If you camp regularly, getting one of the best solar panels for camping Australia has can be well worth it.
No one likes the fuss of trying to find a power source on every camping trip and trying to plan ahead of time what your access to power will be like, so investing in the best solar setup for camping can help save a lot of time and stress, not to mention help you do your bit for the environment, too. What’s more, getting a camping solar panel can save you a ton of money in the long run as well.
In this guide to the best camping solar panels Australia, I’ll walk you through all of the best solar panels camping options – from the best caravan solar panels through to small portable solar panels for camping and cheap camping solar panels.
When you’re trying to work out which are the best solar panels for camping Australia, or if this is your first time buying one, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to work out what is important and which one is going to be right for you. Don’t worry – as well as my top recommended camping solar panels, I’ll run through all of the important things to look out for when choosing one in this guide.
Compare The Best Camping Solar Panels Australia 2021
|Name||Image||Solar Cell Type||Power Output||Rating||Price|
|Renogy 12 Volt Premium Solar Panel Kit||Monocrystalline||400W||4.5||Check|
|Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel Recharger||Monocrystalline||7W||4.5||Check|
|Aimtom Portable Solar Charger||Monocrystalline||60W||4.5||Check|
|Blavor Solar Charger||Polycrystalline||18W||4.5||Check|
|Anker Portable Solar Charger||Thin film||21W||4.5||Check|
|Allpowers Flexible Solar Panel||Monocrystalline||100W||4.0||Check|
|Suaoki Portable Solar Panel||Monocrystalline||60W||4.0||Check|
|Jackery SolarSaga Portable Solar Panel||Monocrystalline||100W||4.5||Check|
|Renogy Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase||Monocrystalline||100W||4.5||Check|
|Hardkorr Heavy Duty Portable Solar Panels||Monocrystalline||200W||4.0||Check|
Top 10 Best Solar Panels For Camping Australia 2021
Handy reference list of the best camping solar panel offers – see all full reviews of the best camping solar panels for sale below!
- Renogy 12 Volt Premium Solar Panel Kit, 400W
- Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel Recharger, 7W
- Aimtom Portable Solar Charger, 60W
- BLAVOR Solar Charger, 18W
- Anker Portable Solar Charger, 21W
- Allpowers Flexible Solar Panel, 100W
- Suaoki Portable Solar Panel, 60W
- Jackery SolarSaga Portable Solar Panel, 100W
- Renogy Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase, 100W
- Hardkorr Heavy Duty Portable Solar Panels, 200W
How Camping Solar Panels Work
One of the first things to have an understanding of when choosing the best camper solar panels, is a basic overview of how camping solar panels work.
Put very simply, a solar panel works by allowing particles of light (photons) to knock electrons free from atoms, which creates a flow of electricity. The electricity generated is then usually stored in a battery until you need it. The best camping solar panel kit may come in different forms as there are several different designs of panels to choose from. Solar panels also use different cell types, which I’ll talk about in more detail below.
It goes without saying that having good and regular access to sunlight is essential for solar panels to work well.
Choosing The Best Camping Solar Panels 2021
Unlike some of the more basic camping equipment, choosing the best solar power for camping set up for you takes a bit more time to research and consider your options, given the technology involved.
It’s well worth spending time upfront reading resources (such as this guide!) to decide what is going to be the best set up for you considering your budget, type of camping trips you’ll be going on, and how much power supply you expect to need. Unfortunately some campers have bad experiences with solar panels due to lack of research beforehand, but this is easy to avoid.
Types Of Solar Cells
Below I’ll cover the main different types of solar cells you’ll find in different types of solar panels for camping, and what to know about each.
- Monocrystalline Solar Cells – Monocrystalline cells are generally thought of as the ‘premium’ product, with their cells consisting of one single crystal. The design allows the electrons more room to move around, therefore creating a higher output of electricity.
- Polycrystalline Solar Cells – Unlike Monocrystalline cells, Polycrystalline cells are made from many silicone fragments melted together. As a result, Polycrystalline cells are much cheaper however offer less heat efficiency compared to Monocrystalline.
- Thin-film Solar Cells – Thin film solar cells are a second generation type of solar cell which is made up from multiple layers and is newer technology than the crystalline cell types above. There are benefits from its flexibility and lower cost, however output is less reliable than crystalline cells.
Fixed, Flexible Or Portable Solar Panels?
