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Final Answer: A 50~100 watt solar panel can run small devices for charging, lighting, and coolers for basic camping needs. Solar panels of 200 watts or 400w solar panels are needed to run high power consuming devices such as refrigerators or grills. Based on past camping experiences, short-term camping requires about 50-100 watts of solar panels per person to meet electricity needs.

Are you camping with electricity but are stuck with power? Opting for portable solar panels is an excellent solution to keep your electronic devices charged while away from the grid and keep your campsite lit.

However, determining the exact number of solar panels for camping required can be a tricky task. The solar panel size you need depends on various factors, including the duration of your trip, the types of devices you intend to power, current weather conditions, and more. This comprehensive guide is intended to shed light on key considerations and guide you in determining the best solar panel configuration for your upcoming camping trip.

solar panels for camping :sungold spc 135w portable solar panels
 solar panels for camping: Sungold spc 135w portable solar panels

Types of solar panels for campers

When it comes to solar panels for campers, there are several options to suit different needs and camping styles. Understanding these types can help you choose the best portable solar panel for camping.

  • Rigid solar panels: Rigid solar panels are the traditional solar panels for camping. These camping solar panels are usually made of silicon modules encased in a sturdy frame. They are highly efficient, converting most of the sunlight into usable electricity. Rugged solar panels are ideal for permanent installation on the roof of an RV, or for campers who value power output over portability.
  • Flexible solar panels: Flexible solar panels are a more modern approach to camping solar panels. These thin, lightweight, bendable solar panels can adapt to curved surfaces, making them suitable for a variety of camping setups. They are manufactured using thin film solar cell technology, making them uniquely flexible.
  • Portable solar panels: Folding portable solar panels are the best choice between rigid and flexible solar panels. These portable solar panels for camping usually consist of several rigid or semi-rigid panels connected by a flexible backing that can be folded for storage and unfolded when in use.
  • Solar blankets: Solar blankets are so lightweight and flexible that they can be draped over a tent or vehicle. They are ideal for ultralight camping but typically generate less power than other types.
  • Solar camping gear: Some camping gear, such as backpacks or tents, have built-in solar panels that provide a seamless way to harness the sun’s energy while on the go.

Calculate how much power you’ll need

Make a list of all the devices and appliances you wish to use during your camping trip and their power or electricity consumption. Include important devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, camping lights, and any other small electronics you will have. If you want to be more comfortable and don’t recommend bringing more stuff, include portable refrigerators, fans, speakers, or anything else that requires power on your list.

Knowing the total wattage needed will help determine the capacity and power level of portable power stations and solar panels.

A 50~100 watt solar panel can run small devices for charging, and lighting, and small coolers for basic camping needs. Solar panels of 200 watts or more are needed to run high power consuming devices such as refrigerators or grills. Based on past camping experiences, short-term camping requires about 50-100 watts of solar panels per person to meet electricity needs.

How to Determine the Electrical Power Required for Solar Panels.
How to Determine the Electrical Power Required for Solar Panels.

Choosing the right portable power station

Portable power plants and power stations are like soulmates, complementing each other. Portable power stations provide stored energy when sunlight is erratic or unavailable, and solar panels can recharge portable power stations. When calculating your solar panel needs, consider how much backup capacity you need based on your average daily electricity usage. More backup power station reduces dependence on sunlight.

How to charge a portable power station? Try to coordinate the size of your entire solar and battery setup to ensure coordination between charging capacity and power consumption. Adequate and balanced daily solar charging keeps the backup batteries fully charged and ready to be replenished when solar energy cannot meet demand. Solar panels and power stations work as a team – the solar collects energy during the day and the batteries provide energy around the clock.

Solar Panel Power / Power Station Capacity200Wh500Wh1000Wh1200Wh1500Wh2000Wh
30W Solar Panel
135W Solar Panel
180W Solar Panel
200W Solar Panel
400W Solar Panel

(Typically, solar panels will charge storage as long as the voltages can be matched, just the length of the charge will vary. The above selection is the best match)

Calculations based on weather conditions

Solar power relies heavily on plenty of sunlight. However, the weather can be unpredictable when camping; scorching heat, cloudy skies, storms, or other conditions can affect your ability to charge. You also need to consider the weather as a disruptive factor in your calculations.

In sunny climates, an additional 10-20% of panel capacity is sufficient. But in variable weather, plan for 40% more solar watts than you need. With excess solar power, you can make the most of sunny days and stay charged even if there are days with limited sunlight. However, it is important to note: The higher the solar panel power, the larger the area (folding solar panels are available as an option), and the heavier the weight, you need to choose according to your actual situation.

camping solar panels powering the light
camping solar panels powering the light

Choose the best camping solar panel

You get what you pay for, so make sure you buy a good brand of solar panels, like Sungold’s solar panels, which are highly recommended. Investing in quality solar panels and power accessories for camping will make a big difference in performance and reliability. Sungold BEST Camping Solar Panel SPC-S 135w uses Sunpower solar cells, converting sunlight with an efficiency of up to 24.4% or more, before winning the waterproof portable design, which is better adapted to outdoor environments.

 Choose the battery to buy the large capacity and stable power station features. Can MPPT solar charging, AC outlet, wireless charging, and other integrated functions. Equipment does not draw across, good equipment to stable power supply.

Consider multiple solars in series/parallel

Connecting multiple solar panels is an option for greater energy needs. Most portable solar panels have charge controller ports that allow users to wire two or more panels together. This can increase peak power output to meet high power need consuming devices or appliances. Take care to control that the solar controller and batteries can handle the increased wattage flow do not overload.

Get the best efficiency out of solar panels

Efficiency plays a crucial role when choosing solar panels for campers, affecting their ability to provide reliable power during outdoor adventures. A few key factors that affect their performance are as follows

  • Sunlight exposure: The amount and quality of sunlight directly affects the amount of power a solar panel can generate. Placing solar panels in an area where the sunlight is not blocked will maximize the amount of power generated.
  • Panel quality: The technology and materials used in solar panels determine how efficiently they convert sunlight into electricity. High-quality solar panels typically have better performance and durability.
  • Temperature: Solar panels operate most efficiently at moderate temperatures. Overheating can reduce efficiency, while cooler climates may slightly improve performance.
  • Orientation and position: Orienting solar panels correctly to ensure they are in the best position throughout the day will maximize energy capture.


How to charge a portable power station?

You can use the portable solar panels to charge the portable power station on sunny days, and on cloudy days you can charge it directly from your home power supply.

Are Sungold solar panels compatible with portable power stations?

Sungold adopts the common outlet connector in the market, which can be compatible with most power banks, such as Jackery Explorer 1000 Plus, EcoFlow Delta 2, Goal Zero Yeti 3000X, Bluetti AC200P, Anker 757 PowerHouse, and other portable energy storage to use with it, it is a reliable match for camping appearances.


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