Solar Chargers for Backpacking

Best Solar Chargers for Backpacking

The demand for portable power is growing rapidly and they will continue to grow in the post-COVID 19 world. Since more and more people are planning to spend more time outside, the demand for a portable solar charger for backpacking will skyrocket for sure. Now, if you are planning to go on a multi-day hiking or camping trip, a simple power bank is not going to help you cause. You need to find a way to get access to a reliable and uninterrupted source of power to keep your gadgets alive. Solar charger tops the list here. Since these solar chargers draw their power from the Sun, you can live offgrid for days and week without staying disconnected from the rest of the civilized society. Now, finding the right Solar Charger that fits your backpacking requirements is not that easy. To make your job easier, here we have listed some of the most popular solar chargers that money can buy –

Solar Chargers for Backpacking

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1. Anker Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel

Do you have a passion for camping, backpacking, and such outdoor activities but want to ensure your gadgets don’t run out of juice? This versatile solar panel powered charger can be just your thing! It is powerful and has 2 ports to charge up your gadgets like iPhone, iPad, and many popular Android devices.

Anker Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel features fast charge tech and so you do not have to wait for a long time. The charger can be used to charge 2 devices at the same time. The PET polymer solar panels embedded in a rugged polyester canvas resists water and can be used outdoors without issues. It is also lightweight and you can pack it in bags easily. On top of that, you get an 18-month warranty on this device.

2. BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger

When you go camping or hiking, you need means to charge your smartphone and similar small gadgets. This is where this versatile BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger comes into the picture. It has 3 USB ports to charge your gadgets easily and the device is foldable, ensuring portability. The charger has Smart Charging Technology which can identify connected devices and then tweaks charging speed accordingly.

BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger comes with FCC/ RoHS certification which ensures safety. You need not fret about hassles like short circuits and overheating. The build quality is great and the PET polymer surface ensures durability. In the package, you get the Solar Panel Charger, Micro USB cable, the buckles, and one user manual.

3. Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger

You love backpacking and camping but hate the fact that your gadgets run out of power soon! When you have this solar powered outdoor charger, there is no reason to worry about that. This charger comes with twin USB ports and supports a lot of iOS and Android devices. There are solar Monocrystalline panels that capture solar energy and the process is hassle-free.

Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger’s Advanced Smart IC Chip detected plugged-in devices and selects charging voltage. You can charge 2 devices using this versatile charger simultaneously. Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger is compact and weighs only 17.3-ounce and so you can put in a bag and go camping or trekking easily. The PET polymer cover is IPX4 waterproof and so outdoor usage will not be a problem.

4. RAVPower Solar Charger 21W Solar Panel

RAVPower Solar Charger 21W Solar Panel is a robust and versatile solar charger that comes equipped with Solar Panel and 2 USB ports. It is folding and portable in nature, making it ideal for backpacking and camping in the wilderness. It supports most Android and IOS based devices. The charger supports twin device charging at the same time.

RAVPower Solar Charger 21W Solar Panel is laden with Smart IC frequency technology and that helps detect connected devices. So, you can be assured of your devices getting charged in the right ways. The charger is covered by a refined waterproof fabric and so weather-related damages are unlikely to occur, even after prolonged usage.

5. Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger

Are you searching for a portable, low maintenance charger to juice up your gadgets during weekend backpacking and camping trips? Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger will fit your bill well.

Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger is equipped with a powerful solar panel. It gathers enough energy to charge 2 devices connected simultaneously. It is quite durable and the PET polymer solar panels are coated by polyester canvas. So, you need not worry about harsh climate conditions and rainfall, etc. Its elastic loops make attaching the charger to bags and backpacks simple. Its compact size makes it ideal for use by a lot of users. In the pack, you get one Micro USB cable, the USB Solar Charger, and warranty documents.

6. Goal Zero Nomad 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit

A solar charging kit can be a savior when you are camping or backpacking away from home! If you want to charge your Smartphone and gadgets when you are away in the wilderness, Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit will fulfill your needs. You get a quality and rugged solar panel along with a 2300mAh Power Bank in the kit.

The Monocrystalline Solar Panel is foldable, ensuring ease of usage. In fact, you also get a kickstand and removable pouch in the pack for better user experience. Its innovative technology charges your devices quite fast while the included smart junction box prevents device overheating. You can use Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit in harsh climate conditions as well.

7. ECEEN Solar Charger Panel

For a solar charger that offers both portability and ease of usage, ECEEN Solar Charger Panel is the right contender. ECEEN Solar Charger Panel is an eco-friendly charger and there is no battery. The solar charger is also portable and easy to operate. Its Built-in Smart IC detects the device type and then offers optimal charging current to it.

