camping solar panel travel portable foldable energy renewable sustainability nomad

Best travel solar panel for hiking or camping

Camping or hiking is probably the activity where weight is more relevant and in which you have to be very conscious of what travel solar panels do you pack.

By the way carry on packing essentials is an art you should master if you are a traveler. 

You may be someone like me who prefer to pack an extra gadget and remove clothing, but if you want a good balance between electronics and the rest then this chapter will definitively take it in consideration. 

To afford enough power to charge devices like laptops and be portable at the same time the best technology is the foldable solar panel. (check out the next image)

These portable solar panels are easy to pack, very light compared with metallic versions and quite robust for our backpacks. 

If you are looking for devices to just charge your mobile phone then you can go to the backpacking section, where we will discuss smaller capacity options

Small solar panels can easily charge mobiles, even tablets but will struggle so something more like computers or lighting. 

Based on the power requirement of a laptop we will only consider a minimum of 20 watts solar panels

This is an average, as my Macbook 15′ for example requires almost 80 watts to start up. But to be able to charge it in normal operation or when it’s not operating 30 watts is the recommended power output.

We carry our 15W foldable panel on our backpack to charge our devices and we even use it while at home, and we couldn’t be happier.  

Our Top Pick

Pros
- Performance vs weight
- Price

Cons
- No battery

Nekteck 21W Solar Charger


This high performance solar panel is amazing in its output/weight. The reviews it has are very clear of its results

Overall
4.5/5

Want to learn more about our reviews? Subscribe to our newsletter

If you want something with a power bank because you are always on the move then check out our solar travel for backpacking

No Footprint Nomads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

camping solar charger camp life tent

 

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

Want to learn more about our reviews? Subscribe to our newsletter

The 5 best for camping

Below you can check all the contenders

Our Top Pick

Pros
- Performance vs weight
- Price

Cons
- No battery

Nekteck 21W Solar Charger


This high performance solar panel is amazing in its output/weight. The reviews it has are very clear of its results

Overall
4.5/5

#2 First Runner up

Pros
- Rugged material
- 2 year warranty

Cons
- Heavier than competition

Voltaic Systems Arc 20 Watt Rapid Solar


The most powerful equipment of them all and also the most expensive. But if you combine it with the power bank it's a great deal

Overall
4/5

#3 Second Runner up

Pros
- Interconnection with other panels
- Performance

Cons
- Price

camping solar panel travel portable foldable energy renewable sustainability nomad

Goal Zero Nomad 20 Solar Panel


We have been using other goal zero products and couldn't be happier. They have been on the market for many years, and i it wasn't for the higher price this would be a no brainer

Overall
4/5

All the contenders for best camping solar options

–   Most of the panels with lower reviews I don’t think they are less popular but rather new, still I had it in consideration

–  In this analysis there were two levels of prices, above and below 100 dollars. Only the Voltaic model had a good reason for the higher price because it includes a powebank, the others don’t, which also penalizes them

 – With the lower prices we had 4 with good reviews, so we used the reviews to ultimately choose the best option. I believe NekTeck offers the best value for money solution

 – Voltaic has great ratings, and if you are looking for a powerback solar pack solution it could be the best choice if you are ok with the high price

If you need more output energy, to be able to charge your laptop for example, check our digital nomads review.

Our Society is becoming Nomad again. Learn here how to become a World Citizen and live borderless

With more power, comes more responsibility. Learn here how to travel with a Zero Waste lifestyle

If you loose your Health focus, traveling will take you down. Learn here how to optimize your Health

Leave Only Footprints: Why Digital Nomads And Sustainability Are A Match Made In Heaven

Leave Only Footprints: Why Digital Nomads And Sustainability Are A Match Made In Heaven

04 July 2019

Facebook Linkedin Twitter Pinterest Leave Only Footprints: Why Digital Nomads And Sustainability Are A Match

Read More
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons