solar chargers for backpacking

Best Solar Charger for Backpacking

The best solar chargers give us various promises – freedom from wall outlets and power bills. Yes, that`s right; these chargers will juice up your batteries by converting the sun's rays into electricity. For all the mobility of the modern age, we spend most of our time using stationary outlets for power. If you want to be set free, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast, we have identified some key charger types for you to consider.

The best solar charger for backpacking. These chargers are highly convenient in many ways. 

Most, if not all of them are simple to use and suitable for powering your essential devices. These include smartphones, lamps, power banks, and more. That said, you should also note that these chargers have many different features, which you need to consider for the best results. 

They include

best solar charger for backpacking

Using the right resources for your power supply need is crucial. For portable solar power charging, we recommend that you consider the RAVPower Solar Charger as the perfect recommendation for your needs. It comes with signature solar cells, that will improve the efficiency of charging by 21%. More so, it is also easy to carry, weighing in at half the weight of similar chargers, but with the same power. 

Plus, the charger also features exclusive ismart technology, which will automatically detect and provide optimal charging levels. More so, the 2.4a per port, or 4.8a overall when used in the direct sun. Give a kiss to power sockets and embrace the high efficiency of the sun. The RAVpower 24W solar panel is portable, and it uses the rays of the sun to charge your phone. 

Made using premium charging cells that have an efficiency of over 20%, this unit offers more than sufficient power for your needs. Cumbersome and heavy chargers are often challenging to set up. Thus, this unit weighs in at 24oz, which will deliver as much energy, and without the extra weight. 

Equipped with an option for more than one USB port, can lead to poor distribution of power. As such, one device may charge faster than the other. Thanks to the inbuilt smart IC chip, the flow of energy is regulated, thus providing optimal power for every device in the circuit. 

PROS

  • Can increase charging efficiency by 20%
  • Has a smart IC frequency technology
  • Lightweight and weighs only 26 oz 

CONS

  • Could use better ergonomics 

Runners Up

BigBlue 5V 28W Solar Charger with Digital Ammeter S8/S7/S6/Edge, LG, Nexus, etc.  

best solar phone charger

Equipped with an inbuilt ammeter, the Bigblue 5V Solar charger is an excellent addition to your solar power regimen. This unit comes with an inbuilt ammeter, which will measure the number of Amps required to charge devices. For instance, if your device has an input current of 1A, the amount will be between 0.8A and 1A. Designed to be both dynamic and reliable, this charge is suitable for many different devices. You can use it to power an S8, Edge, LG, or even nexus phone. 

The Bigblue charger provides high quality power, which is perfect for your delicate devices. Furthermore, the BigBlue solar charger brands have also done well to ensure this unit is compact. It weighs 21 oz and has dual power ports, which are suitable for all your android devices. You will also appreciate the exclusive smart IC technology, with the inbuilt chip. The chip can detect your device, to provide the fastest possible charge speed, and ensure stable charging results. 

Furthermore, the SunPower Solar Panels have high conversion efficiency levels of as much as 21%. As such, the chargers are ideal for use outdoors during climbing, camping, and more. The charger is also made using unique PET polymer surface material. The material works well to protect your solar panel and your devices from rain or wet fog. It has an exceptional IPX2 waterproof level, and the USB ports are not water-resistant. 

PROS

  • Comes with an inbuilt ammeter
  • Easy to carry and weighs only 21 oz
  • Equipped with exclusive smart IC technology

CONS

  • You may need extra cables for other devices 

Also Consider

BioLite SolarPanel 5+ with Integrated Power Bank, 5 watts, 2200mAh 

best portable solar charger

With the BioLite SolarPanel 5+ with an integrated power bank, you will enjoy high-quality power for your needs each time. This unit features a high-efficiency monocrystalline structure, with a 5-watt output to power phones, tablets, and more. Even more, the inclusion of an integrated sundial aligns the panel, to ensure it can capture direct rays, for optimal charging results. The 360-degree kickstand will provide a convenient position on various types of terrains. 

You will even find it easy to hang this unit even to hang on trees, walls, and more. You will also benefit when you have a charger that has a powerful battery. Thus, this unit comes with a 2200mAh battery, so that you have adequate power even when the sun goes down. Furthermore, the inclusion of a micro USB charge input, lets you get a head start on your power since you can fill up the battery at home. 

All the juicy features do not stop there with this robust and reliable unit. It even has an ultra-slim, and weather-resistant design. To be specific, the minimalist materials ensure its super thin and promotes the efficiency of this tool through heat dissipation. 

Keeping track of power usage is a crucial factor to consider. Thus, this is why this unit comes with a battery and charge strength indicator. It even has a battery status button, such that you can see the strength of the sun and measure the capacity of your panel. 

