Choosing the best solar charger for your next backpacking trip means finding one that is at a reasonable cost, high level of durability, and matches the power output capacity that you and your device(s) need. With many on the market, which are the best ones?
The best solar chargers for backpacking include a combination of multiple USB ports, moderate cost, IPX4 water resistance ratings, fast charging (both for the charger and the output capacity for your devices), are lightweight/compact, and have the option to attach on the outside of your backpack.
It is important to find one that ranks highly in as many categories as possible if you plan to keep your phone, laptop, camera, or whatever other devices you plan to carry charged throughout your trip. While your needs will vary from the next backpacker, there are 7 solar chargers for backpacking that stand out among the rest. Let’s take a closer look.
The AnkerPowerport 21W solar charger has a midrange output capacity of 21W. So, you can be confident that it will not take an excessive amount of time to charge up, but it will have enough power for your devices.
Coming in at only $69.99, this solar charger has 2 USB ports and it is known to charge two devices simultaneously at a high charging rate with a lower interruption rate (aka when the USB cable becomes slightly ajar causing your devices to temporarily unplug and replug resulting in a disruption to the flow of energy from your charger to your device).
You will find that this solar charger does not have a built-in battery (some do), so it will be highly compact because of this. In terms of how compact it is, this device is super lightweight at 14.7oz and folds to fit 11.1×6.3 inches.
You will also be pleased with the pockets that come for device storage, but many note that the pockets are better used for cables than devices as they are easily stretched thin. Still, there is an 18-month warranty for this product which instills the company’s high level of confidence for the longevity of this product.
If you are looking for a semi-flexible solar charger that can attach to the outside of your backpack by day and charge multiple devices (two) by night, then this is a great value for a competitive price.
The BigBlue 28W Solar Charger consistently scores highly among avid backpackers, and you are sure to find the same as these reviewers share. Plus, since this solar charger comes in at a competitive price of $69.96 (almost the same as the Anker PowerPort21W), you can be satisfied with the value that this device provides.
Interestingly, this device has 4 semi-flexible solar panels (semi-flexible meaning that they fold up), and each panel has a 7W output meaning the device totals at a 28W output capacity. Along with this, there are three 5-volt USB ports which means that this has a high charging capacity.
Even so, it is not known to have a long charging rate for itself, so you will not be waiting forever for this charger itself to charge. Instead, your time can be spent with your charging devices plugged in.Along with that, the BigBlue28W Solar Charger has a low interruption rate (meaning the power flow is steady), and the electrical current (triggered by solar power) is displayed so that you know when to charge your devices.
Along with that, this solar charger has attachment points so that you can strap this device onto your backpack during the day or onto your tent if you plan to leave it behind at a base.
Along with that, it also has a zipper for your phone or other accessories, and many have been satisfied with this accessory. This solar charger also has circuit protection to prevent electrical haphazard- especially since it is otherwise high-performing in sun or partly cloudy conditions (something that you will soon realize is invaluable).
Packing this solar charger along will take up little space with its 11.1×6.3×1.3in folded capacity, yet it is slightly heavier than the above-mentioned option as it weighs 20.6oz or 1lb and 4.6oz.
Either way, if you are looking for a high-quality solar charger for your next backpacking trip- especially one that is capable of charging multiple devices, this is another great value option.
The next two best solar chargers for backpackers come from the same company and the same line, yet one has a lower output capacity than the other making it more suitable for charging fewer or smaller devices. With that said, both have been included since they are high-quality devices and can speak to the needs of differing backpackers.
First, the BioLite Solar Panel 5+ comes in with a 5W output making it perfect for charging up smaller devices like cell phones. Still, it has 8W hours of charge and a 2200 mAh rechargeable battery meaning you will see the results of this charger in action quickly. In fact, the integrated battery only takes 2 hours to completely charge.
This solar charger is different from the ones we have already mentioned because it is more rigid than flexible in that the panels do not fold out. Instead, this solar charger uses sundial technology to help with the alignment of the sun and the reception of power, consequently. With this technology paired with the kickstand on its back, the increased optimization helps the device to capture as much sun as possible to power your devices.
