Going off grid has never been easier. You can live a very full life on the road and still enjoy your modern comforts. In fact, there are digital nomads out there working from their laptops while out enjoying nature.
The key to doing this is to use portable solar panels and good lithium batteries so you can power up your TV, laptop and any other electronic equipment you need. To me, they are an essential camping gadget no matter where you plan to camp.
Imagine being out in the wild, hiking to your heart’s content and then coming back to your tent and having a cold beer out of a fridge. That’s only possible if you can use solar, or even wind, to power your gear.
In this article, we will go over the basics of portable solar panels so you can understand why you would want them.
Benefits of using solar when camping
The camping ethos is to leave a place cleaner than how you found it. If you are out using a generator in a wild forest, then you are actually polluting the air while you are there.
Instead, when you bring solar panels you can still keep your modern conveniences and stay green at the same time.
Then there is the convenience. I already mentioned the types of devices you can use while off grid when you have portable solar panels. You also save quite a bit of money. Previously, if you wanted to be able to use electronics when camping you had to stay at a site with full power hookup.
Those types of campsites, while more economical than staying in a hotel, are going to cost you more money than if you go wild camping. You now have way more freedom to roam and find a free place to pitch over staying in an organized campground.
What you need to use them
Before you go out and buy your panels and the accessories you think you need, take some time to evaluate what your electronic needs are.
For instance, if you want to use small appliances, you need at least 240v of power. This means that you’ll need to have a solar regulator, a deep-cycle auxiliary battery and an inverter. That sounds like a lot, but these days they are all quite compact.
If you have loads of appliances, you likely aren’t hiking out with just a backpack and probably at least have an ATV to reach your pitch.
Probably the most important accessory is the solar regulator as it protects the batteries from fluctuating charge or overcharging. Since solar can be disrupted by clouds the charging is not always a consistent flow.
Best type of solar panel for camping
The most efficient type of portable solar panel is a mono-crystalline panel. However, these are generally rigid and will highly depend on how you are traveling to your site as to whether it makes sense to use them. The best type for camping is an amorphous panel that uses a film so it can be folded or rolled up.
These are not nearly as efficient, but are very convenient to pack and store when not in use.