The weather is perfect, and everyone wants to go somewhere. You and your friends decide to go camping instead of hitting the beach for a change of scenery. You have finally decided to visit one of Australia’s top camping destinations. You are excited and take tons of photos because everything around you is breathtaking and you would like to share the view with your social media friends and followers. After some time, you noticed that your camera’s battery is blinking, prompting you to charge it immediately. You switch to your trusty phone for the much needed pictures. The problem is that a pop-up warning shows you have only 10% of power left.
You might have thought ahead and packed your dependable power bank for the occasion. You start using your power bank, only to realize that it would not last over the next three days. To stay out of this mess and to keep your photos up to date, the solution is to have a dependable power source. But where can you draw power off the grid? The solution is solar panels for camping, which may be a portable solar panel for backpacking, portable solar panels for RV, or solar panels for camping trailers. You might think it is not a good idea to bring a solar panel to the camp site because it will take up so much space in your car. An image of bulky, heavy, and flat boxes might come to mind when you think of solar panels. However, with the advancement in technology, you can have portable solarpanels for camping and you can even tap solar power for camping fridges.
Benefits of Using Portable Solar Panels when Camping
- Solar power is natural, renewable, and free. All you need is a good sunlight exposure and you will be able to use your gadgets and appliances. - You can bring it anywhere and you can charge your batteries anytime. Unlike generators, which some camping sites restrict because of the noise and pollution they bring, solar panels can be used without restrictions as long as they are safe. - A good folding solar panelsystem gives you the convenience of traveling to remote and unpowered locations without sacrificing items like your fridge, camping lights, mobile phones, and other devices. - Portable solar panels save you from paying hefty fees for power. Most areas that allow you to recharge your devices and appliances demand exorbitant fees.
Things to Consider in Choosing the Best Portable Solar Panel
Here are a few things to remember if you want to survive off the grid. Before deciding what solar panel to buy, you must first consider the following:
What appliances or gadgets will the solar panel be used for?
Are you going to use the solar panel to recharge your phones, light up LED bulbs, or power a fridge? If you are considering using it to keep your drinks cold, you may use bigger solar panels with a higher output to harness solar power for a camping fridge.
How long will you use the gadget or appliance?
Will you be camping for three days or longer? Will you use the fridge during the entire duration of the trip? If so, determine how much wattage is needed for all your gadgets. You will have to calculate your daily usage and choose which devices may be connected. You may calculate the daily usage of your devices by multiplying the total number of amps used by the device per hour and the hours you plan to use them per day. If you multiply it with the total number of days you plan to be away, you will have the total number of amps needed for your camping trip. You must also have a battery for the solar panel. Its total storage should be higher than your computed daily usage. This is to ensure that you will always have adequate energy. You should not drain your battery’s life as this will reduce its lifespan. If you intend to be away for an extended time, buy a solar panel that will exceed your computed power usage daily. This is to ensure that you have a fully charged battery every day.
Will you be using the solar panel in the foreseeable future?
While solar panels have great benefits, it will be a loss in investment if you use it only once and then stack it in your garage after only one trip. Solar panels will set you back at least $109 and about $64 for a small portable one. You also have to look at the quality and durability of the solar panel. Look for sturdy and rust-proof aluminium frames and legs. Look for heavy-duty latches that can withstand the wear and tear of being packed away, are easy to set up, and can take the bumps on the road. A quality portable solar panel should also be waterproof. Make sure the solar panel and the solar regulators come with warranties. A warranty will give you peace of mind, because you would not have to worry about incurring additional costs in the future. If you wish to use the solar panels for a long time, you should look for those that come with a dustproof cover and handles. These will ensure the maximum use of your investment.
How portable would you need it to be?
