The best portable solar panels for backpacking are usually lightweight and compact.
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We’ve covered some more lightweight options for avid iPhone users to keep their iPhones powered up as well. But here, we’ll talk mostly about multiple-panel foldable ones, without a built-in battery.
They can be used to charge devices while on the go, provide power at base camp or even keep your small devices going during a long backpacking trip. Here are some of our favorites:
|Style||Weight||Dimensions LxWxH||USB Ports||Wattage||Our Rating 0-10|
|Solar Panel, Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel||0.92lbs||11.1 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches||2||21 watts||8|
|SunJack 15 Watt Foldable Weatherproof ETFE Monocrystalline||0.95lbs||9.8 x 6.25 x 1.25 inches||2||15 watts||7|
|Ryno Tuff Portable Solar Charger for Camping||1.06lbs||18.1 x 11.8 x 0.12 inches||2||21 watts||9|
|FEELLE Solar Power Bank Charger||1.3lbs||6.1 x 3.35 x 1.37 inches||2||5 watts||7|
The Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Panel has high-efficiency SunPower solar array and PowerIQ technology. This portable solar panel can deliver up to 2.4 amps per port or 3 amps overall, which sounds ideal for charging phones, tablets, and other small devices.
Its rugged construction and weather-resistant design make it perfect for use in any environment, and its compact size makes it easy to take with you wherever you go.
This 21W 2-port USB solar charger is perfect for long treks or extended trips as you can easily attach it to your backpack using its stainless steel eye-holes. And its ultra-thin design makes it lightweight and easy to carry.
One con, though, and a thing to keep in mind before you make a purchase – This charger is not compatible with the iPod nano, iPod Classic, iPod Shuffle, HP TouchPad or Asus tablets. However, you can use it to charge batteries which can then be used to charge these devices.
Solar panels can usually only charge in direct sunlight. Though, even on completely overcast days, this solar panel appears to be able to generate a little trickle charge throughout the whole day.
Afraid it won’t be working as well as it used to? If so, you’re not alone. Some users have reported that this panel may stop charging randomly and won’t start again until they unplug the attached battery/device from the USB port and plug it back in. There’s no valid explanation as to why this may be happening but if it happens to you, make sure that the USB port on the solar panel is free of debris. If there’s anything blocking the port, it could be preventing a proper connection.
If you’re experiencing this problem, there are a few things you can try to fix it:
It’s lightweight, when it works without interruption this portable solar panel provides a lot of power for small devices, weather-resistant, and overall can be a good deal for the money. Don’t forget to check if it’s fully compatible with your devices before you buy it!
The SunJack 15 Watt Foldable Weatherproof ETFE Monocrystalline solar panel is a powerful and versatile option for those looking for reliable, on-the-go solar charging.
Ideal for backpacking, trekking, and other outdoor activities, this solar panel is built tough with weatherproof ETFE material and has rugged construction.
With an output of 15 watts, SunJack 15 Watt Foldable Weatherproof ETFE Monocrystalline can charge most USB devices, including phones, tablets, and action cameras. And because it’s foldable, it’s easy to transport and store in your backpack.
It folds down to the size of a tablet and with its integrated magnetic closure system, you can be sure your panel stays closed and secure while on the go.
One thing to keep in mind is that if it’s cloudy, the SunJack may keep blinking. If there were no “blinking” experiences in some of the cases, this one would be perfect as it reportedly charges well enough even in low light, so you don’t have to wait for the sun to come out entirely.
The USB cables that come with them are often not very good. The cable appears to not have a strong enough connection, which can result in a loss of power and reduced efficiency. You might top it up with better cables for best efficiency.
SunJack 15 Watt Foldable Weatherproof ETFE Monocrystalline comes with 2 of those charging cords and has a place to hold your phone in while charging – that’s a great feature, which makes it look like you can keep your phone in the sun while it’s charging. However, it can get hot for devices pressed under it.
Our recommendation is to keep the device in shade and the panel in the direct sunlight while charging.
