With its vast wilderness, breathtaking mountain ranges and gorgeous beaches, Australia is truly a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. So it is not at all surprising that a camping trip is on every Aussie’s list of activities every year. So while you no doubt have ticked most items off your camping equipment checklist, there is one particular item that you should not go camping without.
While “being one with nature” is the main goal of camping, it would not hurt to remember that you drove out of the city to avoid stress. And we cannot think of anything more stressful than having a dead battery because you’re charging your phones and running your caravan’s AC, fridge and lights on it for hours.
So what now? You certainly need to keep your phone charged (how will you take photos and videos of your trip?); you need to keep your food fresh (and your beers cold) and you deserve a comfortable night’s sleep with the AC on, right?
The solution is simple. Make sure that you have a portable solar panel with you for the trip. Don’t have one yet and still unsure which one to get?
We’ve listed a few points here that can help you, avid camper, choose your portable solar panel.
First, let’s talk about why buying a portable solar panel makes sense.
-Solar power is 100% clean and free. You don’t have to pay a single cent to use it. All you need is to make sure the panels are sufficiently exposed to sunlight and you’re all se to use your chargers and appliances.
-Portable solar panels can be taken anywhere. Because these panels do not emit noise or smoke, you can use them in national parks and campsites all over Australia.
-You are able to travel to even the most remote locations in the country and not worry about running your batteries flat to power appliances or charge mobile devices. Again, all you need is sunlight.
Second, we have the things to consider before buying portable solar panels.
We don’t actually recommend making impulse purchases. It’s important to be sure you will be happy with what you buy. So here are the guidelines that will help you buy the best portable solar panel.
The gadgets or appliances you will use the solar panel for - Will you need power just for lights during night time and charge your phone? Or do you need power to run your caravan’s fridge? Remember, choose solar panels with a higher power output for appliances like refrigerators.
The daily wattage requirement of the appliances you will use - This actually involves a bit of planning. First, note of how long your camping trip is. If you would be camping for say, two days, will you use your camping fridge for those days?
Second, you need to calculate the total wattage requirement and then choose which solar panels can handle that load. To calculate your appliance’s daily wattage requirement, you should multiply the watts used by the appliance per hour by the number of hours you intend to use it per day.
Afterwards, multiply the total number by the number of days you will go camping and you will end up with the appliance’s total wattage requirement for the entire duration of your trip.
Make sure you will use your solar panel more than once - Although we here at Outbax offer great deals on solar panels, we wouldn’t want you to make an investment you won’t make the most out of.
Go camping more than once a year! Don’t use your portable solar panel once, stuff it in the garage and forget about it. Go on road trips and enjoy the convenience and comforts of electricity wherever you go.
Product quality is an important thing to consider when buying portable solar panels. So when you’re looking at solar panels online, check if they are made from sturdy frames, are rust-proof, have durable latches that can withstand weather changes, and constantly being assembled and packed away.
You also need to check solar panel reviews and find out what previous buyers have to say about the solar panel’s durability and whether or not the panels are easy to set up, etc.
Another important factor is warranty. Check if the panels, regulators and inverters come with a manufacturer’s warranty. This way you do not have to worry about expenses should you have issues with the panels.
How exactly would you use the portable solar panel? - How “portable” is portable to you? Do you need something that you can take with you on hiking or backpacking trips or do you need solar panels you can use in your caravan or car?
If you have access to a caravan, you would need solar panels that you can install on the roof so it can charge while you’re driving to your destination. Products like the Maxray 280 watts Monocrystalline Portable Folding Solar Panel from Outbax is weather-proof, has a tempered glass front, very easy to install and only weighs 18kgs.
For those backpacking trips, you need solar panels that you can literally just fold up and take with you. The Maxray 12V 120W Folding Solar Panel Blanket Solar Mat Kit weighs less than 5kgs, has a matte, easy-to-clean surface and can even be used in rainy conditions.
It’s grade A monocrystalline cells effectively absorb sunlight for optimum power output. And yes, you can easily fold it and carry it around.
What else do you need to bring when you go camping? - Solar panels don’t work on their own. You need to have a battery to charge on the solar panel and most importantly, a solar battery regulator with high quality cables. The battery regulator is necessary to ensure that the right voltage is transferred to your battery as it is charging.
A few more reminders…
To be sure that your portable solar panel will last a long time, we recommend to use compatible products. Buying the solar panel and regulator from the same manufacturer for example, means you get the most out of your investment.
Carefully think about your needs before you decide which portable solar panel to buy. Keep in mind that with the right products, you can easily take the comforts of home with you wherever you go.