PROS

  • High-quality monocrystalline panel with 5 watt USB output
  • Has an integrated sundial aligns your panel for optimal light
  • Comes with a 2200mAh integrated rechargeable battery
  • Ultra-slim and weather-resistant design 

CONS

  • Slightly heavy in size for some users 

Portable Solar Charger, BEARTWO 10000mAh Ultra-Compact External Batteries  

best solar charger

Compact, waterproof, and reliable. These are just some of the few benefits you can expect when you have the BEARTWO 10,000mAh. It's one of the smallest and lightest solar chargers on the market today. It even comes with an extra hanger included, which makes it easy to hang on your backpack, or for camping purposes. Even more, this unit can charge as many as two devices at the same time, and with a max output of 5V/2.1. 

It only takes an average of 4-5 hours to charge the battery fully, and you can use it to save charging time than most other similar power banks. To make things better, this unit has an excellent IP67 waterproof rating for longevity purposes. Every USB port or micro USB is covered by a rubber cap. This helps protect the charger from water, and the reinforced structure makes this unit highly sturdy. 

The battery charger is also available with an inbuilt mini LED flashlight. The light has three modes available for convenience. These include normal, SOS, and strobe. These are all easy to control just by using one button. The inclusion of the 10,000mAh high capacity battery will provide more than enough power for your devices. 

PROS

  • Has an IP67 waterproof rating
  • Has a compact design and weighs 7.4oz 

CONS

  • Takes 4 -5 hours to charge a device 

POWERADD Apollo 2 Solar Charger 12000mAh Portable Solar Power  

portable solar charger

Make it easy to charge your favorite devices when you have the POWERADD Apollo Solar Charger. This unit boasts of all the unique features you need to charge all your solar equipment conveniently. For instance, the charger will deliver fast charging speeds of up to 2.4A per port. More so, the maximum output of each port is 3.4 amps, and the charging efficiency will provide rates of up to 5V/3300mAh.

Equipped with a robust battery, you are sure of more than sufficient power for your devices. In particular, the charger comes with a 12,000mAh battery, which is enough to charge most types of handheld devices. The charger also features an IPX7 waterproof structure, which makes it easy to use even during the rainy days. 

Moreover, the exterior structure is also shockproof and dustproof for your convenience. Plus, the included hook makes it easy to hang on your backpack for ease of portability. Also, the charger comes with adjustable LEDs, which make it highly convenient to use. The inbuilt dual LED lights have three light modes. You just have to short press the button to switch to your chosen model. Best of all, the SOS function also works well in situations where you need help. 

This unit is also available with many accessories. These include a micro USB cable, climbing buckle, and more. 

PROS

  • Comes with a 12,000mAh battery
  • Inbuilt LED for convenient use 
  • Heavy duty and shockproof construction 

CONS

  • N/A 

Solar Power Bank, Qi Portable Charger 10,000mAh External Battery 

backpacking solar charger

Solar power is the future. Make it easy to charge your solar panels when you have the Solar Power Bank Qi portable charger. The charger comes with a 10,000mAh power bank, which is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Even more, the solar power bank is compatible with various types of devices for convenience. 

You will find it easy to charge this unit through the various power outlets it has available. For instance, you can charge it using the micro USB or a type C input port for your convenience. Yes, it's highly recommended for you to take the solar charge feature as an emergency solution for your needs. The Qi portable charger brand has also done well to ensure the charger is durable, and has unique ergonomics.

Such a unique design makes the charger comfortable in the hands, and suitable for many different power supply applications. As one of the best chargers on the consumer market, this unit is powerful, and will provide quality power for your delicate devices. Made using sturdy material, this unit is compact and durable at the same time. It features a premium ABS fireproof material and premium lithium battery for longevity. Also, the charger is IPX4 splash-proof rated, as well as being shockproof and dustproof. 

PROS

  • Has an exceptional 10,000maH battery
  • Can charge through micro USB and a type C input port 
  • How to Buy the Best Solar Charger for Backpacking

CONS

  • N/A

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Solar

Charger for Backpacking

Power Sources 

You can use many different sources of power to charge a power storage unit, or your electronic tools directly. The most common sources, from slowest to fastest include:

  • Hydrogen fuel cell
  • Kinetic motion
  • Solar panel
  • USB
  • 12V DC
  • AC power

To recharge a portable power pack when you are not close to wall outlets, a car, or a USB output, consider one that you can recharge through solar. 

Solar Energy

It’s the most common type of off-grid power source today. You should consider using a solar panel when you want supplement power, and if your electronics surpass the available power. 

Solar energy is the ideal choice for extended trips or days outdoors, such as when camping.

