Backpack Solar Panels

Original Post
Greg Sage · Mar 20, 2017 · Watertown, SD · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 175

While I use Backpacking and camping as a way to "unplug" from the world, there is also a need to be able to "connect" every now and then.
I have a couple small USB battery packs I can charge my phone etc. with...   But once they are dead, I am then truly SOL.

I have been looking at backpack/portable solar charging solutions...   But everything is "Highly Rated" it's hard to know what is actually good, and what isn't worth the time or money.

I figured I would ask you all...   What are the panels you recommend? or avoid?  

I am trying to keep size/weight down...

And I have a $100.00 ~ $150.00 "Budget"...  (Keeping in mind, the less I spend here, the more I can spend on other things I need to replace/update/acquire...)

Thanks in advance!!!

David Smrcka · Mar 21, 2017 · St. Paul, MN · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 6

I've been using a Biolite Solar Panel 5+. I'm able to keep my headlight, my Delores InReach and my iPhone ( used in conjunction with my InReach) charged. Best of all, it's only $80. It has two attaching points that I attach it to my pack's daisychains and charge my devices or the 5+'s internal 2,200 mAh storage battery while in the move. When in camp, it has a sundial that allows me to position it in relation to the sun for optimal output. 

Lesley Klein · Mar 24, 2017 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

I bought a cheap 12 watt solar panel on Amazon .   Paid 40 and it works great.   There are loads of them out there.   Buy a few USB batteries .   5200 or 7800.   They hold all the suns power and you can use it as needed...  

Derrick Cochran · Apr 14, 2017 · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined 11 days ago · Points: 0

I have one of the Goal Zero solar panels (Nomad 7) with a batter pack that comes with it. It is a little more on the expensive side, as it was $120 but it works amazingly. I take it with me everytime I go hiking or camping. You can also daisy chain them to get things to charge quicker if you are so inclined. 

Russ Bailey · 7 days ago · Unknown Hometown · Joined 7 days ago · Points: 0

Do the calculation to see how much those panels really can provide. Keep in mind that the panel may put out at rated capacity for a few minutes at solar noon if the panel is aimed correctly at the sun. Unless aimed at the sun the output will be little to nothing. Solar charging is centered around solar noon - early and late (say before 0900 and after 1500) does little to nothing. 

Bouncing along on the back of your pack most likely the units will do diddly. People claim how good they work but the science isn't there.

I use a power bank which is charged when electricity is available. That and batteries in good condition are the best bet. Important to not waste power - if your phone is searching for a signal it can really suck up the juice.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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