Your dead gadgets will take away the entire fun factor while you hike around. And the situation will get worse if you don’t have any access to the power outlet on your way. Happily, the sun is always around and hence you can keep your device charged always.
During your hike, you will be far away from any power outlet for charging your devices. Yet majority of the activities which you depend on needs battery-powered electronic equipment from smartphone and GPS to flashlight. This is where the need for a solar charger comes into action.
Quick Comparison: Top Hiking Solar Chargers
- Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit
- Solar Charger 24000mAh Portable Charger
- Instapark Mercury 10M Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger
- Powertraveller Powermonkey Extreme Solar Charger
- Power Bank Solar Charger / Backup Battery 10000mAh
**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Solar Charger?
Getting some AA batteries during hiking won’t do any trick. These days, majority of the electronic devices depends on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Even then you will need additional chargers for keeping your devices running all through the hike.
Fortunately, these are light in weight, reliable solar chargers which can juice up your device. This guide will help you to pick the right chargers for you so that you can stay powered up while in the middle of nowhere.
As the job of the solar chargers is to get exposed with the elements, they have great ability to hang tough since we look them through the mountains, deserts, wind, rain and sun.
The canvas protective fabric which is used for its construction acts like an exoskeleton-guarding that protects the inner portions of the panel.
The solar technology is advancing as well since the companies are working more and more and coming up with cells which are highly durable as well as resistant to water and sun damage.
Some of the solar chargers are coming with integrated batteries which will provide you with wide options for charging. Any solar charger which does not contain a battery needs to be paired with an extra power bank.
The negative of carrying a battery with you is with the weight factor. However, it will free your device while the sunshine, when you can charge the battery instead.
Remember that batteries are getting more efficient and powerful, the solar charger might overkill. If you are planning for a weekend trip, then a battery pack of 10,000mAh or more is really enough for charging the smartphone twice.
Beyond three days of the trip, solar chargers will be a great choice for you.
The percentage of efficiency will denote how effectively solar panels will be converting sunlight into electricity.
A solar panel with the highest percentage of efficiency value is better always. Nowadays, all the Monocrystalline panels will reach beyond 20 percentage or even up to 24 or 25 percentage, but Polycrystalline panels will be below 20 percentage, normally around 18 percentage.
Look for those chargers which can very well connect with your backpack. This is especially beneficial while you hike around.
Panels which can be propped up easily will get more sunlight. The panels are rigid and flexible and hence they are less likely to broke and easy to use. the rigid panels can be folded and therefore you can pack it easily.
Size and Weight
Size and weight are the two most important factors which you should consider anytime you backpack or hike. The bigger the solar panels, the more efficient they will be for charging the devices.
There are certain models which will take only a little space in your backpack while other is bulkier as well as larger.
Apart from the size, the weight should also be considered. There are certain panels which weighs less than a pound. You will need to choose wisely whether you need to carry that which weighs more or the one with less weight based on your needs.
The USB ports are those which are standard for the solar chargers and this will make it straightforward for charging the devices. First check what all devices need adapters and then settle on the models.
However, the best option is to power up from a battery pack which is charged from the solar panels since there are high chances to lose the power in the conversion.
Ease of Use
The solar charges are easily set up since there is just a need to hook up the device, expose them to sun and then harness your free power.
Majority of the panels can be cleaned easily by wiping the moisture content as well as the dust using a cloth. However, check for a smart charging technology that any good chargers should feature.
The microchip not just adjusts the charging involuntarily to your connected device, but will also re-start the charging process soon after an interruption.
In order to figure out the value of the solar chargers, check for the price per watt of it. The total amount divided by the watts will give you the price per watt. Solar chargers which are portable are found to be cheaper.
It is claimed that those models which has $10 per watt is a good deal. Currently, you can come get quality as well as portable solar chargers which cost less than $3 per watt.
Review of Some of the Best Hiking Solar Chargers
The Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit is small in its size and is powerful when compared to other models. It is rugged in its construction and is weather-resistant as well.
It can be folded down for easy transportation. It charges quickly from the Nomad 7 solar panel or from the attached USB ports. It comes with an amazing weatherproof design and hence you can use it safely even in the rain.
It has got built-in, tangle-free micro USB cable with it and this in turn will help to charge your gadgets. The two high-speed 2.4A USB ports can quick charge the devices simultaneously, that is the panel can charge two devices at the same time.
The Solar Charger 24000mAh Portable Charger comes with lightning and micro dual input feature. This point to the fact that, regardless of the cable you are brining, you can power up your power bank with either lightning cable or with the micro-USB cable attached to it.
The capacity of the device is another notable feature. It can fully charge your iPhones ten times or more. The quick charging feature of the device will help auto detect the device for delivering fastest possible charge speed (around 2.1A. DC 5V/2.1A high-speed).
It has got 3 USB ports which combines together and produces 4.5amp output. It helps to auto detect the need for charging of your device and offers maximum speed (up to 2.4A per port). It can charge up to three devices at a time. You can charge your gadgets any time under the sun.
The wide range of solar chargers makes it a hectic task to choose the right one and so begin with the most essential devices which you wanted to take along with you during your trails.
What will be the typical changing situation look like? Are you making use of a single GPS or battery pack? Then matching your requirements with the ones listed above will help you pick the right one.
Those solar chargers which are having less Watts are less expensive, yet not that powerful. This doesn’t mean that an expensive model won’t necessarily make you feel happy. It is based on your needs, you should choose a solar charger.
The more you charge, the higher should be the output as well the efficiency. Enjoy your trails and make sure that you only take those devices which are really needed.
Image credit: amazon.com, amazon.in