Camping is one of the few outdoor activities we can do after the lockdown restrictions have been lifted. As long as you keep your distance from other campers (not your companions, we mean) and wear a face mask if you need to go out of your campsite, you can enjoy spending time outdoors. After all, with all the craziness that’s been going on, you certainly deserve some peaceful time, immersing yourself in nature.
So – camping. You get all your gear together, and you already have a campsite in mind. One important decision though is what type of backup power you are bringing with you. Do you go with an inverter generator? Not a bad idea – those are more portable and quieter than their traditional counterparts. But that means you are going to worry about topping up on petrol, too. And well that is an added cost to your trip – any way you look at it.
Still the most convenient, easiest and environment friendly way to power up your camping adventure is to use solar panels. And here are a number of reasons why we say that.
Why use solar panels for camping?
We are not going into so many intros for this one, as the technology speaks for itself in terms of convenience. Here are the reasons why using solar panels for camping makes sense.
- Absolutely quiet – Does not emit noise at all. You certainly will not disturb other campers.
- Portable – Camping solar panels are easy to bring with you anywhere.
- Versatile – You can use it to trickle charge your car battery. Or if you have one, you can use solar panels to charge a portable power station that you can then use on your camping appliances.
- Easy to maintain – All you need to do is wipe down the glass surface and you are good to go.
- Lasts for years – Yes, like 40 years. And even after that, camping solar panels are known to work up to 85% efficiency. Great investments, really.
So, now that those reasons are made clear, there are actually two types of solar panels that vie for the best “camping solar panel” title (if we do say so ourselves): Folding Solar Panels and Solar Blankets. And to determine which type is better, we need to look into them individually.
Folding Solar Panels
As the name suggests, these are solar panels that you can fold and pretty much take with you anywhere. It comes in a suitcase-type design, which makes them easy to just set up in your campsite.
The angle of the panels is adjustable, which means you can maximize sunlight exposure throughout the day. You can also just pick it up and move it to a sunny spot in your campsite.
They are also cheaper than solar blankets. So, if you are trying to stay within a budget and want an easy to set-up solar power system, this is a good buy for you.
The biggest advantage of solar blankets is they are lightweight, and can hold its own when it comes to power output. It can produce the same amount of electricity as a folding solar panel, but it is light enough to carry inside your backpack.
Cleaning is a breeze due to its matte surface and it is pretty much a plug and play system. And it has an integrated bag design so you can literally just fold it up and go. The downside is these often cost more than your average folding solar panels, but they do make up for it in convenience.
What to remember when choosing solar panels for camping
It can be a little overwhelming to choose which type of solar panel to invest in. Especially if you are buying one for the first time. There are however, a few things that you need to remember to make sure that you are making the best choice.
- You need to determine just how much solar power you actually need for your trip. This means you need to calculate your solar power needs. If you already know how to do that, great. If not, we have previously discussed how to calculate your solar power requirements in this blog.
- You need to set a budget for this purchase, and always remember to choose the best option or brand you can afford. Keep in mind that this solar panel system will help keep your campsite safe and comfortable, so it makes sense to get the best product your budget allows.
- Take the time to read product reviews and compare them. What do other campers have to say about this solar panel type? Were they happy with their folding solar panels? Were the solar blankets they bought able to power their camping appliances?
So, which one is better for camping? Folding solar panel or a solar blanket?
We would have to say that folding solar panels and solar blankets provide pretty much the same benefits. They do however fit best with certain types of campers. For example, folding solar panels are ideal for people that go camping twice a year and are trying to stay within a certain budget.
On the other hand, solar blankets or solar mats would work very well for people that go on camping trips every weekend, and are looking for convenient and easy portable power solutions. These are also campers that do not mind paying a little bit extra for convenience.
The point is, whatever type of solar panel you choose, you can be sure that you are getting the best quality products and the best customer service experience from Outbax. So, are you a first time buyer or looking for an upgrade to your solar power system? Do let us know by giving us a call or dropping a line in our live chat. Our camping experts are always more than happy to assist you.