Outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, sailing or trekking are generally done in places where no power source is available.
If you are going on a one-day trip for these adventures, you should not have any problem by simply charging your devices before you leave your home. However, if you intend to go on a trip for several days, then you will need a power source, not only for social media sharing and work (especially if you do freelancing) but also for safety reasons.
A great option for this is to select the best portable solar panels that exist out there in the market. These devices generate electricity by simply exposing them to the sun and they will allow you to charge any electronics or power bank solutions anywhere every day.
This will guarantee that you will have a reliable and independent power source that won’t run out of fuel and that will always be able to assist you in your outdoor experiences for many years.
Let’s check some of these great products and let’s find out how you can make your choice even wiser.
10 Best-selling Portable Solar Panels
1. HQST 100 Watt-12V Portable Folding Solar Panel with Suitcase and Charge Controller
High-Quality Solar Technology (HQST) is one of the most recognized brands in the solar panel market due to their extraordinary repertory of modules, models, and devices. Products promoted by this brand are related not only to solar panels but to charge controllers, inverters, and wires.
The HQST portable solar panel suitcase integrates highly efficient monocrystalline PV cells that can provide up to a 100W power output. When unfolded, the solar panels have a total size of 690 x 505 x 75 mm and include a handy traveling bag as part of the suitcase that makes it the perfect portable system.
Moreover, an HQST 10A PWM charge controller is included as part of the suitcase and is perfectly compatible with 12V and 24V battery systems which are the most commonly used during camping experiences.
An LCD in the charge controller will show you the state of charge in the battery system and the output of the solar panel. A temperature sensor included in the product will optimize solar charging from the module to the battery. The product provides overcharge, overload protection and short-circuit protection.
The portable solar panel will also have a sturdy aluminum alloy kickstand that will allow you to set the tilt angle of the PV module at multiple degrees, which will optimize the solar energy production of the panel. The solar module is waterproof with an IP65 rating for the junction box and weighs 26.6 pounds.
2. Renogy 100 Watt Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase
The Renogy 100-watt eclipse monocrystalline 20A solar suitcase is one of the top products available in the market.
The suitcase includes two 50W monocrystalline solar panels that together account for 100W. The solar cells of these modules have been designed with top-quality SunPower technology and have excellent performance under low-light conditions.
Among other things, the suitcase has corner protections to ensure no damage is made by placing the panels anywhere. Moreover, they also have a premium black anodized frame that will ensure protection not only in corners but also across the entire structure of the module.
Furthermore, the solar panels’ tilt angle can be adjusted and they can also be protected with a corrosion-resistant aluminum stand that includes a heavy-duty handle as well as latches for longevity. An IP65 waterproof rating protects the junction box of the panels against dust or water.
The suitcase also includes a negative-ground Voyager charge controller with a 20 Amp output and a 5-stage performance that ensures a maximum charging for gel, sealed, lithium or flooded batteries. This device also provides overcharge protection and a reduction of fire risk.
An LCD screen is included as part of the charge controller where a multi-color bar is displayed to show the state of charge of the battery as well as the voltage of the energy storage device.
The suitcase weighs 11.7 pounds and is perfect for carrying to your next camping or RV adventure.
3. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase, 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Goal Zero is another popular solar-powered products manufacturer and is certainly one of the top in the market.
In this case, we are evaluating the Goal Zero Boulder 100W solar panel briefcase which is stronger and more powerful than previous models from the brand.
The modules are designed with a tempered glass that protects the highly efficient solar cells from damage, moisture or dust. They also integrate enforced corners to ensure the maximum protection for the PV module as it stands on the ground.
Optional kickstands are also included and they will allow you to change the tilt angle of the module to nearly 45° to ensure a good optimization of solar energy production for the US. If you rather mount them on your van, RV or boat, you can avoid the kickstands and mount them on a flat position.
An important difference with other modules in the market is that the Boulder 100W solar panels do not have compatibility with MC4 connectors. Instead, they have an 8mm barrel jack terminal that only allows to connect the PV modules in parallel to ensure a 12V output at all times and maximize security for the user. Each 8mm barrel jack will be able to connect up to 4 solar panels in parallel.
The module weighs 25.9 lbs. and has a 12-month warranty. Finally, is perfectly compatible with portable power stations from Goal Zero like the Sherpa 100 Power Pack (3-4 hours of Sun), the Yeti 150 (3-6 hours of sun), or the Yeti 400 (8-16 hours of sun for a complete charge).
4. Kingsolar Solar Charger 100W Foldable Solar Panel
The Kingsolar portable solar panel is an amazing option to consider for your next camping experience.
This 100W foldable solar panel suitcase integrates monocrystalline PV modules that will have a 23% efficiency which is quite high among standards in the market. Moreover, the suitcase has multiple features that make it worth it to consider. The suitcase is designed in grey and orange colors with a non-slip silicon handle and a long-lasting elastic band to secure the modules. An elegant and fashioned stamped leather base that has the logo of the brand is also included as part of the design.
