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Best Solar Charger for Backpacking

Spending time in nature is a great way to refill your batteries and prepare for the upcoming work week. The best thing about it? There is not much you will need apart from some basic equipment, as well as people to have fun with. On the other hand, you could also go solo, and truly connect with Mother Nature.

Still, if you are going backpacking, chances are that you won’t be near a power outlet, and while you may be recharging your batteries, ending up with a dead device can be quite frustrating. This comes with the risk of having your phone, tablet, GPS, and other electronic devices running out of juice. However, there are solar chargers out there for this kind of situation, and it’s what we will be discussing today. 

Eco-friendly and quite affordable, these will come in handy for multiple occasions. Let’s get right to it and help you find the best solar charger for backpacking, so your devices don’t die on you! 

Best Solar Chargers For Backpacking: Reviews

Ryno Tuff Solar Charger

Ryno Tuff Solar Charger

This is an excellent option when it comes to solar chargers for backpacking and camping. The Ryno Tuff Solar Charger also comes at quite an affordable price. One thing that really stands out is that it comes with industry-leading high-efficiency X-Series SUNPOWER solar cells, and it comes with 3 full panels. These solar cells come with a fantastic 25% power conversion rate, which is more than expected from a charger that comes at such a low price.

All you have to do is keep the solar panels in direct sunlight, and they can fully charge a device, such as a phone or a tablet, in 2 or 3 hours. While this is very impressive, keep in mind that direct sunlight is required; the shade is not going to serve you well when it comes to this Ryno Tuff Solar Charger, but if in direct sunlight, it can quickly charge devices. Moreover, what you also might like is that it comes with dual USB ports, so if need be, you can charge 2 separate devices simultaneously. 

Yet another thing which stands out about the Ryno Tuff Solar Charger is that it is made with really tough materials, tough enough to be dropped and not suffer from impact damage, plus getting it snagged on something should not be a problem. What’s also quite impressive is that this item is made with waterproof canvas, so it can get rained on without fear of breaking. We are talking about 600D PVC that can resist hot and cold temperatures, as long as you don’t completely submerge it in the water. 

Also, with the included accessory pockets, you will get to hide your device from the direct sunlight and thus prevent potential damage. The Ryno Tuff Solar Charger folds together into a compact and lightweight package that is easily portable, and you can easily fit it into a backpack. There’s also the fact that you can keep it on the outside of your backpack, so you can charge your devices while you hike. It even comes with reinforced hooks and carabiners, so you can hang it up more or less anywhere you want.

While an additional USB charger would come in handy, it is still something that you can buy separately for a fair price, so it should in no terms hinder the appeal of this eco-friendly offer.  

Pros

  • Durable and waterproof
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Fast charging time in the sun
  • Easy to hang up
  • Can charge 2 devices at once

Cons

  • Only comes with 1 USB cable 
  • Requires direct and strong sunlight

iBose Solar Phone Charger

iBose Solar Phone Charger

If you are on the hunt for a small, portable, effective, and affordable solar charger for your phone, to use while backpacking, this iBose Solar Phone Charger is a fantastic option. First off, the iBose Solar Phone Charger is designed for phones. It can charge phones, MP3 players, and more, but it is really only designed for smaller devices.  Still, you should in no way see it as a weak, as it packs around 10.000 mAh of power, that sets out to be quite amazing for a gadget of this size. It could probably charge a tablet, or keep a laptop alive for some time, but it is better to stay on the safe side and use it as the manufacturer suggests. 

With that being said, if the iBose Solar Phone Charger is in direct sunlight, it should be able to charge a smaller device within a few hours. The iBose Solar Phone Charger comes with high-efficiency solar panels which feature a decent rate of power conversion, not the absolute best out there, but more than good enough to charge a cellphone or something similar. 

What we like about the iBose Solar Phone Charger is that it is very small and portable. It’s designed to fold into a neat little package, not much bigger than a cellphone. This is a great feature because it makes it very easy to transport and store in a small place, such as a small backpack compartment, not to mention that being very lightweight never hurts either when it comes to a weekend of backpacking.