The next decision to make is whether you want fixed, flexible or portable solar panels. The best solar panels for camping 2021 come in different forms and different models suit different purposes – so as usual there’s no one size fits all answer. Find the pros and cons of the different types below:
Fixed Camping Solar Panels
Fixed solar panels are – as the name implies – fixed into place, usually to the roof of a van or camper van, so they’re definitely some of the best solar panels for caravans around. Also known as rigid solar panels, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type:
- Fixed in place means sturdy build quality
- Cheaper to buy than flexible panels
- No set up to worry about – they stay in place
- You can’t tilt them or move them based on the direction of the sun, so can be less efficient
Flexible Camping Solar Panels
Like fixed solar panels, flexible panels are also designed to be mounted on to an RV, van, or other solid surface. Flexible solar panels are more suitable when you are looking for panels which are flexible and can bend (they can bend up to 30 degrees). They’re ideal if you have non-flat surfaces to cover with the best camping solar power system, but there are also some downsides.
- Flexible panels are lighter-weight, which makes them usable on a wider range of installations.
- Easy to install due to their weight
- Less efficient than fixed panels and therefore more expensive per watt of electricity
- Prone to scratching due to thin protection and come with shorter warranties
Portable Camping Solar Panels
Last but not least are the best portable camping solar panels which is the type of solar panel you’re most likely to be taking with you on a tent camping trip or when you’re not searching for solar panels to attach to your campervan. They’re a great introduction to solar panels while camping, too. This type folds up – usually like a suitcase – and open to reveal a solar panel.
- The best folding solar panels for camping are very easy to set up and don’t need mounting anywhere.
- You can move them around to get the maximum sun exposure
- On the downside, these panels can get easily scratched or damaged
- The price per watt of electricity is most expensive and these panels have a shorter operating life than fixed ones.
Size And Weight
If you’re not mounting solar panels to your vehicle, then the weight and size of your portable solar panel is one of the most essential criteria to look out for – make sure they can fit comfortably in your car or luggage.
While larger solar panels give more output, it’s no fun lugging a huge one from position to position in the sun. Even if you’re on the lookout for the best camper van solar panels, it will still be important to make sure your product choice will be a good fit for your vehicle.
Power And Efficiency
The power and efficiency of solar panels can be as different as night and day, and when comparing the best camping solar panels 2021 has to offer, it’s a good idea to be aware of how much power you’re going to need per day. Activities like running a 12v fridge take up several hundred watts of power, vs if you just need to charge mobile phones, you’ll be able to get away with a much less powerful (and smaller) solar panel.
Solar panel output is measured in watts, (eg. 10W). To get an idea of how much power you’ll get out of it, multiply that by the average number of hours of sunlight per day where you’ll be. So, a 10W panel somewhere with 6-7 hours of sunlight might generate 60-70W over a 24 hour period.
Other Great Features
Once you start comparing solar panels for camping reviews, you’ll see that different panels come with a whole host of extra features, depending on your budget and the style of panel you decide to opt for. As usual, you definitely don’t need them all, but here are a few of the more useful extras to keep an eye out for:
- Carry Bag / Case – If you’re going for a portable solar panel, having a case or bag helps a lot with transportation and to protect the solar panel from bumps.
- LCD Screen – Helps with easy operation and to monitor power level and performance
- Kickstand – Very handy for positioning portable solar panels to get maximum sun
- Wireless charging – A flashy extra to have if you want one less cable to worry about, keep an eye out for portable solar panels with wireless charging pads.
Best Camping Solar Panels Reviews Australia 2021
This Renogy fixed camping solar power system is a good choice for those looking for solid, reliable panels for installation on their RV, van or other vehicle for camping.
Made with high performance monocrystalline cells, the large panels offer 400 watt output and are made with thick tempered glass with enhanced stiffness to increase strength and resistance. Corrosion resistant frames mean that these panels will last for decades of use, too.
Additional features of this kit include pre-drilled holes for easy mounting, TPT backsheet for improved performance of the panels over time, remote monitoring and a 4-stage battery charging process. You can extend the kit by adding more panels if needed, too.
This Renogy kit has many happy customers and is a great choice for those looking for the best solar panels for RV camping to fit to rooftop or other similar surfaces.
Something much smaller for those in search of a portable solar panel for camping trips is this Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel review.
Measuring 25 by 16 centimeters, this panel is about the size of a laptop and is handy for allowing you to charge smaller electronic items like phones directly from the sun via a USB or 12V cable. Weighing just 360g, it’s easy to take on any camping trip or day out.
Features include an easy to read LED indicator to show you the strength of solar conditions and help you get optimum placement for quicker charging, as well as a smart auto-restart that can track power flow history to your device. There’s also a detachable kickstand to help with angling placement. It has monocrystalline cells and an output of 7W.
If you’re after cheap solar panels for camping and want something highly portable then the Goal Zero Nomad 7 is a good option to consider. Customers are much happier with this model than the Goal Zero Nomad 28 plus which gets rather mixed reviews.
Another of the small solar panels for camping options in these reviews is this portable solar panel from Aimtom – and this one certainly packs some power in for its size.