A unique feature is that the suitcase has a dual voltage controller that has two DC outputs in 18V and USB5V. The first one is used for large battery charging or even for laptops, while the second one can be used for charging cellphones, tablets, and simple electronics.
An amazing feature is that the Kingsolar product has a 360° range for foldability which will allow you to comfortably set the panels at 180° on a flat position.
The product has 1.5 years of warranty, weighs 5.95 pounds and includes 1 crocodile clips cable, 1 DC 5521 male to car charger cable and the 100W solar panel.
5. ACOPOWER 120W Portable Solar Panel Suitcase
ACOPOWER brings this foldable solar panel solution that consists of monocrystalline solar cells from SunPower (the top PV module manufacturer in the world) with efficiencies that can reach 25% in conversion of sunlight to electricity.
The ACOPOWER suitcase (when folded) is 22 inches (length) x 17.3 inches (wide) and integrates a small bag that you can use to place wires, the charge controller, clamps, and other small devices. It will also count with a handle that can be used to make it easy to carry everywhere and a kickstand that when opened can be used to set the solar panels at a 45° tilt angle.
The suitcase also includes a 10A PWM charge controller from Epever with a dual USB 5V and 2.4A output that can be used to charge electronics of any case. The suitcase also includes alligator clamps that can be used for 12V battery charging (deep cycle, GEL, AGM types) and MC4 adapters that can be used to connect with an ACOPOWER generator.
The unfolding size of this portable solar panel is 56.7 x 22 x 0.2 inches and the weight is 8.95 pounds.
6. Goal Zero Boulder 50 W Monocrystalline Solar Panel
The Goal Zero Boulder 50 W monocrystalline portable solar panel is the lower wattage option available on this list, suitable for those who are looking for a simple and independent solution based on solar power for their camping or outdoor experience.
A very similar product to the Goal Zero Boulder 100W with integrated tempered glass, reinforced corners and kickstands for 45° tilt angle position intended for optimizing energy yields especially during the summer (intense camping season).
The 50W version also uses 8 mm barrel jacks to only connect the panels in parallel and maximize protection for the user.
This product comes with a 1-year limited warranty and is weatherproof, durable, rigid and lightweight. The product weighs 12.4 pounds alone.
Among other things, the Boulder 50W can be used with the Sherpa 50 Power Pack (charging in 4-6 hours), the Sherpa 100 Power Pack (4-8 hours) or the Yeti 150 Power Station (6-12 hours) to have an energy storage reserve when the sun is not available.
7. ALLPOWERS 100 W Portable Solar Panel Set
A brand that could not be missing on this list is ALLPOWERS.
In this case, we evaluate a top-quality 100W power output solution from the brand. The ALLPOWERS 100W portable solar panel has the perfect size to be carried everywhere and provide over 100 watts with an efficiency of 23.5% made from SunPower solar cells.
The size of this foldable solar panel can be reduced to 12.6 x 7.5 x 3.2 inches making it perfect to transport inside any backpack for a picnic day or for traveling and taking it to the camping experience.
When expanded, the solar panels can be hung on the exterior side of the tent by using a pair of hooks to have a better angle of incidence regarding the sun’s position or they can also be lied down on the ground as you perform other activities.
The product has a charge controller that includes a dual USB 5V output port that was made with iSolar Technology and also an 18VDC output port that has been designed for charging laptops or 12V batteries. Multiple connectors are included inside for multiple laptop brands such as Lenovo, Sony, Panasonic, Dell, HP, Acer, Benq, Samsung, Toshiba, Nec, Asus, Compaq, and others.
The product only weighs 5.29 pounds.
8. Suaoki 60W Portable Solar Panel Charger
Another great product from Suaoki is the portable foldable solar panel.
The small briefcase has the following dimensions when folded: 29.3 cm x 16 cm x 7.5 cm (length, width, and depth). By expanding the product you will be able to obtain a 60W power output with up to a 20% conversion efficiency that will generate enough power as to charge two electronic devices simultaneously.
The suitcase has two output sources. The first one is a 5V USB output that is intended for small electronic appliances and the second one is an 18V DC dual output that can be used for charging 12V deep cycle batteries or also for laptops.
The USB port of this briefcase includes a built-in smart TIR-C technology that automatically identifies and optimizes the exact current needed to charge your equipment and speed up a safe charging process.
An interesting feature from this product is that you will have included up to 10 connectors which are suitable for charging most laptops (except Macbooks) and power station solutions in the market (Yeti, Webetop, Paxcess, Rockpals, Suaoki).
9. ECO-WORTHY 120-Watt 12 V Monocrystalline Portable Solar Panel Suitcase
The ECO-WORTHY 120W solar panel is a ready-to-use plug and play solution that only requires you to open the suitcase and install the modules facing the sun in any location.
The ECO-WORTHY briefcase includes a 15A PWM pre-installed charge controller that has been pre-wired on the back of the panels for a 12V system charging purpose, suitable for most portable off-grid solutions. The charge controller features over-discharge and over-charge protection.