One of the innovative features is the Smart IC technology which instantly detects your device, and thus adjusts the speed and power of charging, preventing hazardous outcomes such as short-circuits or overheating. Also, the LED light that it includes is a great bonus that will come in handy once the sun sets. The iBose Solar Phone Charger is very easy to use because you simply unfold it and place it in direct sunlight to get full use out of it. It’s designed with hooks and straps so you can keep it on the exterior of your backpack while hiking, charging your devices as you walk along. The other thing which stands out about the iBose Solar Phone Charger is that it is waterproof, so if it happens to rain, at least will not break. Now, with that being said, in terms of impact resistance, you probably don’t want to drop it, as it’s not exactly the most durable product on the market today. Still, it does feature a 1-year warranty that you can claim for any built-in defects. Overall, it is an affordable charger perfect for phones and music gadgets. 

Pros

  • Fast charging in direct sunlight
  • Ideal for smaller devices
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very easy to use

Cons

  • Limited impact resistance
  • Requires direct sunlight

Solar Power Mart FLEXI 5 USB Solar Charger

Solar Power Mart FLEXI 5 USB Solar Charger

This is so far the most affordable option on our list of solar chargers for backpacking, and even though it is not very expensive, it comes with some useful features. What stands out about the Solar Power Mart FLEXI 5 USB Solar Charger is that it is ultra-lightweight and thin. 

Seriously, it barely weighs anything at all, so little that you will probably forget that you have it in your pack. Still, don’t get fooled as it packs some serious power of 5W, 5V, running at a 5V/1A output. Once again, it is not ideal for more demanding electronics such as a tablet or your laptop, but there is no reason to take these when backpacking in the first place. 

Moreover, it is so thin that it should be able to easily fit into any pocket in your backpack, as it’s about as thick as a small tablet, which is very convenient. However, the downfall it has is that it is fairly large in terms of surface area, which might be ideal in terms of charging, but not when it comes to ease of storage, as it cannot fold down. It’s more or less like a large tablet in terms of surface area, but as long as you have a decent size backpack, it should not be too much of an issue. 

What can be said about the Solar Power Mart FLEXI 5 USB Solar Charger is that it is very durable and even waterproof. It’s made for long-range journeys and even for soldiers, so it does have a good amount of impact resistance, and a bit of rain should not be a problem. In direct sunlight, the Solar Power Mart FLEXI 5 USB Solar Charger can be used to charge phones, tablets, cameras, and such devices, and smaller devices should not take too long to charge. 

However, something we do want to note is that the quality of the solar panels themselves is not exactly the best in the world, so they don’t charge as fast as they could. Yet, what is cool here is that it does not require a solar battery or power bank; you don’t have to charge it first so you can then charge your devices, because the energy can be transferred directly from the Solar Power Mart FLEXI 5 USB Solar Charger to your devices, so it  has some ups and downs to consider. 

Pros

  • Very durable and waterproof
  • Lightweight and thin design
  • Works for all kinds of devices
  • No solar bank or battery required

Cons

  • Requires direct sunlight
  • Quality of the solar panel is not the best

BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger Power Bank

BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger Power Bank

Here we have a very convenient and portable solar charger for backpacking. For one, the BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger Power Bank is by far the most portable and lightweight option in our review. 

It’s one of those solar charger battery banks that are not much bigger than an iPhone or something similar. It’s convenient because you can easily fit it into your pocket, backpack, or any other small place with ease, not to mention that it is so lightweight that you will probably forget that you have with you. What we do want to note is that it is also quite affordable, which we are sure that many people can appreciate. 

What does need to be mentioned up front is that this is more of a solar power bank than an actual solar charger. What we mean by this is that the solar panel is only the size of a small cellphone, so it does not absorb or provide all that much power. 

The BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger Power Bank is designed to charge in the sun, but to achieve a full charge, it needs to be in direct sunlight for 6 or 7 hours. With that being said, the best way to use the BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger Power Bank is to hook it up to an external solar charger, or you can charge it via a USB power source as well. This is what we meant when we said that it’s more of a power bank than a charger itself.

It features an output of 5V/2.1A, which is more powerful than the abovementioned bank, and while it requires direct sunlight, it does have a good power-conversion rate. The BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger Power Bank comes with 2 USB ports, and it can charge two devices at once, all in about 5 hours,  but the item itself needs to be charged first so you can charge your devices, and the included solar panel is not the best. 

However, the BEARTWO Portable Solar Charger Power Bank is extremely durable, it is highly impact resistant, and it also has a decent level of waterproofing.

As mentioned above, it may be best to connect this to an external USB power source and thus get the optimal results, but even if you don’t do so, this solar bank is going to give you good results as long as you are not in a rush and the sun is yet to set!

