Don't let your favorite camping trip get ruined by a dead battery when one of these portable solar chargers can save the day.
Phones and GPS units have made their case for being included on camping adventures. You don't have to keep your nose in them the entire time, but the safety features and experience enhancements are enough reason to bring them along.
At the same time, a dead battery on one of these devices renders them completely obsolete. After looking at the many styles and brands of device chargers that produce solar technology, we've noticed that a few trends keep popping up, and that's a good thing.
You need to consider things like charging ability, output, and portability before you select your desired device, but having one in the field when your power goes out can be a godsend. It's clear solar technology has come a long way, and having portable power wherever we go is paramount.
There are many companies that now make it their prerogative to create and maintain solar energy options, especially with the camping enthusiast in mind. One thing to learn right away is that the newer monocrystalline models are much more effective and lightweight than their polycrystalline ancestors, making for a marked increase in power and life.
There are other things to learn, so let's get started.
The Best Solar Chargers Give You an Option
One of the great reasons to invest in a good solar charger is that they tend to be on the affordable end of the outdoor gear spectrum, or at least more so than you might expect. The main use for a portable solar charging panel is to charge a cell phone when electricity is not readily available, but they work well for any number of electronic devices.
With a broad range of ability to charge our batteries, they can extend our stay in the outdoors and keep us safer. The main function of these chargers is not just to charge our devices, but to do so efficiently.
Here's a quick review of the terms that you may encounter while shopping around for a solar charger. Most of these are self-explanatory.
Charge interruption recovery simply means the time that a unit takes to reestablish the connection to the battery of the device and resume charging after being taken out of the sun.
Multi-device charging speed is a more important feature to some than others. For instance, if you're camping or hiking with family or friends, you may want to charge more than one item at a time more often.
Charging efficiency is the solar panel's efficiency of how much sunlight is converted into electricity. Some units and panels may take four hours to fully recharge in the sun where plugged into the wall may take them two hours, making these very efficient.
The BigBlue 3 folding adjustable solar panel has a lot of reason to like it. For charging time efficiency and dependability it continues to receive high marks. It is about as durable and straightforward as it gets for a 28W model that has a great price point. The maximum output is 5 volts and 2.4 amps. For weight, charging speed, and portability, it is one of the best, but for its production in the field, it has no match.
With the included USB and micro-USB port connections, the Nekteck 28W foldable solar panel can charge most any device quickly and efficiently. Items like smartphones, tablets, cameras, emergency lights, flashlights, headlamps, and virtually anything that needs a charge can get one.
This solar charger is also waterproof and foldable, making it great for hiking and backpacking since it is easily packable.
This is one of the best camping battery chargers on the smaller, less powerful scale. It's a bit less expensive, but don't let that fool you into thinking that it cannot do the the job. This device can be charged via USB cable connector at home or be used with the included solar panel to bring it back to life. It can charge up to four devices at a time or up to eight charges for one iPhone. It also has an LED flashlight right in the unit with multiple emergency functions.
This is another highly rated, well thought out charger that can be charged at home and taken along with you on the trail or to the campground to keep you charged when there aren't any plugs or electricity to use. This Goal Zero Nomad 10 is an Amazon bestseller and available in a range of wattage levels, all sized 14.49 x 0.12 x 9.49 inches.
One of the better-reviewed solar charger models, The Jackery SolarSaga delivers a charge to most devices when you need it the most. It is easy to carry and has its own kickstand, is water resistant, and is compatible with Jackery's other charging equipment.
Portable Solar Panels for Outdoorsmen
On-the-go power in today's outdoor world is one of the fastest growing markets out there. These battery packs can be taken anywhere to recharge your devices, whether for safety concerns or for basic use.
As with any solar power source, you will obviously need the direct sunlight to make it the most efficient. Fast charging your rechargeable gadgets is as much about power output as it is about the sunlight it's accessing.
Surface area matters too, but hikers, day backpackers, campers, fishermen, and even hunters have different needs. Many times in the past we've had to come to the realization that our phone was running down, but now with these smaller units that can become a thing of the past.
The best part is most of these are obviously meant for outdoor use in conjunction with our most coveted pursuits. When you find yourself off-grid and away from any electrical outlets for an extended period, the price tag may not seem so high. Solar panels and chargers are the way of the future when it comes to outdoor living, and these few included here a just the tip of the iceberg.
Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our writers and editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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