The monocrystalline solar panels feature a total 120W power output (composed of two 60W modules), a 10ft. extension cable and double L legs. Moreover, the package includes a pair of 30 A alligator clips and an adjustable aluminum kickstand that integrates handle and latches.
The solar panel kit also has junction boxes that are protected against water and dust with an IP65 rating. The frame and legs of the portable solar suitcase are made of heavy-duty aluminum.
Moreover, the suitcase features a strong handle that will allow you to easily carry your solar panel kit from one place to the other.
10. Dokio 220W Foldable Monocrystalline Solar Panel
The most powerful foldable monocrystalline solar panel kit on this list is made from Dokio.
Featuring up to 220W of power and high conversion efficiency, the Dokio product is a great solution intended for those who are looking for a more sustainable and stronger power source.
The monocrystalline solar panels are integrated inside a small briefcase that also features a 20A PWM charge controller device from the brand that can be used for charging 12V batteries and DC loads as well thanks to the DC wiring that is integrated into the kit. The charge controller has an LCD screen to display all the charging process and voltage of the battery.
The portable solar system is made out of a robust and durable material that is waterproof, lightweight and also foldable to make quick and easy installations. The package weighs 10.5 lbs.
These modules are perfect for off-grid applications such as hiking, camping, picnic, fishing or even sailing.
Portable Solar Panel’s Buyer’s Guide
How many types of portable solar panels exist?
Portable solar panels can be classified according to two main subjects.
The first classification that can be made is related to the technology that is used. There are mainly monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panel technologies.
Monocrystalline solar panels are made of a single silicon crystal through the Czochralski manufacturing method which makes them more expensive than their counterparts, however, they also perform better and reach higher efficiency values than other technologies.
The second classification can be made according to the mounting type.
The idea of a portable solar panel is to make it easy to carry everywhere without the uncomfortable need to take a large solar panel and try to force it inside a van or car. Therefore, manufacturers have designed innovative portable solutions for this purpose.
One of these solutions is a fixed folded suitcase that varies in size and weight depending on the solar panel specs. This type of solar panels can be opened or closed in two parts or two modules that are pre-wired together to provide the power output that is specified.
The second solution is a collapsible design that is composed of multiple small solar cells that are also pre-wired and protected by a cover that when opened will provide the specified power output. This is extremely valuable as this reduces considerably the size of the module when traveling by also transforming it on a small suitcase as well.
Meanwhile, polycrystalline solar panels are made of multiple silicon crystals and they have a less uniform color shape. They are cheaper than monocrystalline solar panels, but they sacrifice that extra cost with efficiency.
For off-grid and portable solar panel applications, efficiency is one of the most important factors to consider, therefore, in this list, you will only find monocrystalline type solar panels.
What important details should be considered when selecting portable solar panels?
Solar panels have multiple specs that need to be considered when sizing a PV system.
However, for off-grid purposes and especially for selecting portable solar panels, you should consider the following parameters: Efficiency, power, type of panel, weight, dimensions, and extra features.
Efficiency and Power
The top two factors that have to be considered for any PV solution are the efficiency and power output of the solar panel. These parameters will give you an idea of how much energy you will be able to draw from the renewable energy power source.
In portable solutions, the best or most typical consideration is to purchase a solar panel between 100W-200W. This will give you enough power to run most electronics during the day and will also allow you to charge a power station for night time hours.
Efficiency is also crucial in portable solar panels as every inch of solar cell needs to maximize solar energy harvesting to provide a good source of power. Currently, efficiencies for portable solutions should not be located below 19%.
The Type Of Panel And Size
As we mentioned before, there many types of solar panels.
For portable applications, you must always choose monocrystalline technologies. However, choosing how the solar panel will be easier or better to transport in your particular case may not have such a direct answer.
Here, the size and weight of the solar panel will matter a lot, since this will indicate if you will be able to carry the module without major problems or if it demands too much weight for you to carry in your outdoor adventure. Dimensions are also important, so you need to choose the solar panel that occupies less space, produces more power, and has better efficiency.
You may find yourself in a situation where two portable solar panels offer you comparable specs and the decision may not be as easy to take. Here you must consider other factors as well.
The first one logically is price. Some top-quality brands may have excellent performance, but they may also be extremely expensive when compared to others. Other brands may offer you similar performance at lower prices.
The second one is the warranty. Obviously, the product that offers a longer warranty will always be preferable.
Finally, the third option is the extra gadgets that the portable solar panel includes such as the charge controller, wires, alligator clamps, laptop connectors, etc.
We have reviewed some of the top portable solar panels available in the market. All of the brands in this list are recognized by their performance and their products also feature some of the best specs available in the US.
When deciding to go on another camping or outdoor experience of any kind, you cannot forget to bring your solar panels with you. They will become the most reliable source of power in the wild as they will only need to be placed in facing the sun for optimum energy yields.
Always remember that the best portable solar panel for you will be the one that offers more power, better efficiency, better price and occupies less space.