Pros

  • Super lightweight and portable
  • Extremely durable and water resistant
  • Dual USB ports with a decent charging time

Cons

  • Very small solar panel
  • Best used with an external charging source

RAVPower Solar Charger

RAVPower Solar Charger

This is a solar charger which is significantly more expensive than any of our other options, but while the RAVPower Solar Charger may be fairly expensive, it’s also a very high-quality product that gets the job done and comes with a lot of features. One thing which stands out about the RAVPower Solar Charger is that it is extremely durable. This item is designed to last for years, and even dropping it on something like a rock or concrete should not affect it, which is pretty important when it comes to backpacking, hiking, and camping. 

Furthermore, the RAVPower Solar Charger is also 100% waterproof, yet another important feature when you are outdoors; you probably should not take it for a swim, but other than that, such as in a rainstorm, it should do fine.

Next, the RAVPower Solar Charger is a very portable and lightweight option.  It is much lighter than most other solar chargers, or at least lighter than others of comparable size. It’s big enough to absorb a lot of light, but also small and lightweight enough so it’s not too cumbersome. 

It comes with 4 solar panel sections, so when it is unfolded, it has more than enough surface area to take in a lot of sunlight, but at the same time, it can fold down to a quarter of the size for easy storage in your bag. Being small, compact, foldable, and super lightweight are all bonuses which you get with the RAVPower Solar Charger. 

Something else which we want to note is that this is a 24-watt solar charger that comes with very advanced and high-efficiency solar panels that increase power conversion by up to 25% when compared to similar solar charges; if you have a single device attached and you have  set up in direct sunlight, it should only take a couple of hours to charge a phone or tablet. 

The RAVPower Solar Charger comes with 3 USB ports, so technically speaking, you can charge 3 devices at once. Now, if you have 3 devices connected, they won’t charge as fast as if you only had a single device connected, but all things considered, the charging speed for 3 devices is still not bad. Furthermore, the RAVPower Solar Charger also has overload protection and it also comes with smart tech so it can charge your devices using the correct voltage, which it figures out all on its own. 

Pros

  • Extremely durable and waterproof
  • Small, lightweight, foldable
  • Very fast charging with high-efficiency solar cells
  • Can connect up to 3 devices at once

Cons

Quite expensive

XPower Hiking Solar Backpack with Removable 7 Watt Solar Panel

XPower Hiking Solar Backpack with Removable 7 Watt Solar Panel

We don’t want to veer off course, but we think that this product fits in with today’s article. In this article, we are technically looking for backpacking solar chargers, but we think that this backpack that comes complete with a solar charger fits in with today’s theme. What’s surprising is that this combination backpack and solar charger is not even that expensive.  

For the price at which the XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack with Removable 7 Watt Solar Panel comes at, it’s quite impressive that the solar panel and the charging function work as well as they do. Here you get a 7-watt solar panel, which admittedly is not the strongest out there, but when you have it in direct sunlight, it’s more than enough to charge a phone, tablet, GPS, or something similar. It’s not the biggest or most powerful option out there, but if you have a single device that needs charging, it will do fine. 

Now, the solar panel itself comes with a scratch-resistant cover, but it’s not all that impact resistant. Moreover, while it will do fine in a light shower, it’s not designed to withstand something like a rainstorm, so you don’t want to get caught out in a torrential downpour with it. 

However, if you are smart about it and careful, the XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack with Removable 7 Watt Solar Panel as a whole should last for quite some time. We like how the solar panel itself is removable and foldable, which sits on the rear of the bag, so it charges while walking, but you can also take it off and easily store it in the backpack itself. 

Speaking of the backpack, it’s not the best option out there, especially when compared to a professional model that can cost many times more. However, once again, for the low price of the XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack with Removable 7 Watt Solar Panel, it’s really not bad. Yes, it comes with a few different pockets and a decent amount of storage space; it has comfortable and adaptable straps, and it’s more than durable enough for basic use. 

It’s nothing overly special, but if you happen to need a hiking bag and a solar charger, all for a low price, the XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack with Removable 7 Watt Solar Panel is a good option. 

Pros

  • Combination backpack and solar charger
  • Decent solar charger for the price
  • Lightweight and fairly decent solar panels
  • The solar panel is removable and easy to store
  • The backpack itself is not bad either

Cons

  • Not designed for large or multiple devices
  • Somewhat slow at charging

d.light S500 Portable Solar Lantern and Mobile Phone Charger for Camping

d.light S500 Portable Solar Lantern and Mobile Phone Charger for Camping

Here we have yet another option that is fairly affordable, and here you get something extra. The thing we are most concerned about here is, of course, the mobile phone charger for camping and backpacking, but the fact that it also comes with a solar lantern is an added bonus that can come in handy if you will be out during the night. So, first and foremost, here you get a solar charger that comes with a pretty decent battery. 