Since this is a highly lightweight option at only 13.76oz, and since it is a smaller option, measuring only 10.1×8.2x1in, you are sure to be able to fit this into your backpack without difficulty. And, as it has corner attachment points, you can always strap it on the outside of your backpack to capture the sun while you hike.
Since it has IPX4 ratings, you will not have to worry about water splashes as long as the device is not soaked for more than 5 minutes. Plus, at such a great price ($67.95), the budget backpacker will be pleased with this investment.
Coming in at an edgier model than the one listed above, the BioLite Solar Panel 10+ is the new and improved version with a moderate output capacity at 10W and an increased price of $125.
This solar charger offers 11 hours of charge with its 10W capacity and weights 1lb and 3.4oz or 19.4oz, so it is slightly heavier and yet highly competitive with the previous model as it incorporates a better charging capacity.
Even more, this device offers a 3,000 mAh rechargeable battery that only takes 2 hours to reach a complete charge. Even more, this model offers a micro USB port so you can pre-charge at home.
The BioLite Sun System Technology uses the sundial (as mentioned above) as well as the kickstand to optimize an easier capture of the sun at the best angle depending on your unique backpacking scenario.
Along with this technology, you will also find the IPX4 water splash resistance rating that comes with this model, corner attachment points, minimal charge interruption, and high durability with this backpacking solar charger. Still, you need to be mindful that this device is not amazing at charging multiple devices simultaneously because of its lower output capacity.
So, if it is just you, and you want to use this solar charger to charge up your portable battery (or batteries) as you hike like an avid backpacker, and then use the battery to charge your phone and other devices, then you are good to go.
The Powertraveller Falcon 21 is another fan favorite when it comes to solar chargers for backpackers. Weighing only 16.5oz and measuring 6.3x11inches, this semi-flexible panel solar charger is a high-quality model that you are sure to be pleased with. Still, it is important to note that this piece of equipment comes with a higher price tag, so be sure you are ready to invest $175 when you look into this high-quality option.
With the price tag, you are paying mainly for durability and the output capacity that can charge up 2 devices simultaneously and has been reported to do so at a high rate. This is likely considering the 21 solar panel output that it comes with.
Along with that, this device has an IPX4 rated water splash resistance (so it can withstand water splashes for up to 5-minutes), 4 attachment points, and is made with a highly durable mesh. If you are looking for a durable option that can stand the test of the backcountry, this is a great option for you.
If you are looking for a high-quality solar charger that can charge your laptop, there are two main options. The Voltaic Systems Arc 20W is one of them, and the Powertraveller Falcon 40 (below) is the other.
This semi-flexible panel option comes with a battery included for $239 or without a battery included for $99, so it just depends on what you need. It is a bit heftier at 1.7lbs, but it has moderate durability and a 2-year warranty to back this product up.
While it is slower to charge multiple devices or laptops, it has been proven consistently to hold enough charge and to maintain a charge without interruption for high-capacity requirements like your laptop.
Still, it claims that it will only take 2-hours to charge your small devices. Most backpackers avoid this heavier option for just powering small devices, but if you are wanting to power your laptop, this is an incredible purchase.
The other option to power your laptop while backpacking is to choose the Powertraveller Falcon 40 which comes in at $219 with a highly impressive 40W capacity. This means that it will be incredibly slow to charge up the entire thing, but it has a moderate charging speed of 3.5-4 hours to power multiple devices (or your laptop).
Since there is so much power going in and out of this device, it is highly reliable for those of you taking your laptop along for the ride. Still, this, and the Voltaic Systems Arc 20W will likely be overkill for those of you just planning to power your phones and small devices.
Regardless, it has a large surface area to capture the sun when unfolded (and has good durability and attachment points when you strap it to the outside of your backpack while hiking), yet it only takes up 11.4×11.5in when folded up.
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