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For the avid backpacker, a reliable solar charger is a game-changer. It powers your devices on the go, ensuring you stay connected, navigate efficiently, and capture unforgettable moments. But with countless options in the market, choosing the right one can be a challenge.
In this guide, we’ve reviewed the best solar chargers for backpacking in 2023, focusing on essential aspects such as power output, capacity, size, and recharge time. Whether planning to conquer the Appalachian Trail or preparing for a relaxed camping weekend, find a solar charger that fits your needs.
EcoFlow’s Top Solar Chargers for Backpacking in 2023
- Best for Hiking and Backpacking: RIVER 2 Solar Generator
- Best for Dry Camping: RIVER 2 Max Solar Generator
- Best for Extended Camping Trips: RIVER 2 Pro Solar Generator
- Best for Road Trips: DELTA 2 Solar Generator
- Best for Weekend Motorhome Trips: DELTA 2 Max Solar Generator
Best for Hiking and Backpacking: RIVER 2 Solar Generator
The RIVER 2 Solar Generator from EcoFlow is the highest option on our list, making it the perfect charging solution for hiking and backpacking trips where you plan to be on your feet much of the time. With foldable solar panels, it’s easy to pack up and fit in your bag for any journey.
While it can’t power high-wattage appliances, its compact nature can still handle lower-power personal devices like a lightbulb, a laptop, and a box fan. And yes, that’s an “and,” not an “or.” You can power multiple devices simultaneously as long as it doesn’t exceed the RIVER 2’s operating AC output, which is 300W.
You don’t have to choose between charging your RIVER 2 and using it to charge other devices; it can handle both simultaneously. Power up using the sun while giving your devices the power they need.
- Storage Capacity: 256Wh
- AC Output: 300W (600W starting watts with X-Boost)
- Weight: 7.8 lbs (3.5kg)
- Dimensions: 9.6 x 8.5 x 5.7 in (24.5 x 21.4 x 14.2 cm)
- Charging Time: 60 minutes
- Solar Input/Charging: 11-30V 110W, 8A Max
- App: Supported
- Capability to power multiple devices
- Lightweight and portable design
- Supports solar charging and other charging methods simultaneously
- X-Boost technology for up to two times the starting watts
- Easy to set up and use
- Can’t power high-wattage appliances
Best for Dry Camping: RIVER 2 Max Solar Generator
If you’re dry camping or camping somewhere without access to water or electricity hookups, you may want to consider upgrading to something more substantial, like the RIVER 2 Max Solar Generator. With a much stronger AC output of 500W (or 1000W on X-Boost Mode), the RIVER 2 Max gives you enough power for larger devices and equipment, which will come in handy when you don’t have other access to electricity. You can use your generator to power items like a blender, a small Keurig, or even a small refrigerator, in addition to powering up your personal devices.
The RIVER 2 Max is still portable at just 13.4 pounds and won’t take up much room on your campsite. When you need power fast, you’ll be glad that the RIVER 2 Max’s charging speed beats the industry standard, offering complete 0-100% charging in just one hour using the AC outlet or just 4 hours with pure solar charging.
Even after many camping trips, your RIVER 2 Max will still work great thanks to a long-lasting LiFePO4 battery that’s also dust- and water-resistant, so you won’t have to take the campsite dirt and grime home with you.
- Storage Capacity: 512Wh
- AC Output: 500W (1000W starting watts with X-Boost)
- Weight: 13.4 lbs (6.08g)
- Dimensions: 10.6 x 10.2 x 7.7 in (27 x 26 x 19.6 cm)
- Charging Time: 60 minutes
- Solar Input/Charging: 11-50V, 13A, 220W Max
- App: Supported
- Strong AC output of 500W (up to 1000W X-Boost)
- Portable and lightweight design
- Four charging methods
- Fast 0 – 100% charge time in just 1 hour
- Long-lasting LiFePO4 battery
- Heavier and bulkier, but still not enough power for larger appliances
Best for Extended Camping Trips: RIVER 2 Pro Solar Generator
If you’re planning an extended camping trip, the RIVER 2 Pro is your best bet. With a massive storage capacity and impressive AC output, the RIVER 2 Pro is a must-have for any long camping trip where you’ll want more of the comforts of home.
The RIVER 2 Pro is powerful enough to power high-wattage appliances like a space heater and hot plate, so you can enjoy all the niceties you’re used to even while off the grid. It’s also perfect for road trips since it’s still lightweight, but it’s likely not something you want to carry in your bag for long periods.
While the River 2 Pro is an investment, it will last – offering up to 10 years of use thanks to its LifePO4 battery.
And with reliability like less than a 30 ms switchover speed, you can use it as an emergency power supply to avoid any outages on your long camping trips.
