Backpacking or touring on a bike is a popular method of traveling amongst budget-conscious travelers. However, such trips come with their own set of challenges. One such challenge is simply how to keep gadgets such as cameras, laptops, and phones operational. With the advancement in technology, on the move harnessing solar energy to power up gadgets has emerged as a potential solution. Solar panels and battery packs can meet the challenge for keeping the gadgets operational but their selection needs a fair bit of research. Thankfully, we have done the homework for you. Yet, prior to delving into the details, it is important to understand how solar chargers work.
Here we have listed the best solar chargers for bike tours. Take a look at these products and then come to a conclusion –
Solar Chargers for Bike Tours Reviewed
1. BigBlue 24W Portable Solar Charger
BigBlue 24W Portable Solar Charger comes equipped with ultra-slim solar panels and should be able to generate enough energy to keep you going throughout the day. With this BigBlue 24W Portable Solar Charger, you will be able to keep your gadgets alive in the midst of nowhere. It can prove a lifesaver in places where there is no direct access to a conventional source of power. Since you will be traveling a lot on your bicycle, you need to have a solar charger that can withstand extreme temperatures, dust, rain, and snow. It has got a compact design and can be folded when you are not using it. Its foldable design has made it an ideal choice among bikers. Designed for hikers, campers, and climbers, BigBlue 24W Portable Solar Charger is extremely durable.
Compared to other similar solar chargers in the same price bracket, this BigBlue 24W Portable Solar Charger can generate 20 to 23% more energy. BigBlue 24W Portable Solar Charger comes fitted with an innovative Smart IC Technology that lets it recognize devices fast and then make changes in its charging pattern to speed up the charging process. This SmartIC technology eliminates any need for manual intervention which is great. PET polymer is applied on the surface and this is what will keep it protected from the rain and snow.
2. Luminiser 28W Solar Charger
Luminiser 28W Solar Charger is ruggedly built and is designed to allow you to keep your devices charged no matter what. It boasts off an impressive 23% conversion rate and its solar cells have got PET coating. No matter whether you are camping in the middle of a jungle or a freak storm has hit the power supply in your area, you can always depend on Luminiser 28W Solar Charger. The best thing about this Luminiser 28W Solar Charger is that all its parts are made in the US and that means, you don’t have to worry about its durability. An intelligent charge system is in place that will keep your devices protected from overcharging and whatnot. Luminiser 28W Solar Charger has got three USB charging ports. 3 devices can be charged at the same time on this which is incredible.
3. QiSa Foldable Solar Charger
QiSa Foldable Solar Charger allows you to spend more time outdoors on your bike and less time worrying about the dead batteries. With this QiSa Foldable Solar Charger, you will be able to bring your electrical gadgets into life and that too without spending an astronomical amount on them. QiSa Foldable Solar Charger has got high-density monocrystalline silicon solar panels that have got an impressive energy conversion capacity. Be it a mobile, Tablet PC, or laptop, you can get all those gadgets charged with this QiSa Foldable Solar Charger.
QiSa Foldable Solar Charger is smart enough to identify different devices and then it can make necessary changes in their charging patterns to speed up the charging process. With this solar charger, you will not have to worry about issues like overheating, overcharging, etc. Simple and portable, QiSa Foldable Solar Charger is extremely easy to carry and has got Pet polymer coating on its surface to keep itself protected from extreme weather. QiSa Foldable Solar Charger has got DC port and that means, you can use this solar charger to charge your car battery (assuming that you are placing it under direct sunlight).
4. Aeiusny Foldable 120W Monocrystalline Solar Charger
Aeiusny Foldable 120W Monocrystalline Solar Charger is a heavy-duty and truly versatile solar charger that you will ever find for your next biking trip at this price point. At this price point, Aeiusny Foldable 120W Monocrystalline Solar Charger is practically a steal. It has got a nice build-in handle and that means, you can carry it around like a small suitcase. All the cables and connectors are hidden inside its build-in zipper pocket.