So, you need not think about issues like device overheating and overcharging. ECEEN Solar Charger Panel weighs less than a pound and can be folded as well. In the pack, you will get a micro USB cable and user manual. The company also offers 12 months warranty on this product.

Backpack Solar Charger Buying Guide

Power Output

The input battery voltage of your electronic gadgets and the output of the solar charger should be the same. Any mismatch can lead to a disaster. If the output is lower than the input, the solar charger might start draining the battery of your gadget rather than charging it. Yup, I know that sounds ridiculous but it is the truth.

In order to charge a large electronic gadget like a laptop, the output of the solar charger battery has to be 12V to 24V. But for small gadgets that can be charged via a USB cable, the minimum output rating has to be at least 5V.

Storage Capacity

The higher the storage capacity of the solar battery, the better. High storage capacity will allow you to recharge multiple gadgets. You need to calculate how many devices you can get fully recharged with your solar charger before making the final call. Take in mind that some energy gets wasted while the energy gets transferred from the main battery to other electronic gadgets. So, just because you have got a 5000 mAh battery, it does not necessarily mean that you will be able to fully charge ten 500 mAh electronic battery. Maybe the main battery will run out power before the 9th electronic battery gets fully charged. Factors like these are usually get ignored by people. So, keep that mind while shopping for the best solar charger for your next backpacking destination.

One more thing, the solar battery needs to have higher storage capacity and output voltage otherwise you might have a hard time getting your electrical gadgets recharged fully. However, if you are only using a replaceable battery, you don’t have to get into this mess.

Battery Technology

Lithium-ion and lithium polymers 

Lithium-ion and lithium polymers batteries are quite common. This technology is used in both built-in batteries of electronic gadgets and also in rechargeable battery packs.

NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride)

AA or AAA batteries are mostly classified as NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries and they are usually rechargeable in nature. Rather than recharging the devices, you can purchase these rechargeable batteries and they will get the job done. Most headlamp, camera, GPS, and other electronic gadgets use these rechargeable AA or AAA batteries.

Lead Acid

Lead-acid batteries are by far the worse of the lot. They are large, bulky but they do have some advantages and that is – they have a higher output and greater storage capacity.

Practical Considerations

Here are some practical aspects that you need to carefully consider before making the final call – 

The Duration Of The Trip

If it is a small trip, you don’t necessarily need a solar charger to recharge your electronic gadgets. A battery pack might be sufficient for such a scenario. But if you are planning to go on a multi-day trip, carrying a battery pack is the stupidest idea ever. Once the battery drains out, it will be just dead weight. You need to carry a solar charger for such backpacking trips. Do remember to keep these solar chargers fully charged before starting the trip because they tend to lose power over time.

Avoid the Canopy

If you are planning to go on a hike on a grassland, carrying a solar charger will make sense. But if you are planning to backpack in a dense forest where the sunlight struggles to reach the forest floor, carrying a solar charger would be a terrible idea. Your solar charger will never be able to get itself fully recharge as the solar panels would not get enough sunlight. However, certain activities like cycling in an open country or kayaking in a river would allow the solar panels to have access to direct sunlight and thus these panels will help the solar charger to replenish itself. If you are hiking in open country, you need to make sure that the orientation of the solar panel is such that it always gets direct sunlight unobtrusively no matter what.

Battery Type

You need to find a solar backpacking charger that allows you to recharge a set of spare AA batteries while the other set of AA batteries are being used in some gadgets. This will ensure that you never run of battery in the middle of nowhere.

Size and Weight

If you are looking for a solar charger that will generate a lot of electricity to power all your fancy gadgets, you need to take into consideration the fact that such a high-power solar charger will automatically increase its weight. Moreover, the solar panels will take up more space. Do you want to carry around a heavy solar charger while backpacking? It might slow you down.

Solar Panel Considerations  

Surface area

You don’t have to be an expert to understand that large solar panels will absorb more sunlight and thus will generate more electricity in the process. However, they do have a major disadvantage and that is – they take up a lot of space. Small solar panels are relatively easier to carry around but they take really long time to convert the sunlight into energy. Moreover, large solar panels are powerful enough to generate electricity even in cloudy or outcast conditions.    

Output capacity

Solar panels with higher Watts ratings will produce more electricity compared to their lower Watts rated solar panels.

Foldable or Not

Foldable solar panels are definitely a popular choice among backpackers and hikers as they are easier to carry around. Make sure that the solar panel that is planning to purchase has an option to get it attached to your tent, bike, or your backpack. This will allow you to recharge your gadget while on the move.

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