This solar panel is extremely easy to use and set up, it’s also very durable. All in all, a good pal to have on a backpacking trip!
With high efficiency Sunpower X-Series solar cells, Ryno Tuff can give you up to 25% conversion!! Its secret is in using the most efficient SUNPOWER solar panel cells available. It converts 21 Watts of solar energy into electricity with a 22%-25% conversion rate. For any solar panels on the market, if it does what it’s rated for, this one should be a winner.
This would mean your phone or tablet will be charged in as little as 2 hours.
The Ryno Tuff is also compatible with a variety of devices, including iPhones, Android phones, tablets, and batterypacks.
This folding panel is one of the smaller and lighter ones, but just as powerful as the larger ones. With 21 watts of power in only 3 panels, it appears to be perfect for charging phones, tablets, and other small devices.
This portable solar charger is built tough and designed to withstand the elements.
It folds up to a portable size of 5.9×11.8 inches, so you can take it with you wherever you go. When unfolded, the Ryno Tuff measures 11.8 inches wide by 18.1 inches high.
It’s got a unique charging algorithm that distributes power efficiently, and it will automatically stop charging when your devices are fully charged or when they get too hot.
Ryno Tuff Portable Solar Charger for Camping has 2.4amp per port output and a maximum of 3amps when both ports are in use. This means you can charge your devices really quickly and easily.
The sun doesn’t have to be perfectly angled to produce a ton of power.
If you need to, you can store your devices in the protective pocket while they’re charging which makes Ryno Tuff Portable Solar Charger for Camping practical enough to be one of the best options on the market for backpacking.
Ryno Tuff portable solar chargers are built tough to withstand the rigors of backpacking, hiking, and travel. The 600D waterproof PVC canvas material protects your solar panel from the elements, and the two carabiners make it easy to attach to your backpack.
Okay, those were the pros and there’s surely many. Now, however, if things don’t go as planned, customer support may not be as responsive as you would like and the lifetime warranty and return policy may not be as advertised. We’ve witnessed many situations where this happened and the “lifetime warranty” that’s rated turned out not to be quite guaranteed.
Additionally, this portable charger might give less output than expected for small items such as radios and walkie talkies. Different units may come with different efficiency scores, as always.
It’s one of the best on the market. It’s powerful, efficient, and easy to use. We highly recommend it.
The FEELLE Solar Power Bank Charger 25000mAh is a portable solar charger that can capture solar energy almost equivalent to an ordinary 5W wall charger.
It is small and compact, making it easy to carry with you wherever you go.
With dual 2.1A USB port, it can charge two devices simultaneously.
It comes with waterproof silicone cover to protect the USB ports from dust and the elements.
FEELLE Solar Power Bank Charger has a built-in bright LED light which has 3 modes: “Steady”, “SOS”, and “Strobe” – a perfect feature for backpacking, hiking and more outdoor activities.
With its multiple protection design, it is safe and reliable, while also providing superior protection against over-charging, over-voltage, over-current and short circuit.
The cons are neither numerous nor “mighty” – It reportedly takes a couple of days to charge its battery, but it’s well worth the wait. The battery then holds its charge well. FEELLE Solar Power Bank Charger comes with the powerful battery and that’s what’s being charged for days.
This portable solar power bank charger has no clippers or anything built-in, that would make it easy to clip it onto the backpack. That feature might be what’s missing and let’s hope they’ll improve the design and put some clippers on it.
The customer support team is responsive and helpful, so you can be confident that someone will address your concerns, if any.
It folds out quickly and easily to provide you with plenty of power, and then folds back up just as easily into a neat compact package. It can be used as a battery while folded as well, as the USB ports are easily accessible whether the solar panels are open or closed.
The built-in light is also accessible even while the device is folded.
It’s built to withstand the harshest conditions. So whether you’re backpacking, camping, or just need a way to keep your devices charged on the go, this solar power bank charger is a very nice option for having small charges on the go.