Aeiusny Foldable 120W Monocrystalline Solar Charger has got a rugged exterior and it can easily ward off things like dust and debris. You can take this Aeiusny Foldable 120W Monocrystalline Solar Charger with you for your next trip and you will not have to worry about dead gadgets anymore. Its solar panels are waterproof and they can be folded down when you are not using them. Aeiusny Foldable 120W Monocrystalline Solar Charger can also easily withstand extreme temperature and heavy snowfall. Its DC adapters are compatible with almost all portable solar generators that are commonly available in the market.
5. TogoPower 60W Solar Panel Battery Charger
TogoPower 60W Solar Panel Battery Charger is compatible with almost all kinds of solar power generators that are commonly available in the market. You can use this to power all your electrical gadgets like GPS, laptops, mobile phones, and whatnot. Designed for power emergencies and outdoor life, TogoPower 60W Solar Panel Battery Charger boasts of high energy conversion capacity. Compared to other conventional solar panel chargers, TogoPower 60W Solar Panel Battery Charger can generate 23% more energy which is impressive by any standard. It can generate enough power even in low-light conditions. This solar panel weighs just around 6.5 lbs and its panel is water-proof and this is which makes it a good choice for outdoor use.
6. Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger
Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger is made from high-efficiency solar panels and can convert up to 23%. A lot of hard work and craftsmanship has gone into the making of this Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger. You can use this Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger to charge devices like digital cameras, GPS, tablets, smartphones, and more. A smart IC chip is in place that can automatically identify devices and thus can help speed up the charging process. Forget about issues like overloading or overcharging because Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger will keep your gadgets protected no matter what. Oxford cloth is used primarily in the making of this solar charger and that is what helps it extend its lifespan.
Solar Chargers for Bike Tours Buying Guide
Power Banks & Battery Packs
Alternative to solar chargers are power banks or battery packs. These portable power storage devices act as a backup source of power and can store energy for prolonged periods. They are a great alternative on overcast days. The capacity of power banks is measured in mAh or mill amperes per hour, which indicates the quantum of current that can be delivered in an hour. Power banks, nowadays, are available in the range of 3500-4000 mAh.
Power, measured in Watts, is a product of voltage and current (measured in amperes) and signifies the rate of energy transfer. The solar panels used for traveling have rated capacity ranging from 4W to 20W. As most chargers are designed to work with a USB port, where the output voltage is fixed at 5 Volt, the higher power capacity of the panel indicates higher current flow through the system. Higher current flow is obtained by deploying a higher number of solar cells in the panel, and can often result in heavier panels. Therefore, the efficiency of the solar cells and the panel is an important consideration.
What Is A Better Option For Bicycle Tours?
Solar charger panel kits or fuse solar chargers are the most popular option for installation on bikes. The fuse-type solar charger, built with a universal attachment system, can easily be attached to the panniers on the bike. The female part of the clip is strapped to the pannier and the male part is then fastened in order to snugly fit the panel. With the use of extension cords, the panels can be connected to battery packs, which may be stored elsewhere. At the time of disuse, the panels can be unstrapped and stored within the pannier. It must be noted that although the panels, the connections, and the cords are waterproof, batteries are not.
Pannier Mount or Trailer Mount?
Based on the output energy requirement, the panels can be mounted on either the pannier or the trailer. In most cases, trailer-mounted panels will result in higher energy generation due to both their size and the likelihood of getting more area exposed to sunlight. Yet, there are many instances where the users have come up with ingenious ways of using both the mounting options successfully. However, there have been instances of creative mounting solutions such as panels being mounted on Xtracycle attached to the rear side of the bike.
What Are The Requirements To Ensure Optimal Energy Harvesting?
There are a few basic requirements for getting the optimal energy generation using solar panels. Aside from the efficiency of the panel, other factors such as weather, angle of the mount, and exposure to sunlight can affect the end result. Out of these three parameters, we cannot control the weather but the other two factors are can be easily controlled.
The angle of the mount is perhaps the utmost important factor. It determines the angle at which the sun’s rays will hit the panel. Ideally, the sun’s rays should hit the panels perpendicularly. Therefore, it is important that the mounting arrangement should be flexible enough to allow for minor adjustments based on the time of the day such that the light rays can reach the panel perpendicularly, at all times.
The second important factor is the area exposed to sunlight. Care must be taken that the panel is not covered either by the rider’s shadow or shadow of any other object. Any portion of the panel, which does not receive direct light, shall not be able to reach optimal performance.