- Storage Capacity: 768Wh
- AC Output: 800W (1600W starting watts with X-Boost)
- Weight: 17.2 lbs (7.80kg)
- Dimensions: 10.6 x 10.2 x 8.9in (27 x 26 x 22.6 cm)
- Charging Time: 70 minutes
- Solar Input/Charging: 11-50V 13A, 220W Max
- App: Supported
- Power to run high-wattage appliances
- Charge four different ways
- Fast 0 – 100% charge time in just 70 minutes with AC power
- Long-lasting LiFePO4 battery for up to 10 years of use
- Control via WiFi or Bluetooth
- More expensive than other options
Best for Road Trips: DELTA 2 Solar Generator
If you’re hitting the road for a weekend getaway, the DELTA 2 Solar Generator is your perfect companion. It’s bigger than the RIVER 2 Pro, but it won’t take up too much room in your packed vehicle while on the road.
It has enough power to run most appliances and personal devices like laptops and phones. And then, when you set up for the night at a hotel or campsite, you can set up even bigger and more demanding appliances like a clothes iron, coffee maker, electric skillet, and more.
This solar generator has an impressive charging time of just 50 minutes on AC power to go from 0-80%, making it ideal for overnight trips.
- Storage Capacity: 1024Wh
- AC Output: 1800W (2700W Surge)
- Weight: 27 lbs (12kg)
- Dimensions: 15.7 x 8.3 x 11 in (400x 211 x 281 mm)
- Charging Time: 80 minutes
- Solar Input/Charging: 11-60V, 15A, 500W max
- App: Supported
- Multiple ports, including AC outlets, USB outlets, and DC outlets
- Enough power for almost any situation you could find yourself in
- Doubles as a power bank for long drives
- Charge up to 80% in just 50 minutes with AC power
- Expandable capacity with extra batteries
- Too large and heavy to be something you carry around
Best for Weekend Motorhome Trips: DELTA 2 Max Solar Generator
The DELTA 2 Max Solar Generator is the perfect companion for weekend motorhome trips. It is slightly larger than the previous option, but finding a spot for it in a motorhome is easy.
While its weight of 50.7 lbs might seem heavy, it’s still the industry’s highest option for a 2400W LFP Solar Generator. You won’t find anything more portable than this that offers the same power.
For weekend motorhome trips, you’ll need to use most of your typical devices and equipment, and thankfully, this solar generator can power up to 99% of appliances, including a refrigerator for up to 14 hours and a WiFi router for 97 hours (to name a few). And with the world’s fastest recharging speeds of just 43 minutes to 80% charge when you combine AC charging and up to 1000W solar input, you’ll almost always have access to this incredible power source.
You won’t be tied down by cables running from your camper either since the DELTA 2 Max can be used as a mobile power station with USB-C charging and other options like AC and DC outlets.
- Storage Capacity: 2048Wh
- AC Output: 2400W (3400W with X-Boost)
- Weight: 50.7 lbs (23kg)
- Dimensions: 19.6 x 9.5 x 12 in / 497 x 242 x 305 mm
- Charging Time: 43 minutes to 80% with solar + AC
- Solar Input/Charging: 11-60V 15A, single port 500W; dual port 1,000W
- App: Supported
- Expandable battery up to 6kWh
- Can power almost anything
- World’s fastest recharging speeds (43 minutes to 80% with solar + AC)
- Sturdy construction that can withstand the wear and tear of motorhome trips
- Mobile power station to power up to 15 devices at once
- Heavy, so not particularly portable
- Expensive compared to other options
What to Look for When Buying a Solar Charger for Backpacking
To find the right power solution for you, considering your own needs and goals is crucial. You may not always need the biggest and most expensive option. Here are a few things to remember when buying a solar charger for an upcoming backpacking trip.
The power output is the maximum amount of electricity your solar charger can provide. Consider how many devices you plan on charging and how much energy each requires. If you plan on using high-power devices such as laptops or mini-fridges, you must look for a charger with a higher power output.
The battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and dictates how much energy can be stored until used. It’s essential to ensure that your generator has enough storage capacity to support the device you plan on using and its duration of use. To find the watt hours you require, multiply the watts of a device you need to use by the number of hours you’ll need to use it.
When backpacking, size matters! Look for a small, lightweight generator that won’t take up too much room in your pack if you plan to carry it. EcoFlow offers several solar generators with different size options to meet every need.
Your solar charger’s recharge time should also be considered, as you don’t want to spend all day waiting for it to charge. EcoFlow generators offer some of the quickest charging times on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, solar chargers are an excellent choice for backpacking trips. They provide easy portability and multiple ports to charge your devices while in the wilderness. Plus, solar charging capabilities mean you can get power from anywhere as long as the sun’s out.
Solar chargers can be worth it for backpacking trips, as they offer reliable power with the added convenience of easy portability and solar charging capabilities. If you prefer to backpack with the comfort of devices and appliances, it’s worth the investment.
A solar charger is better than a power bank for backpacking because it allows you to recharge as you go as long as the sun is shining rather than being limited to whatever power you could store before the trip began.
Solar chargers are an excellent option for backpacking trips and offer a reliable energy source in the wilderness. When looking to buy one, consider the circumstances of your backpacking trip and your power needs to find the right match, keeping in mind aspects such as power output, capacity, size, and recharge time. Once you find the right fit, you may never want to backpack without a solar charger ever again. Having access to power from anywhere is a freeing feeling. Find many solar generators perfect for any backpacking trip available through our selection at EcoFlow.