. Website is a minimum requirement for any business today, so I penalised those brands who don’t have one. Nonetheless when talking of very inexpensive devices that could be relatively less important when comparing with pricey systems

– Reviews : I tried to look for review websites, and only amazon covers all the products so we can reliably compare them. Less than 50 reviews means a non popular or new product. A new product is a higher risk to  purchase so I had it in consideration too. We all know a big chunk of Amazon reviews are fake, so when analysing reviews we need to search deep into the negative reviews to have a feel of it. There is no science for this, as far as I know, so you have to trust my review nose. 

– Price and Weight Ratios : I looked at this two critical characteristics when you are talking about traveling gear and compared them with the power capacities. The idea was to see how much you were paying for the same amount of power, or how much weight would you have to sacrifice to have a certain amount of power output. The flaw here is that the marketed power is very frequently different from the real output because of the efficiency of the solar panel. It’s almost impossible to have it in consideration for this ratios because you still have to trust the manufacturer, and that’s only for the ones who share the info. Hence the official ratios will have to suffice. 

– Extras : it was never a decisive advantage but I’m that kind of person that loves all-in-ones so I tend to look to see what other tasks the products can fulfil, and some of them are packed with goodies

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The 5 best for backpacking

Below you can check all the contenders

Our Top Pick

Pros
- Features
- Price

Cons
- None

camping solar panel travel portable foldable energy renewable sustainability nomad

Blavor Solar Power Bank


This model destroys the competition with a combination of low price, great reviews, low weight and extra goodies like the wireless charging.

Overall
4.5/5

#2 First Runner up

Pros
- Features
- Weight

Cons
- Price

FEELLE Solar Power Bank


Also with good features like waterproof and lantern but a little more expensive

Overall
4/5

#3 Second Runner up

Pros
- Rugged

Cons
- Price
- Performance, smaller panel

OUTXE 24000mAh Rugged Solar Charger


This is a more all terrain model with a rugged material and completely waterproof. But the solar panel is much smaller

Overall
4/5

All the contenders for best solar backpacking chargers

I reviewed two main groups of solar panel chargers with powerbank to see if the difference in price and weight would help for the best option. The first group was the +20K mah:

And then the second group was the +10K solar charger with power bank:

The first conclusion one can take is that it is not worth to get a solar charger with a bank on the lower level of +10K because the price and weight difference is not worth to have half the capacity. 

The average price for the +20K is 38 dollars which is not far away from the 24 dollars of the lower bracket (excluding the Powertraveller outlier) 

Second conclusion is that weight can indeed be almost the double, meaning it follows the storage capacity. 

At least in most of the cases, and that makes sense if we think it as physical capacity. 

Nonetheless the one I consider the best buy is below the 400 grams which makes it the best gram per mah capacity of them all. 

Blavor is the lightest of the +20K, it costs almost as a +10K and it has amazing Amazon reviews (although with a low number). 

For the price and weight it’s a clear winner with the only con to be low review base, but quite positive nonetheless.

Adding on top wireless charge and waterproof makes it a no brainer, it’s a clear winner with no chance for the competition. 

 

Considering renting an RV or a camper? You need a bigger output, check our article about solar panels for RVs.

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