Despite weighing just 1.35kg and folding up to a size of 29 x 16cms, this portable solar panel has a 60W output and is great for charging electronics such as laptops or cameras while camping. Featuring monocrystalline panels, this is a premium handheld solar charging panel which will allow you to charge up to 2 devices at once.
Other features include a 10-in-1 adaptor kit for easy charging, DC to clamp and DC to DC cables. The panel is weatherproof too.
Built to last, the Aimtom gets rave reviews from happy customers and is built to last. Best of all, taking it with you on your next camping trip is hardly any effort at all.
Another good option for those looking for something small, this Blavor charger is a mini solar panel and power-bank in one.
With an 18W output, this portable solar panel uses polycrystalline cells, and can be used with or without the Lithium-Ion power bank. One of the best features of this product is its wireless charging pad, which means phones and other small devices can be charged wirelessly from the power bank, no cables needed. There are LED indicators on the side to indicate charge level in the powerbank which is handy to have, too.
Measuring 7 x 8 cm, this is a super compact solar charging option, however it’s definitely not the fastest if you need to rely on the sun to charge something quickly. Many reviewers point out that it takes more than a day in the sun to fully charge up the powerbank, so this is a better option for just one device or for use as a backup.
This lightweight and good value portable solar charger from Anker is another model to consider, and has many happy customers.
Weighing just 417grams and providing an output of 21W, this is a good little device to charge a phone, ipad or camera, however being a small panel it does suffer from similar problems as other solar chargers in this category – namely that it’s pretty slow to charge a phone, let alone two – so we recommend charging only device at once with this panel and having another charging method for backup.
This panel is built with thin film panels which help make it light to carry around. There’s a handy carry case included as well as a 3ft USB cable for charging your gear.
If you’re looking for small solar panels for caravans that are flexible, then this flexible solar panel from Allpowers may be of interest.
This is a lightweight bendable panel (up to 30 degrees, weight 2.15kg) which makes for easy mounting on to a variety of surfaces, or even for freestanding use once your camp is set up. Using monocrystalline cells, this can be part of a best solar system for camper van arrangement thanks to its superior efficiency. It’s also been tested to offer more durability than traditional glass and aluminium models.
This panel has an output of 100W and there are pre-drilled holes for easy mounting. Simply buy more panels to expand your system and power capacity as you go.
Next up in my portable solar panel reviews for camping is this model from Sauoki which is an alternative option to consider if you’re on the lookout for a portable solar charging device with power bank.
With a 60W output and monocrystalline cells, this Sauoki solar panel packs up small (29 x 16cms) and comes with a great carry case that includes a shoulder strap for easy portability. It’s the perfect size to mount on your car windshield while camping to soak up the sun, and although the manufacturers claim it can charge two devices at once, we recommend sticking to one to start with.
Other features include an IPX3 waterproof layer, a 22% conversion rate (more efficient than many panels), and USB and DC outputs.
If you’re on the lookout for a more robust small solar panel for charging your electronics, the Jackery SolarSaga panel may be just the thing you had in mind.
Getting rave reviews from customers thanks to its high performing output and sturdy design, this is one portable solar panel that you can rely on to charge 2 devices at once. With its 100W output and monocrystalline cells, with this solar panel you get the quality you pay for. It’s not cheap, but the result is properly charged electronics as promised.
The design is simple but effective, the rigid back simply folds in two with a carry handle at the top and protective bag. The kickstand helps position for optimum sun exposure throughout the day and the LED indicators help you keep track of its performance.
Another foldable and portable solar panel – this time from top solar brand Renogy, this option is another good one to consider if you want something that you don’t have to mount to your van (you can mount it if you wish), yet is sizeable and powerful enough to deliver the output you need.
With 100W output this is definitely a ‘serious’ portable solar panel with monocrystalline cells. It’s renowned for its performance even in lower light conditions and provides an optimum output of around 500W per day – enough to run a variety of low-mid level electronics such as laptops, lights, water pumps, and other gadgets. We love the sturdy kickstand, too, which helps with positioning.
As with most Renogy systems, you can build your solar power over time by simply adding more panels for more power. For reliable off-grid power, look no further!
Last in my camping solar panel reviews is this heavy duty portable panel from Hardkorr.
This 200W output portable panel is made with monocrystalline cells with a solid copper backing for superior performance. It comes with a detachable 5 stage digital controller for remote control of the panel and other handy features such as inbuilt angled legs to help catch the sun at a better angle.
It also comes with a superior quality 1680denier canvas bag/holder for better protection and easy portability. The reinforced eyelets in the canvas allow the panel to be anchored in windy conditions.
This is a top quality portable panel that’s perfect for those looking for something high quality and durable. It’s great for off-grid wild camping and adventurous campers.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best camping solar panels Australia 2021. Check out the best options for the best travel backpack, best tents, best camping stove, and best camping mattress. Find all my guides to the best camping gear here.
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