There is no denying that using solar panels in your campsite is an efficient and easy way to ensure you will always have backup power to make your trip more comfortable and safer. Solar panels can be used to trickle charge your vehicle batteries; keep auxiliary batteries charged so you can power up campsite lights and run camping appliances, etc.
But if you’re shopping around for solar panels for the first time, choosing a solar setup can be a little overwhelming. Solar technology has made significant leaps over the years and there are various types, sizes and prices to choose from nowadays. It is easy to either overspend or buy something you won’t be happy with.
To help you determine the best solar panels for camping (at least for you), we’ve come up with this easy, quick quiz that’ll narrow down solar panel choices based on what kind of camper you are.
1. How often do you go camping in a year?
a) We make it a point to go camping every other month.
b) Travel is life. We’re - what’s that word? - Nomads. Yeah.
c) Not often. Only when there’s a long weekend.
2. Where do you prefer to stay when camping?
a) Off-grid/Unpowered sites. We love getting as far away from cities as we can.
b) Combination of remote and powered sites. We make the most of our backup batteries when we can, but still appreciate the convenience of powered holiday parks.
c) Powered sites. We still like the convenience and comfort that the main power grid provides.
3. How important is convenience to you when it comes to setting up a campsite?
a) As long as I don’t have to do it often, it’s okay for me to move camping gear around.
b) I like to relax and not worry about a thing once I’ve set up the gear.
c) I don’t mind adjusting our gear around camp if it means things would work perfectly.
4. How much does total vehicle weight factor in your preparations?
a) Matters a lot. We’d love to save on weight and maximize vehicle space.
b) We factor the weight of our camping gear with the vehicle when we prep for travel.
c) Not much. We don’t overload our vehicle anyway and bring only camping essentials.
5. How much does performance matter to you when buying solar panels?
a) Quality is king. We’ll buy the best solar panel within our budget. We like solar panels that we can use all year, regardless of weather conditions.
b) We’re realistic so we don’t expect too much in terms of performance. We understand that solar panel efficiency depends on many factors: angle of sunlight, weather conditions, position of the car, etc.
c) We like great performing solar panels but we also don’t want to spend a lot on it. Something that works well with a reasonable price tag is what we’d go for.
RESULTS ARE IN!
My answers are mostly A’s:
You are a frequent camper who takes vehicle weight and space seriously. Solar Blankets or Solar Mats are the perfect solar solution for you. This type of solar panel may be a bit on the pricey side, but that’s what you get for a product that combines convenience, quality and lifetime output guarantee.
Brands like Maxray use monocrystalline solar cell technology which is the most efficient type of solar cell in the industry. These are also more compact, lighter and perform great under all types of weather. The matte surface is easy to clean and is waterproof.
Solar blankets are also easy to set up and the integrated bag and handle makes it even easier to pack up. You can drape it on the hood of your vehicle or lay it on the grass to start absorbing sunlight. When it’s time to leave, you just fold it right back and place it beneath your car seat. Easy.
My answers are mostly B’s:
You are a full-time traveller. A true lover of adventure and we are so green with envy right now. You also need to have Caravan Solar Panels amongst your gear to power up your adventure – wherever it may take you.
Affordable and easy to use, caravan or fixed solar panels allow you to sit back and enjoy your trip once everything’s installed on your vehicle. There’s no need to adjust or set up anything on the panel which is great if you’re not keen on lifting things up and setting up angles for maximum sunlight exposure as you would with portable solar panels.
Image by Serendigity
You do however, compromise on flexibility and convenience. Because caravan solar panels are fixed, you need to park your vehicle in areas where there’s full sunlight. And we DO mean FULL sunlight. Also, you won’t get to maximize sunlight as it moves throughout the day because this type of solar panel works best when the sun is shining directly overhead.
My answers are mostly C’s:
Folding Solar Panels are the best option for you, the budget-conscious; three-times-a-year-at-most camper. Although this type of solar setup is a little heavier and bulkier, that’s not much of an issue since you don’t go camping that much every year and just take camping essentials with you.
Image BY peupleloup
Folding solar panels are easier to set up and can be adjusted to absorb as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. The sturdy legs keep it stable regardless of the terrain, and the tempered glass surface makes it weather-proof.
To sum it up…
The best solar panels for camping really depend on what type of camper you are. Whatever type you do end up with, always choose the highest quality that you can afford. After all, you would not want your beers getting warm; your cellphone batteries losing charge or not be able to light up your campsite at night. Solar energy is efficient, clean and 100% free. We really can’t think of a better way to power up your campsite.