The solar panels themselves are fairly efficient, maybe not the most efficient of all solar panels out there, but they still get the job done well enough. It might take a whole day to fully charge the included battery bank, but it is also a very large battery. Once the battery pack here is full, you should be able to charge pretty much any device several times over, and all in a very limited amount of time. Keep in mind that here you are using the solar panels to charge the lantern, and the lantern serves as the battery or power bank, which you will then use in order to charge your phone. 

We would not recommend charging a very large device with the d.light S500 Portable Solar Lantern and Mobile Phone Charger for Camping, as you are going to suck a lot of energy out of the lantern, but it is possible if necessary. This is not the smallest or lightest item out there, but it is designed to hang on your backpack so you can charge it while walking around. 

In terms of the lantern itself, it is a very bright lantern with a beam of light that can reach very far, plus the battery for the lantern itself can last for up to 100 hours. The d.light S500 Portable Solar Lantern and Mobile Phone Charger for Camping come with a 2-year warranty, but what we do want to mention is that this item is not really waterproof, and you do not want to drop it either. 

Pros

  • Comes with a solar charger and power bank/lantern
  • High-quality lantern
  • Fairly fast charging
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Larger and heavier than some other options
  • Could be more durable and waterproof

Solar Charger For Backpacking Buyer’s Guide

You don’t want to go out and buy the first solar charger you see. There are a few different things that you need to think about, so let’s go over the main solar charger buying considerations right now. 

Solar Panels – Size and Quality

First of all, you want to pay attention to the solar panels themselves. When it comes to charging your devices, this is the most important thing that you want to pay attention to out of all purchasing factors. For one, you want to ensure that you get something that features high-quality solar panels with a fairly high watt rating. 

The larger the solar panels are, the higher the quality, and the more watts they can muster, the faster your devices will charge, which is probably what you are going for. Perhaps more important than solar panel size is the efficiency of those solar panels, with the amount of energy conversion directly impacting how long it takes for a device to charge. 

Durability and Waterproofing

The next factor here that you want to pay attention to has to do with the overall durability of the solar charger. This is very important because after all, you will be hiking, backpacking, and possibly camping with it. So, for one, it needs to be durable in the sense that it should be scratch resistant. It should come with some kind of coating over the solar panels, so they don’t get scratched. 

Furthermore, you also need the solar charger in question to feature a good deal of impact resistance, so in case you drop it, it won’t break. Finally, the solar charger should be water resistant at the least, and ideally, totally waterproof. You don’t have to be able to swim with it, but it should be able to survive some rain. 

Size, Weight, and Portability 

The next feature you want to look for in a solar charger for backpacking has to do with overall portability. Now, this is going to be a bit of a trade-off, because generally speaking, the larger the solar panels and the charger itself are, the faster your devices will charge, but on the other hand, size is not great when it comes to portability. So, ideally, you want to look for a solar charger that weighs as little as possible and is not too large. If it is one of the larger ones, it should at least allow for folding down into a smaller package for easy storage and transportation. 

Intended Devices to be Charged

You also want to read the product description for the solar charger in question, in terms of the size and power of the devices, it is intended to charge. You don’t want a really small solar charger intended for phones to charge your tablet, and if you only need something to charge a phone, getting something much larger is pointless. What kinds of devices is the item in question intended to charge? 

Number of Charging Ports

On the same note as our previous purchasing factor, how many devices can the solar charger charge at once? There are options out there which can only charge a single device, while others can handle, 2, 3, or even 4 devices. Of course, if you have lots of devices, you want to look for a dual charger at least.  keep in mind that the more devices you have connected at once, the longer it will take to charge each individual device. 

Extras + More

Finally, we want to talk about a few extras. If you have been paying attention, you know that you can buy combination backpacks and solar chargers, combo solar chargers with lanterns and flashlights, and more. What we want to say is that there are some really cool items out there, and you might like one of them, so don’t rush into a decision until you explore all the options. 

Conclusion of the Best Solar Chargers

We don’t want to recommend one item over the other, as many of them are very different, and it really all depends on what you need out of your solar charger.  Keep our main purchasing factors in mind when examining the various options, and you should have no problems choosing the best solar charging for backpacking for your own needs.

  • July 8, 2019