Solar Panels for Camping: A Guide Before You Buy

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Camping is a whole lot comfier than it used to be. Today, you can take home comforts with you. All you need is a portable power station and a solar panel. In this blog post, we’ll dive into some things you need to know when shopping for a portable solar panel for camping, how you can use them, and then round it off with some solar panel recommendations.

DELTA portable solar panel for camping
DELTA portable solar panel for camping

Why should I use a solar panel for camping?

Comfort

With 97% of campers now taking tech with them on trips, comfort has become something you don’t need to sacrifice while out in the sticks. Think coffee machines, hot plates, or even projectors to watch a movie. Just charge up your portable power station via a camping solar panel and you can power it all.

portable solar generator for camping

Renewable and quiet

In the past, gas generators have been a go-to for campsite power. They’re loud, dirty, and require maintenance. A portable power station plus a solar panel is the polar opposite. Clean, quiet, and easy to use.

Safety

If you’re going out in the wild, it’s always best to have an emergency power source for your phone and essential electronics. A small portable power station such as an EcoFlow RIVER series and a 60W solar panel is enough to keep you powered anywhere.

The three most important features to look for.

Water/dust proofing

Since you’ll be outdoors, it’s a good idea to pick up a portable solar panel that can handle a bit of rain, dirt, and dust. If you choose a fragile, rigid solar panel you might risk damaging the cells and reducing the efficiency of the panel, or worse. All EcoFlow camping solar panels are IP67 water and dust-resistant while being foldable too. Ideal as camping solar panels.

portable solar panel for camping waterproof
Water & dust proofing

Portability & easy setup

The one thing you always lack when heading camping is packing space. Cumbersome rigid panels are a chore to carry and set up once you get to your campsite. It’s best to go for a foldable solar panel that’s lightweight and easy to set up. The most portable of EcoFlow’s models are the 60W and 110W panels. They fold up neatly into a small carry bag a little larger than a briefcase. That being said, all EcoFlow solar panels are foldable into similar carry bags.

Compatibility

Make sure the panel you pick is compatible with your battery/portable power station. Most portable power stations use an solar charging port to link to solar panels, all of EcoFlow’s models follow this standard too.

Efficiency

So let’s say you’ve got all the above features ticked off. It’s portable, compatible, and rugged. However, if you choose a cheaper, polycrystalline panel, you will be sacrificing efficiency. EcoFlow’s solar panels are all monocrystalline, drawing a whopping 21-22% efficiency. This makes sure you’re getting the most out of the sun to charge your power station as fast as possible.

How to set up your solar panels for camping.

Step 1: Set up your panels

First off, you’ll need to set up your panels. If you’ve just got one panel you can plug it right into your portable power station via your solar charge cable solar panel connector. If you’ve got more than one panel, you can chain them together to increase the amount of solar power you’re generating. Chaining in series is the easiest way providing you’ve got an MPPT controller. With an EcoFlow portable power station, you don’t need to worry about this as they all have built-in MPPT controllers to maximize efficiency.

To set up your panels in series, just plug the male connector into the female connector of your second panel, then take the loose ends from each panel and link them to your solar charge cable, plug that into your EcoFlow portable power station and you’re set. Here’s how it’s done.

Step 2: Angle directly towards the sun

To make sure you’re getting the most solar energy, ensure the solar cells get full sunlight coverage. Any shadows or obstructions will decrease the efficiency. EcoFlow solar panels make this easy since the carry case doubles as a stand, allowing you to prop the panel up at just the right degree.

The Verdict: Which are the best solar panels for camping?

The quick answer is… it depends. How long is your trip? How big is your portable power station? Is portability an important factor for you? You’ll want to take these into consideration when choosing a solar panel for camping, but as a rule of thumb, smaller solar panels are great for portability and short trips, with the larger models being great for a serious multi-day camp setup. Here’s a summary of EcoFlow’s portable solar panels:

Most Portable

EcoFlow 60W Solar Panel

60W

Foldable
Waterproof
8.8 lbs*
$249
*Incl. Carry Case

Mid-Range

EcoFlow 110W Solar Panel

110W

Foldable
Waterproof
13.2 lb*
$399
*Incl. Carry Case

Mid-Range

EcoFlow 160W Solar Panel

160W

Foldable
Waterproof
15.4 lb*
$449
*Incl. Carry Case

Highest Input

EcoFlow 400W Solar Panel

400W

Foldable
Waterproof
35.3 lb*
$1,199
*Incl. Carry Case
Kris Haagensen
Born and raised in the UK, Kris is a 4.0 International Business grad from Sheffield Business School. After working in the tech industry for half a decade in Shenzhen, China, he's now Lead Copywriter at EcoFlow. Kris is a renewable power enthusiast & uses solar generators to run his DJ gear in exotic locations.

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