Are you going to use it while backpacking or will you use it while you have access to your car? If you plan to go backpacking, the Maxray 120-Watt Monocrystalline Portable Folding Solar and New Maxray 10W 12v Solar Panel are the best options for you. Maxray 120Watts is lightweight at 1.7 kilograms. It is portable, easy to install, and perfect for emergency charging. For only $199.00, it has 100W PMAX maximum power.This does not have a steel frame or aluminium backing, so it can be easily folded and stored to save space. The Maxray 10W, on the other hand, weighs only 1.2 kilos. You can install it on your vehicle’s roof or take it with you. It may be small, but it can power up the gadgets and appliances with its 10V power. The best solar panels for camping trailers or RVs are those that can be roof-mounted, so they can gather enough power as you travel. If you have more devices, use a solar panel that has more coverage. The Maxray 240W Monocrystalline Portable Folding Solar Panel is best for RVs, trailers, and caravans. This solar panel is waterproof and has hail resistant tempered glass and a charging level indicator. It weighs only 22 kilos. A slightly lighter option is the 200w solar panel. Each weighs about 19 kilos and comes with anodised aluminium which guarantees that it will not rust. These are also monocrystalline solar panels that will give you an efficient power output. If you are looking for flexible solar panels for caravans, the 100W flexible solar panels 12v from Maxray is a good option. Alternatively, you can have an aluminium backing or a steel frame, so you can adjust the angle and move it according to the position of the sun. As it does not have a frame, it is very handy at 1.7 kilos. While it might be lightweight, it is heavy-duty and can power the needs of your caravan. For those with less energy needs and are looking for something lightweight that comes with a frame, you may want to try the 12v solar panels from Maxray. They weigh only 3.2 kilos and have a 40W maximum power. The 12v solar panels can power all appliances and gadgets like fans, travel grills, and compact coolers that are also 12v.
How long will you be able to charge?
Check for weather updates before going camping. Will it be cloudy or will it rain? The weather will have an impact on the charging time. A comparison between a generator and solar panel’s reliability will show that a generator is not affected by a heavy cloud cover and is not dependent on the weather. All you need is fuel for the generator to keep going. Solar panels, on the other hand, depend on sun exposure. You will also have to consider your location, time of the year, and expected temperature. However, the latter is more cost efficient to use. The energy that your panels get depends on their size and the length of time you get sunlight. Peak sun hours are the best time to get solar power on your panels. A good portable solar panel should have an efficiency rating for energy conversion of about 21.5% to 23.55%. Daily peak sunlight hours range from 1.4 to 7.4 hours, depending on the month and your location. Monocrystalline solar panels work best in direct sunlight and are the best solar panel for a camping trailer. A Monocrystalline portable folding solar panel is best for caravans. It allows you to adjust the panels to your ideal position. It is easy to carry and includes a handle, corner protectors, and a dust cover. Because of its aluminium frame, this solar panel weighs 12.6 kilos.
How much are you willing to spend on a solar panel?
The price of solar panels depends on their size and capacity. A portable solar panel for backpacking costs about $30, while a solar panel for a camping trailer costs $109. Portable solar panels for RV sell for $149. When setting up a solar panel system, you will buy not only the solar panels but also the other accessories like solar regulators, also known as a solar charge controller, and solar inverters. These allow you to access the energy from your solar panels. The initial set-up for a solar panel may be a little costly. It may go as high as $1,200 for a quality set. The good thing about it is that there are no ongoing costs after your initial set-up.
What else should you bring to camp?
To use the solar panels, you should have a battery ready. Buy a solar regulator with quality cabling to your solar panel. The solar panels’ fluctuating power from 12V to 21V may damage your battery if it is not regulated. The solar regulator ensures that the correct voltage goes to your battery and should be able to float the charge once the battery is full. Solar inverters are sometimes considered the brains of the solar panel system. An inverter’s function is to invert the direct current (DC) that comes from the solar panels to alternating current (AC), which is what most appliances and gadgets use. A solar inverter is different from the power inverter which is used to connect to a 12v vehicle battery. A vehicle’s lead acid battery may be used. However, this is not the best choice. It is recommended that you use lithium batteries for energy storage instead of lead acid (like the car’s battery) or nicad (nickel cadmium) batteries. Nicad is very expensive and has a low efficiency of 65% to 80%, while lithium batteries have high discharge and recharge rates. They are also very safe to use because they do not discharge any dangerous gases like lead acid. Lithium batteries can last for 15 years.
Which Solar Panel Should You Get?
Evaluate your needs based on the seven tips above and look for the best portable solar panel that fits for your needs. Whatever these are, make sure you get quality products within your budget. Remember that when camping, you don’t have to lose convenience or energy to keep your beer cold or make your phone ready for any picture-perfect moment. To ensure that your solar panel system will last long, use compatible products. Outbax offers all genuine German TUV-certified products to ensure your satisfaction. A selection of world-class solar panels is ready to be shipped off anytime. Portable solar panels for RV, camping trailers, and portable solar panels for backpacking are available. You may visit https://outbax.com.au for the best camping supplies. You can get your first order at a $20 discount. You will also get free shipping Australia-wide on almost all items and a guaranteed dispatch within 24 hours. Visit our site today!