Tips on Choosing Solar Chargers 

There are many common solar panel options on the market today. They include:

  • Panels only, which are either semi-flexible or rigid
  • Panels that have integrated storage batteries
  • Panels that have separate storage batteries

The main variables to consider:

  • Surface area – the size of the solar panel is directly proportional to the amount of light it can collect. While a small panel is easy to install, it might take a longer time to charge correctly. A large surface area is ideal for conditions that have a large amount of cloud cover, or the low light intensity that occurs during winter. More so, it can also be suitable for use when logistical constraints compromise the amount of time the panel gets sun exposure. Usually, the charge time varies between 5 to 16 hours of sunlight for the same battery. 
  • Output capacity – checking the output capacity of your chosen charger is crucial. It determines the type and range of devices you can power conveniently. You should remember that all solar panels have ratings in watts. The higher the rating, the more electricity this unit can produce in a specific time duration.
  • Semi flexible or rigid solar panels – the semi-flexible solar panels are easy to fold and roll up for convenient transport. More so, they are also easy to open to provide sufficient surface area than most rigid panels. Even, you have to consider the attachment options that are available with a solar panel. These will make it easy to install on your bike, kayak, or even backpack.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

The most notable invention in portable power devices is to produce power through a chemical hydrogen reaction. This may require the use of a particular hydrogen cartridge. The voltage it produces might be below, but it's always available, unlike the sun. 

Power Storage (Battery Pack)

A solar energy producer is best for use when you want to charge up a storage battery, instead of an electronic device. Why?

These power sources may not have any circuitry to control the flow of electricity into your device. Such an issue might lead to damage. Thus, ensure that you check the manufacturer's recommendations. Some solar panels come with a regulated USB output, which you can use for direct charging of small devices.  Its good to go for solar panels that have waterproof flaps, to help improve their longevity and functionality. The categories you are likely to come across include:

  • An integrated storage battery – this type provides all in one convenience of a power generator, and it makes power with a battery for storage.
  • An independent storage battery – this type provides the flexibility you need to leave the generator at your home or base camp. You may only take the battery in this case.

NB: If you want to buy a solar panel with a storage battery, pay attention to the specific battery specifications. This should be the most crucial aspect of your power supply package.

Critical Specs for Portable Battery Packs

Storage capacity – this indicates the amount of charge the pack can store for future use when charging your electronics. It’s a good indicator that you have a good quality charger in your hands. 

You can easily get an idea of the recharges you have available. You may have to compare the storage capacity of the battery to that of the battery in your appliance. Usually, this formula is rated in milliamp-hours (mAh) or Amp-hours (Ah). For instance, 2200 mAh = 2.2 Ah. Watt-hours (wh) is also another aspect of measuring battery capacity. To convert watt-hours to mAh: (Wh/Volts) x 1000 = mAh.

Useful tip – transferring energy from one battery to the other is not often an efficient procedure. For this reason, don’t expect a 2000mAh pack to charge a 1,000mAh battery twice.

To recharge or top off your appliance, you may require a battery pack with adequate storage capacity. More so, you also need a battery pack with sufficient output voltage, to get the energy to your device.

How much is adequate? Find out the storage capacity of the battery in your appliance. For electronics that inbuilt batteries, consider the technical specs to determine battery capacity. Plus, if your device uses replaceable AA batteries, and this is not an issue. Remember to go for a battery pack that has either of these features

Power Output

The output of the charger should be equal to the input battery voltage necessities of your chosen device. If it is any lower, this might cause a drain on the power in your device, rather than charging it up. 

Most portable battery packs are suitable for charging small appliances such as cell phones, mp3 players. That said, not many can charge large devices such as laptops. 

Furthermore, a small electronic device is possible to charge using a USB cable with a 5V output rating. The large devices require a DC power output. These include power ranges of between 12V – 24V. 

Battery technology

Portable battery packs don’t only vary in terms of output or capacity, but also size, weight, and technology. The common variations include: 

  • NiMH – (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries, these are likely to be rechargeable AA or AAA batteries. A battery pack that has these is a convenient choice for your needs.These include devices such as GPS, headlamps, and cameras. Rather than recharging your device, you can just swap out the batteries.
  • Lithium-ion and lithium polymers – these are the most common portable battery packs in the market. They are similar to the inbuilt batteries you may find in electronics.
  • Lead-acid batteries – these batteries are large and heavy. They also have the most enormous power output and capacity.

Output Connectors and Adapter Tips

If you go for a solar with a battery, whether it’s integrated or independent, ensure it has the correct connectors for your convenience.

If you buy the panel and battery separately, check the output connect and check whether its suitable for charging your device. More so, also check if you can use it to connect a separate battery pack. The standard options to consider include a USB, a connector, or DC output with voltage control.

Finally

Being able to enjoy your time backpacking is all about preparing correctly. It's good to have a passion for the outdoors, and it's also another to be ready for the outdoors. Thus, this guide has identified the best solar charger for backpacking you should consider. When you have one of these chargers, you will find it easy to charge your devices each time. That said, before you invest in a charger, remember to consider critical factors of your chosen device and the charger as well. This way, you reduce any likelihood of causing damage to your device. 

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